He looks dangerous. Dont forget the pistola. Evan held it out, a
mocking smile on his lips.
Fuck you. Danny stepped out of the car.
At the sound of the door, the bum scrambled to his feet, holding his
hands in front of him. The sleeves of his suit jacket were three inches too
short. Beneath it he wore several sweatshirts. I got nothing. Drink
rounded the edges of his words, and he reeked of urine and panic. Dont
Danny shook his head. But for the grace. Relax, old man.
The man peered at him suspiciously, ready to run. You got a cigarette?
Dont smoke. My friend, jerking a thumb toward the car, he smokes. But
he will hurt you.
The man stiffened, yellowed eyes darting. Listen, mister
Shut up. Danny reached in his pocket, took out his wallet. See this?
The bum froze, eyes locked on the bill. II dont do that stuff, the
faggot stuff . . .
Danny couldnt help chuckling. The guy clearly had no idea what he
smelled like. Take this money and go up to Grand and LaSalle. Theres a
liquor store there. Buy a bottle, take a seat in the parking lot. Danny
stepped closer, his voice conspiratorial. In about half an hour, a friend
of mine will come by. I need to tell him something, but I dont want to say
it on the phone, know what I mean? My friend, hell be wearing a tan
raincoat. You tell himyou listening?you tell him the birds have flown the
cage. You do that, hell give you another twenty.
Easiest money you ever made. He proffered the bill, trying to keep the
laugh from his eyes. The bum reached, hesitated, took it. Good man. Dont
let me down.
The guy turned, started east down the alley, the wrong direction. Danny
almost called him back, figured what the hell, stood in the shadows until he
was out of sight. The car door opened. How much you give him?
Evan snorted, shook his head. Lets work. He popped the trunk, light
flooding across his black T-shirt, dug around and came up with a fistful of
thick chain. Danny took one end and walked to the door, playing it out slow,
the rattle loud in the close confines of the alley. The bum had gotten his
blood up, and he let the rush take him, everything clear and sharp, his
movements precise. A heavy steel cage sealed the rear door of the pawnshop,
the metal discolored with age. Danny hooked the chain to the bars, thinking
of the movies, the way thieves always tunneled up through the streets with
plastic explosives or cracked safes with diamond-tipped drills. Eight bucks
at Home Depot had bought them all the supplies they needed.
Robbing pawnshops was generally a dicey proposition. Because they kept
cash on hand, security could be a hassle. According to Terry, this guy sold
more than old TVs and secondhand bling. He also dealt weed in weight. That
meant extra cashmore than enough to make up for the trouble.
Sure. Easy money. Same line you just sold the bum.
No time. Danny double-checked the chain, then turned and nodded. Evan
inched the Mustang forward, headlights off, the car a black shark. As the
links grew taut, Danny stepped behind the shelter of the rust-stained
Dumpster. He cocked his head to listen, one hand up.
A long minute passed before he heard it. Slow at first, just a distant
rattle, but it swiftly grew to a full clattering roar. From the elevated
tracks, sparks blew sideways into the night, heralding the passing of the
Orange Line El.
Kenn Nesbitt is new Children's Poet Laureate(Jun 12 2013) Kenn Nesbitt has been named the new Children's Poet Laureate: Consultant in Children's Poetry to the Poetry Foundation, which noted that the two-year position...