Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Way It Crumbles (published in Darkest Before The Dawn)

“Got your Nine?” Cheese asked.
Twist nodded.
“Keep it tucked inside your pocket,” Cheese said between sips of Pepsi. “Make it easy to pull when the time comes to use it.”
Twist didn’t say anything – his eyes never left the front of the discount liquor store on Raymond Boulevard. He sat quietly behind the wheel of the Sentra, his head resting against the seat, taking in everything up and down the street. Nothing escaped his stare. It was a hot Tuesday afternoon - the store’s neon sign blinked off and on in the sunlight, like a beacon pointing the way towards hope, refuge, and salvation. They had been watching the store for at least an hour but in that time saw only a handful of customers, and Twist wondered about the size of this score. No way it would get them more than a couple of bucks, he worried. It didn’t seem worth the effort.
“Ain’t important what they got in the registers,” Cheese told him.
Twist shot him a look. “It’s a waste of time if all we gonna get is a couple of twenties and some cold six packs.”
“Gonna be a decent score. More to it than just the money in the till.”
“How you know that?”
Cheese smiled. “Guy who manages the place don’t go to the bank more than once a day,” he said. “That means he still got last night’s cash sitting in a bag underneath the counter, just ready to be taken.”
“And how you so sure about that?”
“I know how things work,” Cheese said with certainty as he eyed the street. “Know all about this store.”
He was all cockiness and street – short, compact body like a point guard, hair cropped short, and a thin trim line of stubble stretching beneath his chin. Attitude, style, and a cocky smile.
Twist leaned back and waited. His expression was hard, tired, and weary, and his eyes heavy and drawn. His hair was cut high on top and shaved close on the sides, and a deep scar cut across his ebony skin from his right eye to the corner of his mouth. Barely eighteen, he carried weariness and anger that came from needing things he couldn’t have while everyone else got what they wanted......