Hefin is driving an enormous stolen bronze convertible Cadillac de Ville going north on the ‘5’. It’s late afternoon and the surf is up. The roof is down and he’s making good time. The car is beat up and the red leather seats have a patina created by 160,000+ miles of arses rubbing up and down or, looking at the state of the back seat, something more intimate. He leaves the freeway just after Elijo Lagoon, taking Manchester Avenue towards the coast and sees the big sign ‘Cardiff by the Sea’. He laughs; his hometown was never like this. He thinks of Springsteen’s ‘My Home Town’ as he arrives at his destination, the joint in Encinitas called ‘Lave sus Manos’.
He parks and sits awhile. Why did I have to pretend to fall for Eleanora? She’s a nice kid who just happens to be the daughter of a second rate mobster money launderer who thinks he’s Al Pacino and who’s cheated Mr Edgar. Getting her to tell her dad I’m marrying her just made things easier. You don’t need to make mistakes when you get a contract from Mr E.
The front of Lave sus Manos is blank-faced red brick. There’s a poster stuck to the wall. ‘Tonight! Ten till real late. Joe Bummer and the ARSE Biters. One night only.’
Jesus, country punk shit, he thinks, Marty Robbins with lewd swearing. Sad.
Inside, it’s dark, smells of stale beer, cigarettes, weed and the fragrance of vomit not quite masked by disinfectant.
We’re fucking closed! a voice booms. A tall man looms from the depths. Distractedly using a blue elastic band to tie his greasy long blonde hair into a ponytail, he repeats, We’re fucking closed!
HI, I’ve come to see Mr Gabriel.
I said we’re fucking closed.
My, you really do have a limited vocabulary.
Fuck you! Get outta here.
Hefin takes the Glock from his pocket and waves it like an admonishing finger. Just get Gabriel, there’s a good chap. Now! Say it’s about Eleanora.
Gabriel approaches; he’s alone and Pacino swaggering. Who the fuck are you and what’s with the piece?
My name’s Hefin and I’m going to marry your daughter, Eleanora. Hasn’t she told you I was coming to tell you?
She told me. Fuck off.
You swear too much. Let’s sit down? Hefin winces – the tabletop is sticky.
Go on, say it – you have an offer I can’t refuse, right? Fuck off, kid!
I repeat, I want to marry Eleanora. Hefin slips the safety and points the Glock at Gabriel.
Gabriel laughs. You’re full of shit, kid. Get lost.
There is no forward splatter from the bullet in Mr Gabriel’s forehead.
Hefin nods, Job done. Laughs, Lave sus Manos. I hate sticky hands. Sorry Eleanora, I know you’ll be upset, but a contract is a contract. Nice tits though.
At Hertz, across the street from the joint, for a laugh, Hefin hires a car in the name of De Niro.
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