A Fair Price by Scotch Rutherford

"Naked City" by Scotch Rutherford

The King’s Court mobile home park was all the way out on Boulder Highway, where the outskirts of the Neon City became Henderson. Leon Diggs rounded out the park’s single digit tenant retention rate, since its greedy landlord had doubled the rent on the 200 some odd park-owned trailers.

Eddie needed to get high, real high. And Leon had the sweetest sugar shit he could afford. Eddie parked his truck next to a pristine 68 Lincoln Continental, with the suicide doors. Business must be boomin’, he thought as he got out, and rapped his knuckles hard on the side door of lot 142. Nothing.

“Leon, it’s Eddie. C’mon, man.”

Nothing. Eddie pushed on the door. It swung open, and sure as shit, he walked right into it. Blood was splattered everywhere. Cash, blow, and guns were scattered on the deck, between the bodies; everything ripe for the taking. Eddie spotted a jumbo Ziploc of powder on the floor. He snatched it, and slid two fingers inside. He touched his fingers to his nose, and took a hit. In a flash he had a powder burned red nose, and he knew it was good shit. That’s when he realized including Leon, there were four bodies; three dead, one barely breathing.

She was young, nineteen maybe. Her breaths were short and choppy, and her skin was pale. Eddie spotted a phone just beyond her reach and grabbed it, it had a full charge. It was a Blackberry, and worth the trade. He slid it into his pocket, then he slid his hand over the young girl’s nose and mouth, until he was sure her lips were blue. Then he checked to see if they were. This was his shit now, and he’d do what he had to do. He got to his feet when he knew she was dead. Then he realized her body was still warm.

He was a 47 year old blue-veined, chain smoking junkie, and it’d been a long time since he’d had some pussy. The last time he’d blown a load inside anything other than wadded up tissue, had been six months ago, when he’d thrown a hundred dollar bill at a girl coming out of Rancho High. She sucked his dick, and licked his balls. Then he tossed her another 50, and she licked his ass. He liked that. Then he watched her do her lipstick, and cross the street before frenching her boyfriend, and he had to laugh.

He pulled down her pants, then pulled down his own. The dust had a real kick, his heart was pounding like a jackhammer, and he was hard as a rock, when he pushed his way inside. It’d been so long. It felt so good. He played with her tits, and got off in about seven minutes. By the time he’d gotten to his feet, he was hard again, and couldn’t do up his pants. He decided he’d flip her over, so he could push in her back door. But when he did, his dick went limp; the dirty bitch had shit herself.

Eddie zipped up, then cleaned up. He grabbed the stack of cash—it must’ve been almost ten grand, the jumbo Ziploc of powder, and two nines; empty, with the serial numbers blasted. Then he got back in his truck, and rode packed up, all the way to Palm Street.

#

Eddie parked inside his old ‘hood, The Blue Moon Oasis—the flagship of the Palm Street trailer parks, that lined both sides of the street as far as the eye could see. His pal Rudy had a custom Airstream. Silver retro-space aged, it looked like a big old lunch truck.

“Rudy, it’s Eddie. You there, man?” he said, rapping his knuckles on the hot ribbed chrome.

The metal door swung open.

“Eddie Floss, you toothless, dirty old cracker. Shiiit, it’s been an age. You must be lookin’ to score.”

#

“Okay, I can give you a buck fitty for the guns and the Blackberry”

“What about the dust?”

See—that’s gonna be a problem. See, I pay out according to how much shit been stepped on. And this shit here, ain’t even one percent.”

“It gets you higher than fuck.”

“I know that”, Rudy said, rubbing his nose.”And the shit is strong, but see, this shit here, is a 100 percent synthetic. So I can’t offer you more than four grand, and that’s a fair price.”

“Fair price? Are you shittin’ me!? Four grand—for fuck’s sake, that’s almost a pound.”

“Where’d you get it?”

“From a guy who owed me money.”

“How much he owe you?”

“Fifteen grand.”

“Shiiit Eddie, I’m sorry.”

“This was supposed to be my money to get out, to go see the coast.”

“What chu want on the coast?”

“I was born on the coast—I need to get back. It’s been too long.”

“Well, considering your troubles, I guess I could go as high as five.”

“Five?! Fuck it. Five it is, I’ll take five. Just bag me up a gram for the road.”

Rudy dialed up his new Blackberry, as Eddie got back into his truck, and headed for the 15.

#

“Romulus, my man. Is that cho’ Lincoln with the suicide doors? What is that, a ’67?

“68. What chu got for me nigga?”

“Come in, I got it right here.”

Romulus sat down, and reclined on Rudy’s couch, as he pulled a Glock 9 from his waist band, placing it on the coffee table in front of him. A gesture Rudy took as a sign of trust. He handed Romulus the jumbo Ziploc, and Romulus dipped his finger in, then rubbed the pearly white flakes across his pearly whites.

“Goddamn, this shit do have a kick.”

#

Eddie knew it was close when he got on Highway One off the Santa Monica freeway. When he could smell the ocean, he reached into his pocket, and pulled out his last gram.

#

“That’s why I called y’all—see I knew when I saw the shit, if it waddn’t White Castle, that Castle’s boys’ would know what it’s worth.”

“This shit’s real nice. Where’d you get it, Rudy?’

“Shiiit.”

Romulus gave him the look, and didn’t have to ask twice.

“Guy named Eddie Floss.”

“Where’s Eddie at?”

“Well shiiit, he—he headed for the coast. You could probably catch him. He probably gonna take the 15 to link up with the 210. I used to go that route packed up, back in the day. So how much this shit here worth?”

“‘Bout thirty five”

“Grand? Nigga, is you serious?”

“It’s three times as potent as the pure shit. It’s got to be stepped on at least twice before sale.”

“So what chu gonna give me?”

Romulus tossed him the keys to the Lincoln.

“You can’t sell me somethin’ you don’t own”, Romulus said, tightening the Ziploc.

“Yo, fuck that”, Rudy said, snatching Romulus’s gun.

He held it out for about two seconds, then fired two shots. His jaw dropped when he saw Romulus was unfazed. A wide grin spread across Romulus’s face showing off his pearly whites, as he pulled another gun from his waist band, and put two slugs in Rudy’s chest. Then he snatched up the powder, tucked it neatly into his pocket, and took back his Blackberry.

#

Eddie took in the Pacific view from Highway One. For the first time he was thinking ahead of his next meal, or his next fix. Then he jammed a cocktail straw into the mini Ziploc, then took his other hand off the wheel to pinch his nostril shut, as he snorted hard.

Everything gained the sharpest clarity, as a tingling fizz invigorated his entire body. Then he felt a crushing pain in his chest, then a pressure, as though a giant fist gripped his midsection, and was squeezing tighter, and tighter.

He hit the guardrail at 75, before his head went through the windshield. That’s when he knew he was headed for a landfill somewhere, but at least he’d seen the coast one last time.

Scotch Rrutherford writes about dark corners between the bright lights. His work has appeared in The Flash Fiction Offensive, Voices from the Garage, and Darkest Before The Dawn.

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