by D.L. Glenn
Pt 2 Moses & Curio interecpt Eddie Nesbit on a secluded part of the Mississippi River.
|A deep-hulled Bayliner, grungy white with faded red lines along its beam hurtled toward him, riding bow-high despite a woman spread eagle on her back draping her legs over the bow. In the binoculars, Eddie could see she was topless immediately. Her breasts tipped with dark nipples that jiggled as the boat wiggled in the water.
“Ahoy there, tit-taaays!” Eddie smiled. Riding the river frequently yielded a courtesy flash now and again, but to see a nude sunbather riding the bow of a powerboat for all the world to see was slightly odd. Definitely not in a bad way.
Eddie nudged to wheel to starboard. It was a courtesy gesture. The river was easily a mile wide and only a suicidal boater could hit another small craft.
He stood up from the seat, tossing his hat to the floor lest the slipstream take it away. Squinting, he could make the pilot to be a man wearing a floppy hat similar to his but the woman covered the cockpit mostly. Even a half-mile away, he could see immediately, she was one of America’s finest.
“Niiiice!” Getting flashed happened often. Abundant sun and beers, miles between boats, and the brashly all-natural attitude of an exhibitionist set many a mammary swinging side to side from beneath a bikini top that was struggling to keep them hidden anyway. Getting a split-second nipple shot and maybe an occasionally festive “cup ‘em and shake ‘em” from some screaming tart on a jet ski was one thing, but this girl was just lying on her back giving the world an amphitheater-sized display.
“Of allll her money-makers! Ho-ly shit!” Eddie’s eyes feasted as the boats closed on one another. Apparently, the strings hold an electric lemon-yellow bikini bottom had not held it in place. The tiny triangle of the crotch flapped behind her like a naughty ensign, held in place by her dainty hand. An added bonus, she then brought her legs up and planted her feet on the bow, opening and closing her tan legs casually for his gaze. “I hear ya, baby!”
She was a tight package. Short, he could tell by her coverage of a beach towel she laid on and the basic knowledge of the front of a Bayliner. Young, he figured her twenty maybe. Pouting lips and a button nose with a pair of sunglasses hiding her eyes. Brunette, short hair. Took care of herself.
“Great tits with noooo tan lines!” He admired her physique as the boats closed rapidly. Eddie immediately wondered if she might be foreign. French, Spanish, maybe a Greek. Most Americans did not lay out so explicitly in the sun in public but the Europeans had nude beaches. It was not modesty that kept American women clothed. It was the law.
“This ain’t the Costa del Sur, honey. Be a shame for some Bubba with a badge to write you up out here.” She gave the faintest hint of a smile as the boats passed each other over a hundred-feet distant. He waved and grinned, then saluted the driver of the boat with a few toots of the horn, a salute, and a rebel yell.
A hard glance at the driver before his attention turned to the wake he was about to hit told Eddie the man was at least a good ten years older than he. Rugged, shirtless with a farmer’s tan that highlighted a lot of ink on his torso. Just a skinny rawhide-looking, lucky SOB with a dirty ole Bayliner and a sexy nudist on his bow.
“I gots tah git me one of those!” Eddie cut into the wake and looked back at the Bayliner again. “Lucky sugar daddy bastard.”
He noticed the man stand up and look back at him, his hat flopping behind him as the wind carried it from his crown and snagged by the chinstrap. Eddie could just make out a pair of tiger-stripe camo shorts on the man’s legs. A lone fishing rod jutted from the stern, a white and red bobber flailing in arcs from its tip.
Life in the Fast Lane continued grinding through the speakers. Despite being up and down the highway, the lovers hadn’t seen a goddamned thing.
The boat was slipping slowly to port behind him, cutting into his wake as Eddie had his. He smirked at the dull life in the boat’s colors. It looked moldy, unkempt. Granted, it was just an old Bayliner but taking a woman, that sexy and wild, out to soak some sun on her cooter should have at least rated a spraying off at a car wash. The boat did not appear nearly lavish enough to match the bow art it sported.
“Not much of wallet for a sugar daddy, I reckon.” Eddie looked ahead to clear his traffic and looked back again. “And I bet he blows up that motor right quick gunnin’ it all day trying to blow some wind up that little darlin’s cooter.” He pushed his own throttle ahead full and slumped into the seat, watching the boat in the rearview mirror.
“Man, she was fine as hell.” He sighed and noticed the boat turning sharply to port and then coming about. “And…coming around for another pass! Why howdy to you, too, sexy lil' naked girl!” He throttled back a bit, turning his head to watch.
“Something you forgot to show me? Can’t see what I might have missed.” He chortled.
But something was amiss; he sensed it in the boat’s turn.
Yellow alert, Ed! Wait one fuggin’ minute…
He did not know what forced the pistol from his dash drawer and into his hand, but something seemed maniacally amiss suddenly. Immediately, he pulled his boat directly into the middle of the mile-wide channel. The ever-changing flow of the sandbars was a thing to be feared. He did not relish the idea of ripping out his drive train by running shallow out of stupidity.
The maneuver also gave him some wiggle room. Putting the hammer down to the throttle, he gazed in wonder and increasing paranoia as the Bayliner made a sweeping turn to starboard under full power, the driver using the width of the river to space his turn without sacrificing speed.
“He never cut power a lick! Damn boy! You gonna’ throw that naked lil girl you got perched up there out into the drink if you do that once too much.” When the boat had turned enough to show the bow, he could see the girl had a death grip on the bow cleats mounted on either side of her. Her feet were jammed under the thin rail that rounded the bow.
Eddie tried to calm himself, remembering he was highly stoned and probably halfway sun-stroked and tired from the trip. But the way neither of the two people in the other boat never cut power and made a safe turn nor averted their gazes from him was unsettling. Being flashed and passed before by people on jet skis and from the decks of passing boats had occasionally earned him a conversation with the ladies in question and the guys with them. But usually a driver would wave him down, make a leisurely turn and cut his power while the girl would whistle and wave, and make it known they wished to maybe share a beer and say hi.
Someone wanting to steal five kilos of fine Colombian booger sugar on the other hand would turn exactly like that. And they would close full throttle… just… like… that!
Eddie saw an impossibly big rooster tail of water jet from the Bayliner and realized only then was he seeing full throttle. The boat soared upriver toward him. Absent-minded in a growing panic, he tried to push his throttle ahead further and realized the boat was maxed.
Red alert, Ed! The klaxon from the Enterprise went off in his head as he realized the Bayliner had ample river to catch up to him and was doing so all-too-quickly.
He shook his head and gulped, “Oh man, I’m too high for this.”
“That’s him!” Curio Phelonie yelled back over her shoulder as she flipped a pair of tiny pink binoculars over her shoulder into the passenger’s seat of the Bayliner.
“I think you’re right, baby. You get hot! Remember, no blood if we can. Up close is better than the shot!” Moses Holliday yelled up at her through center of the open windscreen. He throttled back a bit to get a good look at Eddie Nesbit when they passed.
“I hear ya, Daddy-o.” Curio squinted as the wind smacked her eyes though the wide sunglasses covered a wide area of her face. Nesbit closed rapidly on them. She waved her knees open and closed slowly, thinking of Kathleen Turner swaying the testimony of that old pervert witness against her in Serial Mom.
Have a look-see, homeboy. It won’t bite cha’. I might though…
You ran fast to be this far upriver, Eddie, thought Moses. I figured to catch you a lot farther downriver. That sucks.
From the put-in at Robinsonville, Moses grew more and more nervous as he saw the amount of barge traffic aimed downriver and counted all the emptied boat trailers in the parking lot at the dock. Radars on the pushboats could track them; their images were recorded in case of a mishap or collision. Eyeballs of men and women lounging on the river in whatever capacity could certainly describe an old white Bayliner and a Nautique.
Especially if this gets messy… Moses could not know how many boats were coming upriver either. The sooner they could get Eddie Nesbit to stop breathing or surrender the Nautique, the better.
Curio watched Eddie watching her. She had his rapt attention, knowing he was lusting her. She was no stranger to it. She thrived on it just as she thrived on the thrill of the hunt.
That’s right, baby boy! I’m just a pretty little thing out here for a little pleasure cruise. Oops! Did I forgot my swimsuit? I guess I did. Guess you taking a gander at my unmentionables right about now. Well baby, what can I say about it? It’s as good as you probably sittin’ over there thinkin’ it is. But, you like a great many men, will never get to know it. Now you just be a good little boy and stare at these tits while my man back here turns you into turtle chow… The Nautique vroomed by them. Howdy asshole!
Eddie roared by in the Nautique, tooting his horn and whooping. She heard his music as it was carried off into the wind and Curio smiled. The quarry had been found.
“Hold on! I’m turning around!” Moses yelled and pulled a six-inch Spyderco dagger from a cargo pocket. He swung the wheel to port as they crossed the Nautique’s wake and then turned as sharply as he could back to starboard without breaking the plane and causing chops that would stifle his speed and give the Nautique any more lead than necessary. He watched her lock her hands on the cleats, hooting in excitement as the centrifugal force tried to rip her away. Moses jammed the dagger upright into the side of the fiberglass armrest and used it as a secondary handhold as he fought the rudder. The Bayliner scythed through the murky river.
When they were straightened out and aimed toward Eddie, Moses smiled behind his shades and punched it. The Bayliner’s disheveled outward appearance belied its true potential. Under the engine compartment was a supercharged engine with a specialized transmission and a heavy-duty prop. He pulled away the Velcro patches that covered the extra air vents cut into the engine cover, maximizing the air sucking into the motor as it howled. A huge rooster tail erupted behind the boat as it soared close to sixty miles per hour. Moses and Curio each saw Eddie’s reaction to their turn. The Nautique increased its speed.
“We spook him, you think?” Curio yelled back at him.
“Had to. He got smart. Otherwise ain’t no way a man gonna’ run that fast from a naked woman lookin’ like you do out here in the middle of nowhere!”
“You think I’m gonna’ hafta take the shot?” Curio yelled again.
“I don’t know! Get back in here!” He bit his lip and shook his head in disgust. “Dammit!” The plan did not have a high-speed boat chase in it.
Curio rolled over and eased through the gap in the windscreen, struggling to pull the hinged section closed. She was wet from the spray and shook her hair like a dog. Reaching into her purse, she pulled a lipstick and dabbed her lips in the rearview mirror.
“You gotta be kidding.” Moses gaped at her. Her sensibilities were an odd lot to him.
“You want me looking good, don’t you? It takes upkeep, baby. Always upkeep.”
“You always look good, fool.”
They could see they were closing on the Nautique. Moses watched his gauges. Curio smeared the lipstick into its proper boundaries with a fingertip and kissed the air a few times.
“I told you we should have just caught him on the road. Curio pulled her Luger and cocked it before laying it on the dashboard.
“You tell me a lot of things, lil lady.”
She cocked her head and smirked at him. “I thought you said no one ever tells you shit.”
“I said no one ever gives me shit. Get ready!”
“No doubt about it, they are fuckin’ chasing me! What in the holy hell?” Eddie’s mind tried to process the situation.
No plausible reason why they were closing on him full speed made sense to him. He gripped the pistol in his right hand firmly, breathing rapidly, his eyes bloodshot and fixed on the two heads behind the windshield of the Bayliner. The two were talking between themselves. The wake and obvious power of the Bayliner was evident. He knew time was fleeting. Clearly they would close on him soon.
Doctor Feelgood suddenly followed the Eagles.
I’ve got five kilos of the powdered goods aboard, he reflected. And it didn’t end well having the powdered goods for Rattail Jimmy, the second-hand hood.
Whatever was about to happen, it was about to happen quickly. His first thought about the why of them chasing him was he had been sold out by someone. He was about to be robbed. Running illicit substances for a gangster had its drawbacks, of course. Being sold-out was one. Sweating now, he kept watching the Bayliner in the mirror, glancing over his shoulder constantly in panic.
Something about it did not sit right.
A robbery? Come on, Ed. Don’t be an idiot, Big Daddy! Out in the middle of the fuckin’ river? They gonna’ rob ya’? Then why out here? They could easily catch you at the dock.
Again, he questioned if he was being overly paranoid. Could it be the old boy just wanted to show his big boat’s fast dick to some dude in the river to impress the lady? Maybe they had some weird swinger thing going. The old boy got off watching his hot little girlfriend go down on some random guy under his instructions, perhaps?
“Ed, are you really running away from a hot naked chick and some skinny bastard in a fast boat?” He debated himself. “Yeah, you are, big Daddy. Just because you’re paranoid, don’t mean they ain’t out to get you, son.”
Maybe four people knew who he was and where he was supposed to be and why.
Can’t be cops. Ain’t their way. No point in risking me dumping the coke at the first sight of them. Better to catch me at the dock. So who…!
An incident from two years prior clicked in his head. His eyes shot backward, binoculars jumping to them. His pursuers’ faces were clearly visible until hers disappeared beneath the dash, presumably to look inside the cargo compartment in the bow.
Eddie Nesbit felt his heart pounding. It felt like an enraged Hulk stomped up a stairwell from his chest into his throat.
“Grizzly and Pete know exactly where I’m supposed to be.” Eddie swallowed hard. “And now they must know I’ve been taking a taste.”
Nesbit had more than forty-five thousand dollars in pilfered funds stashed in a few bank deposit boxes. The stash started when one of Grizzly Fontenot’s lieutenants, Albie Aldridge, decided in a state of meth-induced psychosis to march into the office of a Deputy U.S. Attorney’s office and offered to roll on his longtime employer in exchange for witness protection.
Albie was an old druggie who managed to keep in favor with the Fontenots long after he deserved. His was a personal history that was a sampling of America’s tastes in drugs. LSD and pot in the late Sixties morphed into pills and smack in the early Seventies. Then came the days of cocaine as disco took hold in the late Seventies and he degenerated into crack in the Eighties and cheap crank as the Nineties rolled.
The Feds took notes as he babbled uncontrollably about murders and numerous felonies Grizzly Fontenot was involved in directly. It was clear most of his faculties were far beyond askew. He thought it would be easy to walk in and point them at Grizzly and be jetted away to Arizona or New Hampshire or somewhere else far from Louisiana. He was incorrect. Though some of his rambling was of interest and manna from heaven for one Randall Jowanski, the Deputy U.S. Attorney who was always interested in putting the Fontenots away forever, one look at the wild, almost frothing Aldridge told them he was useless on the stand. There was no way the Feds were going to run down Grizzly Fontenot with the God’s honest, so help him God, absolutely true, testimony of Albie Aldridge.
They dismissed him, slapping a possession charge on him at the door when he reached in his pocket for his keys and pulled out a baggie of crank that fell at his feet while he tried to deny it was his.
Albie was left out to dry. No money except whatever Henri Chellette felt Albie’s veins could handle that week, bridges he burned by his idiotic move left him on a veritable island of shame from which he eventually disappeared.
Eddie heard the story floating around for a while about Albie and realized if he were ever caught smuggling he too would be in a bad way. He was paid well to carry the loads but he was just a mule and a mule that could not carry its load was dispatched quickly. Moreover, though he made good money, he also had a party streak that took a lot of money to keep up. With next to nothing saved, a simple arrest with a load would cost far more than he could afford. Certainly more than the Fontenots were eager to pay to get him out of his ineptitude. Problems like felony charges on some lackey were an easy fix.
He started skimming. It was a risky choice to make, he knew. He never went too overt but since he usually carried raw paste, he could take a small amount and cut it many times to sell to his friends. It was pure profit. As many times as he carried money back to New Orleans, he never pocketed a single bill. Product loss was a hazard. Coming up short on an audited amount that was agreed to could lead to a war between the two factions, the seller and the buyer. Over time, he reckoned someone began checking the weights and finally a decision was made to put the obstinate mule down.
One final detail about the Aldridge affair that set him to stealing from the boss came to mind as he looked through the binoculars. He heard a conversation between Grizzly and his fat brother, Pete, while Eddie sat waiting for his pay at the pool hall where the Fontenots frequently held court for their lieutenants. He did not catch who it was, but he definitely heard the part about “Moses and Curio handling a retirement.” For months, there were hushed rumors about a couple who handled problems that required a firm hand without being tied to the Fontenots too directly. No one visited by the couple was around to confirm it.
I’m a little fish, out in the middle of nowhere. And now a hot chick and a mangy old fuck are here to take me down. Nine years, Grizzly. I’ve been a good soldier for you for nine fuckin years and you send these two to pop me and leave me for the fuckin catfish to nibble on, didn’t you? You sent the fuckin sharks!
A channel marker flew past him. Quickly, he plotted his location again and looked for something, anything, to give him an advantage. They had him in speed, but not in agility. The open water was a deathtrap for him unless he saw some boats around. Witnesses made it less likely for them to start shooting at him or try to board his boat and take him out close quarter. A nook denoting a channel on the left side of the river caught his eye on the map. He looked at the scale and knew the nook was coming up soon. A backwater channel ran behind a peninsula and made it an island. He hoped he could somehow get into that narrow backwater, where the tighter turn radius and shallower draft of the impeller could be used to his advantage.
Get them into that bottleneck, pop a few rounds at them. Get them to juke, maybe hit one if I’m lucky. I get a hard turn and gun it. They can’t make the turn all the wide and maybe bottom out that big prop or something. It damn sure beats them running me down and doing whatever they got planned.
A quick look behind him told him the girl now had an assault rifle in her hand. She was fumbling with it, assembling its components. His .38 suddenly seemed drastically underwhelming. Impulsively, he turned for the mouth of the backwater.
“Oh shit!” He watched as she slapped a magazine into the rifle and pulled the charging handle.