New Stories for September 18, 2017
“Does it help?” I don’t mean to have the sarcastic tone in my voice but given the situation, I can’t help it. She looks up at me like I’m an idiot, as if this whole thing is my fault or something.
“Of course it helps. You should try it some time.” I decide not to continue the topic. Prayer to me has always seemed like something for people who never outgrew having imaginary friends. And in the two-year history of our relationship, I’ve tried to ignore Lisa’s religious proclivities.
“You think the cops are here yet?” I ask. She doesn’t answer. We’ve probably been in here for twenty minutes now, but it feels like it’s been an hour. It’s getting seriously cold. Walk-in freezers are not meant for human habitation, but the guy with the gun who put us in here didn’t seem to care. If I don’t do something, we are going to die in here.
Hit absolute rock bottom. Sell your guitar and move back in with your parents. Send out resumes. Admit that a studio art degree was an unwise choice in this economy and allow yourself to be humbled by the experience of losing it all and starting over. Send out a few more resumes, but you can stop personalizing them for each job, because you know they’re just going into the junk folder. See how long you can coast on paying your debts, do elaborate budgeting on the back of a past-due envelope and realize that you’re screwed.
Saturday, August 16th, 1952 — 12:45 a.m.
The room sweltered like a sauna. My temples ached and my throat was bone dry, but I wasn’t about to walk out of there, not until I got what I needed. After four hours of listening to this punk shuck and jive I’d had enough. I leaned across the table and spoke low.
“It’s over, Sol. We collared your crew tonight and every one of those bums just rolled over on you. Why don’t just you just come clean?”
“Come clean with what?” he shot back. “I already told you what happened, heavy. I called the orders in and I showed up at Schoenfeld’s with the truck, right? And I told my guys to load up the sofas.”
Solomon Offerman was a real piece of work. He was a drifter who’d run just about every scam you could think of since he was a teenager. How this goof wound up in Tacoma I’ll never know. Maybe he thought he’d have better luck flying under the radar if he set up shop outside a big city. He was only twenty-five when I busted him, but he looked like he was pushing fifty. I don’t know if he was originally from Brooklyn or if he just used that damn accent to try and sound like a gangster. Either way, it didn’t matter. Everything about the guy was a ruse, right down to the permanent smirk on his chipmunk face.
“Then what?” I pressed.
Twenty-year-old Shark Santoyo was thinking he might have to kill someone for a couch.
I was a single mom, six months pregnant
when thieves stole my station wagon.
The rusted, sky-blue vehicle cost
four hundred dollars, and
its back seat and floors
were covered three inches deep
with plastic thrift-store toys.