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I’m sorry. I know that these are flag waving, George W. Bush and Billy Graham praying, ultra-conservative, Toby Keith patriotically singing with tears in his eyes, politically correct times. But there is still no way to say it but just like this - I was sitting on the stool, reading a Penthouse, and taking a cocaine rush induced shit when the murder went down.
It just has taken me until now to get the guts up to write about it. Hell, to even think about it.
It was the summer of 1975. My high school days had ended just about a month previously and I had no immediate plans other than to continue on what I had been doing for the past two years which was getting stoned and dealing some weed and desperately trying to get laid for the first time. Contrary to public opinion the two do not mix as I was soon to find out. Not the getting laid part, I meant the dealing and getting stoned part.
I was looking at this lesbian pictorial - Are all lesbians that hot? - and just thinking about jerking off when I heard the front door bust open. Lynyrd Skynyrd was jamming so goddamn loud on Don't Ask Me No Questions, that at first I couldn't hear or understand what was going on. The door buzzer had gone off first and I had assumed that it was just announcing more folks, hopefully chicks, coming in to party. Man, was I fucking wrong!
The stylus on the turntable scratched across the record. The music stopped. In fact, it sounded like the turntable was knocked right onto the floor.
"Hey dude, what the hell are you doing! Watch the fucking album. I just bought the goddamn thing. Fucking thing cost 5.99!" Mike was seriously stoned. "Hey! What are you doing here?"
“Just keep your ass in that chair and don't move a muscle you lowlife motherfucker!”
My scrotum tried to crawl up into my stomach. I knew who's voice that was. His name was Cletus la Favor. A local thug, pimp, and drug dealer. Two weeks ago I had broken into - technically the door was unlocked - his Corvette that he had left parked in his driveway. I had been riding my ten speed home down his dark street when I had seen la Favor park his car in front of his house and stagger through the front door, his tattooed, tree trunk arm wrapped around one of his whores. I don't what the hell had gotten into me to do it, probably the nine beers that I had drank, but to my utter disbelief and joy, I had discovered a half a pound of Hawaiian Bud and a chrome Colt .45 in the backseat, damn near in plain view. I had ripped off both items but hadn't told a soul about it. la Favor was bad news. He had done hard time in Stillwater and there was a local urban legend going around that said he was known to strap on a pair of personalized brass knuckles when people were dumb enough to cross him.
To my horror I suddenly realized my mistake. Several nights ago, Mike and I had gone to a small keg party and in a lame attempt to get in the pants of a hot number who was way out of my league, I had turned her on to a couple of joints of the Bud. That had to have been how la Favor had found out. The backwater town we lived in got buzzed mainly on Hamm's beer, white cross speed, and Mexican ditch weed. It wouldn't have taken much for la Favor to put two and two together.
"What's the shotgun for, man? That's not cool, dude. Guns aren't cool!" Mike was going through this weird "violence isn't the answer" hippie period. I think that he thought that would help him attract more women.
"Where's the dope at you little cocksucker? My fucking dope and my fucking pistol? I know that you and your buddy took it!"
Mike's current girlfriend, a sweet dimwitted bimbo named Angel and who was only sixteen but easily could have passed for twenty five, (I think that Angel may have been her stage name) and who stripped on the weekends at the Aragon Bar, screamed out in either fear or pain or both.
“Shut up you cunt! You either shut your goddamn cock holster or I'll shove something in it!”
"Why are yo….” A hideous shriek of agony.
“First you have the nuts to deal on my turf, you dirty fucks! (Our pot operation was so small time I couldn't believe la Favor even knew about it) Then you rip me fucking off! Now I ain't gonna ask again, where are the fucking drugs? My fucking drugs!" la Favor screamed.
"We don't have shit, man! We haven't ripped anyone off!" Mike protested. "Just this little dab of coke is all and this quarter ounce of weed is all we have!. You can take it if you want it!"
"You lying prick! Where the fuck is that little asshole friend of yours that's always hanging out here? He's the one I really need to talk to." There was a pause. "Hey! Get your hands off her tits and check this dump out!" he barked to someone.
Panicking, I realized that I was the "asshole" in questions and that I was trapped as the proverbial shithouse rat. Quickly thinking (for once), I closed the toilet lid and stood up on the stool. There was a panel in the ceiling in the bathroom leading to a ventilation shaft and I shoved the panel aside and slithered like a snake up into the overhead and pushed the tile back into place. It was pitch black inside and smelled heavily of mouse piss. I could feel their little shit pellets crunch under my hands. Someone was in the bathroom below me looking around. Jesus Christ! What's going to happen if they lift the lid and see a fresh shit in there? They'll link me to the turd and start searching for me. Probably shoot me right through the ceiling. I stifled a whimper.
"There ain't anyone in the crapper. Holy shit! You should see these dyke bitches in this magazine, boss!"
"Put the fuck book down and take the slut out to the car, tie her up and throw her ass in the trunk you goddamn moron. We'll take care of her later. I'll handle this little son of a bitch."
I could hear Angel screaming out a blue streak as she was taken down the stairs. The word "motherfuckers" was mentioned predominately. We were a mile out of town in an apartment over a water bed warehouse. There wasn't a soul around to hear her.
"What? What do you want? I'll do anything! I'll give you anything! Just bring Angel back up here and I'll..." Mike's voice was suddenly cut off like someone had him around the throat.
"Too late, asshole. You had your chance."
All I heard after that was this weird, wet sound like someone hitting a ripe pumpkin or melon with a stick. Then I could hear la Favor, all three hundred pounds of him lumber down the stairs. A high horsepower engine revved up and gravel sprayed the side of the warehouse as a car raced out of the parking lot. Then total silence.
I laid up there in the dark with the mice and their shit for over two hours before I could make myself crawl back down in the bathroom. I walked gingerly around the corner into the living room. Mike was sitting straight up in his easy chair with his back to me.
"Mike! Mike!" I stage whispered.
He didn't answer so I slowly walked around the chair. His eyes were open but he was obviously dead. He was the only person I had seen dead except for my grandmother and that had been at a funeral. I remembered that she had looked like she had been cast in wax, real peaceful, but Mike didn't look like that at all. His eyes were wide open and punched into the middle of his forehead, like his skull had been made out of sheet metal, were the initials "ClF."
"Brass knuckles," I mouthed to myself.
I took Mike's wallet with the two hundred dollars that la Favor had missed, he always kept it in the inside pocket of his Levi jacket, and Angel's tip jar that she kept hidden under their bed. I don't think she missed it - no one ever heard from Angel again that I know of.
As for me, I pedaled my ten speed down to the Greyhound station as fast as my legs would take me and took the first bus leaving town.
I've never been back.
Scott L. Anderson