Mutt rammed an elbow into the cop’s stomach, but she’d brought up her leg and this blocked the blow. She countered with a heel strike of her hand, catching him at the base of his jaw back toward his ear. He grunted and tried to twist his wide body around in the rear of the Chrysler 300. But Desdemona Valdez now had her legs scissored around his torso and he reared back, shoving him and her against the side window, rattling the door. She reached and got his neck between her forearms, her hand gripping the wrist of her other arm, squeezing.
“I’m going to pop your eyes out, bitch,” she hissed between gritted teeth.
“Fuck you, rug muncher,” he wheezed.
The car rocked on its shock absorbers as the two combatants wrestled, gouged, punched and generally did mayhem to each other in the enclosed space. The Chrysler was parked in the driveway of the ranch-style house belonging to the North Las Vegas bruja. Inside, ailing billionaire Mace Gillmore reclined on a couch, his shirt off, a long red-and-black rooster feather lying in the middle of his chest. His eyes were closed and his breathing regular, suggesting contentment, a coming to terms with his approaching fate.
The witchy woman sat near him in a hard-backed chair. Her legs were crossed and she had the detached observant air of the clinician as she watched Gilmore. Near the couch was a three-legged wooden stool. Upon this was a hand-thrown clay pot giving off smoke from the sage burning within. On the floor next to the couch was a glass that had recently contained the diluted solution of oxycodone that Gilmore drank, to ease his pain and to open his mind. There was an image of the Transformer Optimus Prime on the glass.
“What do you see?” The bruja asked.
“My brother. The older one who died when we were kids. Well, I was 10 and he was 17 when…” He halted as if he were going to tear up but then continued, clear-voiced. “You know he taught me how to swim. How to hit a fast ball,” he snickered, “how to sneak a look up a girl’s skirt.”
“How did he die?”
“I don’t see what that has to do with anything–anything now, at least.”
“How did he die?” she insisted.
His eyes opened and he fixed on the ceiling of the converted bedroom, tracing a crack from the molding to a mechanical fan with lazily rotating blades. Gilmore dabbed a thumb at the corner of his eye, taking it away wet. He then went on, slipping back into his relaxed state.
“He had this hot rod, this ’41 Willys him and his buddies had souped up. You know this was the ’50s, all the kids were doing it.”
She didn’t say anything. The gate was open, he’d go through it.
“Like I said, Bryce was really something. He’d lettered in track and basketball, the girls would flirt with him, but he’d even read Hardy Boys stories with me. Of course, I could never tell his teammates that or he’d cream me.” He smiled at that.