Monday, April 12, 2010

A Twist Of Noir 422 - Keith Rawson


It was only blind luck that we saw the pirates creep aboard Palma’s yacht.

It was late afternoon when Palma and his small entourage of three hookers and two bodyguards boarded the Rosa del Paradisio (the boat was named after his third, and most kow-towed, wife) and headed out of the port of San Diego towards international waters. My partner wanted to let Palma float off into the sunset despite the fact we were only half way through our 12 hour observation shift with strict orders to keep a visual on Palma no matter the situation.

“Fuck it, man, let’s call it into the Coast Guard and hang it up for the night.” I’d only been teamed with Special Agent Ryan for three weeks and the man had to be the laziest human being I’d ever met. But that’s how most agents who spent their careers running listening posts were. They sat on their asses for 12 hours, a shift recording conservations, taking notes and the minute any action started to go down, they radioed it in to let someone else handle the heavy work.

The Palma observation was different, though.

The Man was constantly on the move, traveling from location to location, switching cars every 30 minutes to an hour because he was so bug-fuck paranoid about tails.

Of course, he had every right in the world to be so strung out.

The State Department had a serious hard on for Palma. In the last six months, he’d been making some bold and unprecedented moves, the heaviest of which was shifting his primary source of income from muling dope for the Mexican and Colombian cartels to muling human beings for the Chinese and Russians.

Illegal human transport was a BIG fucking no-no in State’s eyes.

Transporting mountains of coke and smack so scumbag human pieces of shit could wipe themselves out Social Darwinism style, that was okay, that was acceptable loss. But shipping groups of human beings into the States inside airless metal crates so some rich cunt in Century City could have a live-in slave, this is where they drew the line, and the line went straight up Palma’s ass.

So that meant eyes on Palma at all times.

Rain or shine.

Land or sea.

“Go fuck yourself, Ryan.” Was what I had to say to his Coast Guard request.

The 12 agents assigned to the Palma surveillance had full access to the best equipment available, including a GC patrol boat out of SD harbor. Within five minutes of Palma launching, we were on the waves, the low rumble of the engine and lapping of the waves drowning out Ryan’s mumbled curses.

We trolled two or three miles behind the Rosa with the lights off and guided by the Yachts GPS chip. Not that I think Palma and his people would have taken note of us. By the time they dropped anchor, the music was so loud you could hear it from a mile off. Obviously Palma didn’t give a shit about anything tonight; him and his boys were looking to party hard and away from the prying eyes of the Feds, his bosses, his wife, etc., and they wanted to do it hardcore and safe in the confines of lawless international waters. The only issue was that whoever was piloting the Rosa wasn’t paying close enough attention to their navigation systems, because they were a few miles shy of lawless freedom and still bobbing around in Uncle Sam’s slice of watery deep.

“Yeah, this was worth coming out here for, so we can float around out here listening to mariachi music all night.”

I shoot Ryan another look out of the corner of my eye when I notice the skiff. It’s painted jet black, and the only reason I noticed it was because of the skull and crossbones painted on the side of it.

No shit, a Jolly Roger.

The small boat skimmed noiselessly across the water, as oblivious to our presence as the crew of the Rosa was. The skiff pulled alongside the Rosa, latched themselves to the starboard bow with grappling hooks, and five men clambered aboard the yacht, pulling machetes from their belt lopes as they charged towards the center cabin. The gunfire started in immediately and I heard Ryan quietly chuckle as two of the pirates chased one of Palma’s whores out on the deck, trying to rip her clothes off.

I shot Ryan a nasty look out of the corner of my eye. He shrugged, smiled, and said:

“Less work for us, amigo. Enjoy the show.”

The two pirates had tackled the hooker and were giggling and mocking the girl’s screams in Spanish as they finished pulling off what were left of her dress.

“Man, this sure beats the stuff you see on the internet.”

I’d had enough of Ryan for one night. I pulled my silenced non-issue Sig Sauer and put a nine millimeter slug in his face; he tumbled into the water with barely a splash.

Palma wasn’t going down on my watch, no way in hell.

I holstered my piece, slipped off my shoes and jacket and dove into the chop.

I’m far from a fish when it comes to swimming. I didn’t learn until I was ten when my obnoxiously overprotective mother finally let me get my feet wet along the Jersey shore equipped with arm floaties and a life jacket. My mother’s overwhelming fear of the ocean still runs strong in me, but I had a job to do, so I kept myself calm and put one arm in front of the other and kicked my legs. I pissed myself when I felt something slither against my groin.

After what seemed like an hour in the drink, I pulled myself onto the Rosa dripping, my lungs chugging like an asthmatic 12 year-old after P.E. class. I didn’t have much time to waste before these low-rent fuckers tore Palma to pieces, so no chance to catch my breath. I’d lost my Sig when I was out flailing around in the water, so my first order of business was arming myself. The rapists were my best shot at recovering some weapons. I crept up on them, both still giggling away as one of them humped away between the prostitute’s legs and the other squatted on her chest trying to force himself inside her mouth. She had gone as quiet as the grave, the woman was a pro and had obviously lived through similar attacks before. Rape is an inevitable part of a prostitute’s existence; it was better to just lie there, take it, hope your attackers got bored because you weren’t struggling, and left you alive once they were done.

Both pirates had discarded their machetes, so those were my targets. I picked up one of the rusted blades, tested the edge of it against my thumb—sharp, they must’ve honed it with a whetstone before storming the boat—and gave its sharpness a real world test. I hit the humper in the neck; arterial spray drenched his partner’s back like a porno moneyshot. He gripped his throat trying to keep the blood in and I slashed the second man across the eyes and then jammed it down his open mouth to stop his scream. I didn’t bother with helping the hooker climb out from under the bodies and headed to the main cabin.

The music was still at top volume, so I really didn’t have to play it subtle. I pushed opened the cabin door. The scene inside the cabin was much the same as the one I’d stumbled upon on the deck.

Rape, wholesale rape.

It seemed like all these Mexican pirates wanted to do was get their dicks wet. Fuck robbing and stealing, they wanted to get their jollies.

Both of the bodyguards and one of the hookers were slashed to ribbons and piled on top of one another in the short hallway leading to the main cabin. All of them were naked below the waist. I couldn’t help but wonder if the pirates had fucked them before or after they were dead. The raiders in their haste hadn’t bothered to disarm either of the bodyguards. Both of them were heeled with big nasty looking .45’s strapped into their shoulder rigs. Where the fuck did Palma get these bodyguards, the discount hardman warehouse? I mean, seriously, the pirates came onboard fast, but not so fast that these two dimwits couldn’t arm themselves. I discarded the blade and pulled one of the pieces, racked the slide, stepped over the jumbled bodies and into the cabin.

The grunts and groans were nearly drowning out the music. I spotted the third hooker first, naked, curled into a tight ball in a far corner of the cabin. She was alive, at least, and it looked like no one had touched her yet. No one had touched her because the remaining three men were all huddled on top of Palma. Two of them held down his arms while the third plowed Palma’s back forty. Palma screamed and struggled, trying to pull his arms out from underneath the weight of his captors. I found the whole scene stomach-turning and yet oddly fascinating. It amazes me the way certain criminal minds work. So simple, so singled-minded in purpose. Some of them, like Palma, had the ability to see the big picture, to strive beyond their base urges and grasp for the brass ring. The rest—like these creeps who were turning Palma’s rectum inside out—they can never seem to get their head into the game, never rise above their urges. But I suppose most people are the same way. They just have a little something extra telling them the difference between right and wrong.

I waited until the rapist riding Palma’s ass was spent and then I unloaded on the gangbang. I took the two restraining Palma first.

One bullet each to the face.

The humper turned on me, giving me a look at his pud. The pirate was fat and wore a stained under-sized t-shirt and no pants. His dick was maybe all of four inches and the circumference of a pinky. He did a little side-to-side jig, trying to decide whether to run from me or rush me. I didn’t give him a chance to do either and put two into him; one to the throat and the other to the face because I fucked up my aim the first shot.

I approached Palma, placing my free hand on his shoulder and turned him over on to his back. He looked up at me with beseeching, tear-glazed eyes. He looked at the .45 still in my hand as if he wanted me to jam the hot barrel against his forehead and send him away from all the anguish his body and mind was going through. He sat up, a small pained grimace creasing his face as he adjusted his weight to his burning ass and he hugged me around waist; his tear -treaked face pressing against my stomach.

“What the fuck took you so long, Sal?” he asked through choked sobs. “What the fuck took you so long?”

I stroked his graying black hair, remembering when we were boys and Ma would send us to the store for groceries, telling us we could keep the change of whatever we didn’t spend and Luka, my big brother, Mr. Future-Wannabe-Criminal-Kingpin, he’d always pocket the change, never once letting me share no matter how much I cried or even if I told on him.

I couldn’t help but smile at the memory and think what happened here, tonight, on the Paradisio, was revenge enough.

BIO: Keith Rawson is a little known pulp writer who lives in the alkaline desert wastelands of southern Arizona with his wife and very energetic three-year-old daughter. His stories have appeared in such publications as Plots with Guns, Pulp Pusher,, Bad Things, Powder Burn Flash, A Twist of Noir, Beat to a Pulp, Needle Magazine and many others. Keith is a frequent contributor to BSCreview, a staff writer with Spinetingler Magazine and, along with Cameron Ashley and Liam Jose, he edits and publishes Crimefactory Magazine. You can also find him stroking his overinflated ego at his blog, Bloody Knuckles, Callused Fingertips.


Paul D Brazill said...

Shiver Me Timbers! fantstic work.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Pirates are so exotic. Different dress, lingo, world--out at sea. You capture it well.

Heath Lowrance said...

Fun story! Nice to read an unapologetically violent tale once in awhile. Nice work, Keith!

Unknown said...

Funny. Twisted. And of course SEX. Always a pleasure to read your work Keith.

Kieran Shea said...

I agreed to give you a ride? You do realize I'm going to have to zip tie your hands and feet.

Al Tucher said...

Bad guys and worse guys. That's noir!