Snug Short Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A day in the life of Ira

Submitted: July 19, 2012

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Submitted: July 19, 2012

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Snug

 

Ira paid no attention to the rusty park bench he sat on. Cigarettes, candy wrappers, and leaves dotted the concrete underneath him. People walked by, taking quick glances toward him and then moving on without a second’s thought. Ira leaned further back into the bench, inhaling the last of his cigarette and flicking the butt into the river in front of him. He exhaled deeply, the smoke sliding through his nostrils and dissipating into the cool air. He was listening to the sound the river made as it hit the rocks. Today was the first day he felt he could be himself. Today he felt free.

 

****

 

A day and a half ago, he didn’t know who he really was, and he didn’t care. Controlling an entire city at the age of nineteen was more enticing than a little self growth to Ira Jones.

The Buick just started to pull out of the drive way when a sinking feeling started to form deep in his stomach. Where he and his new acquaintance, Mr. Jackson, were going, would help him make money for weeks. However something gnawed at the back of his mind. A comment one of Ira’s workers had said right before leaving to meet Mr. Jackson. He glanced to his new acquaintance. Mr. Jackson turned toward him, giving him an unflinchingly blank stare. Ira plastered a huge grin to cover up the sense of dread, then looking back down at his thumbs. The nails were longer than usual and dirt had accumulated underneath them. He mindlessly started to dig it out, not paying attention to where Mr. Jackson’s driver, Steve, was going.

He leaned his head against the seat and tried readjusting his body. He mistakenly slept on his back the night before and now it ached any way he sat.

“Nervous?” It was the first thing Mr. Jackson had said to Ira after getting into the car.

“No, why?” Ira’s glasses slid down the bridge of his nose a little.

“You’ve been fidgety this entire time. Want something to take the edge off?” Mr. Jackson shifted his body weight over in order to grab something out of his pocket.

“Naw, I’m always clean before deals.” Mr. Jackson nodded and leaned back in his seat. He pulled out a pack of Marlboro’s and offered Ira one. He rolled the cigarette between his fingers idly, watching the blurry trees get left behind. Mr. Jackson nudged him. He held a lit Zippo in his hand. Ira inhaled as the fire burned the end, held the smoke in his chest for a second, then breathed out deeply.

“We have a stop to make Ira, ok?” Mr. Jackson didn’t look at Ira when he said this. He just continued to look out his window. “Don’t worry, you’ll get to where you need to be.”

Steve turned off the radio. If it weren’t for that movement, Ira would’ve completely forgotten he was in the car driving. The rusty Lesabre Steve owned was riddled with McDonalds paper bags. Ira leaned back against his seat again, turning his head toward the window. His cracked window let in a tickling breeze. The pewter sky started to turn a dark blue. They’d only been driving for fifteen minutes, but it felt like hours to Ira. His palms were clammy and the blond hairs on the back of his neck were sticking up. He felt like he was about to shiver, every goose bump brushing against his black sweater. He dropped the cigarette through the cracked window and closed his eyes to calm himself.

 

****

 

Earlier that morning, Ira was the only one in the tiny one bedroom house, listening to the rain in his girlfriend’s pink bed. Instead of a comforter, six cats slept on top of him, radiating so much body heat, he was soaked in sweat and cat hair. He swung his feet onto the carpet and walked towards the bathroom. A lone seventh cat walked past, attempting to rub against his leg. His right foot tripped over it, but he caught himself before falling. After catching his balance, he kicked the cat square in the stomach. It sat there dazed for a second, then got up and walked away.

Ira finished going to the bathroom and looked at himself in the mirror.

“Thank God it’s Saturday.” He leaned closer and looked into his pale blue eyes. His blond hair could easily be combed, the stubble that went down his neck and just fell short before his chest hair could be shaved, but the dark purple bags under his eyes he couldn’t hide. He wreaked of alcohol and pot too.

The bags were only less noticeable when he got sleep, but his eyes were a little more sunken in than normal people’s, his nose just a little too big, and his lips almost nonexistent. He had a small chin which he hid under thin facial hair.

He jumped into the tiny shower to wash everything off of him and nearly tripped over a tortoise shell colored cat sitting on the bathroom rug. His glasses were sitting on the counter and he decided to put them on.

Ira walked from the small hallway to the living room. The carpeting was riddled with cat urine stains and smelled like ammonia. The couch was once a dark sapphire color, but cat throw up, urine and cleaning products had muted it. The living room was connected to the kitchen with the front door bisecting them. He unlocked the door and walked into the small kitchen. Three cats were standing around an empty food bowl, meowing loudly. He sharply kicked two out of his way, the third running with them. He filled the food dish, and they all came back and started to gorge themselves.

He grabbed a mug from the cupboard and poured the day old sludge into it. An enormous black and white cat sat sleeping on the island as he stuck the mug into the microwave. He noticed a little piece of paper sticking out from under the cats rolls, so he put a finger onto the paper and shoved the cat off the table. The bowling ball cat landed on its stomach then waddled to the bedroom.

He grabbed the honey and a knife, then read the note.

 

“Hey baby--Don’t get into too much trouble while I’m gone. How’s about cleaning the bathroom today, huh? Love ya!”

 

Ira rolled his eyes and crumbled the note up. Two more cats were playing in the living room with each other and he tossed the scrunched ball to them. The microwave went off. He grabbed the warm mug and cupped it in his hand. Just as he put it to his lips, his girlfriend walked through the door.

“Hey baby,” he said, taking a sip of the coffee.

“You’re drinking that?” Ira grimaced a little at the bitter taste and nodded. “That’s a day old, ya know.” He took another sip, never taking his eyes off her. “Suit yourself.” Her small frame was dressed in a button down shirt and skirt.

“Working in the office today?” Ira ogled her legs as she walked around the island.

“Yeah, no drug busts for this officer today.” She kissed him on his stubbly cheek and spun around to the refrigerator. “I missed you. And you even fed my babies.”

“What time is it?” He didn’t bother looking once at the retro clock hanging behind him. She grabbed a soda from the refrigerator, glided over to the television and collapsed onto the couch before answering him.

“It’s after three, honey.” She turned the television on. “Why is the TV so loud?” He didn’t want to say that she was the one who always turned it up loud. She turned it down a little. He slowly walked towards her, sipping every once in awhile. He stood next to the couch watching her. She was gliding the can along her collar bone and under her thin neck. She had unbuttoned her shirt a little, revealing a cream colored bra and a small amount of cleavage. The angle she was reclining at didn’t flatter her at all, but that didn’t stop Ira from watching intently. Her thin, bony legs were crossed and laying on the arm rest. She didn’t bother moving to let him sit down.

“So work was horrible in this heat today. I didn’t get much of anything done at all.” He watched her slide the can between her small breasts and back up behind her ears.

“Mhm,” was all he could get out. He couldn’t hide his distraction. He took one last gulp from his mug and set it on the coffee table.

“We should invest in an air conditioner, baby.” She slid the can between her breasts again and this time he stopped her from moving upward.

“But then I wouldn’t be able to watch you do this anymore.” He kneeled on the urine stained carpet and deeply kissed her, gently taking the can and moving it up and down between her breasts. She giggled a little, grabbing the can from him. He slid his fingers down her stomach and rested his palm under her skirt on her thigh. She kept her legs crossed.

“Baby, it’s too hot.” He was kissing her neck now.

“Who said anything about that?” He moved his lips up to the back of her ear and glided his tongue along the conch. She moaned a little and relaxed her legs.

“That’s so not fair,” she said. He slinked his left hand further up under her skirt until it rested on her pubic bone. His tongue was gliding along the curves of her jaw line.

 

****

 

Ira and Janie spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch, in the shower, and then finally in the bedroom. Janie’s right thigh was draped loosely over Ira’s. He idly ran his fingers over it, watching her take a long drag on her cigarette. She offered it to Ira. He shook his head. Her chest was moving up and down slowly.

“So, really, how was work?” Ira said lazily.

“Hmm? Oh, it was fine,” she said, dreamily. “There’s a bust in Pound happening soon. I’m kind of excited about that, but I doubt they’d ask me to come. Oh, and I guess some Jim guy might get busted soon. My partner is thinking it’s bigger than just him, though. I’m not so sure. A small town like this, what’s bound to happen, right?”

Ira chuckled a little awkwardly and turned on his side. “Right.” He took a long paused and exhaled deeply. “So that sounds kind of boring. I could always add it to the story I’m writing, though.” Ira nudged Janie’s breast slightly. “Want to hear what my day consisted of?” She rolled onto her side to face him, smiling.

“I know what your day consisted of, Ira. You slept in until two, scratched your balls until three, grabbed a cup of Joe at five past and then I showed up. You’re not that hard to figure out, sweetie.” She kissed him on the nose.

“Yeah,” he paused. “I’m a simple man. I write all day and my baby brings home the bacon.” The cat he tripped over earlier jumped onto the bed. It nuzzled against his foot. Ira sat up and scratched it behind its ear. Janie closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, the lit cigarette still in her hand. He kicked the cat off the bed and grabbed the cigarette, took a long drag, then put it out with his fingers. He got up out of bed quietly and grabbed his cell phone. He had two missed calls.

 

****

 

The Lesabre hit a large pot hole and Ira jumped awake.

“Dude, a little on edge are we?” Mr. Jackson said mockingly. Steve chuckled in the front.

“Naw, I was just resting. Where are we?” Ira looked around outside. The sky was a dark navy color now and all the trees had gave way to old buildings and dirty people. The Lesabre pulled into a small alley way and slowed to a crawl.

“Which parking spot is it?” Mr. Jackson ignored Ira’s question.

“Uh, pretty sure it’s number four.” Steve sounded wary. Ira saw Steve’s eyes dart back and forth from the road to Mr. Jackson.

“Pretty sure? You better god damn be right, Steve.” Mr. Jackson pulled out from under his seat a Smith and Wesson 9mm. He pointed it at Steve. “Are you pretty sure now?”

Steve stopped the car. “Number four. Yep, positive. One hundred percent.” Ira and Steve’s eyes connected for a second. Mr. Jackson squeezed the trigger slightly then dropped the gun.

“Let’s go. And don’t fuck this up for me asshole, this is the biggest score of my fucking life. You, stay here.” He pointed the gun at Ira, motioning him to stay seated. Ira didn’t flinch.

There was a black Lincoln parked in the number four parking spot. Ira could only see two silhouettes, but only one got out of the car. He was holding a briefcase and wearing black sunglasses. He reminded Ira of a bad guy from an 80’s movie. Ira didn’t know what was going on, but the stern look of the new stranger made Ira think this was way more serious than just selling some drugs.

 

****

 

The two phone calls were from a private number. He put on some jeans and walked into the kitchen. He dialed a number and on the first ring it was answered.

“Hey, man, I tried calling you like a hundred times! Where were you?”

“I was fucking Janie and I didn’t have my phone on me. And you only called twice.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. You got the shit?” Ira finger the underside of the island, finding the taped zip lock bag.

“Of course. You think I smoked it all?” Ira stuff the bag down his pants. He could hear laughing on the other end.

“Well, when can I pick it up? Is Janie there?” There was some desperation in his friend’s voice.

“Any time. She’ll be fine. Probably won’t even know you’re here,” he said, smugly. He smiled to himself.

The door to the basement creaked open a little and a brownish meatball looking cat started to waddle toward him.

“Get the fuck back downstairs.” He grabbed the cat by the scruff, open the door wide and tossed the cat down into the blackness. 

“She still have all those damn cats? Man, something is up with that woman. If she’s not careful, they’ll overrun the house.”

Ira sighed deeply. “Dude, I’m just sick of her bringing random cats home. It’s fucking ridiculous. I don’t even like cats!”

“Get out while you still can, man.” Jim chuckled to himself at the rhyme.

Ira grunted.

“So how’s around eight?” Ira looked at the clock. 7.15. He walked over to the refrigerator and opened it, looking for nothing in particular.

“Make it seven thirty. I don’t want Janie to wake up when you’re here.” Jim agreed and said he had to leave. Ira hung up without saying good-bye. He gently closed the refrigerator and started back towards the bedroom.

He quietly walked to the bed and slid up next to Janie, resting a warm hand on her chest. She stirred a little and rolled over to face him. She lazily smiled and kissed him deeply and then noticed the time.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Ira! Why didn’t you tell me it was already quarter after seven!” She jumped up so fast, the two cats sleeping soundly on the bed jumped and ran out of the room. She grabbed some clothes and ran to the bathroom. Ira leaned on an elbow, looking around the room, confused.

“Was there something I was supposed to remember?” he asked, dumbfounded.

“I work at eight!” She bartended a local bar Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Today was Monday. He fell back onto the pillow.

“I’m sorry, baby. I totally forgot!” Shit, he whispered to himself. Janie ran into the bathroom and turned the shower on immediately. Ira got up and walked into the bathroom. “You hear me?” Janie was looking through her cosmetics, her breasts sagging a little and the nipples curving upwards slightly. For being a woman of thirty-five, Ira was always impressed how well she kept her petite figure. Her light brown hair was trimmed in a nice chin length bob. Her seventies like breasts were still perky and she kept everything groomed nicely. Once a week, she’d make Ira paint her toe nails in exchange for a blowjob, and she always made sure to leave the house with at least mascara on.

Janie walked over to the shower and tested the water.  She jumped in and closed the curtain quickly.

“Yeah, I heard you. I should’ve looked at the time better.” Her voice was muffled from the noise of the shower.

“I have a friend coming over in a bit. Real quick. Want anything for dinner?” He was already halfway through the bathroom door.

“Which friend? And yeah, just a sandwich’ll be fine, babe.” She sounded distracted.

“Just a friend. I’ll go make it right now!” And he left the room. The black and white bowling ball was in the bathroom, playing with the shower curtain.

Just as Ira walked out of the bathroom there was a knock at the door.

“God damn fucker is early.” He walked towards the door, nearly tripping over a cat sitting just outside the living room. He flung the door open and Jim jumped a little in surprise.

“Hey man…” Ira grabbed him by the collar and pulled him inside. He shut and locked the door and turned back to Jim.

“Early much?” The clock read 7.20.  Jim shrugged, smiling.

“I was on this side of town?” Ira knew the real reason he came so early. A chance to see Janie, half naked on the bed, dead from all the orgasms earlier in the day would entice any of Ira’s friends to come early.  Ira pushed Jim out of the way and walked into the kitchen.

“Yeah, whatever.” He opened the refrigerator and some bread and meat for his sandwichs. “Where’s my money?”

“Got it right here.” Jim handed him $2500.

“Good, now look. If Janie comes out, your name is Mike. Got it?” Jim looked blankly at Ira. “And you aren’t working this week. Maybe even next.” Ira looked down at his sandwiches. He heard Jim gasp.

“But, Ira, what am I supposed to do? I need money, ya know. You don’t want me eating your food every day.”

“I’d rather have that than you getting busted. Janie said the cops are looking into a Jim guy. And if that means you get caught and rat on me…”

“Hey! I would never do that, man!” Ira could see the whites of his eyes. Ira nodded slowly.

“I know. But you’re fucking Mike for now.” He handed Jim a sandwich. Jim nodded. “So, how are the other guys doing?” Jim perked up a little.

“They’re doing great! Seriously man, the entire town is fucking hooked! You’re like the kingpin of Illinois!” Ira shushed him, smiling.

“Yeah, well, we gotta provide, right?” The shower shut off. Ira  heard footsteps coming toward the living room.

“Seriously baby, you need to work your magic on that shower. I got in and it immediately had cold wa--oh! I didn’t know you had a friend over.” She criss-crossed her legs and held the top of her towel tight.

“This is a friend of mine, Mike.” Jim stuck his hand out and Janie just nodded. Jim’s dirty hair hadn’t seen a shower in about a week. His clothes were muted and moth eaten and he let his eyes trail up and down her body. Janie smiled weakly.

“Hi.” Jim looked around at both Ira and Janie.

“Well, I better get going. But Ira, can I talk to you outside?” Jim pointed his thumbs at the door.

“Yeah, I’ll be right out.” Jim walked slowly out the door not looking back.

“Who was that?” Janie said suspiciously. She walked up next to him and tried looking out the window. Jim was outside smoking a cigarette.

“I told you, he’s just a friend. I graduated with him. Not exactly the best character in the entire world, but I figured I could do a character study of him. What his life is like after high school and whatnot.” Ira wrapped his arms around her wet body.

“Uh huh.” Ira pulled her close to him so she couldn’t look out the window anymore and kissed her on the neck. “Ira, he smelled like pot.” He stopped kissing her.

“All the better for the character study, right?” He kissed her on the lips before she could answer. He could feel her smile and her body relax a little. She kissed back deeper. He started to slide his hand down the towel.

“Hey, now!” She lightly hit his hand and pulled away. Her eyes drifted up to the clock. “I gotta get ready. Thanks for the sandwich, baby.”

 

****

 

“Man, you think Janie could go for a guy like me?” Jim was leaning against his Fiesta looking up at the stars. Ira could smell a fire being burned a few blocks down. It was twilight out, but still visible. He didn’t bother answering his question.

“Remember, you’re Mike. Don’t fuck this up for me, otherwise you’re gone.” Jim nodded.

“Hey, I forgot to tell you. There’s this guy, Mr. Jackson. He knows this guy who’s selling snug for like $3000 for 10,000 kilos. I’ll have him call you tonight. I haven’t met him, but I’ve heard good things about him.” Ira looked down the alley. A stray cat was walking around lazily, hopped onto the porch and through the little cat door Janie made. Ira nodded. He clapped Jim on the shoulder, as if to say “thanks man.” Jim jumped into the Fiesta, and Ira watched as it zoomed away. He turned to go back inside and Janie was looking out from the screen door at him. Her eyes were watery and her frown wrinkled the edges of her mouth. Ira stood out in the alley looking at her from a distance. She looked elegant, standing there motionless. It was the last image they had of each other.

 

****

 

Ira didn’t want to be there anymore. He looked at the car door handle and back at the meeting. Just as he clenched the handle, he heard sirens.

Five squad cars surrounded the Buick and two more came to block each end of the road. They weren’t going anywhere. They all pulled their guns out and pointed them at Mr. Jackson and Steve.

Two cops came up to the Buick and opened the door.

“Get out of the vehicle, sir.” Ira jumped out as fast as he could without getting in anyone’s way. A cop came up from behind and told him to put his hands on the car. A cop patted him down and didn’t find anything, but put handcuffs on him anyway. He walked him to a squad car and pushed him inside. He never saw Mr. Jackson or Steve again.

 

****

 

“I didn’t know there was cocaine in the car, Officer. I was just getting a ride from Mr. Jackson, that’s all. I had no idea what he was really into.”

The cop just looked at Ira, unconvinced.

“Look, I know how this works, okay? You’re not going to intimidate me. I wasn’t a part of any of Mr. Jackson’s doings and you can’t prove it. You have no hard evidence. I was just in the car when it happened. Wrong place, wrong time. End of story.”

The cop looked down at his notes. He set it his pen down and stood up from the table.

“You’re free to go, but we are going to be watching your every move. You so much as sneeze any kind of drug and we’ll get you.”

Ira stood up and walked out of the room, feeling like a weight was lifted from his shoulders. 

He walked out of the station, feeling the warmth of the sun on his face. He left his car there and walked towards a park instead. He sat on a bench and smoked a cigarette. Never in a million years did he think he’d get caught, and today came too close to losing not only his business, but also his freedom. Maybe it’s time for a change.

After he was done, he pulled out his cell phone and called Jim.

“Hey, man. Let’s get away for awhile. Take a break from all of this. Let’s go to Mexico.” 


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