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Inheriting Dust
Part 5

by joseph    Feb 4, 2002

It isn't every day you're robbed blind, especially by a good con. I had been robbed before, of a couple hundred bucks outside a roadside bar in Tennessee by a group of mullet-haired good ol' boys, and hookers had made off with about three or four hundred, total, when I was feeling trusting and didn't hide my pocket money before getting down to business. But this was something else entirely, and as I cracked another beer and scratched at the arched ridge of Felicia's back, I couldn't figure out whether I was infuriated or awed by the lengths she went to to pull off the job.

I was sitting there, consciously wondering which of these emotions I was feeling more acutely -- and coming to the realization that exhaustion was my overriding concern -- when I heard the sound of a car engine outside the door, and not for the first time, cursed my perpetually liquor-soaked mental processes. I ran for the door only because I felt like I should at least make a go of it, but saw what I expected to see -- the tail lights of Kay's car making a left onto Congress and heading north. I took her keys and threw them, but they landed far short of the mark. I could make out two people in the car as it went under a street light, but I couldn't even tell if Kay was one of them. For a second, the thought of getting in my car and following them occurred to me, but I knew by the time I got onto the street they would have turned off on Barton Springs or Riverside or any side road. Besides, I told myself, I was in no shape to drive anyway.

Besides, came the answer back, they stole your car. Remember?

Oh. Right. And, I suppose, by extension, the five thousand dollars Id had hidden in an envelope up under the passenger seat. They might find it, might not. It was still a loss. And it was just a little under four thousand that had been in a thick roll of fifties in a sock in my backpack -- they'd found that pretty easily, and I admit that I was at least somewhat grateful that they didn't ransack the place.

So nine thousand dollars . . . plus the car, which I'd paid twelve hundred cash for at a truck stop in Norman, Oklahoma. So the final tally was about ten grand she got me for. One expensive coke-fuck.

But I wasn't mad, was too tired to be mad, was actually rather impressed that she'd gone to the trouble of stabbing herself just to pull off the job -- I'd gotten the full performance. All I wanted was to drink a little more until I could pass out and sleep through the oncoming morning heat. In the afternoon I could go take a cool shower, run to some banks, get a few transfers, shower up and put on the decent clothes and in an hour have a new car and plenty of cash.

And I still wasn't mad when I realized that it was Sunday. That was no big deal. I had an ATM card for each of my accounts, and could dry up every machine in south Austin if I needed to. And then I wasn't even all that mad when I finished off the last Busch and realized that because it was Sunday, I wouldn't be able to get another six-pack at the Chevron station until noon, another four and a half hours away.

I came close to getting mad when I dug through my duffel for my weed and found that she had gotten off with half a brick of Mexican ditch, but when I saw my ounce of crystalline homegrow was still rolled up in a pair of threadbare white socks I got over it pretty quickly.

She'd gotten into the drawer for the money, into the duffel for the weed. She and whoever else helped her had looked everywhere, so it seemed. I was hoping to put off the full inventory, but my heart was skipping around a little, and I decided I'd feel more relaxed if I felt like I could definitively say what the final tally was. Ten grand two, plus the dope, so maybe another $500 or so.

I tossed my last Busch empty into the trash and checked the clock. Another four hours until I could get some Mickey's big-mouths and go lounge by the pool until the Showdown opened at two. It made me nervous, the thought of going there, nervous at the thought that she might be there, working like nothing had happened, backing away like I'm crazy when I accuse her. . . . What would I do if she was there? But I shook off the thought. She wouldn't be. The question is, who else wouldn't be? Dave was scheduled for three to nine, so I'd see if he was there, but I expected him to be. With Kay, I wasn't surprised. I would be with Dave, but maybe I could get her home address out of him. What would my excuse be?

I put it out of my mind, took a few hits on a joint rolled from fresh bud, and got into an methodical frame of mine. Starting in the bathroom, I checked everything I could think of that they might take, even my shampoo or my nail clippers. Her partner had taken my razor blade cartridges, the expensive kind that are like ten bucks for four replacements. What an asshole.

My main stash of currency in the drawer was gone, and a couple of twenties out of yesterday's pants that had been hanging over the back of a chair, and my watch, but I had paid twelve bucks for it, so it was no loss. I rummaged through everything in my the backpack that I had set over in the corner. It contained the important stuff -- Felicia's cat treats, old and forgotten keys, a bunched-up towel that read Igloo's Tavern, a place I know nothing about and have never been. And then there was the manila envelope folded in half that contained a thick packet of essential documents -- an address book, bank books, etc. I felt better seeing it, then gave in to the impulse to take it out and check inside. Everything seemed to be there, two fake passports, a fake drivers license from Missouri, a fake social security card.

There was something in there I didn't see. I flipped back through the envelope's contents, then dumped it all out on the floor and combed through it, piece by piece, until I realized what wasn't there -- the envelope and accompanying letter to my money my father had sent. I tore through my duffel and the drawers I had anything in. It was nowhere. Kay and her faceless partner had taken cash, drugs, a car, and -- from within a envelope buried within a tattered green backpack -- an envelope and a handwritten note from my father. For a moment then I got really, really pissed. I paced the room for a few minutes until I realized that it wasn't anger I was feeling at all.

It was fear.

(end of Part 5)
On to Part 6

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