Monkey Steals the Peaches
He’s standing there grinning when I open the door. Holding a pizza one-handed, flat in his palm.
“Nice jacket,” I tell him.
“Uh, yeah. So, pepperoni, jalapeños, mushrooms, and anchovies. Right?”
He chuckles. “Crew thought so, too. But it’s what you ordered.”
“Isn’t this 237 Davis Street?” He squints at the ticket taped to the pizza box.
“They wore jackets like yours in the war,” I said.
“Yeah. Bright colors, red and blue, like that.”
“Dude, it’s a company windbreaker, they make us–”
“It’s a distraction. Frontline marches up in colors, the rear guard comes in camoed, from the back. Bait and switch, like.”
“So you’re saying this isn’t what you ordered?” His smile’s all over the place. He’s nervous, now. I don’t blame him.
“I’m saying you’re not what you appear to be.”
“You want to place a different order?”
“Order. Yeah, you were always all about order. You always kept that white coat of yours so spotless. Always a shine on your shoes and a part in your hair. Always making sure nobody talked in the meds line.”
His grin is gone. He knows I know. The sweat’s beading on his forehead now.
“Yeah. I’d be sitting on the couch in the ward, watching my kung fu movies, and you’d come out of nowhere. You’d hold me down while Dick Nurse harpooned me full of phenobarb. She the rear guard? She coming up slowly from behind while we’re standing here chatting?”
“Listen, man.” He set the pizza box on the porch railing. “No charge. You have a nice evening, now …” He’s glancing at the steps, inching away along the railing.
I kick him in the belly. It’s perfect because his attention’s on me, but the damage comes from the kidney level edge of the railing behind him. Like Sun Tzu says, exploit the terrain.
His breath’s sawing in and out between his clenched teeth. He’s gone soft. He wasn’t expecting it. He was always ready for me, back in the day.
“I don’t carry any money–”
I drop down on one knee, one arm up to parry. I put everything I’ve got into the uppercut to his crotch.
“They call this monkey steals the peaches.”
He falls like a tree and cracks his head on the railing on the way down. And I’m on him.
“You dial it up like so, that’s called the purple plums.”
His eyes tear up. He takes a weak swing at me, tries to push me off of him. I plum him clockwise till he groans, and till his eyes roll back into his head.
I grab him by the ankles and start dragging. I’ve got him half-way through the front door when he comes to. He grabs at the frame of the door with his trailing arms. So I have to stop and slam the door on his head a couple of times.
I step back out on the porch and do a quick scan.
And there she is. Dick Nurse. What a surprise.
She’s in the old lady’s house next door. Peeking from behind the white lace curtains in the second story window. She’s dressed up in the old lady’s clothes. She’s even wearing an old lady wig. Oh, they prepared. They put some thought into this. But it’s not going down like they planned.
She’s got a phone to her ear and she’s looking right at me.
I run right the fuck to her door. Two roundhouse kicks and it shatters in the frame. I’m in. There’s a fireplace. She’ll have no peaches to steal so I grab a poker, quick, and charge up the stairs.