“What tha hell do they mean, ‘Thank you for your submission but your story is not what our publication is looking for at this time.’ It’s a crime magazine. Don’t they want crime stories for Christ’s sake?” Easy T said clutching a letter in his massive fist. He stabbed the paper with a thick finger. “And this part really chaps my ass. ‘Although rich in detail, we didn’t feel the premise was believable?’ Fucking pricks!”
“Come on Easy, I told you not to get yourself all in a twist over this writin thing. We’re leg breakers not word makers. Now get your head outta your ass and get focused, there comes that little shit what owes Tony three large.”
Cal and Easy T got out of the black Caddie and slowly walked up the sidewalk behind a thin bald man in a long overcoat. Cal reached out with his huge hand and spun the man around by his shoulder. The little guy nearly pissed his trousers when he saw the hulking muscle behind him.
“Hey Charlie, you been outta town or somethin? We ain’t seen ya in a while.”
“Oh hey Cal, hey Easy. Look guys I fell on some hard times and well I haven’t had a chance to…” Easy T grabbed Charlie by the throat and lifted him off the ground. Cal looked around to make sure there weren’t any looky-loos while Easy pinned the little man against the wall.
“Three grand Charlie or we break you in half. What’s it gonna be?” Easy said.
The little bald man tried to speak, but no air could pass beyond Easy’s grip. Cal tapped Easy on the shoulder. “I guess you outta give the little weasel some oxygen, you think?”
Easy grunted and dropped Charlie to the ground. The little man fell to his knees clutching his throat. “Lockbox, take me to my lockbox.”
“Now that’s more like it Charlie.” Cal said. “See this don’t have to be hard, your day’s lookin up already my friend. Now get in the fuckin car.”
Cal and Easy T stuffed the trembling man into the Caddie and they drove downtown to the bank he said had the lockbox. They parked and Cal escorted Charlie inside while Easy waited with the car, rereading his rejection letter. After a few minutes Cal and Charlie reappeared midst the crowd coming out of the bank. Charlie looked pale and sweaty, like he had the flu. They got back in the car, but this time Easy T got in the back with Charlie while Cal drove.
“Alright fellas, we’re square now right? I’m sorry it took so long to get the money, but my wife’s been sick. The medical bills have been stacking up. I promise it won’t happen again.”
Cal spoke to Charlie through the rearview mirror. “You’re right about that Charlie. Tony don’t like excuses, it’s bad for business. So I’m afraid there can’t be no next time.”
Easy T, with a speed that belied his size, grabbed Charlie’s head, covering his nose and mouth. The little man struggled and kicked while Cal smoothly guided the Caddie down a quiet side street. After a couple of minutes, the thrashing stopped and Easy T pushed the body down into the Caddie’s expansive floorboard. The two men rode in silence until they reached a construction site at the edge of town. Cal got out and unlocked the gate, then drove the Caddie to the back of a large empty lot. The two men dumped the body in a ditch and covered it with dirt. The sun was just starting to set behind a large stand of trees as they got back in the car and Cal drove out.
“I still can’t believe they didn’t like it. It really was a great story.” Easy said.
“Hey, what ya say we go and find that editor and give him a little talkin to?” Cal said.
Easy T grunted in approval and the two men drove on without another word, their smiles illuminated in the light of the Caddie’s instrument panel.