General Fiction posted January 15, 2020 Chapters:  ...4 5 -6- 

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Peril brings his vengeance home.

A chapter in the book The Pitches

In the Middle

by Bill Schott

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

Last chapter:
"They sent me to Florida to feed the crocodiles in the swamp four years ago. That didn't happen 'cause I broke away and made myself scarce. Now I'm back and I'm taking Sim-Sim's dough and headin' West."

Peril released the teen and pushed off him. Pez maintained eye contact.

"Slinky said you were still alive, but you couldn't contact nobody."

"Slinky's a lyin' turd and I'll deal with him too."

"He's my friend, man. He took me in and gave me a job."

"Then I'll make it quick. Samuel's won't get that option. He's goin' out beggin'. "

Lieutenant Harold Hansom, homicide investigator working on gang-related activity, sat in the closet office next to the interrogation room going over the transcript of the recent deposition with Pez Pitch.

"Okay, uh, Pest -- is it?"

"Sure. Pest is good. You must be Handsome Harry."

Looking at Pez's ripped clothing and recently treated facial wounds, Lt. Hansom was inclined to let the teen's disrespectful tone slide.

"Okay, PEZ. I see you've given us some insight into what happened at the Golden Fleece."

"I just told them what I seen," said Pez, knowing that he revealed only what they could have figured out anyway, without being told more than he thought they needed to know.

"Yeah, that was helpful. What they don't know is why it all happened. What was the core reason for the shooting?"

"I ain't no mind reader."

"Whose mind would we have wanted to read, Pez -- if we could?"

Pez recalled his father leaving the library saying he was going to the pawn shop. After he was out of sight, Pez had run to the back of the library and pushed through the emergency exit. The fifteen blocks to the pawn shop had flashed past him like a shapeless mural of unregistered images and colors. His focus had been beating his dad to Slinky; he hadn't.  As a result he had to protect his friend's life with his own.

"My Pop. He was on somethin', I guess. Crazy acting."

Lt. Hansom leaned in, "Yeah, your pop -- Peril Pitch. He'd been on the FBI's most wanted list ever since they audited the prison records and couldn't find him there. Then he shows up and goes Valentine's Day at a restaurant in Greek town. Most of us around here figured he got wasted by Samuel's outfit."

"Who's Samuels?"

"Yeah, right. Who's Samuels? Like you didn't work for him for the last four years."

"I been workin' at Lincoln's Pawn. He took me in after, well --"

"Sure, kid, I know. Slinky Lincoln took you in after your dad blew your mom's brains out. Your -- Pop -- got sent up for life. Then he supposedly escaped prison, according to the former warden, who is busy explaining how twenty other confinees were strangely absent as well. That's a whole other matter entirely though."

Pez knew his father had never returned to prison, but had supposedly been sent to Florida to wait out interest in him. From what he had heard, as his dad pummeled Slinky, he actually had been sent south to be 'gotten rid of'.

"Whatever," said Pez, not allowing that he knew anything beyond his own experience.

"Why were you at the restaurant, Pez?" asked the homicide detective.

"I told all that already."

"Tell it again, Pez."

Pez repeated the story he'd given to the interrogators earlier. This account skipped the part where he had arrived back at the pawn shop in time to find Slinky on his knees, face torn up from being pistol whipped, and his father holding a pistol, which rested pointing straight down on the top of the older man's head. With a shaking hand, Slinky had reached under his belt and produced a key. It was a bypass to having to turn the tumblers on his safe's combination lock.

"I got to the pawn shop and I found Slink -- uh -- Mr. Lincoln, all beat up on the floor. He asked me to check his safe. I did. It was wide open and empty."

"How much had been taken, Pez?"

"Ain't no tellin'. Maybe a day's business and some. Maybe a couple thousand."

The lieutenant scoffed.

"Maybe a couple thousand? Maybe a couple hundred thousand."

"No way Slinky does that kinda business!"

The lieutenant shakes his head.

"You know, of course, he fronts for Samuel's numbers racket."

"No way! Whatever a numbers racquet is, Slinky's got nothing to do with it."

"Why do you suppose your pop let him live?"

"Who said it was my pop who robbed him?"

"Mr. Lincoln told us that."

Pez ran it over in his mind. He was pretty sure Slinky wouldn't finger his pop, even though he'd been hurt badly by him. Cops get paid to find stuff out, and he figured Hansom was just fishing for free information.

"I don't know what he said, but my pop was in prison and then he was at that restaurant. That's all I know."

Remembering his dad telling him to hold the gun on Slinky while he emptied the safe, Pez felt a shiver working its way up his spine. He'd been given the pistol by his mother's killer to hold against his friend's head. Now he had to make a huge decision of who he would have to shoot.

Peril laughed as he recalled thinking Sim-Sim was looking out for him. Then he gaffawed remembering out loud his escape from the handcuffs and the two henchmen who were supposed to kill him. Shoving the money into a varsity gym bag he had found in a luggage display, he made his way back to where Pez held the gun on Slinky.

"I can't let you do it, Pop!"

Peril pummeled Pez and threw him into a gun display case. He then reached past the boy and through the busted glass cabinet door and withdrew an AR-15.  Breaking it open he saw that the weapon had been modified to fire in the automatic. A quick search turned up an ammunition box with five hundred, 5.56 milimeter rounds.  

Pez watched his father leave out through the back of the store, turning back around before exiting the door.  He pulled a pair of dark sunglasses off a display and looked at Pez.

With an odd smile on his face, Peril said, "Awl be bock!"

Pez examined his friend and determined he wasn't dying. He found the phone and called 911, then he tried calling Samuel Samuel's office. He found that Sim-Sim was dining at a restaurant in Greek town. Getting up he ran to the street to find out how to get to the Golden Fleece.


Image from Yelp advertisement for the restaurant.
Image of M-16 from Google.

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