Barry puts implements into his locker—forever grateful a long day finally closed. Like any job, his certainly has its crazy moments. A crabby and rich widow decided to give him grief, because she thought the world should come to her on a silver platter, administration sent down their latest board inspired politics, and a co-worker annoyed his intelligence by mentioning a cute boyfriend that couldn’t keep it in his pants.
Barry suddenly recalls reading a short article about a woman’s lawyer assigning fault in an incident and claim of default involving bringing down an end display—in a major discount store. The woman sued the company involved for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Dr. finds that his work isn’t much different; in fact, in his line of work, there is no higher stakes. Even if machines malfunction, some human being eventually takes the fall.
In the end, Barry lives under an ethical code and he lets the politics and rig-a-ma-roll work themselves out. He is well-aware that his first wife could not cope with his long hours and lack of emotional support—as she liked to call it.
Barry gets into his BMW and secures the seatbelt. Knowing he is always ‘on call’, he is not rattled when his cell phone rings. He fingers his small cell phone keypad, pushes the receive button, and finds nothing but silence at the other end of the cell towers.
“Hello?” Barry calls out. Then adds, “Drad it!”
He turns his cell phone off, closes it, and tosses it into a front pocket. His car’s ignition switch offers a slight buzz as the key engages, although the car cranks over—upon second thought.
The man drives out of the hospital parking lot thinking he needs a drink, even though he has attempted to cut back. Dr. Barry Wayne thinks about the man whose fingerprints fit NO ACTIVE FILE. It makes him feel uneasy. He hadn’t told anybody, outside of a planned meeting with Officer Quintana. He had seen Larry Quintana around town, often mentioned in the local newspaper, and he was an officer held in high esteem.
The Dr.’s mind finds itself enthralled with the mystery of the rock star. Barry fails to notice a car following closely, in his rearview mirror; he is not aware the vehicle contains four gang bangers. Dr. Wayne mentally unplugs. His thoughts lock into his own small world; a world where he can only think about getting home and relaxing. I wonder what Monday Night Football Game airs on the TV? He is so focused on this, that he fails to notice the occasional bass booming vibration of mind deafening rap music. The noise explodes from a low-rider with a chain steering wheel.
The driver of the low-rider wears a red bandana around his head, a passenger in the front seat wears a baseball cap backwards, and a guy in the back seat wields some fire power.
“Chingauw!” The man in the passenger seat says.
The driver of the low-rider reaches down in order to turn down the music. A passenger pulls an oozy from underneath the front seat and checks the clip inside it.
“This Vato doesn’t have a clue!” A man in the backseat shouts.
The BMW pulls up to a four way stop light. The low-rider stops beside the BMW, on its left-hand side. Barry senses imminent danger, seconds before guns fly out the windows of the other car and reduce his door to a metal pincushion. As Barry goes down, his foot leaves the brake, and a lack of pressure allows the BMW to roll through the intersection. The BMW comes to rest against a light pole, on the adjacent side of the street.
Police arrive on the scene, to discover the Dr.’s limp body hunched over the steering wheel—with a nose no longer sounding the horn. They surmise that a passing driver had pulled the man up from the horn, as the low-rider sped off.
A witness thought he saw the license number of the vehicle (at-a-glance), before he attended to the victim with several bullet holes and immediate body trauma. The witness tells police how he pulled back the man’s head to open his windpipe, and he further describes feeling in front of the man’s mouth for any sign he was still breathing. The passing motorist claims he found the man alive, but just barely.
Several other cars had stopped to help, or because the drivers wanted to (take a) peek at the tragedy at hand. Upon seeing the holes in the BMW, most of them considered the scene a drug deal gone bad.
A growing crowd waits for authorities, while most wonder how long the man will cling to life. A few of the onlooker’s brush glass from the man’s body, carefully, with their bare hands.
It takes nearly ten minutes for Paramedics to arrive at the scene of the accident. In fact, a police officer is the first to arrive; he directs traffic with various hand signals and attempts to protect the crime scene as best he can.
The ambulance comes in a noisy, convincing rush—punching its way through traffic, gawkers, and a systematic stop light. Amazingly…the car door opens quite easily, revealing the leaking body inside the exotic hull. Dr. Wayne gets the attention he had long given to so many of his patients over the years. Ironically, it doesn’t matter. His blood is not any richer, thicker, or more potent, as it litters the vehicle, latex gloves, and the ground.
Faces of the emergency crew reflect helplessness, as if a true thread of human life slips through their fingers to an unlucky fate. Realistically, the man’s life is summed up by percentages and chance. Most of their faces also reflect it is a thirty-percent chance the man will survive the ambush. Through their body language, they all speak the unspoken language of well-practiced paramedics who deal with human mortality daily. One of their own is rolled into the back of the awaiting ambulance, while a woman holds an IV bag in tow.
Once the ambulance doors are pushed closed, the world outside them lets out a collective human sigh. The world slowly flitters its way back to normal, despite so many relevant questions with so few answers.
Despite all the collective hope and wishes to see the man survive, Dr. Wayne calls in his dogs on the way to the hospital.
The low-rider pulls into a warehouse, and a large bay door sinks down behind it. The driver beats the others out of the vehicle and quickly strips away the red bandana on his head. A goatee looks a little strange under artificial lighting. Another man bails out, after a slight pause to collect his thoughts. A couple of other men approach from hidden shadows. They all work, quickly, to help disassemble the suspect vehicle.
The driver spins around with a silenced handgun and shoots the front passenger through the head. Two men disassembling the car jerk open a door and grab a Hispanic still occupying the back seat.
“We had a deal muchacha!”
Jerica says to the man, “Consider our deal closed!”
She drops the hammer on the second assassin, effortlessly.
The remaining two men continue to work on the vehicle. The woman places her stolen weapon into one of the man’s rough hands. Her light gloves leave no visible fingerprint. She pulls out a bag of cocaine and disperses several trails of the grey powder. Methodically, Jerica places the rest of the bag beside the guy positioned opposite the guy holding the gun.
“That’s enough! Our job’s done here. What those two men would do for a little booty.”
“It cost both of them their lives.”
Jerica smiles to her twin brothers. Our family is going to be heralded and supported by Raja forever. Jerica’s brothers nod their heads. But their eyes hold self-doubt.
A month later, Jerica doesn’t think it a coincidence when her brothers’ plane goes down in flames. And she finds out there are no survivors. Jerica learned to be tough and not take too much personal, although the death of two of her own strikes her hard. She slips into severe remorse, because she realizes the world of lies she’s so deeply immersed in can turn on her without notice.
The chameleon finds comfort in developing a new plan that involves dropping a bomb into a larger stadium—for atonement for the actions of the double crossers—for her siblings’ shed blood.