Monday, May 30, 2011

Steve and Lefty (pt. 3)

This is part three of what I'm anticipating to be a four part series comprised of a self-indulgent short story. I suggest you start from the beginning, and part one is here. Part two, if you are so inclined, can be found here.

Now, you might wonder how two halves of people can work together to drive a car and the answer is, frankly, they can’t. Lefty has never been through driver’s ed. So in order to get us places, I had to trade in my beloved stick shift in order to buy a used automatic. Now I survive by driving with only one had while Lefty does… well whatever he wants, really. Mostly, he tries and retries to pop his knuckles. Watching me drive makes him nervous.
If our by-weekly trips to the grocery store scared him that bad, I was not looking forward to what chasing a leg-thief was going to do to his nerves. Lefty’s arm was stuck out the window, looking to be simply enjoying the breeze, but his charade was revealed for what it was by a clicking of his nails on the car’s body. The nails themselves were getting too long, as it had been awhile since we had both had the open schedules to arrange a time to cut them. I bite mine to keep from bothering him too much.
Oh yes, the chase. You’re probably dying to hear about us weaving in and out of traffic at a high speed, barely beating trains, and maybe even jumping a ramp or two. Unfortunately for you, nothing so exciting happened during our tailing of what we hoped was the correct car. The red sedan had no vanity plate or bumper stickers, which would have made finding it even in the suburbs difficult, but thankfully for Lefty’s curiosity, the leg thief had gotten stuck trying to turn left on a major road. As we approached, the car made no effort to skid out in front of cars dangerously. He didn’t recognize the car behind him, which made my life a whole lot easier.
What didn’t make my life easier was Lefty’s incessant pointing, as if I couldn’t sit behind the sedan without his help. Even while we were still waiting for a break in the traffic, Lefty could hardly keep still. Finally the car pulled out onto the main street, and I followed behind. I mean, I didn’t jet out into traffic any more than he did. There was just naturally a hole in the stream of traffic, as sometimes happens. I’m not going to go into traffic-pattern analysis here, folks. Lefty was happy to be on the move, like a dog in a neighborhood it recognizes.
We trailed the car across a large section of the town, feeling very super-spy-ish. Finally the red sedan pulled into the parking lot of a large warehouse. I kept our car going straight, despite Lefty turning his shoulder in an effort to get me to turn and visually follow the thief we had been trailing this entire time. But I resisted, and pulled in to the very next parking lot. Unfortunately for my reputation, the sign next to the entrance read “Adults Only,” so I was going to have to make it pretty quick, lest I be seen. Then I realized I was one of two men living in the same body, and decided I had bigger problems with my reputation than being a regular customer of this particular shop.
Exiting my car, Lefty and I quickly realized we had very different feelings on how to proceed. He began walking at a hurried pace, in a rush to shove this mystery into the light. I, on the other hand, was more concerned about coming face-to-face with the type of person who would cut off someone’s legs.  
Eventually, we compromised on a pace, although his leg was always taking bigger steps than mine. Walking over the small patch of grass that separated the warehouse’s parking lot, I began to have second thoughts.
“Maybe we should just head on back. This looks suspiciously like a machete factory,” I whispered to Lefty under my breath, “Like the kind of machetes made for leg chopping.”
“Fine. But if they cut off your leg, you can’t blame me.”
Swallowing hard, we walked across the lines painted on the concrete as confidently as two men can. We reached the stall where the red sedan was parked, now empty of all passengers, whether living person or estranged leg. Lefty twirled his hand, urging me to continue, and we walked on.
Arriving at the plain concrete wall of the factory, we walked alongside it until we found a door. I hesitated, but unfortunately for my cautiousness, my body had another resident. Lefty opened the metal door and stepped inside.  

Read on, dawg.

Inside the factory were large metal shelves, all holding pallets of unmarked cardboard boxes. Nothing seemed amiss other than the unusually low light. Squinting to see in the darkness, as if that would help, I saw that all of the light in the building was coming from a large concentration in the center of the warehouse, high in the ceiling. A bank of shelves blocked whatever was under those lights from my sight, so I walked towards it, nowhere else to go.
I realized both Lefty and I were holding our arms out to our sides, feeling for any unseen obstacles. We must have looked like a very unsure man walking his first tight-wire. Luckily no one was watching, and we slowly made our way towards the lighted section of the warehouse.
As we got closer, the light spilling from overhead brightened. Lefty and I both put our arms down now that we could see well enough to avoid pallets sticking out from the metal shelving.
Lefty pounded on my chest, and I stopped. His hand rested on one of the boxes, about at face level. Lefty’s fingers fought for entrance underneath the tape, and once they had achieved this feat, he began ripping the adhesive off of the top flaps.
“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea buddy,” I whispered.
“No, seriously. Someone might hear. We’re pretty close to whatever’s going on over-” I stopped. Inside the box, amidst a wealth of packing peanuts was what appeared to be a pistol.
Upon further inspection, it remained appearing to be a pistol.
“It’s a pistol,” I whispered worriedly.
Duh. Lefty’s hand flipped over in a motion that screamed how obvious it all was.
“Maybe we should go,” I said, and took a step away from the box with the handgun in it. For once, Lefty agreed with me and stepped away too, preparing to turn. This seems about the time when a large, shaved bear with tattoos and an earring appeared in front of me and hit me with a wrench.

Victor D’Amico was confused. He had snuck up on the schmuck who had wandered into places he was going to regret, and followed him for some time. Not only did this guy walk like someone had shoved dynamite up his ass and blew it, but he also needed both hands to feel his way along. Victor hoped the man was simply lost and would recognize a bad situation when he was smack dab in the midst of one.
Unfortunately, the schmuck had to get curious about what was in all the boxes, and seemed to have to psyche himself up in order to open it by pounding on his chest. After that it didn’t get any less weird, and this cat talked to himself the whole time he was opening it.
Sighing, Victor had approached the curious intruder silently, watching him motion and argue with himself. Victor didn’t want to do what was going to happen, but as soon as this guy had laid eyes on the merchandise, it had to be done.
Swinging the monkey wrench he had picked up from a nearby rack, he winced as he heard the crack of metal on skull. The guy went down right away, asleep, although curiously, he broke his fall with his left arm. Shrugging away the oddity, Victor reached down to pick up the unconscious intruder, and was promptly punched by a left cross. Shooting back upright, Victor took a step out of arm’s reach, and reevaluated the situation. The schmuck was fully out, eyes closed. Chalking it up to a lucky muscle twitch, Victor bent down again, this time getting a jab to the nose. Eyes watering, and flying stars in view, Victor shot up again.
This was not a good day for Victor. First, he had to chop a nobody’s legs off. He didn’t like doing any dirty work, especially something so wet. Even if the guy was already dead, it was still nasty. Then, he dumped them off at the wrong house, and the whole point of the morning’s work had been invalidated. No longer was Robert Guartavere going to get the warning not to testify, and now he had a whole ‘nother witness to the legs. Who apparently had trailed him back to the warehouse. The boss was not going to be happy.
And to top it all off, he was about to be beat up by an unconscious man.
This time Victor stepped into the knocked out body’s reach, taking a third punch on his back as opposed to his chin. Deciding to seal the deal, Victor punched a man that was already out cold in the head again, something that he had never done in all his years. The arm stopped pummeling his kidneys, and Victor finally picked him up to carry back to the boss. 

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