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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Nico finds himself on a mission. His job is to return the valuables of his employer, at any cost. Hopefully not his life.

Submitted: April 06, 2016

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Submitted: April 06, 2016

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  Deuce-I was there in ’98. Let’s not get it confused, it was the original Stugaards. It wasn’t Jerry Towne’s Detention Hall yet.

 Chickie-Dudes were hanging up.

Deuce-Yo, I was there, Yo I was there, true story. There was this Chinese kid from Huntington Park. He was mad quiet, his name was Hip. One day he was just sitting there in his bed and got hit with a piece of shit.

Nico-You know you’ve been locked up for some time if you’re telling stories like that...

Deuce-‘Some AP motha-fuckuhs were wildin’ over in the cover. That’s when I knew it was for real. They did Hip dirty.

Chickie- Cheap. Armenian Pride, lame fucks…

Deuce- Lame or not, I knew it was for real when that happened.

Nico- I only stayed there for a few hours before they transferred me to San Hermosa. It was Jerry Towne’s by then.

Chickie- I heard juvies at Hermosa were getting tooth brushes forced into their asses.

Nico- I wouldn’t know, Chickie… I’ll leave that one up to you…

Southern California. The night air is cool and crisp as it always seems to be in March. Three men are sitting in a booth at Francesco’s; a diner somewhere in the San Gabriel Valley. The sun is setting, and the men are eating and drinking before their work begins. The owner of the diner, three waitresses, two men at the bar, and a junior high kid in a booth are the only other people in the diner. Nico looks out the window and into the parking lot, waiting for something, someone. Deuce sits quietly, twiddling a steel lighter in his fingers. Chickie sits back with his right arm extended on top of the low booth backboard, he's chewing on one end of a straw. Nico did not order a meal as the other two have. They sit, waiting. The owner of the Diner approaches the men in the booth.

Chickie- Francesco, why’s it so dead on a Friday night?

Francesco- Because of Good Friday maybe.

Chickie-‘You a Catholic, Francesco?

Francesco- Yes, Chickie.

Chickie- Then why are you open today and Sunday too.

Francesco- The Pope doesn’t pay my bills, Chickie. And neither do you!

Deuce sniggers and chuckles at Chickie.

Deuce- Stop breakin’ his balls, Chickie. Besides, I like this place much more when it ain’t so loud and crowded.

Francesco- Well I do not.

Nico- You both need to cool it. Leave the guy alone and bear down. I’m not going to miss pay day over some stupid shit about Good Friday and the Easter Bunny.

Francesco- Nico, why you not eat? You don’t like my food?

Nico- No, Franco.

Francesco-Are you feeling sick...

Nico- No, Franco… I’m just waiting that’s all. I've lost my appetite.

Francesco- You got lots of time until whatever it is you are waiting for.

Nico- Thanks, Franco, but I won't have any tonight.

Francesco exhales and gives up on the young man.

Francesco- Suit yourself. What about you two animals? What else?

Chickie- Yea, let me have your daughters hand in marriage. Or actually, her hand will do just fine!

Francesco’s walking away, mumbling something as he heads toward the kitchen.

Francesco- Bastardo…

Nico- You should avoid saying shit like that.

Chickie- That old man’s just cranky, he can’t take a joke.

Deuce- These guys we're waiting on, what do they look like, Nico?

Nico- Damien didn’t say much about that. He just kept talking about a streak of silver on one of their heads.

Deuce- Silver?...

Nico- Hair dye.

Chickie- What’s that shit about?

Nico- It’s nothing new.

Deuce- Oh what, you forget this guy’s homophobic.

Chickie- That don’t mean I’m a homophobe.

Deuce- Get the fuck outta here...Damn, how long have we been here for?

Nico- I don’t know why I brought you, Chickie.

Deuce-Cool out.

Chickie- What’s wrong, Capo?

Deuce-Yo dude, chill.

Nico- Nothing. Francesco walks back over to the booth and taps on Nico’s shoulder.

Francesco- Mr. Capriccio would like to speak to you on the phone, Nico.

Nico- Anything about it?

Francesco- No, he just told me to get you, and that’s all.

Nico- Alright, thanks, Franco.

Nico stands up out of the booth and makes his way toward the cashier’s desk in the front of the diner. Deuce and Chickie watch Nico walk away, and then resume drinking and eating. Nico picks up the black telephone and raises it to his ear.

Nico- Yea.

?-Our tail spotted them leaving the club. We think they saw our guy, so he pulled off of them. But, they should be getting there soon. Keep your eyes open. Don’t even think about coming back to the loungea without that envelope.

Nico- Alright. He hangs up the phone and stares at it for a few seconds. Nico makes his way back to the booth.

Deuce- Was that Damien himself?

Nico- Yea.

Chickie- I want a milkshake, man.

Suddenly, a black 4 door sedan pulls into the lot, it turns off its lights before it parks. Nico keeps his eyes peeled, looking for the signs that could give these dudes up. The parking lot is small and not well lit, so Nico cannot get a good look at the men that step out of the car. Nico counts 4. The 4 figures walk toward the entrance. The bell tied above the door rings as it opens, and four young looking men step in. They’re loud. Two of them are wearing snap backs, and one has his hair slicked back. The other has no hair. They’re nicely dressed youngsters: Brand new Nikes, Leather Varsity Jackets, and high end Drop-Crotch pants. Deuce, Nico, and Chickie look onto them as they do not wait to be seated, taking a booth near Nico and the others.

Deuce- What do you think?

Chickie- Nah, no fuckin’ way. They’re kids. They couldn’t have done it without sponsors.

Deuce- They’re getting smarter. Look at the gear they use, and how fast they can use it. My kid sister’s boy is 4 and is a master with the fuckin’ tablets.

Nico- Cool it. Keep talking, but not about this stuff. Don’t bring up younger and older, then and now. They’ll know we’re talking shit.

Chickie- Them?

Nico-I’ve got a good feeling about it.

Deuce- Well it’s about fuckin’ time.

The four young men order cokes, waters, and fries. They begin talking about the action back at the club they'd just come from. Deuce raises himself, as a lion would if he’d just spotted gazelles. He's staring at the boys with caution, as if he doesn't want them to know he’s there. Chickie looks behind himself, glancing for a few seconds each time. He has these eyes...these prying eyes. He counts them with his eyes. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. The four boys get louder, laughing in unison so loudly that the entire restaurant stops to see what the big deal is. They don’t apologize. Irritated, the two men at the bar get up and leave. The young men continue with themselves. Deuce and Chickie, they look away and exhale, annoyed. Nico sits there, quite, un-phased, his eyes to the parking lot. He’d seen one walk with a very peculiar stride. It's one he’s come to recognize easily. The kid's got a burner on him. He doesn’t look at them for long, because there is no need to. He’s already counted how many have entered. He’s noticed the hats, and how come one of them decides to keep it on. Nico takes a swig of his water, and plays it cool. Looking around.

Chickie- Do we just go up and take it?

Deuce- Yo, how do we even know it’s those dudes Damien is talking about?

Nico- Take that hat off… (Nico says to himself, very quietly. (He looks at the younger man with his snap back still on his head).

Chickie- What’s that?

Deuce- He ain’t talking to you.

Nico- C’mon, take off that goddamn hat…

Chickie-Huh? Look, let’s go talk to them and see what they know. See if those are our boys.

Deuce- Fuck it. It’s just one extra guy anyways. I guess we could handle this handicap. Nico?

Nico- Chill out… You two just wait until I say.

Chickie- Wait? We’ve been waiting! (He says, discreetly, but with force. They’re here, let’s take what we need and jam out. Some people have places to be later.

Deuce- Cool out man. Nico knows what’s up.

Chickie- Oh really? (Nico looks toward Chickie). He’s been here as long as we have. What’s he seen that we haven’t seen? I was told four guys, that’s four, right over there.

Nico-Who said anything about there being four?

Chickie-Huh?

Nico-Damien never mentioned anything about how many there'd be...

Chickie-Sure he did, Capo. Maybe you just missed it. Deuce couldn't say anything, he wasn't at the breifing with Chickie, Nico, and Damien.

Nico- Huh... Maybe I did...

Nico looks at Chickie suspiciously. Then he looks out the window again.

Deuce- Regardless, Chickie, those could be different dudes over there.

As Chickie continues to grow impatient, and Deuce eats, the youth with the snap back takes it off to slick his hair back. Silver streak. Nico’s seen it, in the refelction of the glass window and that’s what he's been waiting for. These are the guys.

Nico- That’s them.

Chickie- I told you.

Deuce- Alright. Nico?

Nico stays quite, thinking of what to do next. If he approaches the younger men suspiciously, they’ll react, and God only knows how. Chickie’s got too much pride and too many reasons to defend it. And in this case, it plays as a disadvantage for Nico. However, Nico’s got an angle, and perhaps it’s the only choice he’s got. Because of Chickie. Nico’s frustration builds the longer he sits with Chickie. Until this morning, Nico had no idea that Damien would send Chickie on this mission. Nevertheless. Nico’s seen their car. He takes a swig of the water and gets himself out of the booth. He starts walking toward the younger men’s booth. He starts.

“Who’s car is that out there?” Nico says, pointing out the window to the car. The young men look around at each other. They seem confused, and somewhat annoyed already. The one with the cap on answers,

What’s that have to do with you?” This is the boy with the streak.

“Oh, I was a little rude, wasn’t I? Is it for sale?”

“No… Why would you think that?”

“Because I want it.”

The table looks around at one another, then back at Nico.

“But it’s mine?” The boy says.

“I’ll pay you for it.”

“Do you even know who much it is?”

“I’d pay you $25,000 for it. Right now… Out in the parking lot is an ’85 Mercedes 500SEL. My boss collects cars. He really enjoys them. His birthday is coming up you see, and nothing would cheer him up more than a new car for his collection!”

“Are you saying that that’s how much is on you? $25,000? A man that can afford to give his employees $25,000, could afford to come about these means in a much different, and efficient way.” He says, and then looks around the table.

“It’s a surprise for him. He can’t always buy his own presents.”

“But, he is…”

“I see your point. But, I’ve earned this money, regardless of whosever pocket it’s come from. And so, I’m choosing how to spend this money I’ve rightfully acquired, as selfish as it may seem to some people."

“Huh,” The boy seems somewhat more naive now. “Well, if you put it that way, then maybe.” At this point, Nico knows that these are the larcenists. The car is twice the amount Nico’s just offered, and it doesn’t seem to show that these boys know that. Besides, it’s not their car, so what do they have to lose?

“Well then, let’s get down to it.”

“Woah, I didn’t agree to anything yet.”

“I didn’t either...”

“$30,000.”

“Well, the funny thing is…$25,000 is all I have.” The boy laughs, his friends follow shortly after, and he tears up a little bit over how funny he finds Nico to be. Nico smirks at the boy, somewhat confused. Deuce and Chickie grow restless and seem cool on the exterior, but Nico can only imagine how agitated and frustrated they are.

The boy wraps up his laughing spree, and he contains himself. He begins.

“Listen. When I was a kid, and there was no more mlik, my dad would send me out to get it. He used to tell me to get $5 from the little money box we had above the fridge. Emergency currency for groceries and stuff. Milk was a little over 4 dollars. But, whenever I left the house for the market, I would always take an extra $5 dollars. Just in case…Just in case I needed it…Maybe for something I really wanted…”

“$30,000 just to talk to you, huh?”

“That’s right.”

“Then there’s nothing left to talk about,” Nico says, and he signals for Deuce to come over, and he does. Chickie stays in the booth, looking over his shoulder. “I never did get your name?”

“Ivan.”

“Ah, good. I'm, Nico.”

“And this is?”

“This is Deuce. Deuce is my suitcase.”

“Talk about security.”

“Yes,” Nico smiles, and he directs Deuce to open his jacket, reach into his jacket pocket and pull out three small stacks of hundreds, each one held together with tape marked $10,000.

“Those look real enough...."

“As real as that car out there. So, can I look over the car before we make this official?”

“I guess it wouldn’t hurt,” The boy said with a grin on his face. Chickie stands up and heads outside before anyone else.

 The six men make their way outside. The sun is completely gone now, and only a thick sheet of purple sky floats overhead.

“Pop the hood!” Chickie demands.

“Another suitcase?” The boy says to Nico.

“The locks on this one are broken,” Nico answers,

“Chickie, let me take a look ok?” Nico orders, the boy smirks at Chickie. Chickie stands to the side, growing impatient with the boy, and with Nico.

“This is very nice…Very nice,” Nico’s enthusiasm rubs off on the boy.

“I’m glad you think so. You’re practically robbing me for only $30,000.”

“Practically!” Nico smiles. “Yes, very nice engine… And how did you come by it? Was it your dad’s?” Nico asks, and the boy hesitates to answer. He’s surprised by this question. ‘What does that matter?’ is the expression he wears on his face.

“Yea,”

“Family heirloom?” Nico interrupts the boy.

“No, not really,” The boy struggles for words, “He helped me find it I mean.”

“Find it?”

“Yea, at the dealership we went to,” The boy says. The boy thinks he’s recovered from almost being caught. However, in reality, there’s nothing to recover from.

“Oh, a used car dealer?”

“Yeah, but the mileage is great considering how old it is. Plus, I’ve made mods to it myself, so the value's risen.”

“Yes, that’s true. Anybody could spot out the terrific work you’ve put into this thing.”

“Yea!” The boy says, and Nico catches a slight sense of uncertainty in the boy’s voice. Nico crosses his arms and studies the inside of the hood from a distance. He places a hand over his mouth and rubs his lips slightly.

“You don’t come across cars like these too often, Deuce.”

“Nope, not too often,” Deuce answers.

“What about you, Chickie?” Nico asks.

“I might have,” Chickie answers, tired of waiting and playing games.

“Hm… Come to think of it, maybe I have too,” Nico says.

“Oh yea? Where?” The boy asks, he’s now more defensive than ever before.

“It wasn’t too long ago actually…Yea.”

“Same model?”

“Same model…Hm, where…” A sense of awkwardness fills the atmosphere. “The Portsmouth! Yea, I use to see this car parked outside the lounge every Tuesday night!” Nico says, the four boys turn their eyes to each other and stay quiet.

“That’s strange…”

“Why is that?” Nico asks.

“Because I’ve never heard of that place,” The boy answers.

“I would have to disagree.”

“Why?...”

“Because this isn’t your car,” Nico’s voice is now stern and less friendly than before.

“What? This is my car!” The boy argues.

“No it isn’t.”

“You’ve got a lot of fucking nerve baiting me like that. The deal is off!”

“There was no deal to ever begin with…” The boy looks strangely at Nico. "I’m not a random dude…I’m here to take the car back from where you stole it.”

“You’re lying.”

“Open the door, then open the glove compartment. Inside, you’ll find a manila folder at the bottom of whatever’s on top of it. Open it and you’ll find book keepings from The Portsmouth. The boy does so as directed, but, hesitates with each movement that follows the next. He locates the folder from inside the glove compartment and steps out of the car. 2 of the boy’s friends take a step back and draw their hands closer to their hips.

“Don’t!” Nico tells the other boys. “Don’t reach for those. Deuce and Chickie both have those too, they’re quick! I wouldn't want a shootout in the parking lot!” The boy signals them to stand down.

“Ok, we’re almost done,” Nico says, “Open it, kid.” The boy opens the envelope and reaches into it. He pulls out papers with formulas, accounts, and earnings written all over them. The Portsmouth insignia is in the top left corner of the paper. The boy is in disbelief, critically stunned. Not because he is caught, but because he is uncertain of his future; uncertain of what is to become of the caught thief.

“And now what?” The boy says.

“Now we fucking do all of you in.” Chickie answers.

“Chickie…”

“The boss wouldn’t want a revenge plot to come after letting them go, Nico.”

“Chickie, nobody asked you to work as a diplomat,” Deuce says, “That ain’t yo' job.”

Infuriated, Chickie pulls out his pistol and rests it to the side of his leg. He sways left to right, looking at all four of the boys in a very threatening way. The boys move back and place their hands on their hips, ready to pull out their burners.

“Cool out, Chickie. Look, Kid, just give it up, give it up. You’ve got nothing to lose here except air. Wait for a taxi or start walking, it doesn't matter. Live to tell this story, huh?”

“This is bullshit, Nico! We don’t need more enemies,” Chickie tells him.

“Dude, he needs to chill the fuck out, alright. We’ll go, we’ll go,” The boy pleads.

“Drop the money, the keys, and start walking,” Nico says. The boy does so and tells his friends to start walking out of the scene.

“Are you fucking serious!?” This is Chickie.

“Deuce, get the gear and put it in the other car,” Nico says, “Follow me back to the lounge, then wait in the car until I say.”

“Alright.”

“Nah, they aint gonna just go like that. Not that easy. Our crew ain’t one for bitches,” Chickie announces, he raises his pistol, and with his left hand aids his right and aims at the boy's back. He fires.

“No!” Nico yells. Chickie hits the boy, and before the other three could turn around fully, Chickie lets out 7 more rounds, landing where it counts. The boys lay there, lifeless. Nico, turns to Chickie, “We didn’t have to waste them.”

“Yea we did,” Chickie says. “Stop being a pussy, we got what we need. Mission accomplished." Nico stands there, almost sickened to his knees by what Chickie has done. Nico must continue, the mission is not over.

“Take their guns and put them in the trunk, Chickie. Deuce, head out in this car instead. Stay directly on the speed limit from here until the lounge.”

“Alright.” Chickie and Nico walk toward the car that brought them to the diner.

“I’ll start the car and open the trunk for you,” Nico tells Chickie.

“I’ll just take ‘em up front and put ‘em in the back seat.”

“And let the cops see them if i get pulled over? No chance. In the trunk.” Nico opens the door and pops the trunk open. Chickie tosses the pistols into the trunk and closes it He then goes to the passenger side, opens the door and sits down. Deuce is already gone. Nico looks at the boy's lifeless, faced down body. A qucik shower of guilt washes over him. Then he moves on.

“Alright, done, now let’s get the fuck out of here.” Chickie gets into the car, and Nico hears Chickie say, and he pops open the gas cover from inside.

“Wait, Chickie…the gas cover is open.”

“Go close it!” This is Chickie.

“C’mon, Chickie, I’ve already clicked in and started the car.” Chickie opens the door and steps out. He makes his way around the front of the car. Suddenly, Nico puts the car into drive and presses his foot on the gas pedal. Chickie is very quickly swept under then car. Thud, thud, thud, thud. Nico reverses on top of Chickie, and then goes forward for good measure. Nico does not look into the rear view mirror as he drives out of the parking lot and onto the street. He does not look back.


© Copyright 2017 C. Avina. All rights reserved.

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