(01-03) A Suit and A Pistol

The man who came to the door was short but he wasn’t a midget. He was probably five foot five or six and he didn’t look like a tailor, he looked like a movie gangster, wearing a blue pinstriped shirt and a snub nosed revolver in a shoulder holster. “What the fuck?” he asked, cocking his head toward A-Bomb. “I told you never bring anybody here I don’t know.” His face was all angles. His eyes moved like they were studying how to make a bank shot on a billiard table when he sized up the Indian. “What is this anyway? Some kind of Indian?”

“He’s a Creek Indian,” Lou said. “He’s my new partner.”

“Well, no offense, new partner, but why don’t you take a walk while we’re doing business. And forget you ever saw this place.”

“How will I find my way back here if I do that?”

The man with the gun waited a couple of beats before he decided it was funny. He turned to Lou, “A literalist, would you say?”

“Yea. Very literal. He can’t even remember who he is or where he’s from, before today. I asked him his name and he said A-Bomb, as in atomic bomb.”

“Okay. Bring him in. But don’t ever do this to me again or I’ll pull out my magic wand and turn you into a stranger.”

“You pull out your magic wand and I’ll shoot it off,” Lou said.

“You think I’m gonna sell you a sidearm if you threaten to shoot me with it? That’s what landed you in San Quentin isn’t it? Shooting somebody’s balls off?”

“He raped my cousin.”


“Yea, Paris. You think somebody raped Troll?”

They both laughed at this and A-Bomb relaxed, understanding that they were enjoying the banter. He followed them along a row of miniature suits on one side and a row of casual slacks and jackets on the other. On one wall there were small sized Stetsons, Borsolinas and Dobbs. There were beavers and velours, felts and Panama straws, and at the back of the narrow shop there was a six by nine oriental rug in front of a heavy mirror framed in dark wood. The tailor pulled back the rug. There was an iron ring set into the floor, which turned out to be the handle on a trap door which pulled upward. The three men descended into a room about twelve by twelve. There was a card table and four chairs, a half sized refrigerator and a microwave oven.

“What’s your name?” A-Bomb asked the tailor.

“You don’t need to know my fucking name, Crazy Horse. What you don’t know you can’t tell anybody, right?”

“He’s Lakota Sioux. I’m Creek.”

The tailor opened a sliding door behind which were shelves on which were stacked shoe boxes. He selected three of them and put them on the table. He opened them and from each removed a pistol, all of them snub nosed thirty eights. The only difference was in the color of the grips. One had black plastic grips, one white pearl, and one pale brown wood. “Your pistol of preference, cowboy.”

A-Bomb gave him a sharp look when he said ‘cowboy.’ The tailor caught it. “He tell you he had two great uncles in Tiny Town?”

“Shut-up Floyd,” Lou said evenly, picking up the pistol with the wooden grips and deftly checking the cocking mechanism and spinning the cylinder. “Is this new?”

“Of course it’s not new. It’s untraceable. At least it’s not traceable to you. And thanks for telling Crazy Creek here my fucking name.”

Lou reached in the shoebox and pulled out a box of ammunition. He began loading the thirty eight.

“You’re taking that one? You haven’t even asked me the price.”

“What’s the price, Floyd?”

“Two hundred fifty.”

“Throw in a holster.”

“I can’t make money at that price. You have to add something for the holster, maybe another thirty bucks, and twenty for ammo, let’s make it three hundred.”

“Put it on my account.”

“Sure, Lou. I didn’t think you came out of San Quentin with a lot of cash on you. And welcome back, by the way. We missed you. You can pay me tomorrow?”

“Sure, I just have to go to see Paris and get some cash. You get Troll and the band down here tomorrow night as soon as you close up, and treat Mr. A-Bomb here with some respect. He’s my partner.” He put five bullets in the pistol, leaving the chamber under the hammer empty.

“You can’t bring in somebody we don’t know without asking us.”

“I already did. I’m the brains, Floyd. Don’t try to outthink me. Now, let’s go back upstairs and find me another suit.”

“Sure. You could have bought this shit tomorrow when you come in with some cash, but that would be a normal way of doing business.”

“There’s nothing normal about this business. Did I see a western suit in my size?”

When A-Bomb and Lou left the shop, Lou looked a lot more like Cowboy Jesus. He was dressed in a western suit and bolo tie, and wore a dove grey Stetson. He also wore a shoulder holster like the one Floyd wore, and it made his left arm hang slightly out away from his body. Only somebody looking for it would notice it.

“He’s one of my associates,” Lou said. He was walking beside Indian Shadow now, not in the mood to ride. They walked to Grant Street and then up a steep narrow street to an even more narrow street which ended at a pair of tall wooden gates. Beside them there was a number pad and a speaker grill set into a metal panel. Lou pushed in a combination of numbers and a voice came through the speaker. “Yes?”

“It’s Lou Short.”

“I can see that, but who’s with you?”

“He’s my partner. His name’s A-Bomb.”

“That’s comforting. Leave him outside until you talk it over with security.”

“You don’t mind staying out here for a little while? It shouldn’t take long, and I’ll come back to get you.” He spoke into the grill. “Okay, let’s talk about it.” There was a click that sounded like the thirty eight when he had cocked it. A door only about three feet tall opened in the tall panel and closed as soon as Lou was through it. From the street below there was the sound of men talking too loud and too excitedly for the tone of the neighborhood. They appeared at the bottom of the drive, three men, two of them roughhousing together, the third telling them to shut up. They finally followed his gaze to the top of the driveway, where A-Bomb watched them placidly.

“Rent a cop,” one said. They moved up the drive three abreast, their earlier joviality now subdued as they put forward an appearance of calm. They were nervous because as they came closer to A-Bomb they saw that his face was rough, like it had been cut from stone and set with obsidian eyes. “Spooky mother fucker.”

This moment triggered the deja vous. A-Bomb knew what was going to happen next and he knew how it was going to proceed. Above him on both sides of the gate cameras watched as the three men closed the distance, and one of them asked, “What’s happening? You the doorman for the elves?”

There was a carriage house just inside the gates, and in an upstairs room the property was being monitored by Lou and a thick, powerful looking dwarf with orange red hair. Around his left eye was tattooed the head of a snake, the body trailing off down onto his chest, so that he shared the eye with the snake. The effect was mesmerizing even to Lou, who was used to seeing the dwarf, who appropriately called himself Snake Eye. “How does shit work out like this?” he was asking Lou. “You got this fucking bomb you want to bring in as muscle, but you don’t know anything about him. So you leave him at the gate and here come those assholes who tried to get in last night. We get to see how he handles the situation.”

“Shit works out like that because you knew they were on their way up Grant Street, Snake Eye.”

“Yea I got a call they were on their way, but your showing up at just the right time with Will Sampson is more than I could arrange ahead of time, Lou. You know that.”

“Will Sampson?”

“He was the big Creek Indian in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

“That’s funny, A-Bomb said he’s a Creek Indian.”

“Well he’s strong as skunk shit. Look at that.”

On the monitor A-Bomb was easily hustling the three back down the drive toward the street. When they reviewed the video it showed that one of the three, the one doing the talking, had given A-Bomb a twenty dollar bill and told him they just wanted to go inside the club out of curiosity. “We’re too big,” A-Bomb said. “We have to wait out here.” He held up the bill. “What’s this? Money? Lou said we needed money.” He put it in his pocket.

“You take the money you got to let us in, you know? You don’t let us in you can’t take the money.”

“This already happened,” A-Bomb said. “You have to go away and not come back.”

Snake Eye stopped the video. “What did you mean, this already happened?” he asked.

“I remembered it,” A-Bomb said.

“He an Indian,” Lou said. “Why do you care how he does it as long as it gets done?”

So it was that A-Bomb was hired as a bouncer. “Once in awhile guys like this show up,” Snake Eye explained. “They think that because they’re dealing with little people they can throw their weight around. They have a kink for little girls who are grown women at the same time. Sick fucks. You pick up they’ve got no reason to come up the hill, you send them back down the hill. Capiche?”

A-Bomb looked at Lou, who said, “It means do you understand?”

“Will somebody tell me when to hit somebody?”

“You won’t hit anybody if you don’t need to,” Snake Eye said, “but if somebody hits you, or pulls a weapon on you, then you use as much force as you need to use. Mostly, though, you’ll just have to tell people it’s a private club and they have to leave. Most of the time you’ll be watching the monitors. You see some daddies or midget muffins coming up the drive, you go out and meet them before they get to the gate.”

“Midget Muffins?”

“Yea. A lot of big people have fantasies about being done by midgets with heavy equipment.”

“Like me,” Lou whispered, grinning.

“Lou here has to be on guard all the time. Women get the idea in their mind that a little fellow is what they really need, somebody they can pick up, that can’t resist them. The only way you can get loose when they pick you up is to piss on them, and if that don’t work, you have to get nasty with them.”

“Sometimes you like going home with them,” Lou said. “But in general, midgets don’t like to be picked up unless they agree to it up front."

"Am I working now?" A-Bomb asked.

"Not tonight," Snake Eye said, "unless there's something I need help with and then I'll call you. But you go ahead with Lou and see the club. And A-Bomb? Not many big people ever get to see the inside of this place. It's a special privilege."

Posted: Sat - February 2, 2008 at 05:23 PM