May 13, 2024 – “Chapter Twenty-Three” of “The Bad Seed.”

The three new friends settled in to the makeup room as they each ate as they could. There were more import things in play than lunch.

Jay had decided that it was time to make the buy from Cheeto.

They watched Oscar’s until Cheeto and Jason had arrived for the evening. Sam was out on bail but no where near Oscar’s. He had other matters to attend to named Loretta. That wasn’t going as well as he had hoped.

The fact that she had called her father had added another wrinkle into the situation. It wan’t bad enough that Sam had been arrested with a weapon and his usefulness to Loretta’s father may be nearing it’s end, Sam had been cheating on Tony’s daughter and that looked very bad.

Tony Lugano reasoned that if Sam would cheat on his wife, he was capable of just about anything. Of course, Tony and most of his crew had lovers or girlfriends on the side, but it was different when it came to his daughter. Two men were on their way from Panama to Arizona this evening to talk to Sam. They would arrive early the next morning.

“So guys,” Jay started, “you know the plan. Just follow my lead and if all goes well you won’t see me until later tonight. Susan, you know your part?” “Yes, of course. This is child’s play. Jay looked at David. “David?” “Yes, I am to keep a lookout over Susan and do whatever is needed to make sure she completes her task without interruption. I am responsible for the guard at the rear door of Oscar’s who watches the cars, along with Susan.”

Susan, David and Jay left the house at the same time and headed to Oscar’s by different routes. It was a nice afternoon and the sun was nearly down over the mountains to the west. A bright glow was spreading over the valley.

Jay parked a block from Oscar’s and walked the rest of the way to the bar. He still wore his weapon but hoped he wouldn’t need to use it. The plan was perfect and the use of guns would only make their escape and safety less likely.

Susan parked around the corner at the mouth of the alley where she had a few nights before. She had her bottle with her in her purse and knew her roll well. It wouldn’t be as easy as the first time. If the same man was on the door, things could get ugly. Susan didn’t need a weapon.

David parked across the street almost in front of Susan’s car lot. He walked across the street as Jay entered Oscar’s. The traffic was light and it was easy for him to walk quickly to the other side.

The parking lot was nearly full. One car pulled in as David walked down the sidewalk. David knelt down as if to tie his shoe. He looked the scene over. He couldn’t see the man at the back door of Oscar’s yet. David almost passed the lot when he turned sharply to the left entered it. Two peolpe had got out of the car and walked away.

David knelt down once more and waited. He looked over the hoods of several cars to see if any one was around. One of the large lights over head was burned out, leaving a spot of semi darkness. David used it to his advantage. It was smooth sailing as far as David could tell. He stayed low and moved quickly. He darted back to the rear wall of Oscar’s and into the shadows as he had done before. It was a great place to hide.

He moved closer to the alley and the corner of the building to check on the man at the rear watching the parking lot and the door. It was a different man. The other fellow was no longer there. Perhaps he had been fired or worse for his failure as a lookout. Another car entered the lot as David moved to the corner and put his head around the corner once more. He saw Susan approaching from the end of the alley.

She was dressed differently this time. She wore a short skirt and high heeled shoes. She looked great, but slightly vulnerable as she approached, or so David thought. David was two feet from the guard but around the corner. He took a peak now and then as Susan came closer. He worried that he might not be able to reach around the corner in time if she needed help.

Susan got to the man in a few moments and asked for a light. He smelled alcohol on her breath and relaxed a little. “How are you tonight sweetheart?” Susan answered in a slow and slightly garbled way. “I think I have had a little too much to night. My boyfriend was a no show.” “Oh, that’s too bad,” the man said as he looked her over. Susan looked at the man and spoke to him.

“Do you have a light, I can’t seem to find my matches.” When the man looked down at his pocket for his matches, Susan’s elbow struck him in the throat with great force. His head flew backwards and hit the stucco wall. David heard the noise and stuck is head around the corner to see what was happening. His heart raced as he wondered if Susan had been hurt or worse.

He saw Susan’s elbow stuck in the man’s throat as the large man fell to the ground. “There are a few places that a man can’t ever make stronger David. The throat is one of them. Remember that.”

Susan quickly ran to Jason’s van and picked the door lock. Jayson was inside Oscar’s with Cheeto. “Give it to me David.” David reached into his shirt and pulled out a small bundle wrapped in paper. Susan took the bundle and placed it in Jason’s glovebox. “Good work David, let’s go back to our cars and wait for Jay to come out.

David bent down and drug the man lying on the ground into the darkness of the parking lot. “I’ll watch the back of Oscar’s from my car David while you do the same from the front. If Jay isn’t out in twenty minutes, well go in and see what’s up.” David and Susan separated and headed to their cars.

Jay sat next to Cheeto and Jayson. Jay had cowboy boots on tonight, with sharply pointed tips, just in case. He had them lying around but seldom wore them. He thought tonight was a good time to bring them out of retirement. Cheeto still wore his.

The two men were working on their first beer. “So Cheeto, how did you get that name? Surely there is a story behind it?”

“Yes jay. When I came here for the first time from South America, I had very little money. Most of my money went to the coyotes. When I arrived, I stayed with my cousin. He worked in the oil fields in Houston. He helped me get my first job.

Paper work wasn’t necessary if you know what I mean. It is seldom a problem as far as I can tell. I had little money for extras, but one fellow I worked with had some overalls that he had bought rather cheaply. He bought grey colored ones later and gave me his orange ones. I received no end of teasing about those things.

So one night after payday, we all went out for a few beers and pool playing. This guy I worked with, he was my supervisor actually, didn’t know my name. And he had had a few beers as well. He wanted me to come shoot some pool with him. He was a kind man and wanted me to join him. So, since he didn’t know my name, he just looked at my overalls and called me “Cheeto.” It was a good description of me. The color of my overalls were orange and they were a little tight on me.

So now everyone who has known me for sometime, they call me “Cheeto.” “That’s a fun story Cheeto, but what’s your real name.?” “Enrique Salas Gonzales Gomez. That’s why everyone calls me “Cheeto, Jay. “Why are we here tonight? When you called me today, you were not very clear on the phone.”

I need some product. I have the cash, but my connections are not working at the moment.” “What do you want?” “Anything you might have. I can move any product you sell me.” “How much money do you have?” “I have thirty-five thousand dollars.” “I see. That is a nice amount. Have you talked to Sam about this?” I didn’t want to bother him under the current circumstances. He may be being watched by the police and I didn’t want them to see us together.”

“I see.” “When do you want to take delivery?” “Anytime and anywhere you like. I’m sure you know several safe places where we might accomplish this?” “Yes, there are many suitable places in the desert and hills as well as here in the city. Let me get the product and I will call you back.” “Great Cheeto.”

“You don’t care what I bring?” “No, but perhaps smaller sized items may be better.” “Yes Jay, perhaps. I will leave you now and make the necessary arrangements.” Cheeto looked at Jason and spoke to him, “Jason, are you done with that beer yet?” Cheeto looked at Jay and spoke softly. “He drinks that beer like tequila, slowly and with his eyes closed?” “Yes Cheeto.” Jason answered, “are we ready to leave?” “I think so, Jay and I are finished. I’ll call you in a day or two.”

Jay left Oscar’s by the front door. David saw him leave and texted Susan. She started her car and left. Jay looked across the street at David sitting in his little Japanese car and caught David’s gaze. He started his car and drove away. The man guarding the rear door was still lay motionless in the parking lot.

Susan reached her home before David. Jay was last to arrive. He came to Susan’s by a long and circuitous route to be sure that he wasn’t followed.

The three sat in the living room drinking. The pool shined blue in the back yard from the underwater lights. Reflections sparkled on the large living room windows and on the under side of the wide eves of Susan’s home.

“It all seemed to go well, I think Jay,” Susan said with her left leg crossed over the right one. She held a whisky in her right hand. No ice. David held a can of soda as did Jay.

“Jay, Susan seems able to take care of herself very well, I must admit that. She took that guy out easily.” “I took a few classes in self defense David, just rudimentary stuff, after all. I’m sure he will be fine in a few days.”

Jay stood up and looked down on David and Susan. He drained his can of soda.

“There isn’t much more we can do until I hear back from Cheeto. He will call Sam Cornel, no doubt.

I think we are on good terms and the deal will be approved. He is busy with other matters, I’m sure.” All right then, that’s enough about business gentlemen. Susan looked over at David staring at the pool outside. “So David, have you decide if you are coming to live with me or not?” “I wanted to talk to you about that tonight Susan. I would love to come and live here. It’s a beautiful place and you are a fine woman. I just don’t want to be a bother.”

“You will be a god send David. I am sick of rattling around in this big house all by myself. It will be nice to have some company. You might even gain a few pounds from my cooking.” “Great. I feel better now since I have made the decision.” “Me too David.”

Jay put his can in the trash compactor and came back into the room. “I’m glad you two have worked this out. I think both of you will be better off together, just as Susan has suggested. I will leave for home now. I have a wife waiting for me. So far, as of this moment she is in a better mood than Loretta.” I will call you as soon as I hear anything from Sam or Cheeto. Sam turned and walked out of the house. Susan and David saw his headlights pass by the house through the drapes.

“Alright then David, when do you want to move in?” I rent a furnished place, so the move will consist of bringing three suitcases and a duffle bag over here. I can make it one trip, for sure.” “Great, you are free to join me before the end of the week, if you like.” “I will. Susan, I just need to call my landlord tomorrow and let her know that I am moving. I told her that I was thinking about it.” Great David, I’ll see you out.”

After David got in his car and drove away, Susan sat back down to her dink and picked up the phone.

Susan dialed a number at the Pentagon. The phone rang and was answered by a female voice on a machine. It was near midnight, Washington time.

“I know it’s late Judy, but I need a favor. Can you check up on a veteran named David Bleeker? He served in the Army in Afghanistan about five years ago. He’s moving in with me shortly and I just want a little more background information. Thanks so much, say hi to Tom for me.”

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