53)   Super Sunday, 2/21:  3:45 - 4 AM –  “Iggy’s Bitch!”


Ray Wilson and the girls lifted the reptilarium… and its now-agitated tenant… off the table and into the corner furthest from One World’s ubiquitous yellow ladder up to Oil Change Charlie’s.  Tipping it upwards and tapping the glass, they waited until the snake slithered out and into a maze of old boxes and empty cans… then Ray dug around in the sand, found the key, and opened the meth dealers’ safe.  Inside was more money than all three could hope to spend for a long, long time… Honey Keissler held up one of the briefcases, now packed with crank…

          “What’s worth more, a case of this… or that?”

          Ray had begun searching the lab, except for the corner where the snake had presumably taken up residence, hopefully on the trail of a nice, fat rat.   Dunno.   Either way, we gonna do alright.  Gotta Explorer in the parking lot, so that’s no problem… maybe have time for another run, maybe not… Ahh!”

          He’d found a roll of black plastic garbage bags and began tossing handfuls of cash into three of them until the safe was nearly empty – leaving a few bills for luck (or, as he thought with a noseful of smarts, perhaps to confuse the bikers – set them to wondering whether they had or hadn’t been ripped off).

          “I wanna get out,” Honey protested.  “It stinks!  Let’s just get our money and go…”

          “You do like this, one case in each hand… wrap the end of the black bag around your strongest wrist… you right-handed?… then hoist it over your shoulder, like this…”

          “It’s heavy!” Honey whined.

          “Temporary pain, whole lotta gain… up, now…” Ray pointed to the yellow ladder.

          They began climbing.  


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Igancio de la Rosa and Freddie Juvenal had been working their way through the little shops surrounding Giga-Plex - each had collected a plastic bag with nuts from Roasted World, a couple of bottles of good brandy from the liquor store, new leather wallets and a few Italian silk neckties from Bow Tie Formal Wear and some novelties from Femmes Fatales for Iggy’s wife and Freddie’s girlfriend.  Rather than joining the hopeful crowd around Giga-Plex, or the pinchés  running amok through Giga-Mart or Fuzzy Planet, Iggy… who visited the Mall almost every weekend… had led his buddy all the way down to the far northeastern corner where, alone of all the markets, Kearsey’s Kennels remained secure behind its flimsy chainlink fence.  And, behind its glass, the fighting dogs were sniffing the delicious scents of food… looters who’d broken into Mad Sam’s steakhouse had left all sorts of raw meat behind in the Southwestern corridor… and revolution. It drove them into a frenzy.

          “That’s Brunhilde, that’s my baby…” Iggy pointed at a plump pitbull with a white streak across her face.

          “That fat bitch?” Freddy chuckled.  “Wouldn’t last five minutes in the ring…”

          de la Rosa knelt, the better to communicate with the dog behind the chainlink, glass and wire kennel.  “Well, maybe not, but her puppies?  Cabrón!  The Manager told me that she is a granddaughter of El Supremo, himself, through Outlier.  One thousand eight hundred seventy five dollars…”

“Too much for a bitch!” Freddie waved him off.  “I’d rather have that brown beast over there…” and he pointing at the most frenzied of the pitbulls, a brindled horror with one ear already chewed off, jaws clamped around the wire cage and working, despite the blood that dripped to the floor, “…that is a dog for a man.”

          “Yes, he looks strong, but I am thinking of the future.  Why should we put up drywall all day, breathing in dust that will kill us, so Dr. Pedro says.  I am going to have Brunhilde, and she will give me many strong little warriors… maybe I let your animal have a go at her before he meets his fate in the ring,” Ignacio waxed generous.  Brunhilde… we comprehend each other, right?”

          He reached out through the chainlink to touch the glass and, as it seemed, if the dog could lick his fingers through all that separated them, she would.  And then: Providence!  A kid named Bill, driving a busted-up classic Buick Roadmaster had taken the wrong turn and motorvated halfway up the narrow corridor, finally stopping before Carpet Island, where he realized that there wouldn’t be space to turn around and he’d have to back all the way down to the Eastern Promenade again.  Seeing the two Spanish guys by Kearsey’s, he stuck his head out the window.

          “Made a wrong turn!  Thought I could drive straight through Kravjak’s before another turn against Giga-Plex, but the door’s too small.  Howza goin’, migos?  Hable Ingles?”

          “Sure.  Hey, you got chains with that thing?” Iggy asked, “…I wanna pull this fence off, break my girlfriend outa the store…”

          “You sure?” Bill frowned.  “There’s some mean fuckin’ dogs back there…”

          Brunhilde and I understand each other…” de la Rosa declared.

          “Hey, if it rocks your world!  Thoexcusa me not hangin’ round…” Bill added…

          He removed some chains from the trunk of the Buick, attached them to the front of the car, then to the fence protecting the Kennels.  Backing up slowly, the weak metal groaned, then snapped off… the entire fence came away, rattling down the corridor as Bill turned the corner, narrowly missing three cats who’d wandered across the Mall from the already violated Petworld to check out their surroundings, the funny-looking… and, as it had turned out, funny-tasting rats.  Iggy busted open the glass door with a trashcan, then unlocked and opened it.

          “Been thinkin’…” he pressed a forefinger to his nose.  “All these fine animals have to look forward to is bein’ sold, put in the ring and killed.” 

          “You are too sentimental.  Perros pobrecitas…” Freddie pretended to weep in an effeminate manner.

          “No, I just believe they should have the same chance as any of us.  It’s only fair…”

          “And it would be fun to watch…” Freddy considered, a mean smile stealing across his face. 

          Iggy selected the finest rhinestone-spattered leash from a rack by the wall, busted open a forty-pound bag of chow and withdrew a fist of it before proceeding to Brunhilde’s cage.  He unlocked it and opened the door, extending the treat to the dog with his left hand, while trying to snap the leash to her collar with his right… but, after gobbling everything proffered, Brunhilde clamped her teeth down, hard, on Ignacio’s fist.

          Oww!  Oww!  Fuckin’ bitch!  Get this fuckin’ bitch off me!”

          Freddie whipped the dog with a leash he’d taken to secure his own prize and Brunhilde finally let go of Iggy’s bloody hand.  Spying the cats outside, she took off, barking furiously… leaving a spurned, would-be owner, desolate and angry.

          “Fuck that bitch!” Iggy fell out of love – fast! 

          Freddie nodded.  Kearsey must’ve starved ’em, getting them ready for the ring…”

          “Fuckin’ Kearsey!  Fuckin’ bitch!  Let ‘em out, let’s let ‘em all out,” de la Rosa raged…

          “Uh, that is loco, pendéjo…”

          “Don’t care…”

          And Iggy dashed from cage to cage, opening doors and rattling the sides of the cages until the fighting dogs, more through intimidation from the madthing on two legs, now, than their own instincts for liberty and mayhem, ventured out… sniffed those savory smells of blood and cat and fresh meat on the floor, oriented themselves, then trotted politely, single file, through the hole in the glass to the corridor.

          Whereupon, to their wolven instincts they promptly reverted…



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