Read Lemons 03 Stroke of Genius Online

Authors: Grant Fieldgrove

Lemons 03 Stroke of Genius

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1.

The sun was almost fully visible over the mountains when the man had finished up. His victim was lying down face first in dirt, still writhing around in pain. The blood streaming from her nose and mouth made the dirt stick to her face. Her body was frigid and she was shivering. Her left eye was already too swollen to see out of. She resolved to simply be motionless and wait for death.

The man got to his feet, wrenching up his underwear and pants, buttoning them closed. He glanced down and dusted himself off. He walked back towards his car. In the distance the sun’s rays were glistening upon the landscapes massive composition, giving incandescence to a brand new day of opportunity for millions. A mere mile away where the city never slumbered, with masses of people strolling up and down the streets at all hours of the day, oblivious to all that went on just outside the walls of their sheltered and invulnerable lilliputian fantasy, world where the pyramids of Cairo shared common ground with the Eiffel Tower and the Roman Colosseum.

The man relished the panoramic view for a moment longer before opening his car door and removing his knife from the passenger’s seat. He flipped open the four-inch blade with his thumb and caught a distorted manifestation of his face in the glistening, sharp steel of the weapon. He grinned, shut the car door and made his way back over to the woman lying before him. He knelt down beside her, grabbed her hair with his left hand and lifted her head up, forming an elastic-like strand of soiled blood that rose from the dirt to her nose. The woman was too broken to even scream. She didn’t make a sound. He sawed the knife against a clump of her hair, and when it broke free the woman’s face fell back into the detritus causing dirt particles to drift upward. She coughed up more blood.

The man stood back up and held the cluster of blonde hair up to the light with admiration and esteem. He brought it to his nose and took a deep inhale. It smelled like fruit. He savored the aroma.

Can we all finally agree that Tupac is dead? It’s been years. Years! And every now and then I’ll still hear some ridiculous bullshit about Pac still being alive, living on an island somewhere, perhaps with Elvis and Biggie Smalls. It would be funny if the people I heard this from were joking around, but they always say it with such sincerity that it’s just sad. The guy got shot. A lot. On numerous occasions. I’ve been shot on one occasion and almost was a goner. Dude is dead. Super dead. Rotting corpse dead. Mel Gibson’s career dead.

But there are still those people who look for anything they can grasp to in hopes that he is still alive. True, he is still releasing albums somehow, but they’re not particularly good albums which lead me to believe they were scrapped long before his death, and for good reason. Some money-whores just found them and decided to release them at a startling pace.

If you ever find one of these believers, don’t hesitate to take a seat and listen to him, especially if you’ve never heard the theories before. They’re quite humorous. Not the explanations, exactly; they’re all grasping-at-straws, believe-anything reasoning which can be shrugged off without a second thought. The comedy comes from the actual people telling it. They are so convinced and they find their reasoning to be so deep and meaningful and they always say it with such stoned-face conviction. Classic.

If you can’t find one of these pathetic burn-outs, just Google it. There are way too many websites devoted to it. Be sure to check out the 7 Day Theory and all about how he went from Tupac to Makavelli, thus proof of his rebirth! Because, mannnnnn, Tupac’s All Eyez on Me came out in February, mannnn, then like, his Makavelli album came out in November! And that’s like, nine months man, and that’s like, just like a pregnancy, man, ya see, it’s his total rebirth. He’s totally alive, man! That’s rock-solid proof right there, bro. Coachella Pac was real, bro!

I’m rambling, I apologize. But, this is what I am thinking about while sitting in my car on a damn-near-freezing night in December. What I’m doing here isn’t exactly…legal, per se, but I’m doing what has to be done. It depends on where your ethics line is drawn. Apparently mine is drawn a few feet ahead of where I am currently seated.

The house I am sitting outside of at the moment belongs to some stupid, shaggy haired dude-bro named London Sanders. This rich, pricky, bag of ass got really drunk a few months ago and ended up beating some unfortunate other rich, pricky, bag of ass half to death in a bar slash restaurant. His case was self-defense and he ended up getting cut loose, for one reason or another, I guess. Not sure, don’t care. However, I do know his release was agreed upon the basis that London quit drinking and pay for the medical support for his victim, something that, at the time, didn’t seem to be much of a problem, seeing as he came from such a wealthy family. He didn’t pay, though and now is in the middle of a hefty lawsuit filed by the victim of the ass kicking. Here is where it gets tricky. London suddenly became broke. His bank accounts vanished. Closed and apparently gone for good, leaving this shithead completely broke. Apparently. Nobody is buying this, though. London’s parents are very wealthy, but since he is not a minor, they are not of concern in this mess.

Here is what I am thinking (along with everyone else.) London’s parents recognized the trouble their son was in early enough, probably the night he called them from jail, and took control of all his assets, leaving him with only the few hundred dollars he had in his Louis Vuitton wallet the night of the incident.

The judge didn’t buy it, nor did the defendant’s attorney or anyone else in town who heard of the case. But with no money, there was little anyone could do. Everyone was convinced this ass hat had money, just nobody could locate it. London went so far as to apply for welfare, even though he was living rent free in a house in Bakersfield Country Club, (the house belonged to his parents, so even its assets couldn’t be touched, also, not to mention all his credit cards had been frozen, his car, too was also off limits, as it technically was just a loner from his parents).

That seemed to have been the final straw for the defendant’s parents. They knew he had money, and lots of it. So did London’s insurance company. This act of poverty wasn’t fooling anyone and all parties involved were sick of it. If London was caught drinking, he would serve jail time, and if he was caught with access to money other than what he has earned since the incident and what was in his wallet at the time of arrest, he would not only serve time but pay heavily to the defendant.

That leads us back to me freezing my baguettes off here in my car in this rich, pricky neighborhood. I hacked into his personal computer, through the help of a…friend who shall remain nameless, (naw I’m just kidding, it was totally me. I’ve gotten quite good at this hacking shit over the past few years,) and have been monitoring his internet activity for the past few days. There is the not-quite-legal part, but we’re going to keep that a secret. I’m just using this as a starting point to catching this cheap piece of shit.

Nothing exciting so far, just a lot of porn sites and various movie and music news websites, including a few illegal downloads of both types. That’s not my problem, though; I have bigger fish to fry. I was hoping for a visit to a bank’s website but have struck out. On some local get-laid-quick website he did manage to meet a woman. They have chatted back and forth a few times, and once London’s motor probably got roaring, she dropped the bomb on him that a night with her would cost him. London had acted skeptical at first; he had never had to pay for sex before. But I’m sure the more he thought about it, the more he realized that wasn’t true. Back when he had a shit-ton of money, he just paid for it in different ways. Shockingly enough, when the money disappeared, so did the women. The prostitute had sent him a picture of herself and apparently she was good enough to constitute the price. He gave the woman his phone number and she called almost immediately. They set up a meeting for the following night, as she was “busy” at the moment. This was yesterday. Today, I am sitting here waiting for that next call to come.

Ice is beginning to form on my windshield while the inside of my car is completely fogged up. On my iPad mirrors the movements of London’s desktop, thanks to the Wi-Fi connection I am piggy-backing off of from the house I am parked next to. I used a password cracker I recently installed. It’s a rather nifty little program. I have no idea how it works, though. Just like in the movies, it runs through tons of letters and numbers, getting one digit at a time until the password is finished. It worked well, obviously, but I could have saved some time just by guessing. This asshole’s password was PASSWORD. Whenever I have to guess a password, my first guess is always PASSWORD. Every time. I’d say a good seven out of ten times I’m right. People think they’re so clever, I swear to god. Anyway. Still nothing exciting on London’s end, though. Illegal music downloads of shitty bands I have never heard of. Dude-bro shit rock I assume. Good, steal away asshole, don’t support that shit by buying it. That will only convince more shitty bands to make more shitty albums. An incoming call comes through on his cellphone. I listen in through the iPad’s speakers. It’s the prostitute.

London: Sup?

(What a douche!)

Prostitute: Hey, it’s Veronica.

London: Hey baby. We on for tonight?

Prostitute: If you’ve got the money, I’ve got the time.

London: Five-hundred, right?

Prostitute: Five-hundred for the basics. If you want it all, it’ll cost you another two-hundred more.

London: What the fuck, you said five!

Prostitute: I said I start at five. It’s up to you but decide quickly, I have no problem moving on to the next guy if you take a pass.

London: I’d have to go get more cash.

Prostitute: Then go get it. You won’t be disappointed, baby.

London: Fine. But you have to give me a little time.

Prostitute: You have one hour. Text me the address. It’s 9:06, I’ll be there at 10:06. If you’re not there, I’m on to the next at 10:07. We’re going to need a drink before we begin, too, so make sure you have a bottle of wine. Cab. And the good stuff, none of that cheap shit from the grocery store.

London: I don’t have any wine. I’ll have to go buy some.

Prostitute: Better hurry. Clock is ticking.

The line went dead. I sat and waited. Less than two minutes after the call ended the garage to London’s house opened and I saw the tail lights of his BMW ignite. I started my engine.

His first stop was the bank, as I had hoped. It wasn’t the closest ATM to his house, so I had to assume that this was his actual bank. That was great as it would make the rest of my job all the more easy. I took a few pictures of him at the machine, withdrawing cash that he wasn’t supposed to have. His next stop was Country Club Liquors, just up the hill from his house. The sign advertised quality wine and spirits, and late hours. He darted inside quickly and within minutes exited the store holding a brown bag, presumably being occupied with an expensive cabernet. He crumpled up the receipt, tossed it in the nearest trash can then returned to his car and drove off. I checked my watch, I had time. I left the car running and went to the trashcan. I closed my eyes and slowly reached my hand in, retrieving the receipt with the very tips of my forefinger and thumb. I stuffed the paper into my pocket and reached for my anti-bacterial bottle that I never leave home without, in my opposite pocket. I returned to my car and met London back at his house. We had twelve minutes before Veronica would arrive. I got out and made my way to the back of the house, after a quick pick of a lock, camera-in-hand.

I heard an engine grow closer then shut off. Veronica had arrived. Spying in from the kitchen window, London answered the front door and invited Veronica inside. I couldn’t hear what was being said, it didn’t matter. Veronica made her way into the kitchen, looking for the bottle of wine, and making it easier for me to hear what was going on. I viewed the rest of the encounter through the lens of my Nikon.

Veronica: You going to open that up, baby? (pointing to the newly purchased bottle of wine.)

London: Yeah. Um, yeah. Let me find a bottle opener-um, corkscrew.

He seemed flustered. He bumbled around the kitchen for a few seconds until he finally produced the object of his search. He pulled the cork from the bottle and grabbed two glasses from his cabinet. He poured them each a generous helping of the wine. They sat at the table and began to drink. I photographed from outside.

Veronica: So, about my money. I need to be paid up front. I don’t take any chances of being stiffed. Pardon the pun.

London gave her an uneasy smile then sat still for a few seconds before he remembered what he was supposed to be doing.

London: Yeah, understandable. Here.

He dug his wallet from his jean pocket and produced the cash. He handed it to Veronica. She grabbed it, holding it by the corners much like I had done with the garbage receipt.

Veronica: If you’ll excuse me for a minute, doll, I need to go put this money in my car. I don’t take any chances.

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