They were about college age but they weren’t going to college, weren’t going anywhere near that kind of stuff, not tonight. Forget about it. In the words of the much larger, more garrulous, and much more rotund of the two young men, they’d “had enough of that sh#t—let’s go do some crimes.”
They wore backwards, maximum-baggy dungarees and backwards baseball caps, one purple, one green, ramrod-newbie visors twisted to either side of their faces, like baseball cap bookends. Their shoes were Birdman Jonny-Come-Latelys, all white straight-up, yeah, you know, with the balled-up socks stuffed under each tongue to make the laces look all poofy. The laces didn’t drag, but neither were they tied. The two shuffled along the dingy sidewalks of downtown Ebor City, oversized long-sleeve collared shirts, one purple, one green, both of them shimmering, silky, open buttoned at the wrists, hiding half their hands ‘cause that’s also supposed to be cool. Yeah, you know it. Spit-shined white wife-beater tank-Ts covered their nubile slight pectorals and skinny six-pack abs. Two young guys out on the prowl for some booty. The smaller of the two pointed at the round rump of a black gal walking on the sidewalk not 15 feet ahead of them, but the taller one smacked the hand down.
“Not that kind of booty,” he snarled. Idi Ott was always snarling. It was always as though he, being such a big oversize guy and all, had to work overtime to overcompensate for that high-tenor voice of his that never changed during puberty, a la John Candy. The two walked on, pausing at every dark alley way, peering down it then moving on.
“Something I been meaning to ask you, Idi,” said the smaller one.
“Yeah, what’s that?”
“How’d you get a name like Idi, anyway?”
“My Mom and Dad were Marxist Peace Corps hippies, spent some time in
“The dictator? Didn’t he massacre a whole bunch of people, like, his own people?”
“Yeah, go figure.”
“Dude, you ain’t even black.”
“Tell me about it. Why’d you think I changed my name? Now stop calling me Idi.”
“You didn’t change nothing. You just scrawled them tattoo letters on your knuckle, like they’s supposed to mean something.”
Idi Ott lifted his arms and brandished the backsides of both his hands to the little guy. “Shut up,” he said. “You see this? This is me now.” He was referring to the eleven letters he’d tattooed in greenish-blue ink on the tops of his knuckles that said: “4MyMistress.” It looked like chicken-scratch; he’d done it himself, and as he’d miscounted, the last two s’s were jammed up together over the last pinkie knuckle.
“Man, what’s it supposed to mean, anyway?”
“Means if you don’t shut up, I’ll make you.” The little guy shut up, the two walked on, pounding the pavement ladykiller style, like some ridiculous urban version of the Skipper and his little buddy.
“Man,” said the Gilligan-like little guy, “isn’t there an easier way to make some coin?”
“Dude,” said Idi Ott—er, that is, 4MyMistress—“I told you. Rolling bums is quality entertainment. It’s profitable. And it helps keep our great city clean.” 4MyMistress stopped at the entrance to a wide, dead-end alley, made a grand sweep of his baggy-sleeved arms, and adopted a shit-eating grin to his countenance.
“Yeah, but…they ain’t hurtin’ nobody. They’s just poor people, y’know?”
“They’re vermin,” snarled 4MyMistress again in his angry Dewey Oxberger from Stripes voice. “They don’t belong here. Tell ‘em to get a job. Till then, I’m gonna keep rolling them—for fun and profit.”
“Dude, you’re sick. You know that?” his little buddy responded as they stood at the entrance of the alley.
4MyMistress started walking down the dark alley. “Feel free to leave anytime,” he said to his friend who, as always, began following along.
“Man, I should’ve drove. I knew it.”
“Quit your yapping,” said 4MyMistress, kicking a couple of empty, rusted-out cans of Coors.
The smaller man continued to plead his case. “Idi—okay, okay, I mean 4My—listen—listen, bro—we don’t need the money. Your Dad just gotcha them nice shiny wheels, didn’t he? Didn’t he set you up with some of that trust fund business you been telling me all about for years and years?”
4MyMistress kept walking ahead as he talked. “Yeah, and Pops also guaranteed me a position at the firm—a high fallutin’ one too. What of it?”
“Dude,” the little guy insisted, “Dude—that’s my point. You don’t need the money. I don’t even need it. What’d’ya say we just leave these folks alone and go get some 40s and see what kinda bitch action we can drum up.”
“No deal,” muttered 4MyMistress, stopping upon a large brown bundle of rags and sh#t and corrosion behind a dinged-up and rusty old garbage dumpster. The bundle was snoring. Then, shouting in his high-pitched John Candy voice, 4MyMistress reared back his right sneaker and gave the lumpy bundle a kick. Howling erupted as the blanket threw itself off a shabby, salt-and-pepper whiskered gaunt figure nursing a brown bag with a cork sticking out the top.
“We’ve come to roll bums and chew bubble gum,” spouted 4MyMistress, standing with fat paws on his hips over the poor decrepit wino. “And we’re all outta bubble gum.”
“N-n-no…” the old bum tried to say, feebly. “N-no….please…” Another boot from 4MyMistress man sunk deep into the beat-up blanket. His little buddy just watched. Another. The bum went silent. 4MyMistress put a sneaker on what he’d hoped would be the bum’s hip underneath the blanket, and gave a push. Over the sack of human waste went onto his stomach.
“Peel back the blanket,” 4MyMistress ordered his friend. “See how much he’s got.”
“Dude, I’m not gonna—“
“Yeah, you’re gonna! Or do I have to roll you too, y’little squid.”
“Dude, come on.”
“Want me to leave you here?” Giving up, with a shrug of the shoulders, the littler guy knelt down, pulled back the blanket and reached into the back pocket of the old bum.
“Ewww,” he protested, “It’s sticky.”
“Find something!” 4MyMistress demanded, keeping his foot on the bum’s back.
“They’ve always got something.” Little buddy extracted 52 cents from the bum’s back pocket and stood up, jingling it in his palm. 4MyMistress thrust his chest out, clenched both fists to his hips, and in an exaggerated aping of a cartoon super hero, squeaked out John Candy-style, “Our work is done here! Time to move on, faithful sidekick.” He gave the beaten bum one final kick for good measure, then the two of them headed deeper down the alley.
More dumpsters. Garbage. Sh#t. A stray, mangy, mutt cowered, and slunk away to the side as they passed by, still too quick even in its emaciated state, it avoided the big kick that 4MyMistress had aimed at its head and went limping away out of the alley.
“Airball,” Little Buddy chuckled.
“Shut up,” said 4My. The two kept walking. They were nearly at the end now, when they happened upon another lump of blankets, this time in red and black flannel pattern, and quite obviously stained as well with oil or blood or some such disgusting thing. The lump was smaller than the first and halfway leaning up against the brick side of the building adjacent.
“Well, well, well,” said 4MyMistress. “What have we here?” He bent to remove the oily cover, but being a fat unlimber guy he had to spread his legs out wide in order to stoop that low. He grunted as his belly compressed against his Gumby-gold belt buckle, and pulled back the wretched blanket.
“A chick!” said his little buddy from behind. The both of them were quite surprised. “I didn’t know homeless guys could be a chick.”
“Just an old lady,” coughed 4MyMistress, standing himself up, still spread-legged before her. Then, lifting a fat sausage finger to his Oliver Hardy moustache, he scratched at his nose and thought a moment, then pointed down at her with the other fat hand.
“Man, look at all them wrinkles,” he tittered, and sucked in air. He was out of breath still from stooping. “You’re all jacked up, lady?”
The little guy grabbed 4MyMistress by the arm. “Come on, man. Leave her be. Let’s get outta here.”
“No deal,” huffed 4My.
“Let’s go do some crimes elsewhere.”
“Di’n’tcha hear me, I said No deal!” snarled the John Candy Dewey Oxberger high tenor of 4MyMistress once more. He was in his element…and loving it. “We’re gonna f### you up, lady.” He laughed. “We gonna see what kinda money you got, and we gonna take it.” He started stooping down, spread-legged, huffing and wheezing, pulled the blanket back all the way from her, this poor defenseless, decrepit creature. The two of them saw how her legs were pink and white blotches of scabs and eczema or some such sh#t. She wore pink, beat-to-hell bedroom slippers—at least they were supposed to have been pink—one of them with the bottom rubber flapping freely.
4MyMistress’ face was right up in front of the homeless lady’s blue-haired sour mug, her open gaping mouth, replete with scabs over both corners of lips, revealing holes and brown, jagged serrations where once their were teeth. There were teeth in their once, weren’t there? The poor woman’s eyes were mostly closed.
“Just doin’ our job, Ma’am,” boasted the still out-of-breath 4MyMistress.
“Careful she don’t breathe on you,” said his li'l buddy from behind.
“You hear me, lady? Huh?” 4MyMistress flicked her cheek with a fat middle finger once, twice, three times. “Hey, you awake in there?”
His little buddy saw it; 4MyMistress didn’t stand a chance. One of the scabby, skuzzy, parched and blotchy legs kicked upwards suddenly, brownish-pink bottom-flappy slipper hitting him dead center of his spread-legged gait. It made a sound like a kielbasa being dropped from a considerable height into a dry frying pan.
4MyMistress made no sound but clutched instantly at his privates, remaining stooped over for a moment as the old homeless lady’s eyes opened wide and she began to cackle directly into his stupefied, fat face, just inches away.
“Oh, dude—dude!” his little buddy exclaimed, “She’s breating all over ya’.”
4MyMistress collapsed head first into the dirt and sh#t and alley grease and fungus of the old woman’s blanket as she, after a bit of understandable struggle, managed to wriggle out and away from him and get to her feet, never once the whole while ceasing the unnerving and raspy cackling. “Hee-hee-hee! Hee-hee-hee! Hee-hee-hee!”
Little buddy backed away. He backed way away. The homeless lady bent down and, still cackling, probed all four pockets of the prone 4MyMistress man with gaunt, skeletal hands. She held up bills. She held up more bills, and began counting them. Little buddy just stood at a distance, then watched her cautiously as she counted out a wad of change she’d gotten from fatty over there. She put the money down her blouse—if you could call it a blouse. As she had no meat on her Little Buddy could only imagine what disgusting place the money and the change would end their descent within her …ahem…wardrobe.
At last she stopped cackling, pointed a skeleton finger at little buddy.
“C’mere,” she said. “You wanna be next? Thought you was gonna get me, didja?”
Little Buddy turned, then broke into a run, running headlong out of the alley and leaving his fat friend face down and at the mercy of this awful, junkyard-dog-of-a-homeless-lady.
She called after him, in a voice like a witch’s, “Not as long as you got the balls, you little whippersnappers! C’mere and bring ‘em to me. I’ll knock you down a few pegs. Little ball swingin’ bastards. All o’ you’s. I’ll take ‘em all on.” She picked up her bindly bundle, straining once to pull it out from under the fat sonuvagun she’d just knocked to the ground.
The fat sonuvagun was still too far into the la-la land of nauseating male pain to do a damn thing, but he could twist his head, crane his fat fact up to look at her. He saw she had his wallet. Shit. Oh, shit, he thought. She’s got Dad’s credit cards. She did indeed, splaying them out in her hand like playing cards.
“Now let’s see,” she said, kind of to herself, kind of to 4My, “Which one should I use first?” Then, pulling one out and away from the rest, she cackled again, saying, “Hey, I’ll tell y’what. I bet I can get to Macy’s first, before you can get up and get over to some kind of a phone to try and get these canceled.” She cackled and walked away with her bindle and her stash of greens and coins and plastic and wallet. “Shop till you drop, that’s what I always say!” More cackling. Damn that cackling. 4MyMistress could only grunt in her direction as she disappeared down the alley. His credit cards! Dad would kill him! For a moment he thought of his cell phone. Yeah, if he could remove either of his hands from cupping his groin, maybe he could call and cancel—no, never mind that one.4MyMistress saw the old bitch chatting somebody up on his cell phone as she rounded the adjacent building, out of the alley, and disappeared from view.
“Who the hell do homeless people call?” his mind thought. “Who gives a sh#t?—what about my balls?” his body answered. And then both mind and body were in agreement—let’s get our priorities straight. Balls first, everything else second.
“URRRGGGgggghhhhhheeeeee” he groaned, and just laid there, feeling a piece of glass from a Paleolithic broken bottle go into his arm. Shit, he thought. Hope I don’t need stitches. That’s right about where I want to get that Swastika tattoo put.