One Down

February 10, 2011
10:15 AM

Room 10 in the Brotherhood was silent, save for the exhalation and intake of breath from a woman trying to sleep. Despite several hours of rest the night before, the woman lying on her bed was trying to get some more. Something had gone on in this room not more than an hour or two beforehand, and while she didn’t know what exactly had been entailed, it wasn’t good. Maybe sleep could help her get some perspective on the events of the morning and the night that had preceded it.

Don’t stop, make it pop, DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, I’ma fight ’til we see the sun—

The song promptly cut off as the woman flipped her phone open. She had considered throwing it across the room, but they’ve already been through a couple phones each since they’ve arrived. Best to just answer it and make the bad voice go away so I can sleep, she thought. The phone is shuffled around, and she puts it to her ear.

“Sarita speaking. This better be fucking good, or I’m gonna rip your—”

Silence. And then, a sigh. “What room? No, no, I know the place. This isn’t her first time checking in there.”

One more pause. “How bad? …Fuck. I’ll be there.”

The phone flips shut, and she’s out of bed. This didn’t sound like the usual antics. Sarita wasn’t sure why, but the hairs on the back of her neck were standing up as she walked out the door a couple minutes later, shutting it behind her and heading to the day.

February 10, 2011
12:46 PM

The world is my punchin’ bag and
If I’m garbage, you’re a bunch of maggots
Make that face, go on, scrunch it up at me
Show me the target so I can lunge and attack it

The ’61 VW Bus sounded angry as it made its way through the streets of the Cabrini-Green housing development. There have been people in the past, in other cities, who have said that Sarita is entirely too attached to her van and her gun, to the point of anthropomorphizing them. Those people would have all the evidence they need now, listening to the dangerous revving of the engine as she speeds through the streets and looking at the way she’s brushing her thumb along the metallic side of the .44 Colt Anaconda in her lap. She steers the bus (affectionately called the Bitchmobile) down the street, keeping an eye out on the sidewalk. The woman is on the hunt, and even though she’s not out on the street, racing through back alleys on four legs and following a scent, there’s no doubt that she’s looking for blood.

———————–

Ricky Prince had the closest thing most people in the slums can have to a “good life.” While most people living in “Little Hell,” as it was known before it became a housing development—the name still applied, of course—were destitute and a slave to the system that kept them in place, Ricky had cash in his pocket, along with the rock he was slinging. Once upon a time, he’d sworn that he would only deal his shit to people he didn’t know; people who could already afford it. He wasn’t going to be making any crackwhores like his sister turned into, he had vowed. Not him.

That was five years ago. His sister now bought from him on a regular basis, and Ricky had become one of the more popular coke dealers on his particular street corner. In the scheme of things that didn’t amount to much, even in a place like the Green, but to Ricky it meant he had some freedom and people looked up to him. They respected him, and they even feared him. Ricky had to admit to himself that he liked living on that fear.

So when he saw a woman walking down the street toward him as he hung out in front of the school waiting for class to get out, he was amazed to find no fear in her eyes. As a matter of fact, the fear he felt was coming from him. This Hispanic bitch, he’d seen her before. They’d had a brief encounter—him and one of his bros, her and her puta sister. Since then, they’d seen each other a few times. He’d never seen her like this. There wasn’t a trace of humor in her face as she stalked toward him…only pure hate. Ricky swallowed hard and started to back up, holding a hand out.

“Now, hold up chica…dunno what the hell your problem is, but I don’t have time fo–urghk!”

The young Puerto Rican man was cut off as Sarita moved with nearly impossible speed, grabbing him by the throat and slamming him up against the wall of the alley he’d been backing into. Ricky felt his oxygen supply being cut off and scrambled, trying to get leverage to slip free from the grasp, or throw a punch. He couldn’t do it…an inhuman force of anger held him there. His eyes widened as he saw her pull out that enormous fucking hand cannon she called a gun and cocked the hammer back. His bladder voided itself and trickled down his leg as the barrel was placed against the bottom of his chin. The woman’s face was a mask of cold anger as it considered him.

“Who sold to her?”

Ricky blinked. He knew exactly what she was talking about, of course. Everyone heard rumors of the crazy bitch and what she did to one of the meth dealers when she first arrived. But he had to play dumb. Why? He wanted to get out alive, and there was something in her eyes that said if she knew, his odds of doing so would drop dramatically.

“S-sold who to what? I m-mean, what to who? I ain’t seen…” He stopped himself before he’s able to give away the fact that he knows by saying your sister, but the bitch was sharper than he hoped, and she caught on. Brown eyes, dangerously dark at the moment, narrowed. She took the barrel of the gun and placed it against a very different head.

“Don’t think I won’t,” she said simply. “Who?” There was a look in her eyes that said, very clearly, that she was not bluffing.

Ricky panicked and fell into a blubbering mess. He threw out a name. For all Sarita knew, it might be the right name, or it might not be. He just prayed, as he begged her not to kill him, that she believed it was.

The woman listened to him, considered, and then nodded. “Fine.” She let go of his throat and then stepped back. Ricky leaned against the wall, rubbing at his throat. He breathed a sigh of relief, thanking God that he was alive. Later, he could tell his posse about this and they could lay a beatdown on the uppity bitch. So occupied was he by the thought, he didn’t notice until the last second that his gun he kept tucked in his waistband had been removed, and the barrel of that very gun was pointed right at his head.

———————–

When school got out, one of the children who was stupid enough to brave the alley as a shortcut on the way home would find the body, with a bullet right through one temple and his grey matter painting the wall of the alley. Around him, spread over the ground, were all of his drugs. It had been largely eclipsed by the pool of blood around him.

And off in the distance, a Volkswagon Bus made its way back to the hospital. The gun had been tossed into the river. It had many like partners, she was sure, at the bottom of its depths.

“One down,” she said as she made a right, turning onto Michigan. She had someone to be with.