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Sneakers on the Wire (Ch 9) La Mess-ah

April 29, 2011


A Novella


Corona Cabronisimo

             A grunt. Another grunt.

             Rubio’s eyes strain, widen. A sweat droplet glides into his left eye.
             He blinks.

             Thump. Thump, thump. The coffee table bangs against the
             closet door frame. Thump.

             It won’t fit through.  

             The handcuffs rattle. Rubio’s wrist stretches to its maximum,
             his free hand reaches up towards the attic opening…

             Inches from the exposed guns.

             The cuff angrily digs into skin…bone…

             Gun-shine twinkles like stardust, one more push…
             his finger grazes the barrel. Not close enough.

             He glances at the clock. Twenty minutes left…

             Ain’t gonna happen.

             MOMENTS LATER

             On the front porch…
             Rubio’s foot lands hard…

             The heavy, rod-iron table balances precariously on his head.

             He shuffles to his car…
             A homeless Wino pushes a loaded shopping cart, staggers
             past, cocks his head.
                           Screw the kitchen sink, huh?
                           Hit ’em with the coffee table.
             Wino chuckles.
             Rubio doesn’t…
                           Take off your belt.
             Wino: “WTF?”

             Rubio sits behind the wheel, his left arm extends out, up,
             cuffed to the table that rests upside-down on the car’s
             rooftop.  Cuffed hand squeezes a table leg.

             On the other side, the Wino finishes buckling the belt
             around the table’s leg and the car’s passenger side-view mirror.
             Car pulls away…slowly rolls down the street.
                              Muthafucka’s crazy. 

             Britney gazes at her mother’s shrine.

             Muffled whimpers echo.
             The D.A., still alive, lies bound, gagged — eyes wide with horror.
             A knock at the front door.
             She hustles out, locks the bedroom door with a key…

             Swings open the front door.       
             A Little Girl rushes inside…bear hugs her.
                                      LITTLE GIRL
             A closer look…

             She’s the same little girl who stood by and watched Rubio
             run over the woman with his car on that fateful day.

             Mrs. Torres, maternal neighbor, stands on the porch,
                           Thank you for watching her,
                           Mrs. Torres.

                                      MRS. TORRES
                           You’re welcome, mija.  I don’t
                           know how you do it, but your
                           mother’d be proud.                                      
             Britney smiles.

             Mrs. Torres points to the parked BMW.
                                      MRS. TORRES
                           Who’s car?
                           I don’t know.
                                      MRS. TORRES
                           Whose ever it is.  That’s one
                           lucky person.
                           Yeah — real lucky.

             Powers and Lipton creep up to the abandoned green house’s
             back door…guns drawn.
             Powers holds up five fingers.
             Lipton nods.
             Powers drops one…
             …five fingers, makes a fist.
             Lipton kicks open the door.  Powers charges…
             Lipton covers.
                           Police!  Freeze!
             The car chair and the backpack sit in the middle of the
             empty space.
             Powers and Lipton search every corner…all clear.
             They return to the backpack.
             Powers pulls out his handkerchief, opens the backpack flaps.
             Bloody loafers, the gold chain.
             Powers pulls a pen from his pocket, dips it inside the
             backpack, holds up the chain.
             The “RR” initials dangle…they recognize it.
             They share a look.
             A car’s tires roll…

             Rubio steers with one hand, the other hand sticks out
             the window, cuffed to the car roof table.

             The car creeps past a group of Chicano homeboys.  Homeboys
             straighten, check out the car…and the table?

                           What the fuck?
                                (to Rubio)
                           I think house arrest means you
                           stay home, convict!  Not you
                           bring the house with you!
             Homeboys laugh.
             Rubio’s eyes stay focused on the road…on the goal.
                                      HOMEBOY I
                           That table needs a bowl of menudo on it!
             Homeboys laugh.
             Rubio stays focused.
                                      HOMEBOY II
                           And a Golf Digest!

             Laughter abruptly ends. Homeboys eyeball Homeboy II…even
             Rubio glares. 
             At the abandoned green house, Powers zips up the backpack,
             he and Lipton get set to leave.
                           I told you it was him.
             Powers nods. He might be right this time.
             Rubio’s table-top car creeps through a barrio alley.
             Rubio spots the abandoned Blue house where Joker and Happy
             have JJ.
             Time’s almost up, Rubio speeds up…
             Without warning, a puppy dashes in front of the car.
             He jerks the wheel left…
             The table slides, handcuff bites into his wrist…

             A little Chicana Girl chases after the puppy…stands
             frozen in front of the swerving car.
             Rubio yanks the wheel hard right…
             He slams on the brakes — the car rolls over the puppy…
             The passenger side-view mirror snaps!  The table slides off
             the car’s rooftop, dragging Rubio’s torso out of the car with
             He hangs out the car’s window…GROANS.
             The puppy crawls out from under the car without a
             scratch…Little Chicana Girl picks it up, stares at Rubio. 
                                      LITTLE CHICANA GIRL
                           House arrest?  For real?
             She shakes her head, skips away.
             Rubio massages his shoulder, eyes abandoned blue house.

             Rubio’s front door bursts open.
             Powers and Lipton rush in, guns drawn…
             Point the guns at…no one.
             Rubio and the table are gone.
             Powers scans the room, yanks the front window’s curtains
             open — Rubio’s car is gone, too.
                           Shit!  Let’s go find him.
                           Wherever somebody’s seen
                           somebody driving around a
                           fucking table!

             Joker rubs a sleeve over a grimy window, peeks through…
             JJ sits duct-taped on a crate in the middle of the bare
             room.  Happy stands behind JJ, holds a gun.
                           What’s keeping him?
                           I don’t know.  Call his ass.
             Happy pulls his cell phone.
                           Use his.
             Happy grabs Britney’s bloody cell phone from the ground.
             Happy pauses.
                           He’s here.
             Through the look-out window, Joker spots Rubio’s
             coffee-table-on-his-head-balancing-act entrance…            
                           He’s got a fucking table on his
                           A what?  Is it a trick?
                           We gonna find out.
             Happy drops Britney’s phone.
             Joker opens the door, steps back.  Rubio carries the table
             inside, sets it down.
             Joker closes the door, peeks out the window.
                           You alone, picture-man?
                           Just me and my table.

                           Don’t get wise.  What’s with
                           the fucking table anyway?
                           Long story.
             Joker cracks a smile.
                           I like it.
                                (loses smile)
                           Why you slice off my homie’s
                           I didn’t.
             Rubio’s eyes widen…his snaps his head towards the back entrance.
             A homeboy lugging an angry chainsaw enters. Its chain
             Chainsaw Boy gives it gas…VRRRRROOOOOOM VRRRRROOOOOOM!
                           We’ll see.
             Powers and Lipton pull up to the Chicano homeboys from
                           Sup, eses.
             No response.
                           Any of you see some fool
                           driving around with a table on
                           his car?
                           With a what on his car?
                           A table.

                           Any of you foos see some dude
                           with a table on his car?
             Homeboys sarcastically smirk, chuckle, take turns: “Nah —
             ah ah — not me — I ain’t seen no fuckin’ table.”
             Leader shakes his head “No.”
             Powers car starts off.
                           Oh, officer?
             Car stops.
                           Say no to drugs, Sir.  They’re
                           against the law and they can
                           make you hallucinate.
             Powers’ car peels away.
             Homeboys chuckle, got their asses.
             Chainsaw’s teeth spin.
             Its motor roars…floats a few feet above Rubio’s ankles.
             Rubio sits, his legs stretched out, strapped to the table top.
             Happy holds a gun to Rubio’s head.
             Joker stands next to duct-taped JJ.

                           You never pictured this,
                           Take care of Girl, JJ.
                           He ain’t taking care of nobody.
                           Homeboy meets the devil after
                           you, motherfucker.
                                (to Chainsaw Boy)
                           Slice this bitch.

             Chainsaw Boy nods, it’s his moment…
             Rubio squeezes the table’s edges, closes his eyes…Suddenly…
             His eyes pop open.

             His fingers feel something beneath the table…
             JJ’s dry wads of gum.
             Rubio picks at it.
             Chainsaw inches upward…
             He picks harder, faster…
             Chainsaw rises halfway up…
             He frantically peels the gum’s edges…
             Chainsaw rises two-thirds of the way up…
             He peels the gum halfway off…
             Chainsaw Boy raises the saw above his head.
             JJ shuts his eyes, looks away.
             Rubio peels the gum free, clutches it.

             Chainsaw Boy’s mouth opens wide with anticipation…he
             screams with murderous delight… 
                           I love you!
             Chainsaw momentum suddenly stops. Chainsaw Boy gawks: “WTF?”
             Rubio fires the gum like a fast ball…
             The petrified gum zips into Chainsaw Boy’s mouth, slams into the back
             of his throat.  He chokes, gasps for air.
             Happy chuckles nervously.
             Chainsaw Boy spins, slices off Happy’s arm at the forearm…
             The severed arm lands on Rubio’s lap…gun clutched firmly in hand…
             Chainsaw Boy drops the saw…it stalls…

             Joker snatches it up…
             Rubio grabs the arm, reaches for the inanimate fingers
             wrapped over the trigger, squeezes the bloody index finger…
             Joker drops the chainsaw, freezes.
             Chainsaw Boy coughs up the gum, struggles to breathe.
             Happy, in shock, calmly watches blood squirt
             from his gruesome wound…
                           Can I have my arm back?
             Rubio pries the gun from the hand…returns Happy’s arm…            
             Happy re-attaches it–sort of–and staggers out.
                                (to Joker, about JJ)
                           Untie him.
             Joker hesitates, breaks for the door.
             Rubio aims…
             But can’t fire.
             Joker’s gone.
             Chainsaw Boy breaks for the door.
             Rubio aims…
             Can’t fire.
             Chainsaw Boy’s out.
             Rubio lowers the gun.
             JJ studies him.
                           Thank God you remember how to pitch.
                           Thank God you supplied the spit ball.
             Rubio cocks back the gun’s hammer.
             JJ’s eyes widen.

             Rubio places the gun’s barrel against the cuffs’ chain.
             Rubio raises his arm, no longer cuffed to the table; the
             cuffs’ chain shot in half.
             RING…Britney’s bloody cell phone.
                           That’s Britney’s.  She’s
                           the chopper. 
             Rubio frowns, places a finger to his lips, “hush,” picks up the
             JJ stays quiet.
             Rubio pushes the speaker phone button…after a moment:
             Rubio keeps his finger to his lips, “hush,” breathes into
             the phone.
                           I hear you breathing.  You
                           won’t be for long.  Neither
                           will Rubio.
             Followed by silence.  Rubio hangs up.
                           What now, professor?
                           Time for the final.

            To be continued…

*No part of this novella may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the author.    

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