Identity Crime by Scott Lininger

The Sauce was the kind of man who would thrust his crotch at you while sitting
in a dumpster-claimed EZ-Boy, saying things like "So when you fucked it up,
did you do it like this? Was it goooooood, mister
I-know-shit-that-Sauce-don't-know?" He proved that he was that kind
of man as he mocked me for failing my driver's exam, just like he'd predicted I
would. "You never listen. Follow my reglomentos and you'll go as
fucking far as Jesus Christ."

"Jesus was murdered by the government," I countered.

"I ignore you," he said. "But you ignore me, and you'll get face fucked by
every man, woman, and baby in this goddamned police state!"

Face fucked by every... baby? He was always saying stuff like that.
Stuff that filled your head with pornographic ugliness and seemed to
make no sense at all but, maddeningly, made complete sense once you'd
experienced what he was warning you about. The Sauce was my guide
in this country by his choice not mine, but I must admit he knew his enemy.

"Reglomento numero tres!" he quoted. "Americans treat their immigrants
worse than their murderers!"

"I need an ID," I interrupted.

His wide, brown face folded into a smile. It reminded me of an asshole with
teeth. I prayed he'd been eating chocolate. "Yes," he beamed. "Finally, you
start to learn. American dream starts with investing in future."

Investing meant cash into The Sauce's lockbox, but I could not see what
choice I had. The green card was never coming, and I needed a job or I'd have
to go home.

He made a farting noise with his enormous lips. "Didn't I tell you?
Those Republi-cunts down at the D-M-V won't give nobody in a turban
no license. Fucked since nocho uno uno! Should have bought one of my
kinkos specials in the first place, huh Smellie?"

My real name is Schmelatov. His nickname for me had seemed charming before
I'd learned enough English to realize what it meant. "I do not wear a turban,"
I said. "I am Ukrainian, not, fucking, Saudi Arabian." I am terrible at
swearing, but I'd learned that The Sauce ignores any English sentence
without it.

"Is same difference." There was a great sucking sound of fat, mexican buttocks
separating from cushion as he lifted his nakedness. "Come running back to papa
Sauce with your tail between your legs like limp pecker up your ass.
Ready to ask for my help now?"

I was, obviously. Luckily it was a rhetorical question to him and he didn't
make me beg. "Here's what I do for you," he continued conspiratorially.
"I clicky your picture. My nephew knows the Photoshop. He has a best bubblejet
you ever seen."

"No," I said. "I want a damn real one. I can't... go back to Ukraine."

"Expeeeeensive."

"I only have two hundred dollars left."

"Two hundred is not enough!" he snapped, then whispered. "But you're my
amigo, so I'll make this exception, one time. We'll leave tomorrow
morning, okay? I borrow my cousin's car, you'll drive us. I get my camera
for picture and then I make some emails!"

With that, his illegal little enterprise was set in motion. He had a blue
backdrop on the inside of a closet door, and my portrait came out
appropriately dull and bureaucratic. Within thirty minutes he'd
emailed his "business partner" in Nevada, and a meeting time was arranged.
Twelve hours later we were leaving L.A. in a rusty, '56 Belaire.

I had never done anything so illegal. My palms sweat as I mistook every
white car for the police. But we went unmolested into the endless,
anonymous stream to Vegas, and soon we were upon the desert.

"Turn off here!" hollered The Sauce, pointing to an exit. I followed his
directions away from the highway, lumbering the huge car into a canyon and
up a dirt road. When we reached the top, my heart jumped to my throat.
Shaded by a giant cactus, a Nevada state cruiser sat ominously. I
slammed the car to a stop on the steep grade, teetering at the edge of the
cliff.

Panic.

"Police!" I coughed. There was no way I could back-up down that death
spiral of a jeep trail. I had to admit, there was a reason I'd failed my
driver's test. "Sauce, you bastard!" I hissed. "You set me up!"

The Sauce held up pudgy hands. His toothy asshole leaked
amusement. "'Lax your heuvos, Smellie. That's my partner. He
has your ID. Nevada police-man, see?"

My face cooled a degree, and I put my shaking hands back
onto the steering wheel. Just then, the engine stopped.

"Wha?" I said.

"Smellie!" His lips slapped together repeatedly. "Did you fill it up before
we left L.A.? The damn empty needle don't work, stupid!"

I glared at him, steam rising from chest to collar. "Now you ask me this?
You. were. in. the. car. with. me."

He shook his head like he was dealing with a retarded toddler, sighed,
and got out. "You are terrible driver," he offered as he inched carefully
to the rear of the vehicle. "But unlike you, my cousin is smart.
Keeps a gas can in the trunk!"

Rage nosed ahead.

Over the ridge, two cops got out of the car. Both of them drew their
guns. Not the sort of thing a business partner might do, I thought.

Panic retook the lead.

I can't go home.

From his position at the trunk, The Sauce looked over at the cops. His broad
face fell. "Hey, you guys aren't Chaz..."

And... back to Rage.

Where a memory...

"They treat their immigrants worse than their murderers..."

...erupted.

Reglomento Numero Tres, guide my hand!

I cranked the ignition. The Belaire coughed, gagged, and sprang miraculously to
life. "I'm finally following your advice, you Latin ass!" I screamed.
And with that, I popped into reverse and slammed murderously on the gas.
Tires from the age of Eisenhower spit gravel like nuclear fucking rockets,
and I blasted The Sauce over the cliff and sailing down towards
his sweet, inevitable reward.

1 comment:

randallmarx said...

A very good story. It makes a strong statement about US immigration.

You do a good job showing the difficulties faced by the main character and how has inner conflict, trying to do the right thing and just wanting to make an honest living but forced into breaking the law. Good work.