Chapter 5: Deguello pt 1

I was in city lockup again and I have to admit I was hoping for a fight. There were no takers. As a matter of fact, that night, there was only one other poor sod in the cell. He was extremely happy about being there. The tall, lanky fella looked like a Chess champion and wore the thickest rimmed glasses I had ever seen. He went by Artie, and if no one told him before, I sure as hell told him, that his gray-pale skin was sagging.

Artie touched his face with his hands and moved the skin back in place. “It does that sometimes,” He said cheerfully. “I guess it happened when that officer slammed my head into his car.”

I kept looking at him. Was this guy for real? What was he so fucking chipper about? “You’re in jail,” I told him. “Your skin is falling off. Now tell me, why are you the happiest asshole I have ever met?”

“I don’t know,” He grinned. “It’s in my nature I guess. I’m Artie, by the way,” He shook my hand again.

“I know. You introduced yourself twice already.”

“Who are you?” He gave me a pained confused look.

“Pete Chambers,” I gave out a long sigh.

“You have bruises all over your face,” Artie stated.

“Well, I sort of had a run-in with the other guy’s fist. If it’s any consolation, my face beat the shit out of his fist.”

Artie laughed, wagged a finger. “You’re a cut-up. I can see that.”

“What are you in for?” I asked, pretending to be a hardened criminal or a mastermind in a bank heist. You gotta do something to pass the time in stir.

“I don’t know why I’m here,” Artie laughed, sounding a lot like a cartoon jackass. “Oh, wait! Yeah, I do know. I went into someone’s house without their permission.”

“You just broke in, huh? Were you going to steal something?”

“Oh no,” He gave me that pained expression again. “I’m not a magpie. I don’t steal.”

I laughed, shook my head. “No kiddin’? You don’t steal? Why’d you go in a house uninvited then?”

“Because it was easy,” He was grinning again. He was starting to get on my nerves. If I had a lit cigarette, I would have put it out in his eye.

“It is good manners, Artie, you understand, not to unlock—”

“The door just opened for me,” He corrected me. “It’s a gift I have.”

“Yeah.” I couldn’t take it anymore. My head was starting to hurt. “I’m going to go over to the next cot and get some rest.”

“Right-o,” He smiled hugely and gave me thumbs up. I noticed a tattoo of a circle with a dot inside on his left wrist. I had seen that tattoo somewhere before, but I couldn’t remember where.

Later, I was dreaming of Maggie, with her tall, creamy white body lying next to me. Her long chestnut hair was dripping wet from perspiration and had clung to me as she rested her head on my naked chest. I had the feeling we had just made love and we were both at ease. I felt no pressure from life.  Maggie was silent, serene.

Very silent. Her body went from poker hot to iceberg cold. Our bodies were not just wet from sweat, but sticky from blood…..the warm red sensation from that horrible gash on Maggie’s jugular.

Next Tuesday, Chapter 5: Deguello pt 2

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