Thursday, February 05, 2009


Chapter 6

* I wrote this one. With a lot of help from Tis*

Chapter 6

I lay back on my bed watching the ceiling fan slowly turn. As the day replayed through my mind I wondered about the facts. Who killed the Samoan, where did he come from, why wasn’t anyone coming forward to claim the hit or see the hitter? I was also wondering if I would ever get my own underwear back from that dame.

I had very little go on, a bar full of blind, mute people, 5 slugs, 4 of which are in the dead islander, and my ability to scam 40 bucks of “counterfeit” cash to cover my supplement order down at GNC. Like I said not much to go on.

The more I thought about the scene at the bar as well as the slugs. Watts called it a 7.65mm, which was strange to me, most cops would have just called it by its American equivalent a .32 caliber. Why would he make that distinction so early in the investigation? He had no ballistics test to go off of, he just blurted it out.

I needed to think and I couldn’t do it laying on my back. I think best while moving large stacks of iron.

I slipped my shoes back on grabbed some shorts and headed out to the dead lift platform. I stacked 225 on for a quick set of warm ups before I got started with the serious thinking. Loose and ready, I racked 315lbs and stepped into place. As I was settling my straps on my grip, and just as the weights left the floor there was a pounding on my door.

At 11:00pm I generally don’t get many visitors, especially out in the industrial park. I let go of the bar, walked over to the wall lockers I had found when they remodeled the high school, opened the first locker and fit my hand around my “home security device”. It was my grand pappy’s scatter gun modified to suit my current needs, besides nothing says “go away” like looking down the twin barrels of a 9 inch 12 gauge.

I swing the door open and start to give my standard late night greeting “What the fuck do you want?” When I recognize my visitor.

“Mike..what the fu…”

“I don’t have time for small talk Vance” Mike replied “ and get that canon outta my face”.

I lowered the sawed off shotgun and stepped aside allowing Mike to walk past. As I shut the door, I noticed that there was no car outside and quickly wondered “how the hell did he get here?”

I turned and noticed that Mike was dripping with sweat and vaguely out of breath. I walked over to the fridge and grabbed two bottles of water. I handed him one, he mumbled his thanks, and drained it in one fluid motion.

He let out a sigh, a quick gasp and said” I’m in deep shit Vance”

“Not for nothing Mike but Vance didn’t figure this for a social call! The only people who show up in the middle of the night, sweaty and excited to see Vance aren’t guys. So what’s on your mind?”

“That Samoan was looking for ‘Big City’ ”

“Big City?”..Shit. ‘Big City’ AKA Lou Smades, he is the most well known man in town. Not only was he the local drug kingpin, he was also an Alderman with political aspirations.

It was like Ice-T said “Real Gangsters wear trench coats, wear black suits, black ties and seek votes”. Big City was about as Gangster as you could get and I only knew one thing.

No one was paying me to get this involved with some goon of a public servant.

“Sorry Mike, Vance has no idea what you think Vance can do for you, but Vance isn’t one to step in front of that train for anyone.”

“I can pay” Mike Said.

“Vance is listening” I replied.

“How would you like to be a home owner?”
That got my attention. So I ask Mike, “What do you mean home owner?”

“Just what I said Vance…How would you like to own your home / business?”

“Whose home?”

“This one – the gas station.”

Just like that my plans were now almost a reality. The thought of being able to fix up the gas station, get some Russian kettlebells and get that new compact 16 shot 9mm…then it hit me.

“How the hell can you make Vance a home owner?”

“That old man that has let you live here rent free for the last 10 years was my Pops”

I hadn’t put two and two together before now and suddenly the timeline started to mesh. It was 10 years ago when Mike got out and showed up to “own” his bar, and that was about the time that I met his “Pops” and took over living in the station.

“Let Vance ask a couple of questions before we get to the ‘take it or I die’ part of this convo. First, what did you tell the cops?, and second why did you come here?”

Mike replied “What could I tell’em Vance? I told them the truth. This big guy, the Samoan was sitting there nursing a beer and all of a sudden this smaller version of the Samoan walks up outta nowhere, I swear it was like he materialized outta thin air, and the next thing I know he got this little gun in his fist and the Samoan falls off the stool, he then casually walks up and pumps 3 more slugs into the guys chest and walks out the back door, I think it was a professional job.”

“Sounds like it”

“That ain’t the half of it that little gun, had a silencer on it, which I take to mean he planned on this mess”

That would explain why I didn’t hear any more shots, but not the one I did hear… “So if his gun was quiet, who did Vance hear shoot?”

“That I don’t know, it happened out in the ally… at least that is where it sounded like it came from”

So what brings you here? I mean it sounds like a pretty cut and dry case of ‘you’re alive, I want you dead…BANG’ how are you mixed up in a hit, and a big one at that? Vance means, it was a public snuff, and now you’re at my place wanting Vance to find the ‘mini Samo’, and someway protect you?”

“I knew Tonongo from the joint. He is the reason I have my bar.” Mike said sheepishly. “We were roomies for the last 3 years I was in, well 2 years, he got out a year before I did, with a promise that I would look him up when I got out. He gave me a number in Reno to call the minute I was a free man and he’d take care of me.”

“What the hell did you do to make friends with an animal like that?” I asked.

“Simple really, when he got thrown into my house on a simple 3-5 B&E, he was green, so I took him in and showed him the ropes…it was nothing really, just kept the Aryan brotherhood off of him and out of the way of the Mexicans”.

This did add a new piece to the puzzle but still didn’t answer my questions.

“Why does any of this mean you are in deep shit?”

“Look Vance, I shouldn’t even be here telling you this much, I know you have noticed how my alcohol bottles seem to be missing the tax stamp, every week I called Mathisu, gave him my order, and every week a truck would show up. Just like that. I paid for everything I got, full price! So my books were right in case anyone noticed, and every month a courier would stop off right before we opened and hand me an envelope…a kick back from the full price booze I was buying.”

“So let Vance get this right, you did time with the bigger Samoan, when you get out he sets you up in a bar, you order all of your booze from him, sans tax stamp, you pay retail for the booze, and you get a kick back every month from the difference?”

“Yeah pretty much.”

“So why is Tonongo here and dead on your floor” I asked.

“Well it is weird, Tonongo never came here, he was always too scared that someone would recognize him, or that somehow the bar and the booze would put him and his people at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

I start to get the feeling that I knew where this was headed. Tonongo was stealing from some very powerful people.

As I stood there wondering how I could help Mike, where I could stash him and cursing the fact that I didn’t take more money out of Tonongo’s wallet I heard a mumble…then a shout!

“HEY! Don’t think too long Vance, I ain’t got much time left” Mike said snapping me out of my trance.

“Ok Mike, Vance knows what you’re willing to pay me what is Vance going to have to do to get it?”

“Keep me alive and find the Samoan’s brother Haponte, he is your shooter”.

“Ok, First thing we need to do is get you outta town for a few days…There is a cabin Vance has free run of, thanks to a little lady who can’t keep her hands off Vance. Head down to Topaz Lake and lay low for a couple of days. Do you have someone to cover the bar shifts?”

“Yeah the bar practically runs itself, I’ll call Tom and tell him I went fishing.”

If Mike was this scared he better not go back to his place, or the bar. I told Mike to make whatever calls he needed to and then take the battery out of his phone, and only use it if he absolutely had to. I went outside and got the bag from the airport, and went back inside. I threw some power bars and a few bottles of vitamin water in the bag, along with a change of clothes, a bar of soap and a towel.

I told Mike how to get to the cabin and to stay there until he heard from me. I asked him more questions about the dead Samoan, but he didn’t know much. The arrangement between the two business partners was very compartmentalized, smart.

I shook Mike’s hand as he left, and I assured him I would fix this pronto, “don’t worry Mike, I’m Vance Manion private eye and personal strength coach.” I shouted as he disappeared into the darkness.

If I was having trouble sleeping before Mike knocked on my door, it was almost impossible now. I went back into the gym and lifted while I tried to figure out how I was going to crack this one.

<< Home