Wednesday, February 27, 2008

TEETH


His engine froze and the front wheels locked, spinning the rear of the vehicle to the left with a squeal. Instinctively, Willie pumped the brake which forced the vehicle into a three-hundred and sixty degree reverse spin into the opposite lane. The Taurus flew into a parked Toyota pickup with a two-syllable crunch and forced it up onto the curb breaking two of its wheels off of their axles. The impact forced Willie’s head into the windshield with a spray of cube-shaped safety glass, which knocked him immediately unconscious. The wreckage tore into the worn concrete wall of the Sheraton Hotel with sparks and the groan of twisting metal before it ground to a halt with a vulgar hiss.

Willie reached under the seat. He knew that he’d wrecked his car. He knew that he was in Monterey. He knew that he needed something to defend himself with. His hand felt the tire iron. The blood from his forehead had caked his hair and was in the corner of his eye. Willie was careful as he pulled on the tire iron; everything felt fine, but his back could very well be broken.
“Gimme your hand, I’ll pull you through the window!” A voice said from the passenger side. Willie looked up and looked into the eyes of a really thin face attached to a lanky body that was hunched over the passenger side. Willie didn’t like the face, or the yellow teeth.
“I got it.” He said.
“Like hell you do. You need medical attention!” The man said.
“Is there a hospital in Monterey?” Willie mumbled, as he tried to make his pulling on his tire iron inconspicuous. Willie started towards the window, planting his right palm into the seat and leaning on it with his shoulder. He dragged himself out of his seat into sort of a half crawl towards the window. The driver’s side of the Taurus was completely destroyed. It was also totally entangled in the Toyota which had become part of the wall.
“Got you right where I wantcha!” The thin man with the yellow teeth snarled. His hand shot into the window and grabbed Willie by the ear. Yellow Tooth pulled and pulled, bracing his other hand against the top of the door, and Willie slowly complied.
“Let go! I’m coming, I’m coming!” Willie shrieked. He could feel something popping in his ear, he knew that his cartilage was giving away. The temptation for him was to let go of the tire iron and deal with Yellow Tooth some other way, but Willie didn’t know what Yellow Tooth was armed with, or what drugs he was hopped up on. Willie’s upper torso had cleared through the window when Yellow Tooth let go of his ear. Willie fell out of the vehicle, crashing onto the sidewalk, dimly aware that there was a crowd forming. The tire iron clanged to the ground beside him.
“Busted.” Willie mumbled to himself.
Yellow Tooth had reached into his belt and pulled out a knife. He lunged forward and grabbed Willie by the ear again.
“Was you gonna hit me with that? I don’t like being hit.”
Willie looked into his skeletal face and noticed for the first time the blond, stringy hair that wisped about his face. Yellow Tooth leaned in, hunkering down, pulling on the ear and raising the blade.
“Somebody help me!” Willie shouted at the crowd that was gathering. No one moved. They all watched, stupidly.
Willie heard the report. Then his face was spattered with blood. Suddenly, he had a burning pain in his shoulder, as if someone had just punched him with a jackhammer. Yellow Tooth grabbed his stomach and slowly turned around, to face the gun that was aimed at him. There was another shot, and Yellow Tooth twisted further around on his feet, he had been hit in the side of the head; knees buckled, one of his dark, cowboy-booted feet slipped on the pavement and Yellow Tooth collapsed in a twisted bleeding mess. The man who’d shot Yellow Tooth stepped forward. His arms were massive. He was wearing a tank top. His hair was short and he had a wicked grin on his face. His teeth weren’t yellow, they were gold. His eyes were locked on Willie’s as he walked up. Then he looked down at Yellow Tooth. Yellow tooth was twisted into an unnatural position from spinning and constricting in pain. The back of his head had been blown off, but his eyes were still tracking. Yellow Tooth looked up at the man and began to scramble as much as he could, but it was more of a spasm than a controlled motion. Gold Tooth squatted beside him and held the gun’s barrel in Yellow Tooth’s face. Yellow Tooth gritted his teeth and looked directly into Gold Tooth’s eyes. The barrel went up against Yellow Tooth’s yellow teeth with a mild click. Gold Tooth pulled the trigger and Willie recoiled, working on processing the image of someone with a bullet shattering their teeth. There was another click.
“Damn. Looks like I’m empty.” Gold Tooth said. He flashed his smile at Willie. Willie felt the pain in his shoulder and hoped that the bullet had gone through his back. He’s seen medical footage of what it takes to remove a bullet from a wound, and he wasn’t really up to it.
“Get up, I’ll take you somewhere where you can get fixed up.” Gold Tooth said. Willie staggered to his feet and began to limp after Gold Tooth. The crowd began to disperse. They had seen violence like this before. Some were actually put out that they hadn’t been able to witness a murder. People stepped away from the twisted car wreckage and stepped over Yellow Tooth. Someone kicked the tire iron and it slid and re-clanked somewhere else. Yellow Tooth clawed at the ground, multiple pools of blood had started around him. As far as the crowd was concerned, he didn’t exist anymore. He was a medium of entertainment that had just been turned off. He was going to die, and no one was going to do anything about it.