Chapter 8: Do Not Do This

The cop carries an expression of drowning confusion, attempting to piece together what’s going on, no doubt. He’s completely clueless about what’s going on and a fraction of me feels bad for him, but he should’ve known better than to cheat Quinntella. I sidestep left, giving him the resolution he evidently desires so badly. He watches me, with his face pretty much busted open. He can’t move anything except for his eyes, meaning I don’t know my own strength. Aaron Harris notices the duffle bag hanging off of my shoulder.

This bag is the reason I came up with this almost suicidal plan to sneak into a police station. A brief startle befalls me, as Quinn strikes the bat on the cop’s face in quick successions. I close my eyes, then turn away, before reopening them and spotting the black truck. The fleshing sounds colliding with the baseball bat can continually be heard like rain in a storm. The pounding begins transforming to a sickness within the deepest corner of my stomach. Quinn’s slight huffs can be heard behind me, as I take the key from Trane, or Jameson, while she whacks away.

I hear Trane speak, “We should go before those bikers catch up to us.”

We did a biker gang what they believe to be a favor by tipping them off that there was five hundred thousand dollars here in evidence; which I didn’t lie. Unfortunately, I had to neglect mentioning that we’d be the ones picking it up before they could. The pounding of mush stops, followed by a sniffle and quick sigh from Quinntella. She’s probably upset that we weren’t the ones shooting our way through the station, but at least she got to kill someone today. Some “one” actually being an accomplishment from her usual efforts of trying to keep a high daily average.

Harris wasn’t kidding when he said that people were in fear of her and even that was a huge understatement. Anybody can end up dead around her and I’ve been around long enough to see it for myself. Getting Trane to pose as a cop and myself sneaking in, handing over three million dollars, wouldn’t have spewed from her lips. She made a deal with a powerful man and left us no choice other than getting back the deposit box. I reach the truck, climbing into the back seat and waiting for the others to get in. Quinn’s voice begins mumbling its way into my eardrums from outside the car, becoming louder when she opens the door.

I listen to the tail end of her commands, “-leave the rest to these chumps. We got other shit to do.”

She climbs in back with me then Trane and Brandon occupy the front. Quinn slides the recently painted burgundy bat down between our feet, continually holding the grip on it. I toss the bag over my shoulder into the trunk, and take to staring at her as we take off, once again. After any job or deal, she’s always looking out at whatever she sees out there; regardless of how fast the maniac Brandon is maneuvering behind the wheel, we leave with a moment of peace in her.

Her moments always spring over to me, bringing about a glimmer of hope for the future I want yet don’t truly believe she’ll have. Not wanting to seem awkward or weird, I disengage my eye contact and watch the road. After not too long of bobbing through traffic, we join the herd in normal driving. The greedy cop didn’t deserve the death he got, though he was the only one who knew what vehicle we’d get away in. As Quinn’s right-hand, I try to eliminate the need to have many loose ends lying around, finding it beyond impossible.

Anything and everything she does is like a brand to her, which is why she refuses to wear a mask or hood on any endeavor. If no one knows Quinntella Wallace did it, how would she gain the infamy she wants oh so badly? It just wouldn’t happen; she would be an average woman with average things, living an average life, like everyone else. Having three and a half million isn’t going to satisfy Quinn, because she’s loaded with enough stolen money, including drugs to make more, as it is. Frequently, I find myself asking why she does what she does; the sequel to that one being, why do I tag alongside her like a lost puppy.

Quinn snatches my attention, “Jordan?”

I snap my head over at her, as if I were thinking out loud, “What?”

“You good?”

“I’ll be better when we hand this box over to Bruno and be done with this.”

“Yeah…”

Despite us once being childhood friends, there’s not much that we talk about in front of other people. We met when we were fourteen, and I’ve had an unhealthy love for her, ever since. Seeing her for the first time was an immediate infatuation that couldn’t be resisted. Out of the thirteen years since we’ve met, only four of those were spent together; two years from fourteen until sixteen and two years from twenty-five until now. We leave Lower Manhattan and hit a safe house Quinn frequents in a shitty project of Brownsville.

We all exit out front of the thirty story block and grab bags as Trane comments, “I fuckin’ hate comin’ down here.”

No one acknowledges his comment, as we unload the trunk. I grab the two for myself and walk the long concrete path past a small playground that some gang is hanging around. Members of the same gang are hanging on the other side as well, barbecuing as if it’s a bright sunny day. They don’t tend to bother anybody unless their walking without purpose, begging to be bothered. Everyone knows Quinntella Wallace and that even looking at her wrong can end lives so they don’t bother us.

We follow a thumping sound of music into the tall, under-kept structure. There are two things anybody can always depend on in this place which are loud music and gunshots to crash the party. We enter to even louder music and some people chatting in the tiny lobby, but not quite the central system of it all. Our appearance would likely shut a function down, just like these people are somewhat doing now. The parties are always on the fifteenth floor, which in my opinion, is the nastiest floor to live on.

Trane goes down there to party his ass off from time to time and I tag along only because I’m asked to. Does it bring me pleasure to be around all those drunk gangsters with guns sticking out of their pants further than their dicks? Not even close to a little bit but Quinn needs to be alone sometimes and I don’t. Going into the one apartment across the hall to be alone just makes me think about what she’s thinking. The parties, though they sometimes become a crime scene, are a wonderful distraction.

Each floor has forty apartments, ten on each wing and five on each side. We have three apartments on the eighteenth floor and one on the seventeenth that we can use as an escape to drop into. We arrive at our busted up apartment with the horrible furnishing that looks like it all came from a series of dumpsters. The small hole near the back of the room is our escape to the apartment below and the knocked out wall on our left leads to the next apartment. This place is pretty much a nine hundred square foot studio with a bathroom.

As we all enter the apartment, Quinn takes out the deposit box and slams it on the table, “Brandon, open it up.”

Whatever Bruno has in that box, obviously, isn’t meant to be disturbed by anyone other than himself. He had to have wanted to Quinn to get it back for him so no one would come across it and discover its contents. Yet, she wants to open it?

I drop my bags and quickly ask, “What? What do you mean open the box? What’re you doin’ Quinn?”

She sits in the wooden chair on the other side of the four-way table and answers, “I’m not doing anything. Brandon’s about to do what I told him to do. Right, Brandon?”

Brandon cheerfully agrees, “That’s right.”

I step in front of him, blocking his straight path and sternly speaking my mind, “I did not break into a fuckin’ police station to get this bag back, saving our lives, so you can decide to keep it, killing us all over again.”

Quinn says, “I completely understand… Brandon?”

As he attempts to step around me, I step in front of him again and ask, “Then why? Why risk all of our lives for this?”

“Well, on the way back here, I did some thinking.” She leans forward, “I couldn’t figure out why Jordan Greene would be so hellbent on the idea of Bruno Yigarin’s desire to wanna kill us for what’s in this box. I mean what’s in there that’s so important? Only way to figure that out is to look inside.”

I can’t imagine her not thinking through that no one, except Bruno, has the key, meaning it’ll have to be broken open. Once open, whatever he’s been keeping secret for however long will be permanently exposed. With the box having been In her care, there’s no excuse for it having been unintentionally opened. If it was my box, I’d assume whatever incriminating crap I stored was compromised and duplicated. My brain tells me that she understands that, but is also aware she doesn’t care.

“Quinn, I am begging you… do not do this. There’s no way you can just close that box and pretend it never happened.”

She ponders briefly, struggling to maintain eye contact with me as her mind wanders to wherever it goes. She can’t truly think that opening this box would just be okay. Danielle Melligan sits at the same criminal hierarchy table with Bruno, making them two of the most powerful people in New York. Why Bruno would have Quinn hit Danielle’s bank to get his box for him when he could’ve just walked in himself is beyond me. Quinn rises casually from her seat and approaches me, pausing a little less arm’s length away. She gazes into my eyes and puts on a smile as I get lost in her light brown beauties.

She asks, “You know what I like about you?” I’m certain that’s rhetorical so I remain silent then she states in a soft tone, “You always know what to do. Getting the box back by sneaking into a police station was your idea; the bank job, excluding my temps, was your idea. I know I like to run in with guns bangin’ but you know when not to. We sandboxed it together, and thirteen years later, you’re still here by my side, despite everything. I know you’ll always be here for me like I am for you… Open the box.”

Brandon’s feet shift around me. In my attempt to look at him, Quinn shifts her beauty back into my face and steals my sight. My mind races, wondering if she believes what she said to be true. I’ve never told her that I’ve been in love with her since the day I laid eyes on her because of fear she wouldn’t love me too. Now, I feel I’m at a point where it’s too late for her personality to care. Knowing that I won’t leave her must mean that she knows how I feel about her. I’ve done my best to hide it, but Trane was able to see through it, as clear as the day’s light in a pitched cavern. Is she just stringing me along like the sad puppy I am?

Brandon expresses joy like a kid at Christmas, “And here we… go.”

A loud bang echoes around my ears, traveling through the rest of this and likely the next room. Neither Quinntella nor myself flinch from the ridiculously loud clash of metals as they repeat themselves. The mixed sounds of my speedily beating heart, the hip-hop music two floors down, and the banging metals face off, challenging who’s the loudest. Quinn reluctantly breaks her stare as she spins around and goes back to her wooden chair. Freeing up my view, I watch Brandon beating the box on its head with a crowbar. Scathing is the only thing happening to the steel, until it finally begins caving in.

After Brandon’s tireless effort, the box’s lock snaps off and he states in a huff, “Shit, I thought I was gonna have to tag one of you guys in.”

Instead of insinuating approval in everyone’s curiosity, I take a seat alone in the adjoining apartment. It’s not like taking a stand is going to make a difference, at this point, but I can’t just show that I’m onboard after the episode I had. No one comes over to join me while I listen to the faint chatter of the contents they’ve uncovered; the better the reactions, the worse our lives are about to become when Bruno finds out. I remind myself of my objective and ulterior motives to staying here.