Fiction Extract: The Silent Type by Dietrich Kalteis

PoughkeepsieShuffleCoverFrom the novel Poughkeepsie Shuffle, ECW Press. You can find it here.

 

Sitting on his deck with the cedar hedge at his back, Vick DuMont tapped his fingers on the arm of the metal chair. He tried for cool, not letting his eyes go to the portable drill on the picnic table.

Randy Hooper stood close, letting his size get his point across, his hair hanging in front of his face, strands sticking together like he’d been sweating. Pony White leaned against the shakes of the post-war-era house and looked on. Frown lines deep as scars on either side of his mouth.

Randy saying, “Two ways we can go.” Sitting on the bench of the picnic table, leaning close to Vick, Randy reached in a pocket and took a banded roll of cash, holding it up. Looked like a grand in hundreds. Tossing it, he caught it, saying to Pony, “Why they got to go the hard way all the time?”

“Beats me.”

Setting the cash on the table, Randy picked up the drill, Boar Gun printed on the side, big battery pack on the bottom. Pressing the trigger, he spun the bit, looked like he admired it, saying, “One way’s money, Vick, other way’s pain.”

“Okay, said I’ll find out what I can.”

“Expect your call, then,” Randy said, spinning the bit and gouging into the top of the table, saying, “You do, you get another roll like this one. You don’t . . .” He drilled deeper.

“Said I would, right?” Vick wiped at his forehead. Looking at the hole, he threw in that Ted Bracey had a trailer load of cars coming across the Peace Bridge, told them about the hidden cells welded underneath, opened on hydraulics. How you had to tap your foot on the brake and turn the key at the same time, flip a switch under a fake bottom on the console for the cells to open. Each packed with a couple of Uzis.

“Already know all that, the reason we’re talking. What I want to know’s when and where,” Randy said, tapping the drill bit against the roll of cash, then tapping it against the side of Vick’s knee. “Whichever one you want, your choice.”

“All I know, swear,” Vick said.

“But you’ll find out more,” Randy tapped the trigger, let the bit spin, catching the edge of Vick’s pants.

“Yeah, yeah.” Eyes on the bit, Vick bobbed his head and moved his leg away.

Randy got up, taking the drill, going and opening the screen. Vick’s schnauzer rushed out, Randy giving it a pat, then walking through the house, boots thudding on the hardwood.

Standing there, looking at the roll of bills, Pony said, “We got this place, kind of a warehouse sitting empty, out by the nuke plant. Locals moved the fuck away after the bullshit over in Chernobyl. You hear about it?”

“Yeah, yeah, sure.” Vick nodded.

“Nobody wants a candu reactor in the hood. Place get- ting all deserted.” Pony pointed at the gouge in the table. “We got to start drilling more holes, nobody’s gonna hear the screaming, not out there. You get me?” Pony left him sitting there, going through the house. Vick on the metal chair, hugging his dog. 

www.dietrichkalteis.com

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