Colors Ch. 05byJoe Wordsworth©
Colors (1981) - Pt. 5 - Hot/Cold
Cold day. Cold days are like mistakes, bound to happen and unpleasant. Made dozen mistakes last night. Amateur. Could have gotten killed. Didn't. Lucky. Dumb and lucky.
Cold day yesterday, too. Did some field work from the back seat of abandoned taxi cab parked illegally in front of dumpster on one-way between Lorbo and Nolan Ave. Got impatient waiting for what cocaine-addict said was major organized crime event. Couldn't say what. Figured drug buy, maybe hit, nothing difficult.
Should have known by chill that first mistake was the assumption.
Breath fogs up window, helps conceal contents of taxi. Hardest part of job is looking inconspicuous. Bundling up helps. Doesn't help entirely, but makes me less strange-looking. Khaki trench coat, pants, hoodie, scarf, gloves... pass for homeless if need be. Arrogance demanded I believe myself hidden. Arrogance, second mistake of the day.
Spent four hours in back of freezing cab while sun passed overhead. First greeting me from the left, then by afternoon, warming up my right. Eyes fixed on street, waiting. Seems like I never get around the waiting.
Crime novels have hero sitting with cup of coffee in stylish muscle car, outside of residence. Hero waits for signal. Hero waits for suspect. Hero jumps valiantly from car and finishes climactic battle with scum. Saves day. Took five pages. Read it in two minutes, tops.
Life not like that. Job involves more hours staring at nothing than witnessing something. More hours shivering, more hours aching from position, more hours hungry. Maddening. Growing impatient. Getting angry. Start imaging this is waste of time, imagining lies... figure cocaine-addict could have lied. Spend next thirty minutes planning careful revenge on cocaine-addict. Check notebook for last known address, family, kids, friends, employment, etc. Just finish mapping out encounter involving pulling whore-wife's face off in front of him, makes me feel better--can't wait to do it.
Suddenly, tap on the glass of the taxi.
Frosted, foggy windows make it hard to tell who is on other side of door. Panic. Freeze. Hesitate for a moment before I see dark shape back away and pull out shiny grey shape and point it at window. Head hits floorboard as I duck off the seat. Gunshot rings out. Screams. Bullet catches me in leg. Pain.
Options left me are few, so I spark the lighter. Only smart thing about whole day was drilling small hole in gas tank and parking taxi over flattened cardboard boxes. Gas soaks in cardboard all day, dries fast, keeps dripping. Pitch lighter out window before next shot is fired... fwoosh. Car surrounded by flames. Gunman freaks. Shouts something like "Holy shit", runs away.
Blowing car up, like in movies, really hard. Not generally possible. Car bathed in flames looks scary. If stuck in it, very dangerous. But if able to open door and step out, only as dangerous as campfire. Don't stand still in flames, and should be fine. However, Gunman like most people... see car... see fire... imagine whole thing will blow like dynamite going off in a case of nitroglycerin. Gunman stupid. Like most people.
Gunman running buys me nearly ten seconds. Long enough to slide out the side door, get in dumpster, pitch grenade into car, and hide in trash. Gunman should be close. Close enough to be shocked again. Close enough for BOOM to scare again. Close enough to think "Couldn't have gotten away, car blew up because of fire, he's dead, etc."
I hide in rotten food and paper products for hour or two, long enough for dark. Long enough for cops to come and mostly go. Sneak out. Bullet-wounded. Aching. Tired. Angry.
Cold day, made lots of mistakes. Needed pick-me-up.
Went to cocaine-addict's place and mangled whore-wife's face with bed-side lamp while cocaine-addict sat, nailed to chair. Retrospect... could have handled all of it less brutally, may have problems with temper. But word will hit the street tomorrow. Snitches unlikely to try and kill me, again. Not after story gets around about cocaine-addict, nails, bed-side lamps, and exploding cars on cold days.