The Other (Her) Half

Reads: 250  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Dangerous

It is Friday morning, early enough that the sun has yet to crack its muted, pastel roar over the eastern flank of the San Bernardino Mountains. After choking down a lab-engineered combination of breakfast foods; fried potato puree, biscuit sandwich of egg, velveeta and rubbery, greasy sausage, and coffee spiked with Sambuco and cream (just to knock the edge off the burnt and bitter beans), Jacob reclines in his compact car, listening to his stomach protest the unwarranted fast-food addition and the talk-radio host protesting, with what seems like an excess of verbal venom, every policy of the current presidential regime. Lighting up a Camel cigarette with jittery and nicotine-stained hands, already his third of the morning, Jacob hits redial and once again hears that damn voicemail message recorded by an obviously husky black man named 'Floyd G', even though he is 90% sure he has the right number for MaryAnne. In numerous conversations the day before, Jacob and Maryanne, in addition to finalizing the sordid details of 'The Plan', had most definitely agreed to set out at 6:30am; late enough not to look too eager, though still early enough to avoid the post-Christmas crowds. With the time now nearing 7, he hastily fires up his tiny engine and tears out of the parking lot, a broken stream of muttered invectives mixing with car exhaust in his wake. There's a fine line between impatience and punctuality, and Jacob brooks no worry towards the former as he heads towards Maryanne's home. Neglected and abandoned, this section of town exists somewhat off the grid. Recent County bankruptcy, in tandem with a string of corrupt city officials, has resulted in an infrastructure nearer Tijuana than the good ol' States. Dangerously tilting power lines and burned out storefronts, along with a near complete absence of law enforcement and public transport has left these city-dwellers to fend for themselves. Jacob carefully navigates the godforsaken roadways en route, following the unposted speed-limit of 15mph, knowing any faster would all but guarantee certain automobile damage from the countless number of potholes and deep fissures, up to one's knee in some cases. This area, 'Warzone', got its name from the crumbling streets; potholes resembling bomb craters spreading throughout its informal bounds, joining one another like droplets of liquid mercury into vast pits, capable of swallowing motorcycles and certain makes of compact cars. Scraping his fender on the driveway, Jacob eked his tiny car through the alley back to the one-bedroom hovel Maryanne called home. He could see her locking up her door as he parked, thankfully sparing him any contact with her one-eyed man, Shadow, the only Paisa Jacob knew who didn't have a solid connection to the other side. An extremely jealous man, Shadow would, or could, not accept that Jacob wasn't secretly in love with his lady. No matter how many times he professed his disinterest, even switching from his native tongue to explain, Jacob could never seem to completely convince this man, this hispanic cyclops, that 250lb mujeras with mustaches and major drug problems did not wet his whistle, didn't even forecast a 10% chance for rain. \"I know, I know, yo se,\" the women in question stammered as she flopped her wide body into the car, \"Mi hija was....\" \"Just save it, it's ok,\" Jacob replied, \"Let's just get this done, I have a date with a straight girl tonight and can't look all jacked up. You have all the receipts?\" \"Por supuesto, puta. What you think I am, stupid?\" Temporarily irritated, Maryanne started to light up a cigarette though quickly put it away, remembering Jacob's smoking policy for passengers. One burnhole, a single tiny hole nearly under the backseat on the mat had ruined the privilege for everyone. And though she had maybe 100lbs and 10 years more experience in street-fights, Jacob was a wildcard who had a reputation for getting even; not hardly worth the strife over a smoke. \"So what's up with this girl then?\", Maryanne ventured, knowing that Jacob was already probably getting nervous, especially if the melias were coming on. \"Just some chick I saw on the internet, looks pretty cool, kinda hot. Sucks that I have to lie in my first impression, but you know how it is...\" Maryanne nodded in agreement, a faint sigh escaping from her lips. Such is the way with all users of hard drugs; making introductions, meeting new people generally falls short of expectation. While potential dates couldn't exactly finger what troubled them about Jacob, he knew he always left an odd taste in their mouths. Only the most naive and sheltered of women, usually age the predominant factor as well, would even commit to anything past that first meeting. More than anything else, his recent failures with the opposite sex provided much of the angel's voice on his right shoulder, but she was still so meek. And that devil perched on his left? Well, that motherfucker weighed like 300lbs, spoke in a voice backed up by impossibly raw, seething sinew, and balanced on gnarled twisted hooves that dug into Jacob's skin. Certainly far from hopeless, Jacob knew he possessed every weapon in his arsenal, every last forged bit of steel, that'd defeat his awful foe and restore all the power to his little angel. Such thoughts formed the majority of Jacob's dreams, but at the moment he was piloting his vehicle southbound on the interstate, approaching a destination wherein he'd test his moral fiber and most likely lose, carry out an act that'd make his mother cry and with someone he could never imagine introducing. As they neared the offramp, an additional chemical entered their bloodstreams, and though this compound was completely cost-free, its potential effects couldn't hold a candle to any street stuff. \"Ok, so I'll be waiting in the car, just text me when you're about to leave and I'll have the back opened.\" \"I know, I know, and you best not leave me hangin' or I'll get the whole west-side out looking for you...,\" Maryanne halfway joked. While certainly a threat that didn't entirely lack any teeth, they both knew it would never come to pass. Jacob needed this to happen, as did she; there wasn't time to even consider failure as an option. He entered the sprawling lot, doing his best to be discreet; keeping his impatience under wraps even when tested by an older couple doing their darndest to force in notions of second thoughts. \"Where'd these people learn to...\" \"Cayate, man. Just chill. Everything's gonna be cool,\" offered Maryanne, growing more concerned about Jacob's resolve by the second. \"Besides, I'm doing all the hard shit, you ain't even breaking the law really...\" \"We wouldn't even be here without my receipts or my car, so just get out right up here and be quick.\" Pulling up near the entrance, Maryanne disembarked in a hurry, leaving the car springs to settle roughly 6 inches higher in a slight jolt that almost made Jacob flinch. He nervously trolled through the lot, exiting onto a feeder road leading north; as a distraction from concern, driving would suffice in a pinch. Estimating it would take no more than 10 and no less than 5 minutes for Maryanne to collect the items, he made a series of right turns through the neighboring subdivision, careful not to stray too far from the exit doors. Another pronounced vibration, followed this time by an honest-to-god flinch, thrust Jacob's heart into his throat. After blinking away the false threat, he realized it was only Maryanne, texting him in her favorite language, \"Come get me, bitch.\" Half the battle under way, Jacob reentered the parking lot, his sunglasses concealing the startled look of guilt and shame seemingly permanently now etched on his face. Struggling hard to stay cool, he leaves the ignition on and joins Maryanne at his hatch, loading the stack of rather innocuous looking merchandise while stealing glances at the doors. With a hasty entreaty to 'vamanos', he slams shut the door and the two set off for an address on the northern side of town. Neither manages a word until it's clear they've not been followed. \"What I tell you? Piece of cake,\" intones Maryanne, breaking the silence with a bit of bravado, a little more swagger in her timbre now that the danger is past. It was true, the truly difficult part already done. All that remained now was a short drive on the interstate, a retracing of earlier steps, back where they'd begun.


Submitted: November 17, 2014

© Copyright 2021 jacobschase. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:


Facebook Comments

More Literary Fiction Short Stories

Other Content by jacobschase

Short Story / Literary Fiction

Short Story / Literary Fiction

Short Story / Literary Fiction