Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2021

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole… Continued Chapter 30

Fiction Saturday


Chapter Thirty


pull-motel“Kids, I’m sorry.  I’m really sorry.”

Vivian was near tears.  Davis was numb.  Laura was torn between comforting Vivian, trying to keep Davis from going into shock, and keeping watch on her own boiling pot of anger and fear.

“Vivian, I don’t blame you,” she said.  “It was just bad luck.  We’re all safe.”

But she did blame Vivian in a way.  She blamed herself as well, for accepting Vivian’s dangerous invitation in the first place.  She thought that, maybe, they weren’t all that safe, not any longer.

The three of them sat there in Vivian’s living room, in the fading light of another glorious day in Southern California.  After a long silence Vivian picked up the remote and turned on the television—something to break up the prolonged quiet and deepening darkness in the room.  The picture flickered to life, showing a pair of perfectly tanned young news anchors seated behind a desk.

“Let’s send it over to Marty Guerrero at Horton Plaza, the scene of today’s bloody shootout.  Marty?”

The picture switched to another young, tanned, reporter standing in front of  a demolished pull-horton-plazaproduce cart.  Yellow crime-scene tape circled the area.

“Thanks, Rigo.  I’m standing in front of the fruit stand used to break the fall of two of the shooters in today’s gun battle here at Horton Plaza.  Apparently, they jumped or fell from the walkway thirty feet above me onto the vegetable cart, and then, bullets flying, made their escape to a waiting getaway car.

“We have obtained some videotape of the shootout from a tourist who was at Horton Plaza today.  Let’s run that video while I tell you what you’re seeing.”

Back at the station, a technician pushed a button and sent the amateur video out to more than two million homes in the San Diego area and across the border into Mexico.

The tape, shot from below, showed the backs of Laura and Davis, but the faces of the three Federal Agents and the mob associate looking down at them from above.

“As you can see, the gunmen on Level Four were taking aim at the two on Level Three, just above where I am standing now.”

The focus zoomed in on Davis as he raised his pistol and started firing upward.

“Here we can see some shots actually being fired—and now we see the two shooters jumping or falling our way and onto the fruit stand.”

The tourist with the camera had opted to follow Laura and Davis as they jumped, so he didn’t record the gory scene up on the fourth level.

“The tape gets a bit jumpy here.  After all, an amateur shot this, not a professional.  He was being jostled by the crowd of terrified tourists fleeing the havoc.

“Unfortunately, with all of the frightened people there, we cannot quite see the faces of the two people doing all the shooting.  It looks to me, though, like the gun is an automatic, possibly an Uzi—a lot of deadly firepower there.  Now, we see that it looks like the shooter with the illegal pull-killerassault weapon is pointing it directly into the face of the innocent tourist, our cameraman.  Again, someone stepped in front of the camera lens, blocking our view of the gunman’s face.

“Here comes the escape.  As the criminals run from the scene, we can see the high-powered getaway car pull up.  They obviously, had this all timed down to the split second.

“The camera then zoomed in on the car and driver.  In the chaos, we think it might be a woman, but we’re not sure.  And there they go, speeding off to their gangland hideout somewhere in the San Diego area.”

The tape ended and the face of the somber-looking young reporter flashed onto the screen again.

“Rigo and Daria, none of the people involved in this horrible carnage have been identified yet.  The amateur cameraman, a tourist from Indiana, did capture a good image of the female shooter, so it is only a matter of time.  We know that at least one man is dead and there are reports of several others, including a Horton Plaza security guard, wounded by gunfire.  The police are being very closemouthed until they have more to say.”

A split screen appeared and the image of a young woman, who vaguely resembled Katie Couric, shared the screen with Marty Guerrero.

“Marty, this is Daria Jimenez in the studio.  Do the police know what started all of this senseless violence?  Are they talking?”

“Daria, nobody is talking.  But I have been told by some of my very reliable sources that this whole bloody affair may have started as a dispute over dinner at The Captain’s Table restaurant up on the top level of the crowded Horton Plaza.

“This is Marty Guerrero at Horton Plaza.  Back to you Daria and Rigo.”  He rolled his ‘R’s so hard, giving his version of a Hispanic pronunciation, that he sounded like a growling dog.

The handsome anchorman looked into the camera.  He had a perfect tan and gleaming teeth.  He shifted his attention over to his co-anchor and spoke with a flawless Chicago television accent.

“Daria, I think that Marty should get an Emmy for his reporting on this tragedy today.”

“Yes, Rigo, I agree wholeheartedly.  In another, apparently unrelated, incident at Horton Plaza today, a tourist from New York City was seriously injured when a planter filled with geraniums fell from an upper level and hit him on the shoulder.  When we come back after this short break, a special report: Protecting your children from reality.  Stay tuned.”

Vivian hit the remote and the screen went black.

“What a crock of bull feathers.  They think I’m a woman?” she said. 

“Vivian, we’re leaving,” Laura said.  “I don’t want to put you in any more danger.”

“Don’t worry about me, Honey. I can take care of myself.  You just take care of him,” she said, pointing at Davis who had fallen asleep on the sofa.  He looked younger when he slept.  “Honey, you’ve got yourself a good man there.  He came through when things got nasty.”  Peeto’s gun lay on the floor by Laura’s feet.  She had removed the magazine.  It was now just a chunk of nylon polymer and steel.

Laura let her eyes linger on Davis.pull-mexican-border

“I know, Vivian.  He is a good man, but tomorrow morning we’re leaving.  I’ve got to get into Mexico.”

“I can drive you guys down to San Ysidro, to the border, and I’ll jot down the names of the people I know of who can help you.”  Vivian got up and walked into her kitchen. “Want a beer?”

“Thanks, that might help.  I think we’ll take Davis’ car though.  Yours might be noticed after all that TV nonsense.”

“Fine with me, but I’ll have to bring it back here.  I’ll put it in your parking spot,” said Vivian, handing a long-neck Coors Lite to Laura.  “You can’t leave it parked on the streets down by the border.  They’d either tow it away or, if they connect it to you, they’d be waiting when you came back across from TJ.  I suggest you take a taxi once you’re back in the U.S., or the trolley.  You need a few bucks?”

“No, Vivian, I’m fine in that respect.”

Vivian looked into Laura’s eyes.  She saw exhaustion combined with anger and fear. “Kid, how are you, really?  Are you okay with what had to be done today.”

“No, I’m not okay with it, Vivian.  But what choice do I have?  I can’t turn myself in to the police.  They think I’m a murderer and if I go back, my husband will kill me—us—you—and  anyone else he thinks helped me.  Oh, Vivian, how did we get into such a God-awful mess?”  She was running on empty.  All of her adrenaline was spent.

Vivian took a long pull from her beer, then looked at Laura and Davis.

“Honey, we get into these messes because we fall in love.  We do it every few weeks from the time we can walk.  First, it’s with Daddy, then Elvis or Ricky Nelson, then with the first boy who asks us to dance.  We fall for all the two-timers, liars, dime-store cowboys, and assorted losers who come down the pike.  We spend our whole lives looking for Ricky Nelson.  Well, he’s dead.

“But, if we’re lucky, we eventually bump into a guy like my Clive or your man here. It’s then that we finally get it through our skulls that Ricky Nelson was just a skinny kid on TV and that it’s guys like yours and mine who make it worth all the bruises and betrayals. Ain’t love grand?”




“You had her and you let her get away?”

“But, Dominic, look at me.  I’m half killed here and that Johnny What’s-his-fruit is dead.”

Dominic did look at Peeto.  He saw that his boyhood friend was in a bad way—his  arm in a sling with a plaster cast protecting his broken collarbone.  Dominic saw him all right, and he wanted to smash his face in for allowing his wife to escape, for allowing her to still be alive.

“How did this happen?  Was that guy still with her?  Talk to me, Peeto.”

“Yeah, Dominic, he was still with her.  I don’t know who he is.  He ain’t nobody from New York, that I know.”  Peeto was not used to taking Vicodin, and was having trouble following Dominic’s questions.

“So, now she’s got your piece, too,” said Dominic.  “Y’know, you’re paying for that.  I ain’t just going to give you another one when you go around letting women take ‘em away from you.”

“Jeez, Dominic, I was out cold when she took it.  I’ll get it back, I promise.”

“Yeah, sure you will.  With you all tied up looking like something out of a mummy movie?  Make yourself useful, Peeto.  Turn on the TV.  I want to catch the ball scores and see how the Mets did last night.”  He tossed the remote to Peeto who grabbed it out of the air, wincing from the pain in his cracked bones.

The television, bolted to the wall of their motel room, showed a man in a dark suit—a man who had a perfect tan.

“Let’s send it over to Marty Guerrero at Horton Plaza, the scene of today’s bloody shootout. Marty?”

to be continued6

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One thought on “Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole… Continued Chapter 30

  1. Will they find Vivian? Will Laura and Davis get to Mexico? Will…? Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks, John. Another great chapter.


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