Yellow Mama Archives II

Charlie Cancel

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A Bottle of Tequila and $2,000 in Cash

By: Charlie CancÚl


          “Okay. Get those hands up, kid.”

          “I’m not some kid.”

          “Kid, at my age everyone is a kid.”

          “I’m 32.”

          “You look like baby. Sound like one.”

          “They said you were feeble.”

          “Feeble? Shit, that stings. I mean, I am dying. But I still have my marbles, most of them anyway. And my hands still work. They must know that. Why bother to send you?”

          “They said they were worried you’d make a deal, to get money for your grandkids and shit.”

          “Nah, they’re all taken care of. They’ll be spoiled. No, I think Big G just wants to wipe the slate. He doesn’t like to think I’m still breathing somewhere. We were never pals. No chemistry.”

          “Can I ask: How did you . . . ?”

          “Get the drop on you? I don’t sleep well, that’s for one. And, second, you were loud as hell coming in the side door. Look at that, you left glass on the floor. Dammit.”

          “Fucking fuck.”

          “Yeah. You need to work on your game, kid.”

          “What now, old man?”

          “Well, you’re here to kill me. I guess you’re going to kill me.”

          “That’s it? You got the drop on me with my own fucking gun.”

          “That’s years and experience. Turns you into a machine. Barely have to think about it.”

          “Don’t rub it in.”

          “How much they paying you?”

          “What? Why’s that important?”

          “A fella likes to know what he’s worth.”

          “A bottle of tequila and $2,000 in cash.”

          “Oh? Okay. Any particular brand?”


          “Of tequila. Hello!”


          “Nope? No? Kid, there’s lot of types of tequilas and lots of good and bad tequilas, and you could have asked for the best, but you just said ‘a bottle of tequila’? You got to learn to be more picky. How’d you come up with that ridiculous amount?”

          “Honest? I heard that one time Robert Mitchum asked for that amount to be on a TV show, so I thought it was cool.”

          “Mitchum’s a good actor.”

          “The best.”

           . . .

          “What now?”

          “Well, I’d like to go to the can for a little while.”


          “Listen, kid, when a body dies, everything gets loose, you know what I mean?”

          “Yeah, I know.”

          “I got a housekeeper, Daphne, lovely woman, gorgeous, immaculate. I don’t want her finding me in a mess of shit and piss. I’m gonna try and minimize that as much as possible. Besides, I gotta go anyway.”

          “And you expect me to sit here and wait?”

          “You want me to tie you up or something? I’m too tired for that. The ropes in the garage. It’s too much fucking trouble. You wait here. And, here, hold your gun.”


          “This thing is covered in oil. I don’t want to put it on anything in the bathroom after Daphne cleaned it up so nice. But don’t get any ideas about coming in to shoot me while I’m indisposed. I gotta .38 parked behind the toilet, neatly, in a plastic bag. Help yourself to some water and some leftover pot roast, if you want, from the fridge. But don’t make a mess.”

          . . .

          “Feel better?”

          “Much. How’s that pot roast?”

          “It’s killer.”

          “The key is to add a little wine and let it cook on low for a long time.”

          “What now?”

          “You know, when a man is on the throne he gets to thinking and he gets to realizing, and so while I was in there, I realized, Big G didn’t expect you to come back from this here assignment.”

          “What do you mean?”

          “Big G knows me, knows what I can do. And he sends you, a k— . . . pardon. He sends someone who could use a little more, er, seasoning here. No, he wasn’t paying you $2,000 and a bottle of tequila. He was expecting me to do it for free.”

          “No, he treats me good. He says I can get promoted.”

          “Tell me: You do anything unkosher, off the ranch lately, that you think was behind his back but wasn’t?”

          “Well . . .”

          “Spit it out.”

          “I’m screwing his brother’s wife.”

          “Little G’s wife? You really do need to get more picky. What’s her name, Belinda?”

          “Belinda, yeah.”

          “Little G’s a jealous hothead. Stands to reason.”

          “Fuck, what do I do?”

          “Tell you what. I got a bottle of tequila, the really good kind, one hundred percent blue agave, with none of them fucking additives. We’re going to have a shot or two each, you and me. And then you’re going to take the cash that’s in that desk drawer over there, much more than two grand, and you’re going to go to Mexico and have as much tequila as you fucking want. Under a new name, of course. In between those things, you’re going to shoot me, here and here. Not here, because then I’ll just moan in pain for hours. But here. Got it?”

          “I don’t get it. Why?”

          “Kid, I told you. I’m dying. Let’s face it—there’s not much I haven’t seen in this world, and there’s even less that I haven’t done. So I’m ready to check out and frankly too chicken to do it myself. Okay?”

          “I guess. Yeah. Okay.”

          “Good. Now finish what you’re eating and wipe off that plate before you put it in the sink.”

Charlie CancÚl is a Jersey-born, half-Puerto Rican actor/writer/poet. He has had work published in Black Petals, Pulp Modern Flash, and Spanglish Voces. He works in IT, lives in Queens with his family, and is currently finishing a novel. Follow him on Twitter: @urbanurbane.

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