I Saw It Coming, Part 15

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     I could barely see the Home Depot parking lot through the soupy mist as I watched Skinny make his way off to becoming a boss.  I had told him to take his time, that he should engage as many of the guys as it took to find four of them he felt he could trust to work with.  His head was high, his shoulders back.  I was pleased at my choice.

     Ned had fallen into the rhythm of things and was willing to oversee the remainder of the demolition of his old dreams and the construction of a new one.  It was what he needed to halt his descent into bitterness.  The sense of purpose would serve to make him ambitious and young again.

     I headed toward Market Street.  I had to put my attention back on the Vulture.  It was important to pull him out of the dirty water before he got himself in too dark and deep.  Guys like Two Fingers Kim didn’t let go easily.  I needed to find a way to get leverage on Kim or I’d have to orchestrate getting him arrested with the goods.

     It was a busy Saturday on Market Street even at 9:00 in the morning.  The fog was not a deterrent for the tourists, it was part of the ambiance of San Francisco.  I figured I’d catch up with Two fingers if I just parked myself somewhere inconspicuous and waited.  I chose the bus stop near Fourth, it was busy enough for camouflage and I could keep an eye on both sides of the street.

     I wasn’t disappointed, only twenty minutes had passed when Kim and the Vulture ambled by me without even a glance.  The kid looked out of it, he was either hung over or he had already indulged for his Saturday deliveries.  For the moment, the two of them were empty handed, so I figured they were headed up to the apartment building in the Tenderloin to fetch the dope.  I still didn’t have a plan, but I was hopeful of catching a flash of brilliance on my way to grabbing a doughnut and coffee at the Tin Man’s.

Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®

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I Saw It Coming, Part 14

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     It was 5:00 PM and we were knocking off.  The fog had slipped back to the ocean but now it was cascading back over the hills from Daly City.  The Mexicans had long given up for the day and were gone to wherever they go.

     “Why you doing this?” Skinny asked me.

     “The wood has a life and a purpose of its own,” I replied.

     “No, not that.  I mean me.  I tried to rob you.” Continue reading

I Saw It Coming, Part 13

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     Skinny could have cried foul and leaned on his cane, but he didn’t.  He followed my lead and was industrious.  He methodically went about dismantling his handy work board by board with a pry bar and a hammer, careful not to split the old wood.  I liked his quiet demeanor and finesse.

     I paused and looked across the property to the Home Depot, it was quit busy.

     “See those guys hanging out in the Home Depot parking lot?” I asked, pointing to a group of Mexicans milling about near the back entrance.

     Skinny looked up, nodded his head and went back to pulling on a stubborn nail.

     “You speak any Spanish?” I asked.

     “See, street talk.  I grew up in Oakland near Fruitvale.”

     “Good.  They work hard,” I said, “but most of them fake it when it comes to English.  If we hire a few of them you could speak your way around their jive, right?”

     “No problemo.”

     “Then that’s what we are going to do.  We have a whole work force right here on our doorstep.   I will pay you what I offered if you can get them to dismantle the rest of these buildings with the same care and finesse that you are using on your artwork.”

     The kid looked from me to the Mexicans, then back to me.  “Bossman?” he asked.

     “Bossman.”

     He grinned and dropped his hammer.

     Bossman was going to fit him like a shirt.

Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®

I Saw It Coming, Parts 1-10 for catch-up and new followers

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I Saw It Coming, Parts 1-10 for anyone that would like to catch up and read my series without searching through my archives. I hope this makes it easy to join me as the story progresses. The Author.
I Saw It Coming
by Richard Rensberry
1

I hike everyday.  It is energizing and allows my spirit to open up to my surroundings.  I am able to observe with the spirit’s eye and see universes beyond the physical reality of things.  I am delighted to take photographs and collect artifacts like feathers and wood for use in recreating what I have seen in my imagination. Continue reading

I saw It Coming, Part 6

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Two fingers Kim had been sitting at a table near the door to Tin Man’s doughnuts when the old Indian walked passed and out the door.  He had watched the Indian and the kid with the cast do their little dance and it didn’t add up.  Why would the old guy write a check to a punk kid?  The little prick had actually smiled and kissed the check.  Something was going down.

Two fingers slipped out of his chair and followed the Indian.

Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®

I Saw It Coming, Part 4

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I ran into The Vulture as he was coming out of Mrs. Cooley’s market.  He was carrying a paper bag with an assortment of healthy looking greens sticking out of the top.

“Good stuff.”  I remarked, gesturing toward the bag.

His eyes darted right, then left two or three times before he backpedaled.  Then he realized he had nowhere to go but out through me.

“How’s Skinny’s ankle?” I asked, hoping to disarm some of his mistrust.

The Vulture wanted no part of it.  He sidled further away.

“He been bothering you any?” I asked.

The Vulture stepped toward me and  feigned like he was going to scuttle out past me, but I didn’t budge.

“Those for your mother?”  I asked, pointing to the greens.

He mustered a slight nod of his head.

“Good lady.  Tell her Sugar says hi and wishes her a happy birthday.”

The Vulture dropped his guard slightly and a wry smile twitched his lips.

I turned to the side and let him scuttle past.  He rocketed up the street like a worried crab.

I had already decided that I needed to pay Skinny a visit and my encounter with The Vulture reminded me I had better confront the matter directly.  I needed him.  He was one of the cornerstones for Ned’s and my endeavor though I hadn’t confessed this point to Ned.

Skinny was fairly smart and in the scheme of things I knew that could be his downfall.  I needed to find out if his intelligence could be redirected toward a greater good and that would have a lot to do with how he perceived weakness and strength in himself and in others.  I was hopeful after what had transpired in the alley by Gordo’s Liquor Store that I had a running chance.

I found him down at Tin Man’s Doughnuts.  It was a popular hangout for many reasons.  Mostly it was cheap but the doughnuts were actually pretty good and the coffee was rich and flavorful.  The place was also lively.  There were always chess games and people playing cards.  It was populated by a mixed bag of gamers, gangsters, bookies and cops.  It seemed that everyone got along while indulging in gambling and sweets at the Tin Man’s.

I hadn’t been there for a few months, but nothing had changed.  it smelled of sugar and stale grease.  The Tin Man was parked behind the counter lording over the cash register.  He was very large, probably six foot five and 280 pounds.  I think that is why everyone seemingly got along.

He cordially nodded at me and I nodded back.

Skinny was at the counter with a pair of crutches leaning against the wall a few feet to his right.  His ankle was in a cast.  I’d heard rumors that he’d invented a story about how he had been the victim of a nasty skateboard fall.

“I hear you fell off your board,” I said standing directly behind him.

“Yah, took a good one over on Petrero.”  He said without turning around to see who I was.  “I really busted up my ankle.”

“Tough hill to skate,” I said.

“Not so much,” he replied, “I just don’t give a shit.”

“Me either,” I said, “your version is as good as gold to me.”

Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®