Lugs disabled the alarm with the magnet points and I slipped the lock and we were in.
“Nice place,” I said, looking around. “You ever eat here?”
“You fucking kidding?” he said, unscrewing the cap off of the jerrycan and dripping homemade napalm across a row of booths. “All my money goes to the track.”
“I came here once,” I said, “when I was kid. I dated this rich girl. Her father wanted to take my measure.”
“Yeah? How’d that work out?”
“Not so hot,” I said as I uncapped the flares.
“Gonna be hot now,” smiled lugs. “You ready?”
Oi, what’s Wanker on about this time? Bugger’s as flighty as a sparrow in a barn.
He spent six months on the chips cart idea, only to throw it over when he found he’d need a health permit.
I told him, “Wanker, it’s food. What did you bloody expect?”
He just got chuff and slammed out of the flat without another word.
Next it was breeding them big dogs, mastiffs. That one was a bleeding shambles.
So now, it’s street photography. I guess he nicked a camera somewheres and thinks that’s all there is to it.
Taking photos of streets.
Uncle Trash said they called us second-story men because people used to live above the stores where they worked during the day.
We’d go up the fire escape to the roof, then across to a neighboring building, down another fire escape. We wore coveralls with names on them. Nobody bothers two guys in coveralls even when they see them on a rooftop.
I carried one of those slim prybars to slip in the window sash. We’d get through five, six places a day. Find the jewelry, the cash, then leave the place neat a pin.
Even fed a cat once.
Ramón’s eyes were red-rimmed from lack of sleep as he conned the cruiser between the channel markers.
Chipita set a steaming mug of coffee at his elbow and squeezed his shoulder. “What can I do to help?”
“Look for a sign that says Harbor Master or Marina Office. We want to get a slip near the middle where it’s crowded.”
She nodded. “I’ll tell them we’re looking to store it for the winter, maybe.”
He started laughing, the tension making it almost maniacal. “Except that it’s May, Chipi.”
She laughed too, then grew somber. “Will we be safe here?”
“It’s the damned landline. I don’t know why he can’t get a cellphone like every other human being.”
“Jim. We’re talking about a man who wouldn’t buy a television with a remote control. Remember when he was forced to because they no longer made TVs without them?”
“Yeah, I remember. He smashed it with a hammer.”
“Same as he did with the iPhone you gave him last year.”
“But that damned landline is going to ruin him. He must have lost twenty thousand to the Nigerians.”
“Closer to thirty. But he’s stubborn. Can’t tell him anything.”
“Don’t I know it.”