A LONG WAY FROM MANY PLACES
The night fell like a bent boxer. As black, oppressive and smothering as the stage curtain of a play that closes on opening night. I made sure the lights were out, that we stayed away from the windows, kept our voices down and kept our cigarettes cupped in the palms of our hands. There was work to be done.
I was back in
Insurance lightning is normally a simple process. You need jerrycans of gasoline and plastic garbage bins. One or two paper matches. Foom! Issue solved. Ann Fatale said she had some torches, would I come up? Turned out the torches weren’t jobs, they were actual torches from the five and dime. Made in
Doctors are a lot like the heat. Everything’s copasetic until you encounter them and they examine you too closely. Suddenly everything’s wrong and you’re looking to escape a diagnosis or handcuffs. A doctor lives one block over from Ann Fatale, four garage doors down the alley. Nobody in the neighbourhood likes the doctor. I get that and I know back alleys like the back of my hand. Seems doctor had a substantial pile of pea gravel along side of his garage. Unused. That afternoon I did a recon, la-di-dah, walking a borrowed dog with bad hips, scanning, scoping and picking up after the dog. It seemed easy enough. All I’d need was a child’s beach sand bucket, a spade, 25 seconds and the cover of darkness.
It was time. “All right,” I said, “let’s go.”
Ann Fatale took the old dog. I carried the bucket and spade. We slipped through the back gate and the entire alley was lit up by motion lights. Our shadows stretched north to
“What do you think?” she asked tensely.
“I’m going in,” I replied tersely. “Set your watch. If I’m not back in 25 seconds get out of here.”
Later, during our debrief, surrounded by lit citronella candles that weren’t going anywhere, I thought maybe it was good to have an accomplice, the right time to have a partner in crime. I decided maybe I wasn’t going anywhere either.