Berlin had never been happier to be this banged up. He was kicked back on a couch drinking a Moosehead with the promise of more ahead. The couch was covered with a plastic tarp, but hey, bloodstains are tough to get out. Berlin pondered for a few heartbeats. Maybe he’d really lost enough blood to warrant Winter’s concern. Either way, at least Gabriel wasn’t talking to him right now.
Berlin took a satisfying pull on the Moosehead and looked at Gabriel through the green bottle. It looked pretty cool. Berlin tried to remember what Winter said those pills were. “Hydro-coded” he thought it was. Like the plastic secret rings from the cereal boxes, only with water. Berlin dialed in to the conversation from his comfy seat on the moon. Gabriel sure did sound upset. Maybe Berlin should offer him a beer.
“Winter I’ve already called for a doctor, now calm the hell down and tell me what happened slower.”
Berlin heard winter sigh.
“Some other crew showed up and tried to make off with the goods. They seemed about as experienced as us. That is, I kinda think this was their first ever go at fucking trying to heist an armored car, seeing as they didn’t get away with anything either.”
“Hold up. Are you saying you didn’t get the boxes?”
“I sure as hell didn’t. I never made it into the car. Ash seemed to vanish off the freaking planet too.”
“Crap. Well I guess we’ll have to try again. I wonder if we should wait for them to move it again or try while it’s stored…” Winter cut that shit off fast. Berlin knew that voice. It was the one Winter used when he’d found his hook up for the night and let you know you were walking back from the club.
“No. No no no no no. Nu-uh. Every single cop on the face of the planet is back there picking up shell casings and digging through that thing trying to figure out what made it worth throwing Red Dawn in downtown Detroit. You get me back there after the next O-fucking-lympic games.”
Berlin drained the last of the beer while Gabriel stewed.
“Someone is going to bring me what I want.”
“That’s nice little orphan paddy, there’s plenty of folks in the psycho ward who would happily dive into that truck for you, I’m sure. Anyway, maybe those guys in the jeep were covering for the other two guys.”
“Other two guys?”
“Yeah, some freaking hoop ride barreled into the goddamn gunfight and the passenger made it into the truck.”
Gabriel froze. Gabriel shook. Berlin waved at Winter.
“Shit, Berlin, jeezus. Are you okay, what’s wrong?”
“Uh, it’s time for ‘nother round Wint. You in on this one?”
“No, I’m good for now, just hang on.”
Berlin watched Winter pace over to the mini-fridge in this room. Berlin thought for a minute. Counting that one, Gabriel must have, like, five mini-fridges. Berlin thought for another minute while Winter popped two Mooseheads and walked them back. That would mean that Gabriel could have, like, twelve cases of beer around here. That was totally awesome. Berlin pulled down half of the first beer Winter handed him. Berlin winced and didn’t notice his ribs shifting or the tourniquet biting into his thigh.
Berlin heard Gabriel put down a phone. Berlin smiled up at Winter and gave him an okay sign with his left index finger circled with his thumb. Berlin knew that whenever Gabriel was on the phone something was happening somewhere. Like whenever he slapped a waitress on the ass after tipping well the previous night. Berlin new that things were definitely happening.
Winter looked back at Gabriel, “so, where’s the doctor.”
“That wasn’t the doctor. That was one of my guys inside the force. He was telling me he’d done his job right and there was no footage anywhere of our little party. This means that he fucked up because now we don’t have anything on our interlopers. I don’t suppose you got the plates on those two cars did you?”
Winter laughed in Gabriel’s face.
“I didn’t think so.”
“Well one of them has some interesting new scars and some freakish nasty fingernails. Does that help?”
A knock came at the door interrupting the stare down.
A large black hand opened the door and let Ash and a nervous looking man with a black bag in. The large black hand and its attached goon shut the door thoughtfully after them.
Gabriel made a silencing motion with his hand then waved it at Ash and then back behind his desk. Gabriel then waved his hand at the man with the bag and then waved it at Berlin. Berlin knew he’d been vindicated. Gabriel had made stuff happen. Amazing. Berlin finished his beer, dropped it, grabbed the next on and pulled down half of it.
The man with the black bag looked nervous. He spoke up:
“Um, Mr. O’Brian, I’m Doctor Canard. Um, Mr. Smith walked up with me. I suppose your man here that needs my attention, um, Mr., um…”
“Smith.” Gabriel supplied helpfully.
“Um, yes, Mr. Smith here, yes.” Berlin relaxed into the couch as the doc leaned over him. The doctor’s nose quirked up.
“Uh, how many, uh, beers has Mr., um, Smith, consumed?”
Berlin knew this one:
“Four. Not counting the three this afternoon and the two this morning.”
The doctor’s face paled.
Winter grinned, “No worries. I only gave him five Hydrocodone when I got him here.”
The doctor’s face went pink.
“That’s, um, that’s not, uh, medically sound. Uh, Mr., uh…”
Winter looked right at Gabriel grinning even wider and offered:
“Smith, of course.”
Gabriel rolled his eyes and walked over to where Ash was fiddling with his bookshelf. Berlin figured Gabriel had had enough of the doctor. Berlin decided to take control of the situation.
“Just dig the slug out of my leg, doc. I’ll take twelve steps with it later.”
The doctor went to work. Berlin bit down on his windbreaker. Berlin focused on Winter. Winter wasn’t doing anything interesting though. Berlin looked up at the ceiling. Nothing neat there either.
Berlin considered that it would be a lot handier if a ball game would come on whenever he got shot. He could use a spread to concentrate on right about now. Berlin realized the doctor had been talking to him:
“…and if you’d let me take a look at your head, you’ve got some significant bruises on your thighs and I’m concerned that the bullet wound isn’t the chief ailment. Have you sustained any other injuries?”
Berlin thought about what Winter would say to the doctor. Berlin thought about what Winter would say, because he knew he probably shouldn’t mention the heist. Winter was always better at lying.
“Yah doc. Yah. When the, uh, little, uh Puerto Rican guy carjacked me, the car got wrecked before I got shot.”
The doctor’s eyes went wide. Berlin noticed Winter trying not to laugh.
“You mean you’ve been in a car accident and been shot?”
“Yup.” Berlin grinned. He’d gotten that one right too. No stopping me now, Berlin thought. Winter was almost doubled over. He walked off towards the mini-fridge again. Ash and Gabriel looked like they were arguing. Berlin decided the only interesting thing to do was fuck with the doctor some more.
Berlin grunted and sat up. He stripped off the windbreaker and his shirt. “Think I may have busted a rib or something too.”
The doctor felt around Berlin’s torso and got agitated.
“Mr. Smith I really must insist on taking you in to a hospital.”
“Nah. Those are for sick people. I’m just banged up is all.”
Winter walked back up, handed Berlin another beer and put his hand on the doctor’s shoulder. The doctor flinched.
“Don’t fuss too much about him Doc. He’s a tough cookie, our Mr. Smith.”
The doctor shook his head and resigned himself to whatever Gabriel was paying him.
The doctor made short work of wrapping Berlin’s torso. Berlin drank down his fifth beer of the night and kicked back on the couch. Yup, all that was missing was a ball game. Seventh inning stretch and some hot dogs.
Berlin’s head went fuzzy. He saw the doc walk over to the desk in this sitting room and tap his fingers on it. He saw Gabriel pay the doc off and usher him out. Berlin nodded off while Ash, Winter and Gabriel tried to untangle the god-awful mess that this night had been.
Out on the street, Adrian got into a taxi and rode off. Dr. Canard indeed.
Twenty Three (sorry about the hiatus)
8 years ago