So he figured he would wait quietly until his friend came to his senses, and in the meantime tipped his second scotch on the rocks. He had ordered the strong, old, peaty Glenfarclas, a departure from his usual choice, and it was ripping through him like a sharp rock. When some overly-muscled bigmouth at the other end of the bar whistled through his teeth, Jensen naturally turned around to look. The impetus was a skinny fashion victim in a thigh-high black cocktail suit. He felt his eyelids droop, and the booze break over him in a first big, wide wave.
The woman stopped cold for a moment, then strode boldly up to the bar, employing that deliberate manner that women used to show they haven’t been cowed by circumstance. Slowly she gravitated toward Ash Jensen, and then hovered in an ambivalent fix, eyeballing the empty barstool beside his. Jensen smiled up at her; and after a moment, she eased her bony bottom onto the stool, plopped her Prada bag down on the bar, and remained private while the two of them adjusted to the additional human content.
When the bartender appeared, she ordered off the wine list, and later she gripped her chardonnay glass stem firmly with a set of maroon fingernails, lifting the rim to her small plump mouth, and swirling the wine before she swallowed.
“I take it you’re alone,” he remarked, trying his best to be attentive but not solicitous, in the soft southern way he had seen better men behave. He perused her overly blushed cheeks and her small round breasts, which were spanned by a brocade suit jacket that puckered slightly. She was a package.
Suddenly she broke into an insinuating grin that unnerved him. ” know you. You’re Annette Jensen’s husband! But I can’t for the life of me remember your name.”
“Ash… I’m sorry, but I don’t recognize you at all, which I’m terribly embarrassed to have to admit. Were we formally introduced?” he parried, maintaining a friendly smile, but feeling a quickening all the same.
ALSO From EDGY:
He pulled into the driveway of the vacant part of the duplex, popped out of the car, and twisted the valve on the hose bib. Water splattered onto the cement. Feeling the rush of victory, he grinned to himself, hooked up his hose, and finished washing out his wheel wells. Then, with optimism unbounded, he pulled out the bucket, filled it up with water and detergent, and began sponging off the bumper, which was flecked with dead bugs. Their gummy splotches didn’t want to come off easily, and he had to rub, use his brush, and then rub again, to get even a modest satisfaction.
Out of the blue, a screen door slammed open, and a young male voice cried out, “Hey asshole, what do you think you’re doing?”
An electrical jolt rode up Arnold’s spine, and he looked up from his labors. On the opposite side of the car stood a young vato, wearing a sloppy baseball shirt that should have draped a morbidly obese veteran of the potato chip aisle. The kid had a net tied over his head, and on top of that a black kerchief festooned with white skulls. His moon face was frowning, and his personal Big Mac starter-paunch was thrust forward.
“No hablo,” answered Arnold.
“You better have a permission to be here, Bud, because if you don’t, I’m going to kick your ass,” threatened the boy.
“How about I’m a big fucking guy,” screamed Arnold. “How’s that for permission?”
He rose up, unfurling the entirety of his monumental body, and, hurling the wet sponge, managed to strike the kid just under his chin. The kid swallowed up his face in shock, and took a step backward. His dark glistening eyes had darted inward. He had a big hunk of soap foam hanging off his neck. Arnold started toward him, but the kid retreated, arms outstretched, holding back the air like a fucking mime.
“Okay. Okay. You got a cool car there; I didn’t mean to fuck with you. I didn’t mean nothing by what I told you, I swear…”
“Pick up my sponge,” Arnold ordered.
Obediently the kid bent over to reach it, his ass poking up inside the mountain of T shirt that covered his baggy jeans. He tossed the sponge back, and then went slinking off down the street, one arm stiff to his side holding up the pants.
Dave Arnold rinsed the sponge, and then went back to work on his bumper. In moments, he was hosing down the entire car surface, satisfied there was enough wax left on the car, because the water beaded up immediately. Then it dawned on him; that kid was an opportunity.
“Hey, you little dirt bastard,” Arnold called out after him, but the kid was a block down the road.
Methodically Arnold loaded everything back into his car trunk, but the emptied bucket, which he wedged on the floor behind his seat. Then he took out a towel and quickly dried off the car body. The kid was further down the road now, but he could still see him. He got into the car, started it up, and backed out onto the blacktop. The drive was a straight shot, until the kid saw him coming and thinking evasion was going to be a possibility, ducked into an alley. Arnold followed him right in, caught up with him at the other end of that alley, cornered him, and rolled down the window. The gangster started hopping from one foot to another, like he’d had some training in boxing, which was kind of pathetic.
“What the fuck do you want from me?” the kid demanded.
“You want to move some coke?”