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 12

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Skinny hobbled into the Tin Man’s at about 11:50.  He had ditched the crutches for a cane.  He gave me a little smile and a tip of the head.

I was delighted to see another small break in his armor.  I stood and gave him a knuckle tap.  “How’s the ankle?” I asked.

“Chillin,” he said.

“Skin,” I said, “this is my partner, Ned.  Ned, Skin.”

They guardedly shook hands.   Ned wasn’t a knuckle guy and Skin wasn’t a shaker; awkward.

“You up for a nice beefy hotdog down at the Costco?” I asked Skin.

Skinny looked around and seemingly finding he wasn’t the center of attention, he shrugged his shoulders and gestured.  “After you, old man,” he said. Continue reading

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 9

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     I was led into the Tenderloin District.  My boys entered an apartment building about a block from City Hall.  Before they entered, Two Fingers gave the Vulture a dressing down.  His head dropped and his hands disappeared into his pockets as he stood there like a sponge and soaked it up.  That’s how kids get molded into criminals, how terrorists become terrorists, they are weak and easily manipulated by the criminal mind. Continue reading

I Saw It Coming, Part 5

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Skinny didn’t need to turn around to know who was standing behind him, but he turned anyway and stood up to face me on his broken ankle.  We were about the same height.  He wasn’t a bad looking kid.  He had long eyelashes that any woman would have envied.  He also had high cheekbones that gave him an exotic look.  His downfall was his perpetual sneer.

“I knew this day was comin,” he said quietly.  “I have a rep, old man.  You planing to step on me?”

Our noses were almost touching so we were virtually privately engaged in our conversation.

“Not today,” I replied, “I want you to keep your rep, so no, I won’t stand on you.”

“That be cool,” he said and relaxed noticeably.

“I’m interested in making a deal with you,” I said.  “Care to hear me out?”

Skinny looked around Tin Man’s.  Several of his peers were having coffee and trying to keep their pants from falling all the way to the ground.  They were oblivious to our confrontation.

“Shoot.”  Skinny said.

“I’m offering you a high paying role in my new venture,” I explained, “It involves being a leader.  I need one.”

Skinny looked at me perplexed.

“You’re a natural,” I said.  “You have what it takes.  You have charisma.”

“Don’t know much about none of that,” he said.  “Besides I already got me a job.”

“I ain’t offering you a job.  I’m offering you a life.”  I said emphasizing life.

His eyelashes twitched.  “You want me to be an actor?”

“You’re already one of those, so no, I want you to be yourself.”

Again that puzzled look.  I hoped that I hadn’t overstepped myself with my sarcasm.

“You want me to be myself?  What kind of BS you talkin here anyway?”

“Not BS, I just need you to be yourself,” I said.  ‘You interested?”

Skinny stared at me with his sneer in place.  “This high pay, how much you talkin?”

“If you are in, I’d say $1,600.00 a week to begin with.”  I said.

“You deal’n drugs or what, old man?  I’m not into being served up as jail bait.”

“This has nothing to do with selling drugs or anything else against the law.”

“What is it I got to do for this money?”

“Meet with my partner and I.  We’ll fill you in.  I know it’ll be a bit cumbersome with your foot in a cast, but we’ll work it out.”  I extended my hand.

Skinny stared at me long and hard then tentatively shook it.

“You have a bank account?”  I asked him.

“Of course,” he said.

I pulled out my checkbook and wrote him a check for sixteen hundred dollars.

“First week’s pay in advance,” I said.  “We’ll meet this Friday.  Be here at noon and I’ll come and get you.”

Skinny almost gave up his perpetual sneer and snapped the check.  He stuck it under his nose, took a long whiff and kissed it.  Then in a flash it disappeared into his pocket.

Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®

I Saw It Coming, Part 2

IMG_0984    I Saw It Coming, Part 2

I thought they were probably going to take me into the alley by Gordo’s Liquor Store.  I had been in there and knew there was a recess about half way down that housed the liquor store garbage containers.  It was smelly and full of shadows, a perfect spot for them to do their dirty deed.  I’m sure they had it figured to where they’d be long gone by the time I was able to pick myself up and scramble for help.

I was pretty certain I wasn’t going to need any help.  Of course a little doubt always seems to elbow it’s way in at times like these and this time was no exception.  What if Skinny had the rest of the gang sequestered away in the alley for reinforcements.  In that case, I would be overwhelmingly out numbered and in big trouble.  This wasn’t a Hollywood stunt.  This was real life, mine.

My antennae popped up and went on full alert.  I had to be ready for anything.

We paused at the alley and both boys looked around.  It was eerily quiet.  The street was mostly empty of pedestrians and devoid of cars.   Mrs. Cooley was putting out oranges in front of her tiny market and there was a lady walking her black poodle near the bank.  Other than those two people nothing was going on.  A surreptitious glance into the alley fortified my belief that it was also deserted.

“This way old man.”

Of course it was The Skinny One with all of his bravado that hissed and gave me a yank.  I had planned to take them by the garbage cans, but the yank disengaged me from The Vulture and I used the momentum to fall and roll.  I grabbed Skinny by the shirt, planted my feet in his groin and tossed him into the alley on the backside of my roll.  There was a disconcerting crunch.

“You Mo Fo!” he growled in obvious pain.

That was sugar to my ears.  I had him wounded but thankful that it wasn’t mortally.

I rolled back onto my feet into a crouch and braced myself to pounce on The Vulture.  But The Vulture hadn’t moved, he was standing frozen at the mouth of the alley.  His mind and eyes looked as if they were running on Meth overdrive.

“What the Hell you lookin at?”  Skinny railed from the alley behind me, “Get the old coot.”

Vulture mustered a hesitant lurch toward me and then stopped as we locked eyes.  He didn’t like what he was seeing and that was enough, he turned and boogied back up toward the bank.

I put my attention back on Skinny.  He had managed to get himself into a sitting position up against the brick of the liquor store.  His left ankle was clearly broken and was going to need a good surgeon to piece it back together.  He moaned.

“I am going to go into the liquor store and call an ambulance,” I said, “But before I do I want to give you a little advice to think about.  You do have the capacity to think, don’t you?”

He glared at me.

“I mean what I say.”  I emphasized.

He continued to glare but was obviously struggling with the pain.  I could see the beginnings of a crack forming in his facade.

“It goes like this,” I said, “The Vulture flew the coop.  It is not a bad thing to do when flying is called for.  He saved himself a world of hurt and a visit to the hospital.  I know in your mind that he saved nothing because he didn’t save you.  It is your intention to hurt him bad because you failed to hurt me.  I’m telling you to drop it.  You and your little gang.  Just leave him alone.  The consequences of dishonoring me and hurting him are not something you can afford.”

My eyes bore into him.  “Do we have an understanding?”  I asked as I pressed him harder with my will.

The pain was more than he could bear.  He dropped his head and looked away.  His body wilted and his bravado vanished into the broken lost child he truly was.  A sob suddenly escaped his constricted throat.

I knelt beside him and gingerly put my hand on his head.  It was a calculated risk I was willing to take.  He flinched but didn’t bite.  To his everlasting benefit, The Skinny One gave in.  He asked for help.

I rose and turned to go.

“Thank you,” he said or he didn’t.  I can’t say for sure, I can only hope.

Part 3 to come soon.  Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®