Come on Nerb, do we have to listen to this all damn day long? Don’t you get tired of listening to talk radio? Said Clark, pushing up his glasses. “All day long it’s Liberals this and Democrats that. It’s the same thing over and over again! Seriously man, I like working with you and all but this is enough. Turn some blasted music on or something!”
“I Agree.” Said a voice from the back. “Turn it to some AC/DC or Dire Straits. They are my people.” Said the voice from the back again, his thick accent enunciating every word.
“Quiet you two” Said Nerb. “I’m listening to this. It’s important. The recap for the state of the union is something every good American should listen to. Especially if you are a new American. “ he said looking into his rear view mirror.
“That is very nice Nerb,” said Randy, catching Nerbs eye. Because I am from Ukraine and now America I must pay attention to all things political in this country. I never paid attention in my country!”
“Well you should. Rush talks about some very good things and you can learn a couple of them by listening to him. Everybody can." Replies the man behind the wheel. “ Maybe if more people listened to him, our country wouldn’t be in the situations it is in now!”
“What is so bad Nerb? The economy is good, we have lots of work. Only bad right now is the war but the president Bush says it will be over soon. Things are good in America. Even crime is down.” Randy said.
“Well, I don’t know about crime. I never see crime going down. There’s always someone picking on someone else." Clark says. He removes his worn cap to wipe some sweat coming down his brow , exposing his balding head. "Every time I turn on the television I’m always seeing stories about someone getting beaten or robed or killed. Especially in Chicago. It’s dangerous out there and I don’t think the police have enough help.” finished Clark. “Turn down the heat Nerb, it’s hot in here.” making a quick glance at his Chief.
“In my country, if we have a issues with someone who troubles us, we take care of it without police.” responded Randy.
“We are not in your country Randy.” replied Nerb “Here in America, we have laws and rules and justice and ethics!” He says, speaking more intensely. “We have people in place to try the guilty or free the innocent but most important, we have the system!” Nerb finishes bringing the car to a halt.
“ok." He says after letting out a long breathe. “I know I’m the only one that doesn’t like three man crews but lets just get this day over with. It’s cold outside but the foot of snow we got last night covered everything. I’m going to use snow notes, so I don’t have to show some of this concrete and brick work. It shouldn’t take that long. Randy, you and Clark go look for monuments while I draw and measure.”
“Why send both of us?” Asked Randy. Clark can do this all by himself. He’s big boy now. I will start to take measure. It will be faster.”
“No. just , go do what I ask please.”
“Ok.” said Randy. “ and just to let you know. In Ukraine, we have all those things you speak too but the system does not always work there. It does not always work in America either Nerb.”
A couple of minutes passed by for the group. Nerb, finishing up the last touches of his drawing.
“ I have almost finished the measure Nerb.” Says a voice from around the corner. Nerb, who is along the side of the house peeks around to see Randy with his tape taking measurements.
“ What are you doing? I thought I told you to go help Clark? For a guy as old as you are you would think you’d know how to pay attention! I can understand if it was some of the younger guys on these crews but you’re not young!” barked Nerb. “ You always have to do everything your way Randy but this is my crew , NOT YOURS!” Nerb yelled.
“Take it easy. Like I said. Clark does not need help. I am a chief too. I can help you.” Randy returned.
“ And like I said, I don’t need help with this. I want to do this the way I do it! On my crew! You're the Rodman, I'm the Surveyorman! The way I…….”
“I what?!” Randy turned around saying. No one was there. “Nerb” whispered Randy confused. “Nerb!” he said again, with more concern, “Where did you go? You can not just vanish.” Randy looks around the side of the house where Nerb was working and yelling at him at the same time. The whistling of wind over the hills of mounted snow was all that he saw. Then. A whimper. Then a moan. Then a scream.
“Hey! Randy! Clark! Someone!” He heard coming from the location he had previously seen his crew chief. Still, unable to see him. Randy, walking slowly to the side of the house where he last saw the man that was yelling at him only seconds earlier, hears the cries again. “Randy! I’m over here.”
As Randy gets closer he can finally see the answer to his mystery. Along the wall of the house, looking down into the dark, snowy depths of a window well, previously hidden from the world , he sees the red, dirty face of Nerb.
“ Nerburt. I may not be a smart man, but you seem as if you have fallen through a window well.” Quipped Randy crouching over the edge of the well..
“ No duh!” Said Nerb sarcastically. Putting his wire frame glasses back over his eyes. “The well cover had snow over it . I stepped through it. Help me out of here!”
Randy, standing back up and crossing his arms looks down into the hole at the person he had, not more than five minutes earlier, been getting lectured by.
“Well now. This is a very interesting situation.”
The look of the man in the box was the look Randy was hoping for.
The Night was dark. The reflections of the street lamps were bright however, revealing the mud stains on the snow of the city curbs. In the distance, the sound of music. The rhythmic trance like music of the South American countries. A night club. A Columbian night club hidden in the row of buildings along Lake street, just north of the downtown area. Here, there are many clubs and bars but not so much part of the touristy areas just a couple blocks to the east and south . These parts however are still for entertainment. The areas along this street are infamous for getting “Hook ups”. Girls, Drugs, Drinks. Whatever you like, This is where you find it, The Latin section however can prove to be a dangerous one. A group of Hispanic themed bars and clubs lining this area makes for good protection from the authorities.
Most of the units anyway that have patrolled this areas for a while have come to terms with the owners. They no longer want the once violent streets of the past. No longer want to risk their lives against the thugs of this section. They don’t get paid enough to risk their lives anymore. They have accepted that it’s better to keep business running smoothly there and let the trash leave and bother other departments. They have turned a blind eye or rather, turned a profit from looking the other way to these back alley deals. They no longer approach suspicious characters meeting in back allies or the sound of moaning coming from vehicle rocking on a street corner. They drive past.
The larger of the clubs on the strip is call “La Tropa en Fuego”. This is where the music seems to be coming from tonight. The lines are exceptionally long which means someone famous is performing tonight.
“Oye como estas, Pablo ” says the tall man getting out of the car. “ Y tu famila, como estan? He asked again, handing the doorman a hundred dollar bill.
“My family is well Senor Fuentes. Thank you for asking. Your father has given me a message to ask you to join him up in his room. It’s important.” says the doorman.
The tall man greets a couple of people standing in the line. Grabs some women from the line and escorts them under the ropes. “ How long ago did he tell you this Pablo?” Says the man.
“About half an hour ago Senor Fuentes.” said Pablo restraining, what seemed to be the former companions of the girls the man just took in with him.
“ Esta Bien,” yelled the man, halfway into the doors now. “ Don’t tell him you saw me if he radios.”
“Si Senor!” Yelled the doorman back, punching the face of the man in his grips.
The beats of the Latin music filled the club. On the floor, hundreds of men and women dancing to the music. The lights and smoke machines were blinding and the women in the cages were dressed as natives, moving their sultry bodies to the grooves of the artist performing on stage. People were laughing and drinking as Senor Fuentes made his way through the crowds, shaking hands with everybody he passed and kissing random women.
“Oye Carlos!” The man hears from a table on the edge of the dance floor. “ Carlos, ven! Come here, have a drink, have a rail!” The man shouted again.
The man, excused himself from the crowd and made his way to the table surrounded by women.
“Que paso Pancho?” Giving the large man a hug. “I see you are enjoying the party.” Carlos said as he looked at the white lines cut on the table.
“You know.” He starts as he sits down to do a line of cocaine. “ Your father was so kind to invite me here tonight. He said that his home is mine. I’m just taking him up on his word.”
“I see. Yes, enjoy yourself Pancho. Just remember you’re in another mans casa.” Carlo says, grabbing a gun that was laying on the table. “ Didn’t your mama ever tell you Pancho.“ He said as he checked the clip to see that the gun is loaded. Panchos face quickly turns from joyous to serious and the men behind him quickly stand up. “To keep your toys off the table.” Carlos finished as he handed the gun back to Pancho.
“Me sustaste guey!” Pancho yells as he bellows out a loud laugh. “I knew you were joking the whole time Carlos!”
“Yes, you know I would never disrespect my fathers guests. Con Permiso, Excuse me, I’m supposed to me him now.”
They exchange a handshake and Carlos makes his way to his fathers room turning back frequently he notices Pancho speaking to two of his men. They both turn their eye to Carlos as he walks up the stairs to the second level where his fathers room is overlooking the entire club. As he gets to the door where two of his fathers men are guarding, he sees Panchos men leave the table and head for the back of the club, through the kitchen doors.
“ Holla, Ruben, Pedro.” Carlos says to the men as one of them opens the door for him. Carlos walks in to find his father sitting at his desk as he usually does. Papers littering the top. He’s drinking his usual, a glass of Don Julio, warm. The way the old timers usually drink it. He walks to the large window overlooking the club and stands there for a minute looking down at the table Pancho is sitting at.
“ Oye papa. Why is Pancho here? He said you invited him. You hate the hijo de puta.” Carlos says still looking onto the table. “You know he’s packing heat.”
“Si, si.” His father says as he looks over his papers to his son. “I know.” He says again putting his papers down. He grabs his drink and stands to walk over to his son at the window. “He has contacted me for a deal. A large one. 20 kilos. It’s happening tonight. I was just waiting for you.” The old man says. Carlos looks at his father as he now looks over his club. His aging face more noticeable when the lights hit him. The lines on his forehead and under his eyes become peaks of hills with the darkness of the valleys below them. “We don’t usually deal with that fat ass Jefe. Why tonight?” He asks
“ Because tonight, hijo.“ He takes a drink “Tonight, you are going to put a bullet in the head of the pinche gordo and tonight, We will become the only dealers of Cocaina in this barrio.” His father says.
Carlos has always admire his father and his ability to never lose the stillness of his face, regardless of the subjects that exits his mouth. The calms of his hands when he makes a power grab and the fierceness of his eyes when he makes a move on a rivals .
“ It will be done, Jefe.” Says Carlos laying his hand on his father shoulder. He walks out the room and turns to the two men standing outside. “Ruben, go to Panchos table in five minutes and let tell him I will only make a deal this big with him there. Pedro, grab two men and come with me.” Carlos says as he starts making his way down the steps with Pedro following behind.
“Someone has to defend this city” A voice from the shadows speaks to itself.
“..this country from the crime that has run our children and women into hiding in their homes.” A figure stands in a dark room looking out of a high rise window. “There has to be a man that is willing to stand up for what’s right when the police refuse to. When the police no longer remember the oath they took to serve justice to those who spit in face of lady liberty!” The figure says again pulling down a mask with a scope of some kind attached over one of the eyes. “This is America, and there has to a person that stands for justice! The system has got to work!” The figure shouts out loud.
The man steps away from the window. He laces up two thick work boots. He straps over his shoulders a chest piece made with what seems to be two spade shovel heads then buttons up a thick long sleeve shirt over it. He fastens his leather belt. To the side of the main pouch, which is filled tools is another holster with a machine that resembles a paint gun only the tank that is usually filled with paint balls is filled with thick metals nails. He grabs a rope with a metal weight that comes to a point at the end and straps it diagonally around his arm and body. Then again he stand by the window. Staring out into the night with the skyline of Chicago Reflecting back at him. He pulls up his leather gloves.
“ A man that stands for nothing, IS NOTHING!” He yells out into the night as he extends a rod with both hands and brings it back to its original length, then he throws it over his shoulders onto a makeshift holster on his back. He pulls off the rope from around his body and throws it out into the dark. The weighted end lassoes around an overhead wire and he swings into the city and out of sight.
The sound of gunfire is suddenly mixed with the music that had previously filled the air behind La Tropa de Fuego night club. The flashes of light can be seen down the alley. Then, just as suddenly as it began, It stopped. Laying in pools of blood were the two men that earlier that night stood behind Pancho. Pancho now on one knee, with the other knee bleeding from a gunshot. There he was besides a loud colored van with the image of dragon and fire painted on it. The Van that had been filled with large bags of cocaine. In front him stood Carlos with Ruben and Pedro standing behind him guns drawn.
“ Hijo de putas!” Pancho shouted. “ My men will shoot you down like dogs! You have started a war bastardos!” Pancho yelled.
“Mira cabron.” Carlos said “There will not be any war because in a minute you’re going to be dead and whatever is left of your men , that is, after we slaughter those who are loyal to you, will be our men. ” Carlos starts laughing as he raises his hand and points the gun to Panchos head. “The Coke business in this barrio is ours pendejo!” He says as his men begin to laugh along with him.
Just then a loud swoosh is heard in the air as a steel nail flies from out of a dark corner and into the hand of Carlos. He screams in pain and drops his gun, a bullet firing as it hit’s the ground. Holding his hand he looks at the object lodged into his bleeding hand. As his wounded hand shook, he noticed lettering on the nail. “P.K.” he said. Suddenly, Nails started raining down on the men. One after another they flew at them. The sound of the thuds as they bounced of the brick walls. Ruben caught a nail in his knee and fell backwards as Carlos dropped for the floor , reached for his weapon and began firing. Pedro, who had ran behind the van also began to fire into the dark corner not sure of what to aim at.
In the confusion , Pancho managed to drag himself into the passengers side door of the van and into the driver seat. As quick as he could he turned on the vehicle and pushed the gas, taking off down the alley with the bags of cocaine still in it.
With the stopping of the flying nails, Pedro and Carlos turn and fire on the speeding van until their guns stop. They run out of bullets. “What the fuck was that!” Carlos shouts, his hand still dripping with blood from the puncture wound. “Get the fuck up Ruben !” He shouts again. As he steps closer sees the thick nail glimmering in the light from between Rubens eyes. “Mother fuck!” He screams.
“It’s scum like you.” They hear from the dark corner.
“It’s scum like you that make people not want to let immigrants into this country” They hear again now seeing a figure walking out of the dark.
“It’s scum like you that threaten the streets of our great city!”
There he stood. A man no taller than 5’9” with a medium build. He wore a mask with a scope attached to one of his eye.
“you scum should be deported and never let back in!” The man shouted
Carlos and Pedro begin to laugh. Carlos bends down and picks up the gun formally belonging to his deceased friend. “I was born in Humbolt Park puto.” He said as he fired the gun at the man. Flashes and sounds of the bullets could be seen and heard as they bounced of the chest of the man walking towards the two. “What the fuck!” Carlos shouted as he shot some more times without any affect. As the man quickly ran towards the two he removed a staff from his back and began a barrage of movement that left the two criminals running for the entrance of the night club. As Carlos reached the door, a rope swung around Pedros neck crushing his face with the heavy weight attached to the end of it. The man in the mask quickly threw the rope over some power lines and hoisted Pedro up and into the air. “Who da fuck are you man!?” Carlos screamed as he opened the door and ran inside. Before the door closed behind him he heard a whisper, as if the wind carried it personally through the music of the club and into his ear.
“I’m S man”