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Things got kind of weird for me a couple of years ago...

SEPTEMBER 24, 2005. THE DAY I BATTLE
BOTH HURRICANE RITA AND A EX-CONVICT
CRIPPLE
"Fuck! This has to be about the craziest
goddamn thing I've ever done in my life!" I
screamed out in the roaring wind. And that's saying
a shitload!
I was running down the Galveston seawall
pushing along a cripple that I had duct taped down
to a wheelchair and no one was even batting an eye
much less trying to stop me to ask just what in the
hell I was up to. The son of a bitch even had two big
cinder blocks tied down with rope in his lap! Of
course, Hurricane Rita was churning her guts out in
the gulf and almost the entire island had evacuated
and it was like trying to stand inside of a wind
tunnel that somebody had dumped a truckload of
sand in, but there were still quite a few folks
hanging around. Outside! Granted most of them
were either surfers with death wishes or homeless
folks who had no where better to go. But Jesus
Christ, are there no heroes left anymore? Even the
people from The Weather Channel and CNN sent
down to cover the hurricane weren't paying me a bit
of fucking attention. Too wrapped up in their
goddamn news broadcasts.
The cable on the island had long gone out so
I had no access to the news other than the radio and
they weren't saying shit as usual. But I knew that
the deadline for the 6:00 PM evacuation ordered by
the mayor had passed by hours ago, so when I had
taped the asshole down into his chair and pushed
him the two blocks up to the seawall I had been
expecting to see almost total desertion. I sure as hell
hadn't expected to see at least ten tattooed,
dreadlocked surfers trying to score the ride of their
soon to be short lifetimes as a pack of the homeless
cheered them on and toasted their courage with long
pulls off their forties of Old English 800 as they
pumped their fists in the air. All while the cable
news retards babbled in the foreground about the
dangers of surfing during a category 5 hurricane.
So at that point you could say my options
were severely limited. My mission was to get to the
61st street pier and dump this son of a bitch,
wheelchair and all, into the Gulf of Mexico, without
getting caught. Then I had to bust my ass back to
his rattletrap garage apartment to retrieve my 1995
GEO Metro hatchback and get my own ass off that
island before Rita blew it off the face of the earth
just like Katrina had just done a couple of weeks
before to the Big Easy.
And goddamn it! I was gonna complete my
mission! I didn't give a fuck what that fat bitch from
MSNBC thought!
***
I had never gotten one letter the whole time
I had been in Mexico. Not a single one in almost
twenty fucking years. Since I was a fugitive on the
lam it didn't seem to make much sense to do a
whole hell of a lot of corresponding with people. I
did have a box at the bodega where Javier, the
bodega's owner, would put my grocery tabs and
newspapers from the states, but that was about it.
Javier was quite a nefarious and shady character
himself. Former member of both the Mexico City
police department and Mexico's version of the
DEA, he possessed an impressive array of
underground contacts. Javier had recently sold me a
mint condition Russian AK-47 along with a Soviet
made land mine - why I needed a land mine you'll
find out later. Feed Javier a couple shots of tequila
and a few hits off a bong of some good weed and
he'd tell you stories about hooking a car battery up
to some poor bastard's nut sack. Anyway, one day
the letter showed up. It was typed on paper with a
Department of Homeland Security letterhead and it
was written like a fucking cryptic telegram (even
though I have never received much less seen a
telegram}:
“RB was released from the Fort approximately five
years ago and is wheelchair ridden courtesy of an
"accident." He is playing both sides of the fence. A
sometimes paid informant for the G. Is also trying
to sell information to the AB. Mentioning your name
to both parties in reference to various incidences.
Consider yourself to be in grave danger. RB
currently resides Galveston, TX. Suggest you
relocate. Regards.”
The author was a mystery but I understood
everything that letter said. Obviously, shitty things
from my past were back to haunt me.
That's what brought me to Galveston during
the middle of the landfall of a potential category
five hurricane. I had no idea when I took off for
Texas that there was a hurricane making a beeline
for the Texas coast. That time of the year there was
always something stirring in the gulf but it seemed
like it always hit Florida and with the ass pounding
that New Orleans just took who would think that
another major one was on it's way. Anyway, at that
time I was just flying by the seat of my pants. My
radio wasn't picking up much on the trip coming
across the desert and I had bigger things on my
mind such as my radiator exploding or the engine
seizing from the watered down gas I had purchased
in the backwater towns I drove through. Or even
worse, would my ancient fake identification hold up
at the border check? When I crossed the border at
Brownsville (my first time in the good old USA in
almost two decades - the border guard barely looked
at my ID - so much for the vaunted post 9/11
security) the news radio stations were hysterically
forecasting the imminent land arrival of Rita, so I
was about the only vehicle headed in the northeast
direction. By then it was to late to turn back - I was
just going to have to take the chance that "RB"
hadn't evacuated from the island.
Texas is one big goddamn state and it took
me almost another eight hours to get to Galveston.
The reports were that the main evacuation route for
the island was via Interstate 45 that ran out of the
north of end the island through Houston, so I opted
to come in on a county road on the west end. The
place was like a ghost town when I rolled in and the
winds and rain were really starting to pick up. I
could barely keep the tiny GEO on the road. I met
two cop cars and one sheriff's vehicle on my way
into town and neither of the three paid a bit of
attention to me although the sheriff gave me kind of
a weird look as I passed by. One of those "What the
hell is he up to?" and What the hell, it's his funeral!"
looks, followed by a shrug of the shoulders to his
partner. The city of Galveston itself is not a very
large city and incredibly easy to navigate in,
especially when most of the city has evacuated -
news reports had the majority of people's asses
stuck on the freeway - or is bunkered down. With
the aid of a coffee stained ancient Rand McNally
and the address from the letter - whoever had
penned the letter had been kind enough to give me
"RB's'" address - I found the place in less than ten
minutes.
He hadn't moved up the food chain much in
the last thirty years that was for goddamn sure but
I'm sure it beat a prison cell. I was parked in front of
a ramshackle garage apartment that was located in
an area that was going to be fifteen feet underwater
if the hurricane stirred waters of the gulf breached
the seawall which was only two city blocks away.
There was a dim light burning upstairs and a
window a/c rattling on the side of the shanty. The
garage door was halfway open so I grabbed my six
cell flashlight, (handy for both seeing things in the
dark and beating people over the head with) bent
under the garage door, and found myself standing
behind a battered Ford van from the early eighties. I
flicked the light on and looked at the Texas plates.
Handicapped and expired. Shining the light through
the windows showed me that "RB" was subsisting
mainly on generic cigarettes, Burger King burgers,
Snickers bars, and Old Milwaukee.
Slowly I crept up the short flight of stairs
and wound up on a short landing that was so shaky
and termite infested it felt like I could fall through it
at any second. I gently placed my ear against the
door. Nothing. I went into sort of a football stance
and rushed the door, intending to break it down with
my shoulder and not realizing that the door was
open and slightly ajar. I hit the door, shot straight
through into the apartment, and rolled ten feet
inside, finding myself at the foot of a wheelchair.
There sat "RB" in all his glory. With a bullet hole
right straight between the eyes. Other than the bullet
hole, the wheelchair, and short twenty or thirty
pounds, he looked remarkably almost the same as
the last time I had seen him. Laying side by side on
the moth eaten carpet were two items that I had seen
before, although not recently. A cheap chrome .22
Saturday night special that I had seen "RB" murder
a man in cold blood with - I would bet a dildo for a
doughnut that it was also the pistol that had sent
"RB" to the pearly gates - and an old wallet of mine,
still containing all my long expired identification,
that had been stolen from me years ago by a midget
who had also taken the opportunity to shoot me.
Just the fact that that these two items were together
proved that I was in very deep shit. The rest of the
apartment revealed nothing although it was
cockroach infested, filthy beyond belief, stunk like
a dump at low tide, and featured a clothesline that
ran the length of the room which held about ten
colostomy bags. The whole apartment was really
one room with a tiny kitchenette and a bathroom
with a door just big enough to fit the wheelchair in.
Whatever money "RB" had must have had and it
couldn't have been much by the looks of the place,
had been invested in computer equipment. One wall
was lined with monitors and printers, but even
though I was far from being a computer geek, even
I noticed that the CPUs had all been removed. He
also had an unusual array of photos and documents
framed on his walls. A dishonorable discharge from
the Navy (I didn't even know that you could
actually get a DD certificate - why the hell would
you want one?). A release form from Leavenworth
prison. And a collage of photos obviously taken in
the Philippine Islands - woman shooting ping balls
and smoke rings out of their vaginas - were
prominently displayed, and a photo of good old
"RB" feeding a baby chicken to an alligator at
Momma's, an infamous PI nightclub known for it's
bootleg narcotic sales and hookers with venereal
diseases.
It looked like I was certainly being set up,
but whoever was doing it must have misjudged the
timing of the hurricane bearing down on the island
and the discovery of "RB's" body along with the set
up evidence. They may have miscalculated by
several days by the pungent odor of both "RB's"
decaying and his apartment. Although I'm sure the
place was pretty rank even before he started to
decompose in the tropical heat. Getting rid of the
gun and the wallet would be no big deal but
disposing of "RB" would be a little trickier. And
there was no question that he needed to be disposed
of. Rattling around in his cranium was a bullet that
ballistics could most certainly match to a murder
that happened over in the Pacific almost thirty years
ago. I decided to dump his body in the gulf and let
Mother Nature take her course. I rooted through a
closet and found a Navy watch cap that I jammed
over "RB's" forehead to hide the bullet hole and
then pulled out the kitchen drawers looking for
some rope, but luckily also found a roll of duct tape.
I taped the body down in his wheelchair and then
went down into the garage to find a suitable anchor.
***
The water and waves were crashing up and
over the pier as I pushed the wheelchair to the far
end of the fishing platform. The force of the winds
and water had busted up most the timbers, supports,
and rails so getting "RB" into the drink would be no
problem. It was beginning to become almost
impossible to stand up in the wind. I stopped and
took a deep breath and took a look around. It was
just us two all alone. If anyone had seen me, no one
seemed to care. A cop car slowly cruised down the
seawall but didn't even tap his brakes. At this stage
of the game everyone had their own problems to
worry about. Winding my arm up I hurled the pistol
as far into the gulf as I could. I looked down at the
corpse. I swear that the son of a bitch's mouth had
curled up into a sneer. Fucker was mocking me
even in death.
"Goddamn it, Ricky! You just couldn't leave
it alone, could you? You just couldn't fucking
couldn't leave things alone! You asshole, look at the
shit you've got me into again!"
I took a running start and pushed the
wheelchair off the end of the pier.

To be continued...

------
Scott L. Anderson


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