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▶  More from Fiction The Filthy Few
Oscar Malvida’s Last Day
First of the Filthy Few: Joey Bennett, Congenital Criminal, Bookmark Three


“Good morning, Oscar,” came the death knell of another day, the micro-management bell that told Oscar Malvida that he would be sweeping, scrubbing, polishing, wiping and cleaning up broken jars of pickles—pack that shit in plastic, already—all the give-long day.

Shit, I’d almost rather be back in The Joint…almost.

“Good morning, Oscar,” came the now indicting voice of his time master, “How are you, today?”

“Oh, thank you, Mister LaForde, I’m fine—was just lost in thought as to how best to serve PUBLIX today!”

The evil prick, mastermind of scheduling, pushing more paper than a parole officer, then placed his hand on Oscar’s shoulder in faux fatherhood and pointed behind Oscar toward parcel pickup, where Oscar was supposed to be—except that Miss Joanne had a large order to bag and she had such a fine ass, Oscar just had to bag it for her.

They were now standing together, linked by the phony hand on the baloney shoulder, looking through the front window at a smoking hot cougar who was eying up some MMA stud in sweatshirt and cargo shorts, who was loading her groceries into the trunk. Some avocados rolled out of a bag and the dude snatched two with one big hand and the woman placed her petite man leash on his hypertrophied forearm and said something in his ear, placed a business card between the dude’s teeth and then sashays into her smoke-tinted Charger, soon rumbling off, leaving the slack-jawed brute eating her exhaust.

Mister LaForde, Store Director from corporate hell, then patted Oscar on the back and said in a low, conspiratorial tone, “That could have been My Man, Oscar, earning his cougar stripes, but since poor, misguided Oscar was drooling over my cashier while he placed the eggs on the bread and the ham on the eggs, he’s standing here while some meathead is not only macking custobabes, but about to collect the tip—that we know Oscar would never accept—from that nice old lady with the pink walker.”

Oscar swallowed hard, knowing this prick well enough to mentally recite the following script along with his boss, “Oscar, it seems that my Dominican security guard has fallen asleep at the cameras again trying to zoom in on what remains of Miss Joann’s charms. So could you please do a grocer a favor and get that retarded Jason Statham clone off my property?”

For emphasis the unholy prick was taking out his flip-phone—which was just unfathomable, that this asshole, who made well into the six figures, was using an Obama phone—and pulled out Darrin Smoot’s business card, Darrin, “Don’t back slide on me, boy” Smoot, parole officer to Oscar Malvida and who knew how many other doomed men.

Oscar put on a happy face and smirked away, “Yes, Mister LaForde, no mountain too high…”

…no gutter too low—you piece-of- shit.

*****

By the time Oscar got outside, the meathead was stepping back up on the sidewalk like he actually worked here, prepared to pounce on an old lady in an electric scooter chair…

…until the oft-broken hand of Oscar—who never should have tried boxing for a living—put a staying touch on the sweaty green sweatshirt and pressed it against the washboard stomach, “Whoa, Holmes, this is my gig—I work here. See, I’m a Publix employee and you’re not.”

The stubble-grown, lantern jaw turned, the cold icy eyes of an idiot bored uncomprehendingly into Oscar, and the Sonny Liston size hands—which looked like carnival claws on his light heavyweight frame—flexed mechanically, as if crushing something.

For a moment there was tension, the maniac clenching his jaw, ready to send Oscar’s old ass to the ER. Then a dim mist of realization seemed to shade the fury behind the unsettling gray eyes and the guy backed away, shrugged his shoulders and mumbled, “Yeszrr,” and listed off dumbly, counting his few dollar bills.

A knock on the window brought Oscar around and he saw Mister LaForde giving him the thumbs up and the sign for cleaning up around the dock. So off Oscar went, limping round the back of this giant feed bag for retired white people to clean-up the shit that Eddie the Haitian Receiver let fall off the dock…

*****

There is something tenacious about wet supermarket circulars that dry on the asphalt after they have been run over by an 18-wheeler, that simply befuddles the dustpan and broom. Oscar took out the trusty, old-school case cutter, which he had already been written up for carrying instead of the insurance company mandated safety cutter, slid it apart, took out the blade, slid the back of the razor through the crimped end of the slide, and slid the aluminum case up over the slide and behind the razor to make a T-scraper.

As he bent to scrape up the circular he saw, between his two short pants legs, a pair of sweaty piano legs in sneakers, bare and hairy under the hanging khaki cargo shorts.

Oh, fuck me, Holmes!

Oscar manned up and turned as he stood, tossing the useless dustpan and broom beside him, alone behind the building, facing some freak panhandler over six dollars and realized he was holding the razor scraper he had just fashioned and not wanting to do time over that shit, tossed it away.

Oscar had finally had it and snapped, “What the fuck, Holmes? You took my money, my tip money and you commin’ up on me, wanna bank me!”

The eerie gray eyes darkened a moment and then that same dull look of resignation appeared and the boy drawled, “Naw, sir. Jus’ thought as you Mexakin you could learn me dat gwakamolay.”

“What da fuck, bitch! I ain’t no goddamned Wetback! You commin’ up on me insultin’ ma shit—don’ know a beaner from a decent spic—is you fuckin retarded, boy?”

The gray eyes darkened like two tiny storms and Oscar was grabbed by the throat and driven ten feet into the block wall, nearly knocking out his wind, as the idiot hillbilly snarled in his face, “Tarded, tarded, tarded!!!”

Oscar Malvida had been a runner for the Latin Kings, had won his first ten pro fights, had worked the door at the Latin Palace for years, had been muscle for—Fuck, this retard is choking my life out!—and wasn’t going out like this, strangled by a stupid hillbilly.

Oscar slammed his open hand down between those two muscular legs and grabbed—“Holy shit, yo—ewwww!”

Oscar was free, shaking what he hoped was meathead ball sweat and not giant Johnson juice off his hand as the retard stood there with eyes popped in disbelief, “Dat’s gay! I ain’ gay nor tarded!”

Oscar, convinced now that he should be able to manage this situation, put his hands up for peace and soothed, “Son, I’m sorry, my Puerto Rican accent must have caused this misunderstanding. My prick boss sent me out on you. You just too strong, Holmes, I had to grab for a foul before you choked out my life.”

“You ain’ gay den?”

“Not a turd-burglar, never was, never will be. No bone smokin’ either.”

The boy seemed relieved and then became downcast, “But you ain’ a Mexakin too.”

Oscar all of a sudden felt for this kid. Whatever he was going through, he didn’t have the answers for.

“My apologies, Son. Name’s Oscar Malvida. When I was a young stud like you they called me Bumpy.”

The sweaty meathead took Oscar’s proffered hand and shook like a vice, “Joey, Joey Bennett, sir.”

The young man then began to clean up Oscar’s tools and brought them to him, holding the instruments of Oscar Malvida’s degradation in his hands and said, “Sorry ‘bout all dis, Oscar Sir, real sorry,” as he attempted to give them over.

Oscar Malvida was then stricken with an epiphany, a liberating and soul-releasing moment of inspiration from God, that must also have struck great men in past moments, men such as Columbus, who just knew this shit was here, men like…well, like every gangster that ever made it big.

Oscar recoiled with noble affront from the tools of his late despicable trade and responded with two open hands, “Whoa, Joey, whatchou need a Mexican for?”

A note of brightness, a nearly blue shade of hope, unclouded those dull gray eyes and Oscar knew he had found the perfect partner to compliment his elite cunning.

Fuck you, Mister LaForde and fuck you harder, Smoot! Oscar Malvida just quit!

To be concluded in Stone Cold Louann Rhimolde

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