CAT AND MOUSE
Eddie C Dollgener Jr
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Copyright © 2012 by Eddie C Dollgener Jr
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
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CAT AND MOUSE
Louie the Leech stood on the corner of Fifth and Jackson near the Winslow’s Hardware, pulling a long drag out of the Marlboro he had just borrowed from Spike. You couldn’t actually call it borrowing because Louie never paid you back for anything. I should know because he still owes me thirty-seven bucks and the two switchblades that he used to scare some little punks with a couple of times.
Louie was watching this hot girl walk by him wearing one of them skirts that barely covers the cheeks. Wow! She was smokin’ hot! Louie made some kind of remark to Spike that set that fat tub of lard into shaking fits of laughter. I once thought that when Spike died, the oil prices in America would tank big time. I wish I could’ve heard that crude joke Louie said.
I could tell real quickly why Louie and Spike took that side of the street, ‘cause hardly anybody walked my side that time of day. It was some kind of hot. I swear the rubber from the Nikes I lifted from Harry’s Sporting Goods was becoming one with the concrete sidewalk. I cursed Louie and Spike for taking the side shaded by the buildings. The sun was shining down on me and I was dumb enough not to wear a hat. To make matters worse, every time the cars would drive by, it was like standing in front of a big frickin’ hair drier set on high.
We were looking for Joe Kratzenberger, a local businessman who wasn’t keeping up with his debts. Two weeks had passed by and he was not making his payment for business protection to Louie.
Well, you know. Uh, it was protection from the little crackheads. You know how they like to go through and trash the businesses. Louie was offering him protection from those little thugs. A businessman needs to be able to run his business without some loser coming in there and taking all his profits. Louie had a contract, a non-negotiable contract, with a lot of the business owners in that neighborhood.
Anyway, Louie was getting a little nervous that Kratzenberger – boy that is some weird name – Louie was concerned Kratzenberger was talking to you guys. Not that you guys are not good at protecting people. I respect the boys in blue.
So what do they call you? Searge? Oh, sorry man. I’ll get back to the story.
I’d known Louie for a long time, long before he got the nickname ‘Leech’. When I was twelve, I used to be his delivery boy, running his packages to his different customers. Huh? No! I never did any of that. His business was straight up, I swear. I had to keep accurate count of everything he sold so that he would know when someone double-crossed him. Louie loved his money. Had it running out of every orifice the body can have.
I learned that you should never double-cross Louie. You might end up like my friend Butch. Butch was a fifteen year old street rat who looked like he was thirty. He introduced me to Louie and helped me get the job. For a long time Louie knew that Butch had been stealing from him.
One day, they were arguing about it and Louie caught him in a lie. Louie wanted to teach me a vital life lesson, so he made me watch. There was a weird look in Louie’s eyes, almost as if he was getting his rocks off, while he slowly cut Butch to pieces. I ain’t never heard a guy scream the way Butch did. Louie saved the vital parts for last so Butch died slow. I gained new respect for Louie that day. I had never seen so much blood before.
Who? Butch? I think it was Grecco. Butch Grecco, but you will never find his body. Louie sent pieces of him all over the city to all his different little street punks except for me. I guess he figured that since I saw what he could do, I would never turn against him. Trust me, if I wasn’t sure that he was dead right now, I wouldn’t be here talking to you.
So anyways, I was looking up at the clock on the Emerson Bank Building. You know, the one that has the naked lady holding her body out over the street. Several pigeons were on her back and strutting on the ledge she leaned out from. One of those stupid birds flew off and dropped a big glob of poop on this rich old woman. She stopped dead in her tracks and gasped like a sick hyena! She started gagging and I thought she was about to hurl all over a cabbie.
What? Man! That is part of the story! She kept herself from puking by grabbing a Kleenex out of her purse. I looked up at the clock again, wishing that a dozen pigeons, all of them, would take off and crap on her. I saw that it was two-forty-five. I held my breath and began to watch the front doors of that very building. The old lady was blocking my view, and that made me even more nervous. If I let Kratzenberger get away, Louie would have my head.
I’d been watching Kratzenberger for the last two weeks. Even though he owed Louie two weeks protection money, the big kicker was that he was trying to welch on a ten thousand dollar bet he lost to Louie. Nothing pissed Louie off more than losing money he did not have to do anything for. It was a stupid bet if you ask me. Kratzenberger placed a bet on a lame horse. Not even ten yards out of the gate and the stupid horse tripped and rolled over on the jockey.
Kratzenberger ran a small business down in the Lower Quarter, fairly close to the projects. He really needed Louie’s protection. I used to buy candy from him when I was a little snot. I always thought of him as a good fellow, until he started doing Louie wrong.
Louie had me tail him for almost a week. Kratzenberger never left money in his store at the end of the day, even though he kept the store securely locked overnight. He just did not trust the neighborhood. Word came around that he was looking to sell out and move to Florida. The store was closing. Louie did not mind him leaving just as long as he paid off his debts before he left. Kratzenberger was trying to squirrel away everything he could. Somehow he knew when Louie was on his way and the store would be closed when we got there. Louie decided it was time to confront him before he could get the money into the bank. It’s kind of crazy carrying around a lot of money by yourself, but Kratzenberger must have thought he was safe in broad daylight.
Not today, though. I had Kratzenberger’s daily trip to the bank down to a tee. I saw his shiny bald head come around the corner of Jackson and Fifth, heading toward me. He was bringing his three o’clock deposit right into our hands. I coughed into my hand and turned into the direction in which the little twerp was approaching. Louie was already out into the street to cut off any escape from behind. Lard Butt was still in the shade of the buildings on the other side. His job was to intercept Kratzenberger if he tried to run into the street.
Kratzenberger was like a little mouse, you know, moving around with quick little jerks. He was always looking around like he was nervous or something. I thought he noticed me once as he was approaching, but I ducked quickly behind the support column of the building. I reached inside my pocket to get the little gun Louie gave me. It was ready for some action!
No. I left it at my crib because I did not really need to bring it down here, you know, because you guys all have guns already.
I pretended to be looking into a pawn shop window at some televisions until Kratzenberger was almost right beside me. I spun around with the gun leveled right at his belly button. Louie followed right behind him and we both guided him into the alley. I’m surprised he did nothing to oppose us. He knew better than to scream when we were around. It was not good for his health when Louie was angry.
No! Oh hell no! I never laid a hand on him! You can ask him for yourself! Louie and Spike roughed him up a little, but that was all. I think Louie wanted me to shoot him, but I lost the nerve. I really did not want to see that old man die. He used to sell me candy. I kind of liked him in a way.
Louie must have known I was soft and wanted me to be the trigger man. Kratzenberger was begging for his life and promised to pay twice what he owed. Louie and Spike roughed him up something fierce and took what he was going to deposit in the bank. Louie wanted me to shoot him, but I ran. I just could not shoot the only person who had ever been nice to me.
I had run ten blocks before Louie even caught up to me. I would have kept running, but it was too damned hot. Louie was too exhausted to lay into me, so we both sat on a park bench and waited another half of the day before Spike caught up to us. I thought I had it bad! He was pouring buckets of sweat and gasping like a fish out of water. Somehow, he had managed to find all of us a soda, for which he was forgiven, at least by me, for being so late.
After the soda, Louie decided he needed a hit. The thought of getting high seemed to re-energize Spike. I personally don’t like getting high. A beer buzz is okay every now and then, but I‘ve seen way too many of my homeboys wreck their lives just to get a few minutes of feel good. Louie had that fresh wad of cash from Kratzenberger, but he wasn’t ready to part ways with it. We knew this little oriental guy that paid for protection who marketed crack on the side.
The old fart smiled at us as we approached his shop. Obviously, he respected the value of Louie’s protection, because he always paid his dues on time. He was sweeping the front step of his business and set the broom down to go inside. He left the front door open for Louie and Spike. They looked at each other and laughed out loud. I do not know why, but I felt uneasy going inside that shop. I should have listened to my gut instinks, but it was hot outside and at least there was shade and fans inside…
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