Discover Card Ending in 8093
By Bud Smith
I’m kicking it with my cousin, Chris, and he says, “Get this, other day I found a credit card at the gas station, just laying there.”
“And you maxed it out.”
He smiles as he rolls the blunt on the coffee table. “No, man, it wasn’t like that.”
I lean back, a spring stabs me in the shoulder and his dog smells like shit.
“Found the lady on Facebook,” he says. “Just sent her a message before you rolled over.” I’m impressed. He’s got a kid on the way. It makes me proud of him that he’s going to return the card.
“She got a little weird when I told her some of the details.”
“I charged a pack of cigarettes and a 30 pack on the card. I said I’d pay her back for that, or she could consider it a reward.”
“Ah shit.” I’m fidgety, I almost get up and leave. I just got off parole. “Cops will be here any second.”
“Shut up. You’re a—” But there is a knock on his door. He shuts off the stereo. He freezes and so do I. Outside I hear wind ripping through the evergreens. I hear the whine of the porch swing. I hear the rain slapping on the roof of his Chrysler that doesn’t run.
The knock again. “Chris?? You home? It’s Angela. Let us in.”
The dog lays under the table, maybe dead. Chris gets the door and two girls walk in from the rain. They’re both in black hooded sweatshirts. I don’t know either, Angela sits down in Chris’ spot on the couch next to me but me and Chris don’t say anything, we’re too busy looking at Angela’s friend, because when she pulls down her hood, she’s got two shiners and a split lip.
“Hi, I’m Lucy.”
I shake her hand. Her nails are black, but mostly chipped.
I stare so hard at her and I don’t even say my name because I want to ask her a million questions but I don’t know where to start.
So I just say, “You guys wanna smoke?”
Hahaha, that’s why they’re here. WTF.
Chris gets everyone a beer out of the fridge, and I pop it, and sip it, I don’t realize it’s from the 30 pack from the credit card he “found.” But he wouldn’t steal a credit card just for beer and cigarettes, so I do believe his story. He’s a good enough guy. He sells weed. The best people I know sell weed, just chill people, who don’t want to be bothered with oppressive things like bosses or having to work any specific day of the week or a time schedule or whatnot. I gotta quit my job, soon.
Angela asks Lucy for ten bucks for gas. Lucy passes over a twenty dollar bill. Angela says, “I like the way you got your hair cut.” Lucy doesn’t smile, but she says, “Ahhhh, that’s nice of you.”
We kill the blunt. We kill a couple beers a piece. When I come back from the bathroom, Angela is sitting on the back porch while the dog walks around the mine field of the back yard. And accidentally it’s just me and the Lucy, I don’t know where Chris is.
“Who did that?”
“What? My face. His name’s Don.”
“Thought you’d say some shit like you fell into a door knob.”
“No, no door knob. No basketball. Just an ignorant motherfucker.”
She shrugged. “I don’t want to get into it, that okay?”
“I just met you, it’s personal.”
“He your boyfriend?”
“Well it doesn’t matter. Only thing that isn’t complicated is how I’m gonna kick his ass.”
Chris walked back in the room. “Whose ass you kicking?”
I’m standing now, I’m all amped up. “Guy who did that to her.”
“Aw shit! That’s a good idea,” Chris says, and that’s why I like him so much, he’s always down for jumping somebody if it’s warranted. I’m putting my coat on and Chris gets the hint, he grabs his coat too.
“You’re going now?” Lucy asks.
“Yup, right now.”
She’s actually smiling now. Her eyes look all bright. “Wow.” Lucy looks at the clock on the wall. “He’ll be getting off the bus by Dinosaur Liquor in a few.”
She shakes her head. “Lost his license. Regular bus. She describes his army jacket. Says he has blue Nikes. Says he’s got a goatee. Apparently we can’t miss Don, and we’re so amped up, me and my cousin are running down the street out into the rain and we’ve left the girls just sitting there in the house.
“Gonna whup this bitch!” I say, running backwards, the street light lights us up orange.
Chris says, “Let’s light this boy up!”
Dinosaur Liquor is about ten blocks away, but we’re there like it’s two and then standing in the rain waiting at the bus stop.
“Where’s this bus?”
We eventually sit down on the bench and wait. Chris says, “Probably shouldn’t have left those girls alone in the house.”
“What could they steal?”
“You never know what some people could do. Could be stealing the copper pipes right out of my walls.”
When he says that it’s funny because I once got too screwed up with Chris and we’d busted out twenty feet of a tiled wall in a seasonal restaurant and only scored eighteen dollars worth of pipe.
“That lady did write back,” he says.
“What’d she say.”
“Mail the card back immediately, blah blah blah, or she’s calling the FBI.”
“I got her, man.”
“Melted the credit card on the stove while you were chatting it up with her.”
“Melted it? That was dumb. They got your info already. The emails and stuff.”
He tapped his head, meaning, ‘he’s smarter than the cops’. “Deleted the emails, amigo.”
The bus has pulled up and we don’t notice till it’s pulling off. But the only guy that got off the bus, is definitely our boy! He’s got a bounce in his step. Don, the bitch beating punk, in his lame army jacket and bitch blue shoes. Chris stands, I stand, but Don bounces along, grooving to his own groove. He slips right into Dinosaur Liquor, into the white lights.
“Oh this is even better.”
I don’t get why. But when I see our boy at the counter, I know why. The cashier is giving him a paper bag. It’s Wednesday night. Don must have a job. Don must have just got paid. The bag could have vodka. The bag could have gin. The bag could have blackberry brandy. Whatever it is, we’ll be finding out soon.
Back at Chris’s house, Lucy is sitting on the couch when we walk in.
I’ve got the paper bag in my hand, which may be broken now. And there’s blood on the bag, but it isn’t mine. Chris is still laughing. He’s got a cut above his eye, but it’s not bad.
“What happened?” she says.
“Fucked him up.”
“Angela had to go to work. I didn’t want to sit in the car.”
“You’re fine just there,” Chris says.
I set the paper bag on the table. I reach in and grab the neck of the bottle.
A fifth of good whiskey gleams in the light. Lucy turns the stereo back on. I pet the shivering dog.
Bud Smith works heavy construction in New Jersey. His books are the novels Tollbooth, and F-250; along with the poetry collection Everything Neon. Recent writing has appeared at TheNewerYork, decomP, Smokelong, Word Riot. He lives in NYC with his wife who just hung a jackalope on the wall. www.budsmithwrites.com