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 I’d 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
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
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