George Pelecanos

George Pelecanos by DC Noir Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: George Pelecanos by DC Noir Read Free Book Online
Authors: DC Noir
he ain't here, I'm The Man."
He told Tyrone, "Give him the key, dawg."

    Tyrone
handed it over.

    "Go,
boy," Antwain said.

    Sherman
wanted to hurt him--this whale, this punk, calling Sherman Brown boy. But not now. He turned and headed toward the anonymous door.
He heard Antwain right behind him, the labored breathing.

    The
door opened to a dim hallway. Approaching the first door on the left, Sherman
reached for the Glock 17 holstered under his shirt at the small of his back. In
the room he found crackhead Donita, one of the strippers, blowing a cornrowed
brother called Junebug. They hadn't heard anything, or didn't care.

    In
the next room a short, stocky guy called Cannonball was humping the new girl
called Golden. No sign of any shooting here. Sherman pulled the door shut and
went back the other way, Antwain close behind him, wheezing.

    In
the first room at the other end, a girl he'd never seen was on the bed
clutching the sheet up under her chin, scared, as if she'd seen or at least
heard something--a white girl, dark hair, foreign-looking. Sherman had heard
about foreign girls back here who never appeared out front.

    "You all right?"

    "Ho-kay. Ho-kay," she said, nodding
furiously. Foreign, definitely. Sherman wasn't sure
she understood him.

    Approaching
the last door, he heard someone rattling the knob from inside, then working a
key in the lock. Had to be LaPhonso.

    "Yo, LaPhonz!"

    Quiet,
then. The key no longer working the lock.

    "Boss!" (What LaPhonso liked to be
called, though Sherman could rarely bring himself to say it. )

    Nothing.

    "Whoever you are! I got my piece and I'm
coming in!"

    He
turned his key in the lock and opened the door a crack. There was someone
there. A girl--a pale shoulder, an arm, part of a slip or negligee.

    She
backed up, whoever she was. "Sorry!" She too had some kind of accent, and
sounded shaken.

    The
cordite smell told Sherman the shot had been fired in here. He raised his Glock
and eased the door open with his left foot. "What's going on? You got a gun in
here?"

    The
girl stared at him, wide-eyed. Behind her was a king bed and a pile of clothes
on the floor--sandals, denim shorts, purple polka-dot boxers, and a wad that
looked like the wife-beater T-shirt LaPhonso had been wearing tonight.

    The
girl pointed off to her right. Sherman, unable to see over there from the
hallway, eased into the room.

    There
was a gun on the floor, probably a .38, near a closed door. Sherman picked it
up, jammed it in his waist-band and turned to the girl. "What happened?"

    She
stared with the wide eyes, didn't say anything.

    "Who's
in there?" Sherman said.

    "Who where, man?" --Antwain, out in the hall.

    Sherman
went to the closed door and pushed it open. It was a little bathroom, nothing
but an old toilet and sink--and The Man, LaPhonso Peete, sprawled on the floor,
dead as a flat rat. Brain matter all over the wall behind the
toilet, blood pooling under his head.

    "What
the fuck?"--Antwain right behind Sherman now. "Bitch!"

    "Chill,
man," Sherman said.

    "Who you tellin chill, boy? Bitch kilt my nigga! You dead bitch. Gimme that," he told Sherman, meaning the
Glock.

    Sherman
wasn't about to.

    Antwain
glared. "You gonna take her out, then."

    Out of his mind.

    "You
hear me, nigga? You been gettin fat here. You wanna
keep that cabbage rollin in? You take this bitch out, I get ridda this
here"--jerking a thumb toward LaPhonso's corpse, an inconvenience--"and we back
to normal tomorra, nobody know nothin."

    Sherman
shook his head. It couldn't work. Besides, he was a police officer and this was
a murder, even if LaPhonso had been nothing but a piece of garbage.

    Yeah,
you gonna do her," Antwain said. "Then she ain't tell nothin bout our business.
Do her or we gonna do yo ass."

    Sherman
looked over at the girl in her slip--pale and thin, but with a pretty face and
something in her eyes.

    "All
right, then," he told Antwain, and told the girl, "Come on. Get some clothes
on."

    A
few

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