Street Eyes




It started with the bitch Sarah.

            She got me rattled with her talk about marriage, corning me in the bedroom like I’d done something wrong.

            “Don’t you love me, Denny?” she asked, shaking my thoughts about what I had to do later.

            “What’s that?” I mumbled.

            “I asked if you loved me?

            “Sure,” I said – though love wasn’t exactly what I’d call it. Why did every bitch thinking fucking equaled love? I knew the next word before they came out of her mouth: Marriage.

            “When are you going to marry me, then?” she asked.

            I should have smacked her like I normally did when she got into moods like this. But with the job coming up later, I didn’t want to jinx myself or have Momma call the cops for all the screaming.

            Not that Momma meant to take Sarah’s side; she was just afraid I’d kill the scrawny bitch.

            “Sarah’s too fair for that kind of thing,” she’d tell me. “She ain’t like me and your father. We can take your beatings, she can’t.”

            I didn’t hit either of them much because they learned pretty quick not to get on my wrong side. Both bitched a lot when I first hooked up with the gang. They even wondered where I got cash to get my implants and why I sometimes came home with blood on my clothes – when it was clear I wasn’t bleeding.

            With me and Sarah living in the room next door to my parents, we barely had any privacy, and both knew when I took to beating Sarah – even when she only whimpered.

            Her screaming was loud enough for the cops to hear and the job I had to do later, I couldn’t do from a jail cell.

            So I played it cool and said: “We’ll get to it sooner or later.”

            “Why not now?” she asked. “Why can’t we get married like your brother did.

            Then, I almost did hit her.

            I wasn’t about to tell her how his bitch trapped him into the ceremony, but getting herself knocked up, and Momma guilt-tripped him into doing the right thing. I didn’t want to give my bitch an ideas.

            I had learned a lot from my brother about what not to do.

            Besides, if the job went as I thought it would, I wouldn’t be seeing the bitch again for me to worry about beating her or marrying her or anything.

            I told her to let me think on it some, then I got up and got dressed, which was a mistake. Momma was in the kitchen waiting for me, and she was peeved.

            “There’s money missing out of my dresser,” she told me. “You know anything about it?”

            Of course I knew about it and she knew I knew, but wanted to hear it coming straight out of my mouth, and when I shook my head, she got more peeved in that sickly, caring way of hers.

            “I just don’t know about you, Denny,” she said. “If it isn’t the family money you’re taking, then its stuff missing from around the house. I found my good silver platter in the hock shop window this week. I just hope you aren’t hooked on drugs again. I couldn’t handle another scene like that.  Why can’t you get a job like your brother? I hear his place is hiring and I’m sure he could put in a good word for you.”

            “I don’t need no job with Dave,” I shouted, as if my big brother would put in a good word for anybody, let alone me. He was always looking out for himself.

            When our old man went out on a binge, Dave didn’t lift a hand to stop him, even when Momma cried about it, and we all knew just how likely it was some gang would use the old man for target practice out on the street.

            It was me that went and fetched him back, not Dave.

            “But you need a job, Denny,” Momma insisted.

            “I got a job,” I told her. “That’s where I’m going later.”

            And I swear, I thought Momma would die from the joy of it, and she snapped off a few Hail Marys in thanks. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it wasn’t the kind of job she thought.

            I wasn’t as stupid as my brother, taking on a job that kept him sweating over boxes of booze, taking gruff from the liquor store owner who thought a pay check meant he owned Dave.

            I wasn’t going to wait for some paltry pay check when I could take what I wanted from the register and the safe, and if I got enough, I wouldn’t have to ever come back to this house or see any of these people again. Where as Dave slaved for a liquor store, I was going to rob me one.

            I wouldn’t have to hear about what a saint my brother was. Or about marrying a bitch like Sarah.

            The whole thing, of course, hinged on my getting ahold of my old man’s gun. While I had a pistol of my own, it wasn’t nothing compared to the fire power store guards had. No guard was going to quiver over me sticking a 25 caliber pistol in his face. But my old man’s gun was different, a relic from the LA Wars, a powerful piece of war machinery the military tried to snatch back after the conflict ended, but couldn’t get from every. It would blow down a building if set full tilt. Any guard who saw me coming around with it, wouldn’t want to face me down.

            Momma kept the gun in the room upstairs, not because she thought she would ever use it, but because it reminded her of my old man – and with him off in the VA Hospital getting himself rehabilitated, she wanted to keep as much of his stuff together as possible, just to have in case he didn’t come back. But she locked it all up as if it was a museum – adding a host of locks to make sure I couldn’t just pick my way in. And to make matters worse, she sent the keys off to my old man in the hospital, figuring that would be the last place I went. Maybe she figured I hock that stuff like I had everything else.

            But I found a way in.

            So later, when she took her nap, I eased in through the back of a closet, a hole I cut right through one wall into the back of the closet in her special room. So it was no problem getting out of the house.

            But marriage thing must have jinxed me good.

            I thought the store guards would be too scared to mess with me. I never figured they’d be so stupid as to outgun me. Both were too young to remember the war or to recognize the fire power I had. So when they started to shoot, I had to shoot back, leaving their body parts strewn across the front of that store along with half the armored plating management had installed to keep someone like me from getting in.

            I didn’t even get near the money. I would have needed a bulldozer to get through the debris. And with the alarms going off all around me, the most I could do was run.

            I’d never run like that in my life – the cops on my heals like a pack of dogs, snipping off shots each time they came around a corner of an alley.

            I kept thinking about Momma’s Hail Marys and said a few of my own, promising that if I got through this I would do anything she wanted, even marry that bitch, Sarah, if that’s what it took.

            Well, I got away. Partly because I knew the streets and alleys better than any cop, weaving through them like a rat through a maze. Somewhere in that race I made a point of dumping the gun, so I came out miles later, acted straight and hoped no one had picked up my retina pattern or DNA during the scene.

            I got home to find Momma crying.

            “What’s the matter, Momma?” I asked.

            “It’s your brother,” she said, looking up at me with eyes bubbling over with grief even I couldn’t argue with. “Someone blew him up in his store.”





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