Friday, June 11, 2010

The Beginning - 9


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~*~


The word 'tacky' failed to accurately describe the house on Sullivan street.

There was a stained glass Elvis Presley mounted on the third story. The entire building was a crime against nature.

Three rusting mobile homes out back was what apparently qualified as a 'trailer park'; they were wheel-less, mounted on concrete cinder-blocks with the windows covered by planks of wood. I wondered for an instant if the intruder hadn't given me a fake lead; then I saw someone emerging from one of the trailer homes, carrying what looked like a package.

I was crouched in the darkness of the woods that surrounded the home, my cellphone in hand. Anyone who looked my way would see nothing but a small spot of white; if they looked for a while, they might wonder why there was a floating skull outside the woods. I lifted the phone up and pointed it toward the man, snapping a quick picture. I took another picture of the trailer he had emerged from.

Then, ever so carefully, I started making my way around to the trailer homes.

I had found on my way over here that the helmet also had a form of night vision; it automatically adjusted its view according to what light was available, adding contrast and brightness. When things got really dark, they'd become outlined in a fuzzy green glow. This became increasingly useful as I crept toward the trailers--there were no lights beyond a few pinpricks that peaked out between the planks of wood that had been used to seal up the windows.

When I reached the back of the one that the man had just left, I pressed my head up against the side of it and listened.

Nothing.

Making sure there was no one in immediate view, I slipped around to the side of the trailer and checked the door. It opened with a click; I stepped inside.

The first thing I noticed was the smell--a faint odor of ammonia mixed with something vaguely alcoholic, like paint-thinner. Everything had been stripped out of the trailer until it was little more than a set of four walls--and then every single inch of space had been jam-packed with what looked like a clean, well-stocked chemist's lab.

I thought I knew what to expect out of your standard neighborhood meth lab--soda bottles, glass jars, hot plates, buckets full of towels, coffee filters, even propane tanks--but none of that was visible here. There were plastic tables with clean, polished beakers--stacks of plastic, labeled shelves containing all sorts of equipment--even what looked like a centrifuge near the back. This wasn't some ma-and-pa show they were running--this was professional. I took several more photos with the cell phone, then crept out.

After a few more quick shots of the exterior of the trailer, I figured I had done everything that needed to be done, and was ready to go on my way--but that's when I caught a glimpse of two more figures returning from the house, moving toward the trailer I had just stepped out of. Crouching behind it, I watched as they drew closer--pausing only occasionally to snap pictures of them from the safety of the darkness.

I heard their conversation as they came within earshot.

"...waiter then says, 'Superman, you're such a dick'," one of them said.

The other one laughed, then reached the door. His laughter stopped mid-way.

"Goddammit, James. You're supposed to lock this shit."

"Huh? Oh, c'mon--I was just gone for less than--"

"No, fuck you. You know what the boss said. He isn't interested in any more fuck-ups, alright? You leave the lab, you lock the lab. It's that simple."

"Fine. Not that it matters, anyway. We'll be out of here by tomorrow."

I heard the door jingling. "Yeah. Especially after that business with the girl. Too much attention."

"Didn't he get his money out of her?"

"Yeah, but only five k out of some bucket Bill found under the sink."

I hadn't even thought to check for the money my aunt had mentioned; now I found out it didn't matter. They'd found it.

My fists clenched. I felt myself instinctively reaching for the shrieker, but I held myself back.

Assess, I heard my mother's voice say.

They had the money. Five thousand dollars--that could go a long way to paying some of our debts, especially considering the hospital money. And... they might have more, too.

I wasn't sure how I felt about stealing money from a meth lab. But at the very least, I didn't feel bad about stealing our money back.

I shifted my attention to the house. Only one light was on--the one behind that godawful Elvis Presley window. Otherwise...

I was taking a big chance now, I knew. But if we didn't get that money back--we needed to pay our mortgage now. There wasn't time for an alternative plan.

As the men entered the trailer home and closed the door, I moved for the house.

~*~

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2 comments:

  1. Hmmm...definately making of a good anti-hero...steal the money from the "bad" guys.

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  2. Not stealing, reclaiming the funds left to her. Though getting money from them isn't as bad as others.

    Got lots of images to help bust them, now to find there boss and maybe nail him as well.

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