A Poet’s Dream II
The warmth of the fire lit my desire
To stay out longer that night
Little did I know that the devil would bestow
Unto me a night full of fright
I happened an upward glance and saw demons dance
Up in the midnight sky
They begged me to follow, but much to their sorrow
I offered a negative reply
The moon turned to blood, my emotions flood
Throughout my mind, body, and soul
The devil did smile, and all the whole while
His evil deeds took their toll
Life or death, suffocation or breath
It didn’t matter anymore
Creatures of the night that once gave fright
Were no longer fictitious lore
Blood hung from each fang, they were hungry again
And I was their next meal
I begged for an end, either they did not comprehend
Or they did not approve my appeal
Presently I awoke, my sheets sweat soaked
However; I was safe in my bed
I looked out the window, there hung a black widow
And the moon appeared to be red
After I got up off the floor, I asked Kat to go get us some beer and I went back to work with guys, taking the back seat so that I didn’t have to hear anyone else bitch about it. We were more or less done when Carl came back with Lisette in tow.
As much as I didn’t want to, I felt the need to apologize. I had every right not to though. After all, I seem to have been doing all the hard fucking work with this job, while Carl got to stand around and bitch and try boss us around.
And we still didn’t know about Lisette. All of my fucking intel about her could be written with a thick magic marker on the back of a fucking playing card (I’ll leave it up to you which card I was thinking of).
That night found Kat and I driving around in her Dad’s old pickup, wandering about looking for the perfect car. Kat seemed more excited about it than I was. That anarchistic streak of hers runs fucking deep.
Anyways, we cruised around town, looking for likely candidates, of which there were plenty. The problem was finding one where we felt the surroundings where safe enough to get away with it.
We eventually settled on one on a street near my place. It was a cul-de-sac, so there wasn’t any through traffic and there wasn’t much in the name of street lights. Perfect conditions if you ask me.
The car was a 78 or 79 Malibu. While scoping it out, I “lost” my pack of smokes out the window and “had to go back for them”. Thankfully they actually bounced under the front of the car, so when I retrieved them I could check out the engine.
“How’s it look?” Kat asked when I got back in the truck.
“Pretty good. It’s got a 350 in it, a little greasy around the oil pan but not too bad. It looks like it’s in decent shape.”
“What about an alarm?”
“I didn’t see one of those blinking lights. Sides, who’d put an alarm on that?”
“Good point. When do you want to hit it?”
“Round two or three. There shouldn’t be a lot of folks up at that point.”
“Well, it’s eleven now.” She switched to southern belle. “Whatever shall we do till then?”
“My place is about three blocks from here.”
She looked dubious.
“I have air conditioning.”
“I knew I kept you around for a reason.”
Evans and I have a different ideas about food. Not that I don’t like Taco Cabana, but it’s not really a place that I’m comfortable hanging out in. Too many high-schoolers.
In this case it worked for us. For one, neither Gus nor Carl were going to make a scene or get in a fight over acquiring unregistered firearms for use in armed robberies whilst in public.
And second, Kat wasn’t likely to find me here. I really, really didn’t want to deal with her on top of dealing with children who were supposed to be my co-conspirators. Hell, I didn’t even want to deal with any of the shit that was going on.
All I wanted to do was go home and drink myself into oblivion. But no, I had to help out with a fucking armed robbery to keep my best friend from getting himself shot. And what did I get as thanks? Him and another one of my best friends getting in each others faces.
And to make everything worse, something had changed in Carl. Whatever had gotten into his head, whatever was planted by that little fucking thief girlfriend of his, had turned him into an angry asshole that thinks that we’re a bunch of fuck-ups.
What’s a guy to do in that situation? Over the years, through all of the friends that I’ve had and lost, all of the similar situations that have popped up, and in spite of everything that I’ve learned about human psychology, I still don’t have a good answer.
So I did the best I could.
The next day found us back at Casa del Gustavo, partially to help clean up, but mostly to get back to planning. Naturally my nocturnal ass was the last to arrive. Fortunately for everyone I was in a good mood for once.
Most of the actual pickup was done by the time I got there, but I’m more of the mule type anyways. Heavy lifting is more my game, and there was plenty to do: two kegs, one still half full, bags of trash to haul away, furniture to move, all kinds of stuff.
One of the nice things about marijuana is that you don’t get a hangover, and I didn’t drink enough beer to actually get more than a buzz, so I was in better shape than most of the gang.
You’d think that Carl, being Irish, was genetically prepared for drinking, but no, the man gets hangovers worse than most. Lisette was by far the worst off. I’ll take the blame for that one. Perhaps it wasn’t nice to make her keep yup with me whilst drinking something about 5 times stronger, but hey, what’s done is done.
Gus, having just got out of the Army was in great shape and had a lot of experience with binge drinking, so between cleanup and planning, we decided to help those less fortunate than us.
Evans, naturally, was perfectly fine and had no problem reminding everyone of that fact.
And Kat, well, I left Kat at the garage. I did, however leave a note telling her that I would be at Gus’s and to turn on the oven. Being the observant guy that I am, I had made up those nachos that we didn’t get to the night before and put them in the oven all prepped and ready to go as soon as she woke up.
Yeah, not the normal CT thing to do, but, hey, I think love suits me.
At the time of the heist, the sign outside Chuck’s Garage hadn’t been lit for a year and a half. I had spent a little over two years working for Chuck, Kat’s dad. He hired me as soon as I turned 16. He knew I was qualified cause I was over at their place so often that he would enlist me to help him work on the the family car.
Donna had gotten pregnant about a year before I started working at the garage. She was almost 19, and wanted to marry her boyfriend. Problem was, neither had a job, so that they couldn’t afford a place of their own. Chuck spent the next couple of months redesigning the second floor above the garage, turning it into an apartment for himself. He then moved out, leaving the house to the girls and his new son-in-law.
One morning in December, one of his mechanics had found the garage locked when he arrived that morning. Figuring Chuck had forgot to set his alarm, he went up the outside staircase and knocked on the door. When no one answered, he broke in.
Kat’s dad had apparently died of a heart attack overnight.
Wherein Gus is brought into the fold and, surprise, CT’s mouth gets him in trouble.
“…yeah, so even though I’m technically out, I could still get called to go to war at any time. But I think the risk is worth it, you know. I mean, someone’s got to do it.”
Gus had some little redhead with a nice rack pinned to the wall. Not exacty my type, even if she had a nice rack, but she was exactly Gus’s type, e.g. female.
“Hey Gus,” Carl said coming up behind him. “Could we talk to you for a second?”
“Guys,” he whispered to us, “can’t you see I’m kinda busy here.”
“Now, man. Come on.”
I turned to the girl. “Don’t worry sweetheart. We’ll bring him back to you in a few minutes.”
We led Gus out into the backyard and around the corner of the house for a little privacy. I handed out smokes and we all lit up.
“What are you guys trying to do to me. I haven’t gotten laid in like a month. If you had given me another five minutes I would have been rolling down her panties.”
“And we could have gotten you two minutes after that,” I said.
“Fuck you, CT.”
In which we go to Gus’s party, and many drinks are consumed.
On a side note, you may have noticed there is no pic with this chapter. That’s due to my laptop needing to undergo surgery. He had an unfortunate life threatening accident and he’s not in the best of shape. It’s still touch and go at the moment, but we’re all hoping he pulls through.
I had called Kat before the guys got to my apartment. Apparently her sister had come by and taken her to her house on the excuse that she needed to see the kids. Kat referred to it as a kidnapping.
Donna still lived in their Dad’s house with her roughneck, shit-kicker of a husband, two grubby kids, and now a newborn. I knew the way there by heart. It was the same neighborhood I had grown up in. It was in an old part of Bryan, and some of the houses had started to go down hill, but there were still some folks fighting the entropy as it encroached.
I parked on the street and walked up to the porch and noticed that there were still Christmas lights on the house. They weren’t lit, thankfully, but it did lend a certain whitetrash air to the place.
I rang the doorbell and almost immediately Donna answered with some cash in her hand.
“Oh, it’s you. I thought you were the damned pizza guy.”
“Nice to see you to, Donna.”
Donna and Kat had the same color eyes. They were such a light blue that they looked gray, but that’s where the similarity ended. Where Kat’s eyes had a smiling, almost devilish twinkle, Donna’s were cold, like surgical steel. The differences didn’t stop there either. Kat had dark hair and creamy skin, but Donna was bleached blond and had that leathery look that people get when they sun bathe too much.
“I hear you’re unemployed again.”
“Word does get around, don’t it. Yeah, but I’ve got something lined up.”
“Whatever,” she remarked “I’ll get Kat.” and she slammed the door.
“Well, what do you think?”
Carl sounded smug and self satisfied, as if this was the most brilliant fucking idea since oral sex. Problem was, it made sense. You never hear about anyone knocking over that particular type of business.
“It’s definitely doable.”
“It is such a strange place. I do not understand why it is so popular here.” I think that was the most I had heard Lisette say since I met her. I was tempted to ignore her, but my cynicism and need to hear my own voice thought otherwise.
“Because, for one thing, Americans are stupid with their money and think it’s a better investment than saving for their retirement. And for another thing, to some people, bingo is a fucking religion.”
“That would explain the little Buddhas and all those troll dolls.” That was Evans. While Gus and I were getting kicked out of Harry’s, Evans, Carl, a Lisette decided to do some recon work by heading out to the bingo hall in question.
“From what I could gather,” started Carl, “it looks relatively low risk. I only saw one security guard.”
“I did not see any cameras.”
“I was only two squares away from winning five hundred bucks.”
“Why thank you Evans,” I started, “that’s very fucking helpful.”
Carl spoke up. “We know where the money is. It’s only a matter of how much they got and what time most of it will be there.”
“How are we going to do that?” asked the silent minority.
“Well, if you guys were as resourceful as me, you would have the answer to those questions.” I tried not to sound smug.
Everyone looked confused, but Evans was the only one with since enough to ask what everyone was thinking.
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s that whole ask-and-ye-shall-receive thing.”
“You just asked and they told you everything?” I don’t think she believed me.
“Not exactly. I said that I was a reporter for the university paper doing a piece on the booming business of bingo in Texas.”
Social engineering works wonders. The weakest link in any security system is people. You’d be surprised what people will tell you if you give them the right impression. It’s mostly just a matter of attitude. If you look or sound like you belong or are an authority, people will just roll over for you.
Course I didn’t know what the hell that was a the time. I was just being lazy,and it seemed like the easiest way to get the info.
Sides, I wasn’t going to spend any money there. Why pay for recon? Also, before everyone came over today, I drove over to the bingo hall and took a look around.
“That’s not bad, man,” said Carl, intrigued.
“I know, they practically gave me all the info that you three spend hours trying to get. All in a matter of minutes. Go figure.”
“Ok, Sherlock, what kind of numbers are we looking at.”
“Well, they get about 600 people at $40 a pop at two sessions a night, minus the payouts to winners, you got around 43 grand.”
Everyone just kinda stared, shocked. And that wasn’t the half of it.
“But wait, there’s more. They are trying something new next weekend…”
“Right,” said Carl. “Super Saturday.”
“Yeah,” said Evans. “There were posters up all over.”
“And,” I continued. “They are going to be running all day with five sessions with the prizes getting bigger all day. So assuming that they get the same amount per session, we are talking over a hundred grand.”
“And it’s all cash,” said Evans. “They don’t take checks or plastic.”
“And they only have one guard.”
“Wow,” commented Lisette.
“Wow? All you can say is ‘Wow’? It’s probably more money than you are ever going to see in you miserable fucking shoplifting life and all you can say is ‘wow’?”
“Hey!” yelled Carl. “Lay off of her CT.”
“You know what I don’t understand?” chimed in Evans, thank God. “Don’t any of those people have a life? What’s the point of spending half of your paycheck on a stupid game of chance? They could put their kids though college, but no, mommy likes to waste our life savings on bingo.”
“That was pretty cynical dude. I think you’ve been hanging around CT too much.”
“Hey,” I chimed in,”different strokes to different folks. Y’all know how I feel about stupid people.”
“Will the money be in a safe?” asked Lisette.
“Doesn’t matter. If it is, we get them to open it.”
“OK.” said Carl. “What about getting in and out of the place.”
“Well, some one working in the office smokes.”
“How do you know that?” asked Lisette.
“Don’t you know?” said Evans. “He thinks he’s Sherlock Holmes.”
“Fuck off, Watson.” I turned to Lisette. “I did some recon work myself. There are cigarette butts scattered within throwing distance of the office door. We wait around the corner for whoever it is to go out for a smoke, grab them, and force them to let us in.”
“Sounds too easy,” said Evans.
“Then it probably is.” said Lisette.
“Speaking from experience?” I couldn’t help it, I had to take the shot.
Carl and Lisette shared a look with something unsaid going between them. I didn’t like it. I don’t know what it was, but there was something about her that just rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, I’m normally pretty good at reading people and it’s helped me out a lot over the years, but with Lisette, there was just something I couldn’t read.
Maybe it was a culture thing and I was just getting the wrong tells. Or maybe part of me was jealous. Not that I had a thing for Carl. I may be crooked, but I’m more or less straight.
No, I think that it was the amount of control that she had over him. Even then, it wasn’t so much that she had control and I didn’t. I just wanted him to be his own man. I mean, he had the same pressures that we all did growing up, with our folks and teachers telling us what we should do or what we should think.
I thought we were above that, certainly I was, but the thought of one of my buddies being that easy to control just freaked me out.
Carl spoke up. “CT, I think what she was saying was that we need to prepare in case something goes wrong.”
“In case what goes wrong?”
Fuck. That was my roomate, Gwen. I knew that there was a chance that she was going to come home, but I figured meeting here was safer than a public place like the Kettle.
Thankfully, I’m quick on my feet.
“We were thinking about doing a get together in Galveston. You want in? You can bring Amy.”
“Oh, come on. I figure if I can’t get laid down there, I could always just jerk off watching you two.”
“So, is Amy coming over or are you going over there?”
“I’m heading to her place. I just wanted to take a shower and grab some things.”
“Cool.” I said as she headed upstairs. Time to change the subject until Gwen left. I turned to the crowd. “Speaking of things going wrong, did I tell you what happened to me and Gus yesterday?”
“Nope,” said Carl.
“You remember Trey Busch?”
“I hate that fucker.”
“Well then, you’ll love this.” So I started into my newest tale of my exploits. I hadn’t had a chance to tell anyone, so I hadn’t tested it to see if anything was boring or where I needed laugh lines. See, the guys thought my stories were bullshit, but I worked to make sure that they were entertaining.
Eventually the story ended, and I heard Gwen come out of the bathroom. I excused myself and wandered upstairs.
The reason for this was two fold. First, Gwen was a pretty heavy stoner. Not just pot either. She liked tweaking, and the occasional line of blow, but she smoked pot all the time. And I mean all the time.
Anyways, I was looking for a hookup. When we were younger, Kat and I would get stoned together and talk for hours. I hadn’t really gotten stoned since, but I figured, while Kat’s in town, we could, uh, reminisce.
Secondly, Gwen is fucking hot, and probably not dressed yet. Yeah, I’m a pig. Oink-onik, baby
I knocked as I opened the door. Too late, she had already thrown on an oversized t-shirt.
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“I need a hook-up.”
“You know I don’t like the cock,” she said as she started to brush her hair.
“Hey, a man can dream can’t he?” She laughed. “Actually hon, I need some pot.”
“Since when? I’ve only seen you smoke it the once.”
“Well, I got this old friend in town and I figured it’d grease the wheels, so to speak.”
“You’re not going gay now are you?”
“Nah, it’s a chick.”
“I hate when guys call women chicks. It’s, like, you expect us to waddle around and go “peep”.”
“Actually, I think entomologically…”
“Whatever. How much MJ you need.”
“I dunno, how much do you get for a dime now? It’s been a while.”
“I don’t have anything that small.” She moved to her dresser.
“What, you can’t break it up?”
“It’d be a shame, since all I have are these really nice buds.” She opened what looked like a jewelry box and there were three of the biggest fucking buds I had ever seen in my life.
I know she gets this shit from some limey fuck named Stones. I don’t know how he got to Texas, or how he got his cliche’d fucking name, but there he was. He’d make house calls occasionally, and he and Gwen would go up to her room and hang for a while. Personally, I don’t think she’s gay enough not to occasionally pay for her shit on her back, and if so, she must be really worth it from the quality of what was in the box.
“Wow,” I said.
“You see something you like?”
“What, besides your nipples through your shirt.”
“Fucker,” she said closing the box.
“How much you want for the small one?”
“For you? Uh, thirty.”
“Done,” I said reaching for my wallet.
“You find a job yet?”
“I’m working on it.”
“Well, you’re gonna run out of money eventually.”
“That’s my problem, sister. Thanks for the dope.”
So I headed back down stairs to Evans attempting to play one of my basses and Carl going through the CD collection.
“Dude,” started Carl, “Don’t you have anything besides Primus.”
“He-he,” cackled Evans in his Beavis voice, “Primus sucks.”
“You’re damned skippy,” I turned to Carl. “Dude, the new Bosstones is right on top.”
“Cool.” He grabbed the disc and put it in the player. “I love the Bosstones.” He hit play and the plunka-plunka-plunka of the drums in the opening of “Noise Brigade” came flying out of the speakers.
“CT man,” he said sitting down. “Remember when we saw the Bosstones open for Fishbone at the Stafford Opera House.”
“Do I? Motherfucker, that was the show that made me want to play music.”
“Really?” asked Evans.
“Yeah man, both bands were so fucking tight it was unreal. And they looked like they were having so much fun.”
“Yeah,” Carl agreed. “It was still one of the best concerts I’ve ever gone to. Actually made me want to play also.”
“I hate to tell you this dude, but you can’t carry a tune a bucket.”
“Well, I could be like that one dude who just danced on the stage all night.”
“I’m outta here,” said Gwen coming down the stairs. “Don’t wait up.”
“Shit, I’ll probably be out later than you. Gus is back in town and he’s got this shindig setup.”
“Cool. Well, have fun,” she said closing the door.
“So, where were we,” announced Carl.
“I figure we need three people to go in.”
“How’s that?” questioned the monkey boy.
“Well, me and Carl for crowd control, and you to bag the cash.”
“What is to keep the people from following you?”
“What, you don’t tie people up in Mexico?”
“Tie them up with what?” Carl sounded angry. I suspected that he didn’t like me giving Lisette shit.
“I dunno. How about duct tape?”
“That works good,” said Evans. “When I made my Evans Scissor-hands costume for halloween, I covered my shirt in black duct tape. I couldn’t get it off.”
“So duct tape it is,” announced Carl.
“So that leaves Lissette to keep the car running.”
“I cannot drive.”
“Ok, so what’s your job going to be.”
“She’ll be at the drop off,” started Carl. “She’ll take the cash and meet us at the hotel.”
“Fuck, Carl!” I was pissed. “Why are we going to leave the money with her?”
“Dude, I’ll be with her. It’s no big deal. Then we’ll meet back at the hotel like we talked about.”
“When did you decide all this?”
“The other day. Why?”
“Would have been nice if you discussed it with us first.”
“I didn’t think it was necessary.”
“Well I beg to fucking differ. How about you, Evans?”
“Meh, I really don’t care who does what.”
“See,” said Carl smugly.
“Fuck,” I mumbled to myself. “I’ll let this one slide, but next time, just don’t go making decisions like that without talking it through, okay? I mean, it’s not just your life riding on this. The rest of us would like to have a say in how we get shot at.”
“Yeah, ok. Sorry CT.”
“Thanks. So, who’s going to drive then?”
“I’ll drive,” said Evans helpfully.
“Fuck no,” I said, “You tried to kill me three fucking times in a car. I’m not giving you the chance. Sides, we need you inside.”
“So we need someone else?”
“How about Gus?” Carl suggested.
“I guess he’ll have to be it. I’m not inclined to trust anyone else I don’t know.”
“Speaking of Gus,” started Evans, “Shouldn’t we get going?”
“Yeah,” said Carl getting up.
“Hey,” I said, “I’ll meet you guys there.”
“You got something to do?” asked Carl.
“Yeah, Kat’s back in town. I’m gonna go pick her up.”
“Crap,” said Evans.
“You always get weird around her.”
“I don’t think it matters any more. She’s pretty much made that clear.”
“Who is Kat?” asked Lisette.
“She’s this chick CT used to have a thing for,” said Carl.
“He wanted to get into her pants,” helped Evans.
“Fuck all of you.” Not my best comeback, but this was a sore spot.
“Did you tell her how you feel?”
“Yeah,” I almost whispered, heading out the door. “She didn’t feel the same way.”
“What did you do?”
I didn’t want to answer so I just turned to leave, but Carl, ever helpful, piped up.
“He slept with her roommate.”
In which we meet Gus and CT picks a fight or two.
That Friday found Gus and I standing out side Hurricane Harry’s.
Just before I had left the house, Carl had called to tell me that he had found the perfect place. I thought he was nuts. I really didn’t want to think about the whole heist thing, especially right as I was heading out the door to play wingman.
Between Carl, the heist, and Kat, I really was just a ball of nerves, so I decided that my little expedition with Gus would be a way to blow off some steam.
Gus, being the sexual predator that he is, needed women. He had already gotten a hold of everyone he knew for this party, but he had found that most of the single chicks from his past either didn’t want to talk to him or were spoken for.
So, that meant he had to go hunting.