Work in progress:

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Chapter Two:
The man turned briefly to look up and down the decaying hallway from which he came. Satisfied, he closed the door and slid the bolt. Flashing a nervous smile he crossed the room and slid into the proffered seat hastily; he introduced himself as Kit.

"And what brings to this fine establishment, Mr. Kit?" Deck inquired as he rummaged in his desk drawer. Sliding a glass of highly questionable cleanliness into the center of his desk, he tipped the empty bottle over it.

"Drink?" he asked.

Kit blanched and declined politely. "Well, Mr. Coffield, I would like to retain your services."

Deck leaned back in his chair and fondled his tumbler of JTS Brown like a lover, "No shit?" He cocked an eyebrow ironically: "Who's she cheatin' with; best friend? Say, you ain't datin' a broad name a Mona are ya?"

"No, no, you misunderstand me, Mr. Coffield; this case, it is probably not the sort of work that you are used to doing," Kit explained as he shifted in his seat uncomfortably. In a stroke of drunken genius, Deck had long ago broken a spring in the "client seat" in order to keep conversations as short as possible. He was not a man for social interaction. "What I need, Mr. Coffield, is for you to hold this for me." Kit produced a small green book that was padlocked shut by a riveted metal clasp. He held it up and then slid it across the desk.

"Later, I may need other services from you; but for now, here is five-hundred dollars." He pulled a rubber-banded wad from his jacket pocket, counted off twenty-five Jacksons and laid them next to the book. He then began to scrawl on a matchbook cover. "I will call your office every day at 5PM sharp. If I do not call--even once--you take that book to this address." He looked up, dropping the matchbook on the stack of bills. "Do this and another $500 is yours."

"5PM, eh?" Deck grunted, eyeing the address on the matchbook and then tucking it in his shirt pocket. "I should charge you double for making me miss Happy Hour."
Chapter Four
Deck checked his watch; it was a quarter 'till six. He had just enough time to thrown on his jacket and hat, haul ass down three flights of stairs, tear around the corner to the J-Mart and pick up a bottle of the Brown before they closed.

Reclining at his desk ten minutes later, suckling thoughtfully on a fresh glass of Life-be-Gone, Deck began to formulate his course of action. Mr. Li was quite wrong in his previous assumption; this was exactly Deck's kind of game. A situation such as this required subtlety and he couldn't screw over his client. Word travels quick in the biz and a few grand now isn't worth losing your rep over, or even, in some cases, losing your kneecaps while some sweaty, dego fuck named Guido is delicately re-arranging your anatomy with a golf club. Beside that, it was apparent that someone wanted this book badly or else Li would have just tossed it in a safe deposit box. Deck smelled blood somewhere in all of this but a little danger never stopped him from paying the rent. No, Deckard Coffield could most certainly not screw over his client. . . but Seedy Petey Wilson sure could.

Deckard got on the horn. Petey Wilson could and would screw over anyone for the right price. People, upon hearing the name of Seedy Petey, would invariably quote the cliche and age-old axiom that Pete would "fuck over his own mother for a buck," but they were wrong. He would require at least 30% of the cut before he went anywhere near a family member, dangerous criminal, law enforcement agent or public figures.

"Hello?" inquired an ironically soothing and friendly voice from the other end of the line.
"Petey? Deck."
"Carrie, my man; good to hear from you. How's bein' a dick treatin' ya?"
"It's 'Deck,' you little fuck. I'm amazed no one's fucking killed you yet."
Petey laughed, "No, my friend; it was 'Deck' when you didn't owe me two-hundred bucks. A couple C-notes will certainly make me forget that you have a bitch name."
"Yeah, I've been meaning to talk to you about that," Deck growled. "I hear you are becoming a regular fuckin' expert on the subject of magnets and their practical house-hold-fucking-uses. . . Ring any bells Petey?"
"Deckard." Petey gasped, "How could you imply such things? You know I run a clean game!"
Deck snorted, "That's a fuckin' laugh." He paused to light a Lucky from the smoldering end of the one in his mouth. "Anyways, we can settle that shit later." Deck exhaled a blue plume of smoke into the receiver. "Something important came up and I need you to do something for me."
Chapter Six
After hanging up with Pete, Deck killed another butt in contemplative silence while he absent-mindedly stirred his drink with his finger. All he could do was pray that Seedy didn't fuck this one up; not that Pete had ever back-stabbed him before--he was a rat, but he wasn't an idiot--but this was big bucks. This could be the retirement ticket. All he had to do was keep Pete away from the book and the money and all would be well.
After killing his eighth drink, Deck stumbled to the bathroom, book in hand and tossed off to page twenty seven for the second time that day. After washing his hands and dabbing love sauce off the spine of the book, Deck collapsed into his chair and began to think about where he was going to hide the book. He realized that it had to be somewhere that he could get to without leaving the building, in case whichever parties wanted the book so badly had planted a watch on him.
At the top of the stairs on the 8th story of Deck's nearly condemnable office building stood a rather formidable looking iron fire door. Daunting, were it not for the fact that Deck had stolen the key from his Landlord's office one drunken night so that he could come up here and drink and be as one with nature. Cool smog on the neck; the delicate smell of smoke, fried chicken and cooling asphalt; the gentle wailings of various native species of state-owned vehicles as they ferried O.D.'d junkies, burn victims, drunks and indiscreet burglars to and fro--that sort of thing.
Unlocking the door, Deck stumbled through and staggered directly to where he knew the book would never be found. Prying open the maintenance door above the elevator shaft was a bitch, but that elevator hadn't worked in 30 years or more; no one would be poking around in there any time in the next century. Nope, Deck probably had more faith in the consistency of his Landlord's nature as a low-life, money grubbing, scum bag than the Pope did in Jesus. Deck slipped the book securely into the frame of the mechanism at the top of the shaft and closed the doors tight. Shame that he never made it past Page 27.
Piss drunk and reflecting sourly on the abrupt loss of world class masturbation material, Deck nearly failed to see it. Deck's father was a paranoid militia type ex-Marine and, living with him, Deck had learned a lot of tricks. One of Deck's favorites was to draw or notch a small line that perpendicularly crossed the point where the stem of the handle and the metal socket that it turned in meet. Deck did this in a way so that when one simply released the handle the lines did not match up. Every time he left his office, Deck always made sure that he lined them up, religiously. Right before he moodily grabbed the door handle and flung his office door open, Deck's blurry eyes grazed the handle and stopped cold: It wasn't lined up; not even close.
Chapter Eight
Waking up with leathermouth never bothered Deck; it was the fucking hangovers that he somehow managed to create for himself that were really beginning to wear him down. Thinking that perhaps Mona had impaled his skull with a carpenter's nail or butter knife or some other metal-piercing implement, he sat upright in a comical mockery of alertness. After a cursory search of his head turned up no abnormal protrusions, Deck conceded guilt to and upon himself and his compulsive drinking.
Rolling out of bed he pulled on his pants, noting only the sad condition of the room. Mona had apparently turned the place upside-down looking for his wallet and/or her credit card, took his Ute Lemper CD and stormed out. What a fucking bitch.
The blinding California sun stabbed him right in the eyes as he fumbled for his car keys; he was never going to drink this fucking much, ever again. Really. And he meant it this time.
His office was an unholy disaster. Somebody had gone over it pretty well--not that there was much to go over. Deck just couldn't understand why they couldn't do it to him like they did it in the movies; with a fine tooth comb. If this was a fine tooth comb style job, it must have been some mutant, Don-King-Kong comb. It's times like these when Deck lamented that he didn't own a god damn gun. Well at least they didn't rip the phone out of the wall like the last cock-suckers did who broke into his office. While he was gingerly picking up, inspecting and re-organizing his collection of Frank Sinatra vinyls, the phone rang. He looked at his watch: Five, on the nose.

* * * *

Over the next few days, deck cleaned up his office and had better locks installed. There had been nothing new on the Petey side of things and Kim had been calling like clockwork. Deck was eating Fried noodles and reading Guns N' Ammo one afternoon when something peculiar happened. Deck stopped, sensing something was amiss. He looked at his watch; it was five-fifteen. Deck picked up the phone; there was a dial-tone. He hung up and peeked out the window. No one was milling about in the street, but that didn't mean much.
Deck pulled the crumpled matchbook from his back pocket and examined the address. His gut told him that taking the book there might be bad news for him, but as long as he checked it out and didn't bring the book, there was a reasonable assurance that if something was fishy he could get out with his skin attached. Then again, some old lady could answer the fucking door. Deck rubbed his temples but the hangover seemed to have taken up residence. How the fuck was he supposed to cash in on this shit if he couldn't keep the book for a few more weeks? How was he supposed to know what to do when he didn't know the player involved?
Not knowing what was going on pissed Deck off to no end, and being pissed off generally made him act like an idiot. Deck grabbed his coat and rushed out into the hallway. When he go to the landing he didn't even pause to think about going up; taking the stairs down three at a time, he stormed out onto the sidewalk and got into his beat-to-shit Chevy Nova. Deck was going to find out what was going on if he had to kill somebody to do it. Nobody was going to fuck up his chance to get out of this rat race. He pulled the address out again and slapped it on the dash before he shot out into traffic.
Chapter Ten:
Twenty minutes later, Deck sat in his car and stared at the address plate that matched the numbers on the matchbook. Deck was having a hard time believing that he was actually going to walk up to this door and casually knock and NOT have the fucking book with him. Too late for that shit now; the hour of truth was at hand. Thankfully, Deck had an almost uncanny ability to pull some bullshit plan out of his ass at the last minute, and they usually worked.
Deck got out of his car, wandered down to the payphone on the corner by the park and punched in numbers with the bottom of his lighter.

"Hello?" came a sing-song voice.

"Petey, it's Deck; you got a man?"

"Well Hello Deckard. Good to hear from you," cloyed Petey in a chirping lilt. "I might have one about, uhm, but you know Deckard, this time it's going to have to be full price. I simply cannot afford to..."

"Petey, will you shut the fuck up? Do you have a man or don't you?"

Petey coughed. There was a pause. "Yes, I do."

"How many balls he got?" asked deck as he jimmied a smoke out of his pack.

The "ball system" was the way that Petey rated his runners. A "one nut wonder" was usually a kid or an old man who would run your shit, drugs, papers, whatever, but a one-baller wouldn't do any funny stuff. A "guy with a pair" was your typical thug who would mix it up if need be. But a "three balled bitch," they were absolutely fucking crazy; killers, thrill seekers, druggies and just plain nut-jobs who would do just about anything for the right price. These would always cost extra. Petey was notorious for his large selection of worthless "one nutters;" Deck was praying that he had a man with a pair around.

There was a long, silent pause from the other end. "Hello? How many fucking nuts Petey?" Deck yelled into the receiver, dropping the unlit lucky from his lips in the process. "Fuck."

"Yes, yes, Deckard," Petey cleared his throat. "I'd say Three."

"You'd 'SAY' three, or fucking three, Petey? Take the guy's god damn pants down and count them if you have to, but you better not send me one of those god damn kids again Petey; this shit is serious."

"No, no, Deckard. Three all right; two and a half to be sure, but. . ."

"Fine, whatever. Look, got a pen? Take this down." Deck lit his lucky and stared at the house down the street. "One-four-oh-seven, on the corner of 14th and Lincoln way."

"Ok, got it."

"Great. Now, I am going into that joint right now. You send the man down, and if I ain't out standin' by my car across the street at... quarter-till-seven, you tell your man to... send a car through the living room window."

"WHAT?!" screamed Petey. "Whose car? Are you fucking nuts Deckard?"

"Probably. Look I don't care where you get it; tell your three-baller to pick a junker up on the way or something. Put the shit on my tab." At this point, Deck was simply talking over Petey's hysterical protests. "Remember, standing by my car, wearin'.. uhh.. brown suit jacket, brown pants, brown hat, yellow tie. Got it? Look I gotta go."

With that, Deck hung up before Petey could frame a decent, coherent argument, and strolled back up the street. He would send the man; Deck just really hoped he didn't need the help. Petey's rates got pretty stiff for Grand Theft Auto III, Destruction of Private Property, Reckless Endangerment, etc., etc., etc. .

Deck lit a fresh one, wandered casually up the driveway to the house and rang the buzzer. All he could think about was bourbon.
Chapter Twelve:
Cruising down I-5, pushing 110 miles-per-hour in the slow lane, Deck just had to chuckle. Deck wasn't one that would ever be described--in casual conversation--as particularly "witty" or "studious" or any of that crap; he did, however, have a knack for the more practical things in life. As a student of logic and utility, Deck often surprised people with his industrious approach to things. Turning that load of dirty cops in would have given Deck nothing but court room head aches 'til Hell became a ski resort. Milking that shit eating pig for info, squeezing the dirt out of him and then showing him the tape recorder that had just caught every incriminating word, genius--oh, if he had only brought his Polaroid; you couldn't buy that sort of drama! Deck was all tingly inside; he'd never owned his own squadron of SWAT team members before; those pricks would sooner give Deck head than let that tape get to the guys at the IA. Deck decided to hold them as a trump card and let them all split
The only real bummer was learning the truth about what was really going on. Deck was pretty much fucked in every sense of the word. Blazing down the freeway with a lucky dangling from his lips, a pint of JTS Brown in a paper bag between his legs and his foot on the floor, Deck reviewed his options. Going back to the office was tantamount to mailing his ex-wife a loaded gun and his updated home address. Deck had been planing to rent an apartment, but as it stood he slept on the fold out couch in his office. Going to Peteys sounded like a stupendously bad idea and reviewing the list of the rest of his "close knit" circle of friends, they were all either in jail, going to jail soon or, even worse, had gotten married. There was only one place that Deck figured he could go while he was on the lamb: The Rusty Cat.
Stepping into the backlit doorway, Deck scanned the crowded bar looking for people that he owed money to. Seeing none, he strolled across the room, slipped in to a rickety bar stool and ordered a whisky. What a glorious shit-hole! Deck felt right at home wedged in between two catatonic bar flies; yes'sir, this was retirement! Taking another survey of the bar Deck began to run over his options in his head.
He couldn't even get to the book because he was sure that his building was being watched. He couldn't go to the police and he sure as fuck wasn't giving it back to that back stabbing little fucker, Kim. He was stirring his drink with his finger in casual contemplation when his head was unceremoniously slammed into the bar.

"Carry! Good to fuckin' see you, where-the-fucks-my-money?" inquired a deep voice--presumably the owner of the meaty paw that was holding Deck's face firmly to the bar.

"Fwank, Fwank I wers heer luking ferr you", promised Deck earnestly.

"Yeah, I bet you were. It has been two fucking months Carry. You know what I did to your fucking girlfriend Petey, and he was only three weeks behind."

"I thot thet wess becus he wess fuckin yer wife." Deck mumbled to the bar top. Frank pulled his head up by the hair and slammed it back down against the bar. Deck groaned.

"Don't get cute with me you little fuck. You have exactly ten-fucking-seconds to come up with the two grand that you owe me. I'll even count with "alligators", just to make sure that it's fair for you. "

At about 6-alligator Decks hand shot back in desperation and found the best collateral that anyone could ever ask for: Franks' nuts.
Deck, being a bit of a haggler at heart, was able to gently coerce an understanding out of the situation. After having been released from the bar-top death hold he was in by gently twisting the jewels, Deck proceeded to call upon his nearly uncanny diplomatic faculties and perfectly execute a very tricky "public relations" maneuver. Deck slapped Frank upside the head with a beer bottle and then introduced Franks face to his knee several times.
After dragging franks inert body outside, hailing a cab, shoving him in the back and handing the driver a Benjamin from franks wallet; Deck instructed the cabbie to drive his drunk friend to Los Angeles promising that Frank would cover the rest when he got there. Deck then slammed the door, pocketed Franks wallet and walked back into the bar.

Pick*eer" (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Pickeered (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Pickeering.] [F. picorer to go marauding, orig., to go to steal cattle, ultimately fr. L. pecus, pecoris, cattle; cf. F. picor'ee, Sp. pecorea robbery committed by straggling soldiers.]

To make a raid for booty; to maraud; also, to skirmish in advance of an army. See Picaroon.

[Obs.]

Bp. Burnet.

 

© Webster 1913.

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