A FEW CASUALTIES SO WHAT

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Chapter 4

Pone wasn’t a vampire by no stretch of the imagination. But day light was his Kryptonite. While

others basked in the sunlight, he shunned it. Darkness was his friend, but it would be a while for the

heavenly shades of night-fall, so as he would make use of the sunlight making his way to the west

side of town.

Wilkerson Boulevard was a grave-yard of failed hole in the wall businesses. Pawn shops, thrift

stores, and health department independent grocery stores. All was not lost though, gentleman clubs,

Burger King, Church’s fried chicken to compete with a newly built Popeye’s fried chicken. Pone

had no intention of clogging his arteries with grease and red meat. On the outskirts of all this was

a hole in the wall auto shop.

The same shop that gave Lucille her body. It was run by a man named Otis Blue. Otis had an MIT

brain when it came to car engines. What Otis liked about Pone was that he never had questions about

his background or how he obtained the things to do what he did. Pone met Otis through Wisdom and

Pone knew of Otis dealing with G’s automobiles.

Pone slowed when he saw Otis auto and body repair. He pulled up in front of the pale white

smudged mid-sized building. Surrounded by a collage of vehicles, from repaired to no hope

whatsoever to eventually only good for parts. Pone zigzagged his way through the labyrinth till he

got the garage door which opened like it knew was coming. Lucille eased inside motor oil gasoline

fumed establishment. Pone was greeted by the owner Otis, a five-foot-eleven pale yellow very slim

man. Loved to smile despite missing teeth that would make a Jock-O-Lantern handsome. Black hair

the color of motor oil slicked to his scalp under a faded blue ball cap. His grease stained tan color

jump-suit that always seemed to be wearing him instead of him wearing it. The man was working on

his third wife, Peggy. She was about his height, burnt tan complexion, had all her teeth. She always

seem to wear long dark dresses that made her look like a nun, but according to Otis, she was

anything but that in bed which made Pone frown. Long black silver stranded hair; she sported

in a tight bun like a librarian that suited her high cheekbone long face with a beak-like nose that

supported her eye-glasses. They were both in their mid-fifties. Peggy didn’t like Pone, she always

sucked her teeth, shook her head, and turn up her nose. She stood in the side door-way then glided

back inside her hole. Pone greeted Otis with a hand-shake and half-hug.

“She really hates me,” said Pone.

Otis flashed a toothless smile. “Naw man, she just doesn’t trust you.”

Pone nodded. “Is everything ready?”

Otis pointed to a tarp near the far end wall. “Who you plan on taking out?”

“I got into a drive by … “

Otis ran over to Lucille. “Is she scratched … dented … window cracked?”

“You are a credit to your profession.”

Otis studied Pone. “Who you gonna kill?”

“You judging me?”

Otis leaned on Lucille. “If you wanna be judged by people who ain’t got no business to judge or

talk about people then go to the laundries.”

“What do you mean?”

“My dryer put me down and for a couple of months, I was among the common folks. Riffraff,

ragamuffin, down-trodden, and damn if I know skid row young and old is what you find at the

laundries. I went in that place casual dress wearing my Nike, cargo shorts, and a loose fitting

white polo shirt.”

Pone nodded. “Okay?”

“ I was sitting at a table watching my clothes dry and reading a book near this couple. They had

a little boy … any-way, the man asked the woman if she had spoken to her dad. Hew whole body

exhaled and she forced out a hadn’t gotten around to it yet, which meant they probably needed some

money.”

Pone shrugged. “Okay?”

“Their clothes dried and they went to another table to fold them. Some bald headed neanderthal

referred to me as a teenager, and the bitch had the nerve to say I know right with her trifling ass man

in agreement. I got my clothes and walked out with a few judging eyes … one guy bald and silver

beard dressed in some brown short jump-suit had his judging eyes on me. After that, I took my

hard earned cash and bought me a dryer.”

“Was Peggy too busy to take care of the laundry?” asked Pone.

Otis sighed. “I’m whipped. Damn I love that woman!”

Pone smiled and shook his head. Despite Otis features, dental work, and dealing with the

public every day, he was human too.

“You worked on a late model white Crown Victoria lately?” asked Pone.

From the east and west side of Retro City, people knew if they wanted their jalopy to run

like a new that Otis was the man for the job. Otis took off his cap and scratched his head. “Yeah.

Some boys with a lot of cash wanted their car souped up … no Pone, no. They just boys.”

“They became men when they tried to take me out.”

“But they didn’t, you can let ’em go.”

“So they can try again and you know they will try to make a name.” Pone shook his head. “Not off

of me.”

“Naw man, “ Otis held up his hands as if he was being robbed. “Young fools who should be in

school, but instead they wanna dash for cash. All that damn rock did was bring back the nineteen

thirties style of livin’. Where’s the zombie apocalypse when you need it?”

“Otis … really?”

“Okay maybe not the zombie shit, but call the blue jeans or somethin’.”

“Cops don’t like me and you know the gangster’s credo.”

“Yeah, no second chances. But they boys. Pone … “

“An eight-year old homeless boy died because of that drive by.”

Otis slid down ending up on Lucille’s bumper. “Guess this is what happens when yo momma

don’t raise you right. You might want to check out the old King and Queen club on Brevard off of

West Trade.”

“Thought that place was boarded up?”

“Makes a nice hide-out for wannabe thugs.”

“You think Lu … “

Otis jumped up like his ass was on fire. “No! I don’t care for his way of livin’, but he

don’t fuck with boys.”

“Relax … take it easy. You got what I need to go stealth?”

Otis motioned toward two small tarps. Pone strode over, lifted the covers and found a couple

of 2008 small black vehicles. A Toyota Yaris and a Crossfire. Pone liked the Crossfire but knew

he needed to go under the radar, so he chose the Yaris.

Pone looked at Lucille. “Leaving her in your care.

“It ain’t the first time.”

“I’ll take the Yaris, but keep the Crossfire for something later.”

11:30 p.m. Pone was getting closer to his destination. In his head, he kept hearing the slow, sad

sound of a Saxophone. To make matters worse, the night was joined by rain. A downpour, the kind

that put a damper on any plans for a good night out on the town. Pone wasn’t out for a good time and

he plan to put a damper on somebody’s good time; he had retribution on his mind. The atmosphere was

to his liking; he was decked out in black from his water proof bowler hat to his Doc Martens. Sally

kept him company in the front seat and a couple of gas cans in the back seat given to him by Otis

reluctantly. So much for got your back Jack.

The rain kept coming down fast, hard, and furious and so would tears from the women who

spawned the demons. Before he reached his terminus ad quem. Pone was surprised how he

enjoyed the Yaris. He so used to sitting up high like a king on his throne when he drove Lucille.

Compact, easy to turn, good on gas, and the look of boring to keep a low profile. He couldn’t help

thinking about the Crossfire. And would eventually add the little roadster to his family, but that

would have to wait. He was approaching Brevard. 100 West Brevard to be exact. Things on the

west side were nothing like its cousin the east. The north and south of Retro were basically

immaculate, and the east was pretty close. The west wasn’t the ghetto, the projects or the slums,

but it was the black side of town with a sprinkle of Hispanics and whites that some considered

trash.

Once Pone got on Brevard, he moved at a snail’s pace studying the abandoned building until he

spotted what was not spectacular, but respectable when it was opened for business, the now defunct

King and Queen club. It was across from the forsaken transit. A new transit was built on the south

side because if too much youth gang activity. The funny thing was that the Greyhound station was

still located on the West Trade. Pone decided to give memory lane a rest and concentrate on the task

at hand. He dimmed the lights and used what little streetlight to continue his journey. Despite the

downpour, he heard loud gangster rap booming profanity and disrespectful lyrics about women.

He shook his head, the days of Run DMC, Sugar Hill Gang, Curtis Blow, and Grand Master Flash

were definitely ancient. The rain was not letting up; Pone eased the Yaris into the old transit. He

realized that the rain was his ally since he saw no sentry. He figured that the youths argued who

would stand guard out int deluge and guessed they all rebutted. Pone realized that the dim light

and music were probably powered by a portable generator within the ruin.

Pone got out of the Yaris with Sally in hand and made his way to the door of the hideout. The

music came from the back of the club. A simple nudge and the door opened. The mistakes of youth

thinking they will be young and live forever. Certainly not true for those living the gangster life.

The door was eased back shut, the club was small, but enough space for two restrooms and an

office on the side walls where the gangsters were having a get-together. Under a small door was

light and laughter joined by giggling females. Pone made his way around a few round tables and

a small rectangle bar. Pone stood up to the door. Bottles were clanking, giggles, and the names of

Ray-Ray, and Pookie from a couple of female voices.

Pone took a deep breath. He already detached Sally’s butt so that he could get a good grip on her.

The sound of the sax was gone. Only the rain on the rooftop was in his ears. He studied the door; it

opened inward. The generator tube kept the door slightly cracked; a lowered shoulder force opened

the door, and a little breeze blew white powder off a coffee table. All eight froze when they saw the

Grim Reaper enter their little club-house. Pone scanned the office. All looked between eighteen and

twenty-four, and had high metabolism bodies to eat anything and not gain a pound. In front of the

small square beige desk was an even smaller round sunburn table to support a cocaine habit.

On a footstool sat a bandaged thigh young thug with a look of being spaced out. The wound needed

more attention, but because of their lifestyle, they were smart enough not to go to the hospital since

gun injuries had to be reported. He had his hoochie on her knees looking as confused as he did.

Behind the desk, was a guy who looked like the leader with his girl straddled on his lap. On the right

side of the desk was enough room for two small khaki colored chairs supporting the other two thugs

and their honeys resting on their privates. Pone realized that the bandaged leg was the driver he shot

trying to use the coke to ease the pain. He had a white tank T-shirt, baggy jeans hanging on his knees

exposing polka dot boxers. He was bald and sported a gold tooth. His petite shorty had a cheap yarn

looking weave, big ass lips, the body of a first grader, and bug eyes wide with fear. The gal behind

the desk was pretty and developed.

Hair cut short with one bang hanging over her left eye. Her man looked as if he was about to use

her as a shield. He wore a red hoodie. The two gangsters on the right had red and black T-shirts,

baggy black jeans, and white sneakers. Close cut hair-cut for one and the other a tall rectangle high

top fade. Their girls were twin sisters wearing red and blue body-hugging dresses showing off their

youthful curves. Stiletto pumps, and shoulder length weaves. All the gals wore cloth that left nothing

to the imagination. Parents should have been shot for letting them sneak out in such attire. The twins

were pulling down their dresses as if they had something to hide. Pone was glad they stopped pulling

in fear they’d pull the dresses off revealing their assets. The guns were all Glocks and on the desk.

Hoodie had the best chance to reach them, but he’d have to toss his girl off his lap.

“If you bitches want to live then you better get your asses out of here!” said Pone.

There was an emergency exit door on the left wall. The girls wanted to live. One of the twins

slipped. Pone heard the other say, “(you betta get you ass up cuz that fool means business.)”

Pone thought a fool he maybe, but not foolish like these fools who were about to meet their

maker. Coming after a seasoned pro and killing a child in the process.

“As for you sons of bitches … say your prayers,” said Pone.

Sally began to sing. Coke head got it first as Mellon exploded. Thanks to the cocaine, he probably

didn’t feel a thing. Hoodie got it next rising up behind the desk and making a play for his gun. His

body jerked like a puppet with incontinent strings. He went down with a thud. Baldy made his move

toward the guns and Sally slammed him against the wall. He slid down it leaving a crimson smear. The

last gangster wannabe was glued to the wall frozen with fear. He looked like the youngest of the

foursome. Mouth opened revealing buck-teeth, eyes welling up, he shook his head as if to say please

don’t. Unfortunately, there was a rule in the killing profession, take no prisoner. You let any-one live

and like a ghost they could come back to haunt you. Pone adjusted Sally for a single head shot.

Bucky slumped to the floor. Sally’s mouth was smoking hot and after her performance, there were no

standing ovations.

Pone emptied the gas cans and he found a lighter on the desk near the guns. He flicked the

lighter and stood in the doorway looking at the bodies. He tossed the lighter and made it back to the

Yaris. The building rumbled when the generator exploded. Pone looked around, he was alone in

the violent rain. It would be a while before the authorities would arrive as violence on the west

side was almost an after thought. Pone conscience came into play, he had allowed a man a second

chance, but so far it didn’t come back to haunt him and that was because an innocent life connected

to his adversary became a casualty and the man was sobbing over him. Pone felt that was enough pain

for one night and let the man live..

This night would be different than any other because it was the first time he took lives so young

and he didn’t like it, but there was a price to pay living gangsters’ lives and it cost them.

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