17 August 2012

Love and Gunpowder

by R.T. Lawton

One of the problems with working an informant is they continue to live their life on the streets, which seems to include brushes with violence, strong emotions, various crimes and the constant need to hustle. One man's possession becomes another man's hustle to get some of it.

As my informant Thomas saw it, Desdemona was his personal property. He loved her in his own way, but she had flirty eyes which sometimes made him uneasy. Lately, he had suspicions that his cousin Junior Obregon had been poaching on his personal property behind his back. Not a good thing. If nothing else, this quickly became a matter of respect. A man's reputation on the street could make it easier to hustle, or it could serve him up for ridicule and scorn.

Thomas wasn't having this. A confrontation with the love of his life during the early morning hours soon led to outraged denials, screaming, shouting and perhaps a backhand or two. This is part of the violence and strong emotions I mentioned earlier. In any event, Desdemona ended up being unceremoniously deposited into the trunk of Thomas' Cadillac. Her continued unladylike verbiage and pounding on the inside of the trunk lid was to no avail. Thomas merely paused for a smoke while contemplating his next move. Deciding that things might get a little dicey, he checked the cylinders of his .38 revolver to ensure it was fully loaded. Then, flicking his cigarette into the street, he got behind the wheel of his Cadillac and put it in gear.

During the long drive over to Junior's domicile on this warm summer morning, the volume of noise from the trunk gradually declined. Thomas took this as Desdemona finally recognizing the extent of her sins and perhaps even repenting a little for her indiscretions. However, regardless of any potential turnaround of the heart on Desdemona's part, Thomas still had a job to do.

Upon parking in front of Junior's one-story, wood-frame house, Thomas got out of his vehicle and walked to the rear. He lovingly patted the Cadillac's trunk lid and tried to reassure Desdemona that everything would soon be all right. He was about to rectify their situation. She made a response, but evidently the heat and bumpy ride had worn her down because her words were muffled enough that Thomas took them as nothing more than the beginnings of contrition.

Up the sidewalk and onto the cement front porch, Thomas tried the screen door handle. Locked. Damn. With his left hand, he rang the doorbell and alternatively pounded on the door frame. His .38 revolver was kept conveniently out of sight behind his right hip.

From inside the house, Junior, not being used to getting up at this early hour of late morning, staggered out of the back bedroom and into the the living room. Due to the summer heat, he was clad only in his best pair of black, silk, boxer shorts. Junior's idea of a fashion statement. While Junior's left hand rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, his right hand, being the cautious fellow that he was, concealed his faithful old Owlhead .32 pistol behind his right thigh. Discretely, he stopped on his side of the door with about ten feet distance between them.

"Cuz," said Thomas.

"Cuz," replied Junior.

The words which then followed are not fit to print in this public forum.

Having finished his part of the verbal discussion, Thomas brought  his .38 out of hiding and proceeded to blow three holes through the screen.
A little slower, but not to be outdone, Junior brought his Owlhead out of hiding and blew two holes through the screen in the opposite direction.

At this point, Junior noticed he had recently developed a few leaks in his torso. Deciding that a rest might do him some good, he lay down on the floor and curled up in a more comfortable position to accommodate his new circumstances.

For his part, Thomas also felt a sudden tiredness. He leaned his back against the door frame and slid down until his butt hit the cement porch. With three bullets still remaining in his .38, he had the urge to spend them in the direction of his cousin's reclined body, except that for some reason his gun arm had acquired an ache in the shoulder and no longer operated as it should.

Sounds of intense screaming and renewed pounding emanating from the Cadillac trunk now attracted Thomas' full attention. He turned his head in Desdemona's direction and sought to sooth her worries, however some foreign object seemed to be lodged in his throat. His voice box no longer worked for the time being.

In the silence that followed, except for the hysterical rantings of a woman imprisoned in a Cadillac trunk, neighbors came out of their bullet-proof hiding spots and prudently called the po-leece to handle this situation.

Miraculously, unlike many Hollywood movie shootings, no one died even though all five bullets were on target at short range.

Okay, so I've taken some artistic license in the telling, however it's not as dry as reading the police report. Thomas' exploits entertained me for a couple more years before I lost him, but I have to say that his voice was considerably deeper than earlier and his speech more difficult to understand.

Ah, young lovers, what can you say? There's nothing like romance and gunpowder to make for a dramatic event in one's life. Maybe I should have saved this one for Valentine's Day.

6 comments:

Robert Lopresti said...

you know the most interesting people, R.T. For some reason stories about people in trunks always remind me of the movie, Jackie Brown. Great scene in that one...

Eve Fisher said...

So the obvious question is did Desdemona get back together with Thomas, or did she move on to the next great love of her life? And who is she visiting in prison?

R.T. Lawton said...

Rob, Samuel Jackson played a great bad guy in JACKIE BROWN, based on Elmore Leonard's novel RUM PUNCH, if I remember right.

Eve, by the time Thomas and Junior got out of the hospital, Desdemona (not her real name, naturally) had moved on. It's possible that the strain of maintaining these particular relationships was too much for her sensitive nature.

R.T. Lawton said...

Velma, thanks for the tag.

David Dean said...

Love always brings out the best, or is that the beast, in people. Had a great time reading this one, R.T.

Dixon Hill said...

R.T., as usual, your non-fiction is more entertaining than most folk’s fiction. Loved the read.

--Dix