Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Dumpster Crackers

It was two hours after Joe misspoke to his bathrobe-sporting psycho-Dad, and Joe's head felt like the inside of an Afghani pinball machine.  He rolled over on the floor of the foyer, groaning.  Sitting up, he held his forehead and opened his eyes, squinting at the soft white globe of light coming from the porch light.  Joe looked at his watch.  He got to his knees, his whole skull pounding like a sledgehammer on an anvil, and knee-walked the five yards to the phone table next to the coat tree to call his father's closest associate at the CIA (that he knew of), John Smith.

    "Mr. Smith, please......John? Yeah, it's Joe.  Joe Eawest?  It's my Dad....yeah....yes, he'd done something again.......no....no, I just woke up, he--I know, he knocked me out, John.  Look, I don't know what he's done or even where he is at this point, but could you--could you come down here?  Or send someone?  I can't handle this by myself again....okay.  Fine.  See you then."  He hung up.
Joe got up and walked to the refrigerator and got a bag of frozen peas from the freezer.   He grabbed a glass of water and the bottle of Ibuprofen from the cabinet and walked upstairs.

     Meanwhile, a block away, in the parking lot of the long ago closed down "Sal's Mini-Mart", smoke was still smoldering in what was left of a green metal dumpster.  The boarded up mini-mart was pocked with bullet holes, its faded sign splintered and barely discernible.  Police had already cordoned off the area with two different colors of tape, and crime scene forensic analysts were combing over what appeared to be remnants of some second-grade illegal fireworks and some beer cans.  A stodgy man in horn rimmed brow-line frames photographed the dumpster, which turned out to be full of blood and bits of bone, the bodies from which they came mysteriously not there anymore. 

     Detective Mathers, a tall, mean looking ogre of a man with a crew cut and a jagged scar on his neck, was discussing the incident with the only witness, a teenage boy with a skateboard. 

     "So the shots came from where?" the detective droned, writing everything down on a legal pad.  The teen detailed what he remembered, how he'd been watching the fireworks from across the street in the small playground on the corner.  He used to hide out in the staircase to the big slide, which was covered and a good place to spark a jay or drink illicitly acquired beer with his buddies.  He explained that the after the first shot, the small crowd of delinquents at Sal's had scattered, all save the one that caught the first round in his thigh.  The second shot caught one fleeing kid square in the back of the head and it had 'exploded like a water balloon'.  Mathers scribbled as the punk described the shooter, and how he'd finished off the two pyros by tossing them in the dumpster and chucking a grenade in after them, then trotting off the way he'd come.  The dumpster went off like a torpedo had hit it, sending a spray of brains blood and body parts hundreds of feet into the air and who knows where.

     "Okay kid, I think that's enough.  What's your name again?"

     "Bartholomew Norse, sir," Bart said, hoping he wouldn't have to give the cop any important information.

     "Alright, Bartholomew, head over there to that young lady by the cruiser and give her your info, and we'll probably be contacting you again for more information.  Thanks for your help."   Detective Mathers turned and surveyed the scene again.  He shook his head, muttering one word under his breath.


     Bart Norse had no intention of talking to that nice lady over by the cruiser and he stealthily slipped around the side of Sal's and into the back alley and then skittered silently down it like a rat and into the night.

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