Nick and Louie were collectors for a Brooklyn loan shark. Nick, twenty-eight, 6’5”, 280, and a vicious street fighter, drove. Louie, thirty-seven, 6’2”, 320 pounds, an ex pro wrestler, filled the passenger’s seat. When Nick and Louie went looking for someone it meant broken bones or worse. Nick chewed gum. Crumbs from a steak hoagie Louie munched on sprinkled his raincoat.
Under the #4 subway tracks near Burnside and Jerome, Nick pulled behind a parked police car. Two burly white cops got out. Nick rolled the window down. “Any sign of that little bitch?” Nick said, referring to a nineteen year old white hooker. One of the cops said, “None.” The other cop said, “We’ll keep looking.” Nick handed each of them a 100 dollar bill and drove off.
“A slut calling herself Lollipop is another contact,” Nick said. “She works under the overpass on Hunts Point Avenue. We’ll try there.”
Louie said, “You think she’ll be out on a night like this?”
“She’s a druggie. She’ll be out.”
On Hunts Point Avenue Nick spotted the burning red tip of a cigarette, and pulled in as Louie finished the hoagie. A thin black girl shivering in a pink raincoat came to Louie’s side of the car. Louie rolled the window down. “What do you call yourself?”
“Lollipop. You want pussy or a blow job?”
Louie recoiled from the heavy scent of lilac perfume. “We want Lorraine.”
Lollipop tossed the cigarette away. “Poco sent you didn’t he? That fool girl never should have been a witness to Poco shooting up that Bodega in that drug war and killing those three innocent people.”
Nick leaned toward her. “Where the fuck is she?”
Lollipop shrank back as if pulled. “I don’t know. I swear on my baby’s grave I don’t. But I can tell you where the pimp she does business for hangs out. That all night diner a couple streets from here. You can’t miss it. He goes by Leon. And I’ll tell you something else. There’s two black dudes flashing badges looking for her too.”
Nick made a U turn and started back on Hunts Point Avenue. He didn’t get far before a black Escalade pulled in behind the Grand Marquis.
Louie reached down at his feet and lifted two loaded 12 gauge sawed-off shotguns.
The Escalade cut them off. As Nick hit the brakes, three men with automatic hand guns jumped out of the Escalade. Nick and Louie tumbled from the Grand Marquis, and got off all four rounds from the sawed off shotguns. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. Only one of the three shooters managed to return fire. The driver of the Escalade, leaving three dead bodies behind, laid rubber on the wet concrete speeding away.
Louie said, “You hit?”
“Let’s get the fuck out of here.”’
They found the diner without any trouble. They went inside and saw a counter and a half dozen booths. A chubby Puerto Rican waitress came up to them.
“We want Leon,” Nick said.
She sucked on her lower lip sizing Nick and Louie up and down. “He’s do.” She pointed to the booth closest to the rest rooms. “That’s his office, but people know better than to sit there.”
Nick and Louie piled into the booth. Outside, sirens screamed as police cars and ambulances raced toward the scene of the killings. Half an hour later a husky black guy wearing a black hoodie entered the diner. When he saw Nick and Louie he paused, stiffened, shrugged, and shambled to the booth. He squeezed in next to Nick. Spots of white powder showed under his nostrils.
Louie said, “Where’s Lorraine?”
“I wish I knew. But see that gas station across the street?”
Nick had to squint peering through the rain wet window. “It’s boarded up.”
“There be a car parked there. A blue Chevy Impala. Two black dudes wait inside. Flash your lights twice and they come out and talk to you.”
“Are they cops?” Nick asked.
“No way. Fake badges. They work for Poco.”
Nick drove across the road and flashed the head lights twice. Two tough looking black guys got out of the Impala, arms raised. Nick and Louie eased out of their car, the loaded shotguns resting on their hips.
The other black guy said, “We’re on your side now. That white skank you be after is hiding in a flop house in Mott Haven. We’ll give you the address and room number.”
“Remember from where the cooperation came,” the first black guy said. “That’s all we ask.”
Louie stayed in the car. Nick took the stairs two at a time, stepping over rat droppings and broken glass from a wine bottle. When he found 2B in the dim light, he knocked once and then kicked open the door.
A pretty white girl, with a blanket wrapped around her, huddled on a bed against a wall. Her body shook from fear. “Don’t kill me, please.”
“Get up and let’s go.”
The outreach shelter for prostitutes was near Yankee Stadium. A black ex-con named Edwin Early ran it.
“I heard about what happened to Poco.”
“We don’t know nothing about that,” Louie said.
Early made a swallowing sound. “I owe Vince six grand on a loan and there’s another twelve for finding Lorraine. Now she can tell what she saw to the police. It was nice of Vince sending you two angels to do this job for me.”
Louie took the money. Nick said, “Where did you get this kind of dough?”
“A Yankee baseball player came by and donated $25,000 for the shelter.”
Louie winked at Nick. “I told you baseball players were good people.”
Nick smiled. “I stand corrected.”
David Harry Moss writes ficton and acts in movies. Currently he lives in Pittsburgh but he has also lived in Phoenix and Minneapolis. "Angels With Guns" is set in New York City. Has he been there? Many times, including having run and finished two marathons.