Gus pegs the kid for a snitch with a Cadillac to match. One of those high-rolling wannabe types. ‘Bout five foot eight, suit with a pair of pads in the shoulders to make him look broad—skinny ass—and a pair of loafers Gus thinks his Grandpa owned back in the Black Crash on Wall Street. He’s standing around his precious car like it’s magnetic and he’s a fool coin. Not really attracted to it, you know? But pretending he is for the sake of appearance.
From the alley, Gus tracks his every move. He wipes a smudge off the driver’s side mirror. Kneads at some tiny reddish stain on his jacket sleeve. Checks the time on his fake Rolex—Daddy won’t buy him a real one? The kid is waiting for an important appointment in the form of a pretty girl Gus has seen him with before. Can’t imagine why a girl like that, nice body, nice brain, nice potential, would hang with a snitch in washed-up business gray. But hey, it’s not his place to judge a girl. Gus doesn’t deal in fucks in backseats. He deals in car parts.
And boy, what a nice bitch that Cadillac is, huh? Not a scratch on it. New model. This year. Andre will give him the big bucks for a ride like this, and all he’s got to do is swipe it from a schmuck trying to romance a chick with the grace of a two-legged Chihuahua. Here she comes—pretty girl—shuffling down the street, eyes glued to her phone like it’s home and she’s gushing secrets in her sheets to giggling sleepover girlfriends.
They’re across the street from a fancy restaurant. The kind with dim lighting and crap candles that obscure the imperfections of your beloved so you can pretend for one magic, romantic night you’ve found beauty incarnate. Kid takes her in, arm around her waist. Met by some host in a necktie too tight. Let inside with a name on a reservation list. And he’s gone. Disappeared. With his pretty girl.
And he’s left the real treasure for Gus.
Thank you, Rich Boy Jr.
Gus pulls Play 12 out of the book. He backs through the alley and comes out around the other side, sauntering down the street like he’s minding his own business. He is though, right? Snagging cars. His trade.
He makes his way four blocks down, transforming all the while. Pulls off his hoodie and replaces it with a high-end button-up over his plain white T-shirt. Classic style. He sticks the hoodie in his backpack and plucks a comb from the side pocket. Does his hair using a reflection in a jewelry store window. Some lady behind the counter gives him a rough glare, and he can see her finger inching toward that secret alarm button attached to the underside of her station. Just in case a thug breaks in and goes for the gold.
Palms up in defeat, he walks past the store, tosses the comb down a nearby drain, and accidentally drops his backpack into the nearest dumpster. Show time.
He turns a corner and ends up back on the street with that sweet Cadillac parked in a sweet spot. Out of the way of the major traffic on the road, obscured by a nice tree. The restaurant host can’t see the driver’s side from his post. The passersby will be a problem, but Gus is quick, and he’s got some tricks.
The Cadillac calls to him, and it’s all he can do to stop himself from rushing for it. Has to control his excited legs. Has to slow his breathing. Look normal, Gus. First rule of jacking cars. His mentor, Bobby G, drilled the basics into him until he was sanded down from a block of wood to a flawless carving.
He reaches the car, slips his Slim Jim out of his waistband, and places himself in front of the door. Takes him eight seconds to jimmy the Jim in and unlock the car. Masterfully, if he says so himself.
Slipping into the beautiful babe, he shuts the door and pretends to look for something in the glove compartment. No one shouts. No one screams. No sirens are coming for him.
Success! He’s got it hot-wired in no time.
And he’s off. Cruising around. Traffic is thick and slow this time of day, the sun falling below the horizon, sky dyed a vibrant orange. But man, what a time to be alive. Gus driving a Cadillac! Bobby G would have had a hoot at that.
He spins around town for twenty minutes, enjoying the moment, the prestige. Gus can feel the eyes of envy on him. A young, strapping fellow driving around in money mined from Africa or Latin America in the good ole days and passed around like candy to all the kids and grandkids until their teeth rotted out. But no fear, the rich can replace anything. Including cars.
The little snitch will have a cry, get a bitch slap from Daddy, and get the fuck over it.
Gus is in the zone now.
But it doesn’t last forever—the high wears down, and Gus reroutes himself, heading to Andre’s abode to make the drop. Man’s going to be a bit pissed at the late hour. Andre loves to watch his Jeopardy, and this is going hold him up. Whoops.
When he finally arrives, Andre talks smack at him, yelling swears from his door until he gets within five feet of the car. Stops. Stares in awe.
Damn, he’s thinking. Gus can smell it on him.
He tells Andre to check it out and then write him a nice, fat check for his services.
Andre lets the Jeopardy thing go—momentarily.
Pores over the car like it’s a long lost lover.
Checks under the hood. Interior inspection. Pops the trunk…
There’s a body inside.