HAYWIRE - TOM LARSEN
There's been a rash of bike thefts in town and the Mexicans are feeling the heat. Got a house full next door and the cops are always over there shouting at them in English. They’re a motley bunch but quiet, all I require of a next-door neighbor. What they do is their business as long as they don’t wake me up. Wake me up and I’ll be over, no matter where you come from.
I keep my bike on the porch. Used to chain it to the lamppost but the rain got at it so I park it under the roof, right outside my front window. It’s not chained up, but it’s hard to get to. You’d have to come up on the porch and so far no one’s been that crazy. I’ve got a reputation on the block from back when I had neighbors who would wake me up.
I figure the Mexicans are getting a bad deal, but they seem resigned to it. The thing about the melting pot, first we kick your ass. And maybe they are stealing bikes, but the cops come up empty no matter how loud they yell. My take is someone knows the Mexicans will get the blame. I’ve also been a thief.
So I’m up late one night, got the lights off and the music on low. The fire’s down to coals and I’m thinking I should go to bed when I hear something. Right away I know what it is. I slide out of the rocker and crawl to the window. Someone’s crouched by my bike hoping no one heard.
I turn the knob slowly and the front door drifts open. Through the screen, I see him roll the bike from behind the deck chair and twist the handlebars to miss the table. It’s a four-foot jump to the pavement if he’s willing, if not this fucker’s mine.
“Bad move, pal,” I step out.
His eyes flash then the knife. I pick a log off the stack and nail him in the head with it. That’s when the girl across the street starts screaming, what’s her name, goes with the kid in the Mohawk. The guy slumped in the corner has a Mohawk and a crushed nose. I take one step and he clears the rail, but instead of running he sprawls on the sidewalk, moaning. And what’s her name rushes to him still screaming and lights start snapping on and I get a real bad feeling.
BIO: Tom Larsen has been a fiction writer for fifteen years, his work has appearing in Newsday, New Millennium Writing, Puerto del Sol and Antietam Review. His short story “Lids” was included in Best American Mystery Stories – 2004. His novel FLAWED was released in October. He’s been published here before.
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