George Pelecanos

George Pelecanos by DC Noir Read Free Book Online

Book: George Pelecanos by DC Noir Read Free Book Online
Authors: DC Noir
block. You were in business. All you had to do was go
to the designated crib and designate Rico's ass--that is, if he happened to be
home. Still, you hesitated when you turned your key in the ignition. It was as
if you knew you'd made the wrong choice.

    Ten
minute's later Dante crackles across the radio line, asking if you're ready.
Sean's right next to you, down to see this thing through even if he was against
it from day one. You can see people moving inside of the house from the street.
There will never be a moment more perfect.

    "Yeah,"
you say into the plastic device. "Let's do it."

    You
and Sean storm out of the car and rush the front, assuming your boys are doing
the same at the rear. Your weapons are locked and loaded and the enemy will be
caught unaware. Then you hear the fucking sirens, followed by the flood of gold
and blue cruisers on both sides of the street. They're in the alley at the back
too. The whole world is one big roar of karma's siren.

    This
was going to be your first kill, your first foray into the kind of streetlife
that made gangsta rap sell millions. One pull of the trigger and you and your
boys would've moved into a whole new area code. Instead you're in the back of a
cruiser knowing that bloody Butchie crawled to the phone and made the call.
Maybe he felt guilty. Or even worse, maybe he was smarter than you.

    They
won't get you for murder. Truth be told, if you rat Butchie out you might only
get a year at Oak Hill. You're only seventeen with no priors. Make it through
twelve months in that place and you can still have a future, so will the
others. But Rodney won't. He's the first casualty of a war that never got
started.

    You'll
think about him for the rest of your life, never understanding how that blast
didn't take you with him. If you live long enough, you'll try to understand how
this era even existed, how so many lives were snatched away over shit as
equally silly. You'll pour out a little brew every time you have a drink and
never eat a Steak-Um again. You're lucky to be alive, player. This is the first
day of the rest of your life.

    CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
    BY JIM PATTON
    Chinatown, N.W.

    Two
in the morning, a steamy Saturday night in July, Sherman Brown was standing by
the jukebox in the notorious Sunbeam Lounge, wondering what the hell he was
doing here. With a wife, a little girl, twins coming, and no way to live
anywhere near the District on a cop's pay, the idea was to earn some nice
money, short-term, for a down payment on a house in peaceful Howard County,
Maryland. But still, a D.C. cop--a good cop, who liked to think of himself as a
good--moonlighting as a bouncer in a dive like this? He wasn't the first,
wouldn't be the last, but--

    A gunshot. Marvin Gaye was wailing
from the jukebox, a dozen or so brothers were whooping as the girl onstage
humped the pole, but Sherman knew he'd heard a shot. A Metro cop heard plenty
of them. Anyone who grew up in a project like Barry Farms had heard plenty.
This one came from in back, the other side of the
plain brown door Sherman had never passed through.

    Tyrone,
behind the bar, heard it. So did Antwain, the whale, who'd been up near the
stage ogling the girl and stood there now with his mouth hanging open. Some of
the brothers had heard it--they were getting up from their tables and streaming
out. The girl stopped humping the pole.

    LaPhonso,
the boss, wasn't around. He'd been in and out as always--keeping an eye on
things, going in back with one of the girls for a while, stepping outside to
get high or do some kind of business.

    Sherman
crossed to Tyrone at the bar--Antwain right beside him, all 300 pounds. "Where's
LaPhonso?"

    "Ain't
seen him in a while," Tyrone said.

    "You
got a key so I can check it out? Or you want to check it?"

    Antwain
butted in--"Naw, man. You the law. You
gettin paid. Go on."

    Sherman
eyeballed him. He never liked mouth from a punk, 300 pounds or not.

    "Go
on. The Man ain't here," Antwain said, "and when

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