Chapter 11 - Partners
I had never been to the scrapyard before. Heck, I had no idea there was a scrapyard near Westray Valley. Dave had always bought brand new equipment to put in my car, and maybe that was why the other racers managed to keep costs low: I was sure Johanna wouldn’t put in my car damaged parts though. She clearly knew what she was doing.
I bet Lickety had learned this from her and that was why he was here as well.
I hated Lickety with a passion. The dude was not only completely insane, he also wanted to start trouble everywhere he went. I knew I should just let him be, but if he even looked at me funny, he’d hear plenty.
Johanna spoke to Kevin inside his rundown caravan, going though catalogue after catalogue to see if he had the parts we needed. It was hard to tell if Kevin actually lived in that caravan or if he used it as an office of sorts. I stayed outside and investigated the huge piles of junk in the yard. The place was probably two football fields wide and it was filled to the brim with towers of old plastics, tires, electronics, appliances, cars... That was when I saw Lickety emerging from one of the mountains of metal with two of his friends.
I made sure to look busy as I lit up a cigarette and paced next to the door of the caravan.
“Well well well, look who we got here boys!” His voice seemed the rattle the floor. “If it isn’t our own little Gazelle. Came here to drop off your rattletrap of a car?”
“None of your fucking business.” I instantly moved away from the door so Johanna wouldn’t hear us outside.
“Oh, so it’s true then! After the spanking that I have you on that race I’m not surprised the little baby needs a time out.”
It took all the self control I had not to punch him in the face.
“What the fuck man? What are you talking about? The one who got kicked in the ass was you! Actually, I should say dumped! Guess who is working for me now? Your precious mechanic.”
Lickety licked his lips. His thin, monkey-like body assumed a stance like he was about to pull out a gun. He looked at his friends and exchanged knowing looks.
“She was a good fuck, true. Since you are looking for used, discarded parts, you came to the right place. Enjoy her while you can. It’s like what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I don’t even need that bitch anymore, she bored me.”
“What the fuck did you just say?” Johanna came out of the caravan. I immediately noticed she had her gun out, the same one she pointed at me the night we met.
“Guess we have the whole party here.” Said one of the guys. They looked just as scamp as Lickety.
“Shut your mouth Malcom.” She spat. The strength in her voice made me involuntarily take a step back. “It was shitty of me to not tell you right away I’m working for Gazelle now, I’ll admit that, but it doesn’t give you the right to spread lies about me. You knew from the start that I’d work for however paid more-”
“You’d work for whoever fucks better, ain’t that right you whore?” He said, his voice laced with venom. What happened next was so fast that all I remember was holding Johanna by her arms, holding her back.
“You sick fuck, I never slept with you! You’re gross!” She shouted, her gun still in her hand. I reached for it and held it tightly, pointing it towards the floor. I was probably hurting her fingers, but I didn’t care. I wouldn’t let her do something stupid.
That was when Kevin came out of his caravan with a massive shotgun in his hands. He fired twice towards the sky, his eyes fixated on Lickety. We all looked at him in shock.
“Enough of this nonsense. If you didn’t find what you were looking for, it’s time for you to go. Get out of here Lickety.”
“Whatever old man, I ain’t coming back here no more.” Said Lickety, shrugging his shoulders. “But you might have some visitors soon.”
“Good. I’ll start boiling the kettle and serve them some tea.”
That was the most badass comeback I had ever heard. I even had a hard time containing my laughter.
Lickety then turned to me and said “See you in the next race Gazelle. Let’s hope your “investment” in that slut pays off. I doubt it though.”
He left without saying another word. He got in his car and drove away.
Kevin motioned us to get inside his caravan “Geez I hate that guy. Thinks he’s tough but he’s just a kid on crack.”
“You bet.” Johanna replied, anger still clear in her face.
After an hour of looking at parts and bolts and pieces, we had everything we needed and headed out. Johanna said goodbye to Kevin by giving him an intricate handshake. I didn’t know the extent of their relationship, but judging by the way he literally shot a shotgun into air to defend her and now was doing a special handshake with her indicated that they knew each other well.
After we got in the car and were on our way back, I had to address what had happened.
“Johanna, I just want you to know that I don’t give a damn about you and Lickety, what he said was completely out of hand-”
“Oh fuck no... Do you really think I slept with him? HIM? And why are you bringing this up anyway, it’s not like I need to know that you are okay with whatever. Besides, deep down you think just like him because the night we met you told me exactly what he told me today, that I’m a slut. What the fuck is wrong with men?! Why is it so imporant that my business partners, of all people, know who I have or haven’t slept with?!”
I gripped the steering wheel tighter as I felt my stomach drop to the floor. Shit, she was right. What and idiot Sam.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. I guess what I’m tryna say is that your life is none of my business, but if you tell me you didn’t sleep with him of course I believe you.“I said in a low voice, concentrated in saying everything right. “I didn’t even believe it when I said it to you by the windmills, I just wanted to have the upper hand, that’s all. And for Lickety to assume that I hired you because of sex is ludicrous. You know that right? I mean, of course I’m not saying that I don’t find you attractive, it’s just that-”
Johanna raised her hand in the air as if a referee. “Stop talking before you say something you’ll regret.” I immediately felt my cheeks blush. Geez why couldn’t I just say the right thing?” I accept your apology, I know you didn’t mean it that way. And thank you for not letting me shoot the guy. You held me down with quite the strength.”
I glanced at her hands. I remembered how I had gripped her hands so she’d drop the gun “I hope I didn’t hurt you, but I didn’t know how you’d react.”
“Oh no, it was the right call.” Then she laughed, amused with her next thought “But if you do that again in a situation where I need to intervene I’ll shoot you in the foot, understood?”
I smiled, seeing she was no longer angry.
The rest of the ride home was spent in silence. Johanna was fidgeting and inspecting the many parts we had brought attentively as if she was a kid who had bought a bag of candy. My thoughts drifted to the encounter with Lickety and how hardcore Johanna really is. She warned me about not getting into a fight with him, but it turned out she had more in her than it seemed. She knew how to defend herself, and that was sexy. When I was holding her down, she did put up a fight. Even thought her stature is smaller than mine, she showed real strenght.
It became aparent to me then why she was one of the only girls involved in all of this. She was stronger than them in every sense of the word. Gosh, that was really special.
We finally got to my house. I got us inside throught the garage. Johanna stepped out of the car and dropped the scrape pieces on one of the counters, laying them down neatly like a doctor getting ready to perform surgery.
“Alright, I’ll sure be busy in the following weeks. Just text me at what time I can come by everyday and I’ll have this all ready soon.”
“Alright, deal.” I said. I hadn’t forgotten what I had promised her that morning about the money. I had left the money inside a cabinet in an envelope. “One more thing. Here are the 50k. It’s all there, you don’t need to count it. You can come tomorrow at ten.”
She took the money and nodded. “I’ll be here.”