Monday, September 28, 2009

A Twist Of Noir 186 - Robert Crisman


Some guys present cops with problems.

Ramon had come back to town to wrap up some unfinished business. He’d maestro’d a slaughter out at a dopehouse in northend Seattle three months before. He’d sent two mutts, Dennis and Eddie, to take the place off. Dennis got stupid and shot the place up, killed the dude and the woman inside, and an old lady just walking by on the street right outside.

The town was on fire for these guys. Dennis had fucked it and Eddie was not going to hang with the killings. Ramon figured time for some cleanup.

He caught up with Dennis and bipped him, and went looking for Eddie but Eddie had jumped down a hole. Ramon couldn’t find him. Heat meanwhile was climbing right up his ass. He had to book like right now.

He drove all the way to L.A.

Before he left he told his guys, turn Eddie up and then call him. He could have had Marcos knock Eddie off, but Eddie was personal now, an affront, the no-standup bitch Ramon would spend time with his ass...

Three months later, the call: Eddie, bunked at the Ares Motel on Aurora out by the graveyard.

He hopped the first thing flying north.

The cops, though, they’d had scouts too, and a snitch named Yolanda, Ramon’s little sister and one of his crew. He’d kicked her ass for holding back some of his money one time.

Family knows family business. Sometimes. Yolanda knew when Ramon would show up out at SeaTac. Ramon would never have guessed that she’d hop down to the cops with the info.

They followed Ramon from the airport straight to the Ares, and caught his ass crashing the door to Room 106, gun in hand.

They clustered Ramon and slammed him on into the room. Ramon dropped the gun.

Eddie’s gone out for smokes, and got back in time to stand in a shadow and witness the action. He jetted like Usain Bolt to his car and boogied on off toward the edge of the world.

So now in the room, Ramon, and cops on each side. Ramon: thirty years old, 5’9” and slender, still choir-boy pretty in black cashmere and silk, not a hair out of place despite the gang-tackle. The cops: Ray Martin, Mike Schindler, homicide aces, late 30s in ugly gray suits; the narc, Jerry Parker, tall, thin, sardonic, all duded up in brown flannel and shoes: Johnson-Murphy.

Parker picked up the gun Ramon dropped.

Martin grinned at Ramon, his round, dark-brown face almost benign. Schindler’s malevolent gotcha hawk’s eyes marked him as the bad cop.

Parker checked out the bathroom. Nothing and no one. He switched on the overhead 20-Watt light.

A drab little room, cold, rugless, empty, and stained, with a bed, chair, and table next to a wall. Also a smell like old tricks and hos.

Schindler quick-frisked Ramon, missing nothing. Then he and Martin stepped back. Parker leaned on the wall near the door, which he’d closed, with a lazy look in his eye. He dangled the gun Ramon dropped at his side.

Ramon had had time to blink his way past the freakout that came with the gangbang. He looked from Schindler to Martin to Parker, ice in his eyes. They looked back as if they were bored.

“The fuck’s going on?” Ramon said.

Schindler said, “You tell us.”

“Tell you? Tell you what? I come off a plane and come here, and you pile on me, man. What the fuck. You tell me.”

Martin said, “What do you think?”

“What do I think? I’m thinking, why the fuck are you even here? Why’d you guys roust me like this?”

Martin said, “You keep asking questions. We’re looking for answers. We’re kind of hoping you’ll give us some answers.”

“Answers to what? What’s this, fucking games? Man—”

Schindler said, “Answers, you asshole. That dopehouse last Christmas. All that good shit. Tell us about it.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Martin snorted. “You don’t, huh? Must be you got short-term memory loss or something. We found your buddy, you know.”

“My buddy?”

“Yeah. Your good buddy Dennis. One of the guys who did all your scutwork out at the dopehouse.”

Ramon looked at Martin like he was a clown at the circus. “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.”

“You’re telling me you don’t know Dennis? Dennis Mickelson? Married your sister—”

“I know Dennis. He’s my brother-in-law. So what?”

Schindler said, “That’s what you’re here to tell us. You stupid or something?”

Ramon looked at Schindler. This cop had eyes. A hard-on for sure, and not just because of the job.

“Must be something, my man,” Ramon said. “I still don’t know what you’re talking about.” He had this smirk on his face now.

Martin said, “You’re a cocky little fucker, aren’t you?”

Ramon, smirking, said, “Hey, man. You guys are the ones with some kind of beef. Me, I’m still waiting to find out what’s going on.”

“Ray,” Schindler said, “let’s just do this. Fuck 20 questions. All he’s gonna do is blow smoke up our ass.”

“Yeah,” Martin said, “this I know.”

Ramon said, “What’s ‘let’s just do this’? Do what? Set me up? Huh? I fucking love it. Puto cops. I sue your ass.”

Martin pursed his lips and then said, “I want you to see something.”

“I don’t want to see anything, man. Just, go away, how’s that?”

“This’ll just take a minute.” Martin looked over at Parker.

Parker said, “I’ve got to go get it.” He shoved Ramon’s gun in his pocket and loped out the door.

Two minutes later, he came in the door with a navy-blue gym bag, much like the one that Ramon had brought off the plane.

He said, “Here, asshole,” and underhanded the bag at Ramon.

Say this for Ramon, his reflexes worked. He batted the bag away as if it was poison. It thumped to the floor not far from his feet. He looked at the bag, then at Parker. Two and two came to four. His eyes locked on Martin.

Martin went over, bent down, unzipped the bag, and reached in. He came out with this brick, cellophane-wrapped, the size of a football. The brick was shit-brown. You could smell it out in the street.

Martin looked at the brick and then at Ramon, his eyes wide in mock wonder.

“Look at this, fellas,” he said. He smiled now, eyes on Ramon.

Parker was smiling. Schindler was smiling—his smile the coldest thing on Earth, this side of an icepick.

“Unless I miss my guess,” Martin said, “this is one shitload of Mexican dope.”

Ramon stared and stared at the bag. Then he snapped back.

“You fucking—fuck you! You think you’re just going to drop shit on me? Like I come off the plane with a bagful of dope? You think they didn’t check me down in L.A., at the airport?” He barked out a laugh and then shook his head. “I love it, man! I think I’ll call Johnny Cochran on this. Plant dope on me! I’ll own your ass!”

“Johnny Cochran, right on,” Parker said. “I heard his rates dropped way low since he fell over dead. You stupid fuck.”


“And, living or dead, I’d love to hear him explain how we found all this shit in your bag.”

“You put it there, man! The fuck, explain shit—”

“I say that’s your word against ours,” Parker said, “wouldn’t you? We picked a man up on a tip. Turns out, guy’s wanted for questioning, dig it? Four killings up here and so—”

“Fuck you!” Ramon spit a laugh. “That’s—”

“And,” Parker said, “according to Yakima police who’ve been rolling up dipshits all over town this past week, you’re kind of the king of the candymen there, you know what I mean? So—”

“Shit! Man. Why don’t you—Give me my call, man! We’ll see who’s gonna do what to who, huh?”

Schindler said, “Shut the fuck up.” If an icepick could talk... The whole room got quiet.

“You’re quite a guy,” Schindler said. “All of those people you left up here dead. Big bag of dope, got your name on it there. You could be looking at life plus forever, or even a hanging, who knows? You did know they hang motherfuckers in this state, I hope. Uh-huh, I figured. Most guys’d be shitting in their pants, but not you. You laugh, ha ha ha. You got it all figured out. ‘Get me my lawyer and then kiss my dick.’” Schindler looked at Martin and Parker. “Man’s got cojones, you know?”

He paused a moment, then said, “We could just off you, my friend. Bang, just like that, right here and right now. No muss and no fuss. No one around, just you and us, you went for your popgun, who’d know the difference?”

Parker twirled Ramon’s gun like a gunslinger now.

Ramon said, “You fuck—”

“Shut the fuck up,” Schindler said. “As I was saying, another scut down, case fucking closed. Could be the best way to go. I mean, you could be right. Who knows what’s going to happen in court? You got a jury, a shit-eating lawyer, jury likes the rosebud you got for a mouth, and maybe you walk.” He looked at Martin. “What’s those guys in Yakima call him? Teflon Man, right?” He grinned at Ramon. “Yakima cops, that’s what they call you. Teflon Man. You’re kind of a legend down there.”

“Hey, man—”

“Those people you killed—”


“Those people you killed,” Schindler said. “Or had killed or whatever. Mizell, his old lady, the woman in front of the house—”


“And Dennis, your partner in crime. Bang bang bang bang. Cold fucking business, Ramon. You’re a health hazard, you know that? It’s, something’s got to be done, don’t you think? That’s too many bodies.” Schindler nodded, as if confirming some prior judgement. “Yeah, definitely, something has got to be done. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Jack. I’d love to see you up in the joint for the rest of your natural life, plus a few. Pretty as you are.”

Parker laughed. “What do you think he’d go for up on the tier?”

“A carton of butts,” Martin said, “maybe two.”

“Yeah. Maybe three,” Schindler said. “He’s pretty as a bitch. They’d pass him around like a sackful of candy and—”

“You know what, man? Fuck you.” Ramon said this calmly, but eerily so.

And under that calmness, rage, trembling. His eyes held cold murder.

Parker caught it. He said, “Oh my!” A fake sissy’s voice.

Martin laughed. “Goodness!”

“Like I said,” Schindler said, “a trial, well, who knows? And if you were to walk...” He pursed his lips. “So, anyway, guess what. You want to guess?”

Ramon stood there, eyes locked on Schindler. He barely breathed.

“No, huh? Schindler said. “Well, my man, we are going to off you. Right here and right now. We brought you in here and opened your bag and, voila, a boatload of chiva. We bring out the cuffs and read you your rights and, cluck that you are, you pull a gun and I have to shoot you. Bang bang bang bang. Sound like a plan?”

“Man—” Ramon’s eyes growing wide, phlegm climbing up in his throat.

“Here, check this out,” Schindler said. He looked over at Parker. Parker passed him the gun Ramon dropped. Schindler laid the gun on the table and pulled out his own. He pointed his gun at the gun on the table.

“You know what that is?”

Ramon looked at Schindler and blinked. “Man, what the fuck? Do I know what that is? It’s my gun. What the fuck are you doing?”

Schindler laughed. “Yeah, your gun. Sure can’t fool you. And, lessee, it’s also a drop gun. You know what that is, do you not?”

“Hey, man—”

“A drop gun, my man,” Schindler said, “is for when we decide to kill someone, dig it? Who needs killing, like you. It’s the right thing to do, am I right?” He nodded. “Killing assholes like you. But the thing is, it doesn’t look good, you know what I mean? Newspapers, TV, all the liberals and shit, they climb up our ass when we do stuff like that. You know how it goes. So, you know? When we find some ratfuck needs killing, like you, what we do is, we haul out a drop gun. And after we kill him we put the gun down by the body, and then, when the cameras show up, we tell all the folks what a close call we had and, thank God the guy was loaded on drugs and they slowed his ass down.” He smiled that cold smile. “It always works. Another mutt down and the taxpayers love us.”

Parker started to laugh.

Ramon said, “You motherfucker—”

“So that’s what this is,” Schindler said. “A drop gun. Your gun as it happens. And, you know what? We’re going to drop it on you just a little bit early. Before I blow you away.”


“See, we decided, just killing your ass? We do shit like that, you know, it gets old. So, sports that we are, we decided to give you a chance. Not much of a chance. Hardly any at all as a matter of fact, but, you know, a chance. Go out like a man, you know what I mean? What do you think?”

Ramon looked at Schindler, then at the gun on the table, at Martin and Parker, then back at Schindler.

“C’mon, man,” Schindler said, “pick up the gun.”

Ramon stood stock still.

Schindler grinned, again icepick nasty. “Jesus Christ, vato, you are a faggot. Give you your last shot in life and you aren’t gonna take it? I thought you had some cojones. Bad motherfucker like you. I know you like guns. I saw Dennis. You spread him all over the floor, from behind. What chance did he have? Huh, motherfucker? So, c’mon, maricon. Pick up the gun.”

Ramon’s face, mottled outrage and fear. Then, just rage—and he swept that gun off the table. Sent it flying. It bounced end over end to the opposite wall, where it lay like a dead thing.

Ramon rasped a laugh. “Fuck you, cocksucker!”

Schindler brought up his gun, pulled the trigger. KA-BLAM! The room buckled.

A hole in the wall, just past Ramon’s ear. Ramon rigid, eyes wide, breath stopped...

“Bang bang, you’re dead.” Schindler said.

His arm dropped, the gun now dead weight. His eyes held Ramon, real murder in them, frosted with all the contempt in the world.

“Lucky you, motherfucker,” he said. “They make the movie, I get to blow you away.”

Martin came over to Schindler, put a hand on his shoulder, and spoke almost gently. “Let’s get this done, Mike.” He looked at Ramon. “You’re lucky he knows he’s not God.” He pursed his lips. “Your mistake, Jack.”

Slowly the murder left Schindler.

Parker handcuffed Ramon. Martin picked up the dope bag.

He looked at Ramon. “We’ll see what the jury says, huh?”

Later, the three cops sat in a booth in a bar. Ramon was socked up in County. Now, party time.

“Salud,” Martin said.

They tipped back their drinks. Martin started to laugh. “‘Bang bang, you’re dead’ and then blam. You practically busted my eardrums.”

Schindler laughed. “Sorry.”

“Don’t sweat it, my man,” Martin said. “All for the cause.”

“That little prick,” Schindler said. “‘I sue your ass. I get Johnny Cochran.’ Every fucking mutt in the world... Sue this, motherfucker.”

They drank for awhile, letting the liquor course through them.

“Martin said, “You got him, Jerry. ‘What do you think he’d go for up on the tier?’”

“A carton of butts, maybe two.” Parker laughed.

“‘They’d pass him around all day and all night,’” Martin said, “‘like a sackful of candy.’ Rodriguez really didn’t like that.”

“Jaws got way snug,” Schindler said.

“Yeah,” Parker said. “No sissies in this fucking camp.”

“Man’s got some issues.” Schindler laughed.

“Sure looks like,” Martin said. “Still though, Rodriguez? You see him catching for the home team up there?”

“Actually, no.” Schindler said.

Martin said, “Me neither. This guy runs stuff, gives orders. Tells his guys jump, they say how high? He’s up there and half of his dipshits’re stuffed in there with him, they’re bringing in dope, he’s running the joint in six months. Now, ‘Suck my dick.’”

“Yup, I’d say so,” Schindler said. Just like that, his mood darkened. “I really did want to cap his ass, Ray. I really did.”

“Yeah, man, I know,” Martin said. “Still, though, you put that shot by his ear and fucked up that wall and he jumped like you stuck a hotcomb right up his ass. He’s probably still shitting water.”

“And,” Parker said, “that dope is his, man, believe it. We got a tip, and he’s got a jacket—”

“He’s never been busted for one goddamn thing,” Schindler said.

“Yeah, well, the stories that we’re gonna tell, am I right?” Martin said. “And plus, Johnny Davis in Yakima there, I talked with him, right? Before we came here? Give him the good news, he’s happy as shit. And right now, I’d guess, he’s out scooping homies, you know? Next couple of days, they’ll be turning those dipshits like pancakes. Whole new chapter being written right now in Rodriguez’s book.”

“And, plus,” Parker said, “that dope we found up his ass? After we’re done it goes back in the locker, we’re not gonna miss it, alright? And—his lawyer, whoever he gets, Flee Bailey, he brings Cochran back from the dead, who gives a fuck, right? Perry Mason. They’re gonna have to work like a dog to hose this shit off. And plus now, the prick can’t afford ‘em, so... Fuck him, he’s toast.”

“Yeah, well, maybe.”

“I bet you, Mike,” Martin said. “Look, man, we got him, all right? I bet you we do. And he was a gift.”

Schindler grinned. “The Wicked Yolanda.”

“Yes, indeed,” Martin said. “Right up his ass. Surprise, motherfucker! A win for our side, however it goes. His business is toast and we ran his ass ragged. The man thought he’d die in that room.”

“Yeah,” Schindler said. “That was fun.”

The three of them laughed, and went ahead and got shitfaced.

Salud. Problem solved, at least for the next little while.

BIO: Robert Crisman writes crime and noir fiction. He spent 15 years on streets in downtown Seattle and has some idea of what really goes on in these realms. He’s had stories posted on A Twist of Noir, and some scheduled on Yellow Mama and Darkest Before Dawn. A movie he scripted, Chasing the Dopeman, is currently in post-prod down in L.A. and, with luck, it’ll be ready to go sometime this fall.

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