This week on Free Sample Friday we give you a taste of the 'Bakersfield Sound of Low Life Lit' with a bit from the Christopher Davis half of Double Tap.
“Fuck Jonesy,” Marzano said, from the passenger seat of a late model Mercedes. Just the other side of the glass, it was dark, black hole dark. There was no light other than what little the instrument panel offered. “I don’t like the idea of Gianola sending us up here in the first place." “Don’t worry Marty,” the driver said, smiling. “Danny G sent us up here to keep an eye on things for him, it’s easy money, Marty.”
Martin Marzano had a Colt 1911 in his hand looking the piece over somewhat. The passenger slid the weapon back into a nylon holster under his arm.
“Yeah,” he said. “I guess that you’re right, Jonesy. Maybe the boss has decided to give the two of us a promotion, huh?”
Silvio Valentini—known to all as, Jonesy—laughed. “That’s it, Marty,” he said. “A promotion is what it is.”
Silence settled over the interior of the speeding black import as country miles rolled by unseen. Something soft played on the all-night radio station—Kenny G—maybe? The radio was turned down.
“But I still don’t like it, Jonesy.”
Valentini nodded. “I hear you, Marty. It’s not like De La Rosa can’t handle shit up here, huh?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Marzano replied. “I hear that things have been going real good for Danny D.”
The lights of a nighttime city grew closer in the windshield. Fresno—The Biggest Little City in the USA—the sign read. An Oakland bound stack train drew alongside. Valentini mashed down on the accelerator. The speeding import responded, leaving the lights of the train to itself.
“Fuck,” Valentini said, from behind the wheel. “We’re going to be late.”
Marzano laughed. “I told you that we shouldn’t have stopped at that shit-hole strip club, pal.”
Valentini laughed also. “If it weren’t for meeting with Danny tonight, I would have done that red-head real good, Marty.”
“I know you would have, Jonesy.” Marzano said, laughing.
It was two hours up from Bakersfield. Valentini and Marzano had fucked off a good bit of the time allotted for the drive up north from Vegas. They were now on deserted surface streets in the southern part of the sleeping city. The hour was late. There were no expected vagrants, street rats and prostitutes.
“Looks like the place, huh?” Valentini asked.
Idling over-the-road trucks lined the forgotten streets, waiting for a load come morning and sunrise behind those locked gates.
“Yeah,” Marzano said, checking the .38 strapped to his ankle. He didn’t say anything more. Neither did.
Another import eased through the unlocked gate and rolled to a stop just ahead. Under a faded blue and white sign that read, DAY / NIGHT FREIGHT.
“Is that De La Rosa?” Valentini asked, slowing for the turn.
“Yeah,” Marzano said, “Big Danny.”
De La Rosa started from the gravel lot ahead to a rusting steel door. One naked bulb hung overhead. Valentini rolled to a stop.
Marzano was standing next to the car. “Danny,” he yelled.
The gentleman standing near the door turned. From inside the concrete building, shots were fired. The gentleman went down to his knee and returned the fire.
“Fuck, Jonesy,” Marzano yelled, running now up the steps with a Colt in hand. “Come on.”
De La Rosa swung the door shut. Inside, the shooting had stopped. Marzano stopped, waiting for Valentini to catch up.
He nodded at the corner of the building. “Go around back, Jonesy.”
Valentini had a look around the corner before stepping off into the darkness.
“You okay, Danny?” Marzano asked, moving cautiously closer to the steel door. “They get you?”
“No,” De La Rosa replied, keeping his back against the graffiti covered cinderblock wall.
Marzano moved closer.
De La Rosa tore his eyes from the rusting door. “You stay here,” he said. “I’ll be right back.”
Danny De La Rosa stepped off the dock, popping the trunk of the vehicle as he did. Marzano couldn’t see his associate with the trunk raised. When De La Rosa returned, he carried what looked like a modern SKS and the most vicious looking shotgun, Marzano had ever seen.
“What the fuck was that all about, pal?” Marzano asked.
De La Rosa tossed the shotgun his way. “Johnny Juarez and the bitches, he calls friends.”
Marzano had only a moment to look the weapon over before De La Rosa grabbed for the door. “Johnny Juarez, you cocksucker,” he yelled into the deserted warehouse. “I’m here to collect.”
“Fuck you,” someone said from inside.
“Where’s your pal?” De La Rosa asked.
“Around back,” Marzano said.
“Good,” De La Rosa said. “Let’s bust this motherfucker up.”
The door swung open, spilling bright light onto the dock. De La Rosa stepped inside easing back the trigger and unleashing a hail of lead. Marzano followed firing waist high. He hoped to catch anyone standing nearby off guard.
Small caliber rounds were returned chipping at the cinderblock wall near the door. De La Rosa and Marzano continued to fire.
“That’s Jonesy,” Marzano yelled to be heard over the staccato blasts from the semi-auto in De La Rosa’s hands. “Over there by the office.”
Two men lay bleeding on the dirty concrete floor. Another stood, surrounded as he was. “Don’t shoot,” he said in a thick accent. “No Mas.”
De La Rosa had a quick look around and eased back the trigger once more. “Fuck you,” he said, as the last sounds of the shot reverberated off the concrete walls.
“Danny D,” Valentini said, drawing closer. “It’s good to see you.”
De La Rosa looked around the warehouse and started for a yellow supply cabinet marked FLAMABLE.
“You,” he said. “Drag them up close together.”
Valentini complied dragging the dead Mexicans closer together. Marzano already knew how the night would end. He kicked through a couple of old pallets and tossed the splintered wood into the pile.
“Good idea, boss,” Valentini said, dragging pallets and cardboard boxes now.
De La Rosa returned with two cans that he splashed on the dead. He lit a cigarette, tossed the match and turned for the door.
Valentini looked at Marzano. Marzano shrugged his shoulders. The pair followed De La Rosa to the door, with Valentini stopping to open a few bottles of forklift propane along the way.
“There’s a pizza place on Belmont,” De La Rosa said as he continued for his car. “We’ll talk there.”
Valentini had a quick glance over his shoulder. Combustible freight, old pallets and cardboard whipped into a roaring flame as the propane bottles whistled their contents into the air. He kicked the rusting steel door shut, retrieving the key fob from his front pocket.
De La Rosa sped away into the night along darkened streets. Valentini spun the car in the gravel lot and headed to the open gate.
“Fuck Jonesy,” Marzano said, looking back over his shoulder. “Did you see that?”
Inside of the DAY / NIGHT FREIGHT terminal, the flames had found the propane in the stagnant air. The rusting steel door was blown off its hinges as the second import sped away. The warehouse was totally engulfed in flames by the time Valentini straightened the wheel and pointed the import toward the city.