Authors: Buck Sanders
Charlemagne whooped, “Get outta here!” and threw himself into Slayton. A powerful blow to the gut toppled the immense man,
and Slayton swung around to deliver the end of the pistol on Charlemagne’s cheek. The woman looked around, dazed, and screamed
again through a cloth gag wrapped about her head and mouth.
Charlemagne floundered on the rug, regaining his wind. Slayton pounced on him and shoved the gun up his nose.
“I’m looking to buy some weapons,” Slayton said.
The big man caught his breath. “Who are you?”
“Lisle Beaudin from Louisiana, you heard of me?”
“No, goddammit.” He wrestled to stand up, but Slayton forced him down, ramming the gun barrel farther up his nostril.
“What were you doing to that girl?”
“Just havin’ some fun.”
Slayton noticed a bloody razor strap lying near the bed. “Some fun, jerk-off.”
Charlemagne tried to resist; Slayton ground his boot into the man’s knee. “Stop! Stop!” said the fat man. “What guns you lookin’
Slayton applied more pressure on the knee. “Heavy stuff; Skorptons, AK 47s, SAM 7 Strelas.”
“No one in Louisiana needs that kind of equipment,” squealed Charlemagne.
“You know who does?”
“No.”The knee was twisted some more. “You’re breaking my leg!” It snapped the cartilage, and Charlemagne groaned in pain.
“Stop crying, you fucking trash.Tell me who has the hardware.”
“Why should I tell you?”
“Because your brains will be all over this room if you don’t.” Slayton pulled back the trigger.
Charlemagne was no hero. His whores took all the risks; he simply pocketed the cash. The gun-running was a profitable side
venture that got him the money to buy the coke and heroin, but he had a supplier who liked to remain anonymous. “Okay, okay.
I’ll tell you.”
Slayton relaxed, but stayed put on that knee.
“In a warehouse on South 115th Avenue, you find—”
The gun moved back against Charlemagne’s nose.
“I don’t need this shit, pal,” Slayton said menacingly. Two black whores appeared at the doorway to the apartment. Slayton
swung the pistol around at them, yelling, “Get the hell out!” He returned to Charlemagne. “I checked every fucking warehouse
on 115th for three blocks all around and up to the Expressway. No guns. Don’t lie to me again.”
On a tray close to the bed was a dirty syringe and the makings of a fix. Slayton picked up the needle, holding it to Charlemagne’s
“I don’t see no tracks on you,” he said, poking the fat man with its tip. “You deal the shit, but you won’t shoot up, s’that
“Yeah, yeah, of course,” said the man on the floor, his eyes rolling in panic.
“Give me what I want, and I won’t fuck yeti up with this skag.”
Charlemagne’s face drained of blood. “Don’t do it,” he pleaded.
Slayton rose, crossing over to the bed and untying the girl. She coughed as the gag came out of her mouth, ancr thanked him.
He threw a bed sheet at her, and she wrapped herself into it. “Will you get the injection ready?” he said to her.
“Gladly,” was the response, and she whipped up a double fix.
Slayton was a bit unsettled by her sadistic glee. “What’s your name, honey?”
Charlemagne wheezed and threw his head back, mumbling deliriously, “Where’s my men, Case, Johnson, the rest of ’em… ain’t here,
-where-are-my-men? Ifyouthink you’regonnalivethroughthenightbuddy-OH MY GOD! Don’t do it! I’ll pay you!”
Slayton brushed past Bambi and grasped the needle. Hovering over Charlemagne, he put his Southern twang to best use. “Shut
yer trap. I won’t stick you unless ya cop out and won’t talk.”
“Where are my men?” the fat man yelled.
Slayton thrust the needle at his face. “They done the wrong thing when they crossed me, Charlemagne. No one screws up worse
than the pimpin’ fat man without his bodyguards.” He giggled, lowering the hypo.
Bambi touched the raw flesh on her shoulders. “That creep beat the shit outta me.”
“I know,” said Slayton, “now it’s his turn to suffer.”
“Gonna cut up his fuckin’ face,” she murmured.
Charlemagne bent forward. “That bitch is dead, Beau
deen or whatever your name is!” he exclaimed. “So are you. Hear that, cunt. You’re finished!”
Slayton knocked his elbow into Charlemagne’s ribs. “You’ll be finished, too.” He pressed the syringe at the man’s ruddy-skinned
arm, careful not to pierce its surface.
The pimp’s eyes bulged, sweat pouring off his face in large droplets. His lips quivered as he spilled the beans. “Division
and Central, on the West Side, on the first floor. See Howard. Don’t mention my name!”
Slayton removed the syringe and tossed it down. “Thanks, bimbo. You really do have a lotta guts.”
Charlemagne held his chest, heaving and beginning to cough up snot.
Bambi followed Slayton to the door. “Aren’tcha gonna kill the sucker?”
Slayton didn’t answer, but continued into the hallway. Three bad-ass blacks were waiting on the other end, one swinging a
two-by-four. Slayton raised the gun, yelled, “Get out of my face!” and they scattered down the steps.
Worried and clutching the makeshift toga, Bambi had nowhere else to go but behind the tough white guy. “Hold on!” she called
after him, flopping down the stairs barefoot. “Can I come wid’ja?”
Slayton turned to her. “Not where I’m going, sweetheart.”
“He’ll kill me!” Terror filled her eyes.
A moment later, Charlemagne appeared at the landing holding a butcher knife. “Come back and get your dessert, whore!” He came
Slayton got off two shots into the man’s belly. Blood pumped out in a stream—one hand covered the wound as he continued down
the steps. One more cartridge blew him wide open at near point-blank range. A yellow-white strand of intestine popped through
his belly, the bullet’s impact propelling him against the side wall and to a sitting position on the stairs.
Slayton wasted no time vacating the premises, with Bambi close behind. Wind whipped around the buildings on the main street;
a cab was idling at an intersection, blowing visible exhaust onto the legs of passersby. Slayton stayed low, jumping over
a fire hydrant and into the street, stopping just short of the yellow taxi and knocking on the windshield.
Bambi looked back at the line of black thugs running after her and “Lisle.” Her protector had already plunged into the back
seat of the cab. It was a simple choice to make. Without stopping for traffic, she braved the extreme cold to reach Slayton’s
cab in time.
“I gotta go with you, man,” she said, shivering in the loose-fitting sheet.
Slayton yanked her inside, and the car rocketed from the curb, barely ahead of two sprinting thugs.
The cabbie noticed one of his passengers’ breasts had just spilled out. “Holy moley,” he said. “Is she nekkid?”
Slayton closed the sliding plastic window, saying, “Never mind, just take me to Division and Central.”
Bambi looked up at Slayton. “I need some clothes. I’m freezin’.”
There was no rush to visit Howard. “Driver,” Slayton said, “drop us at Filene’s downtown.”
The jeans, underwear, shoes, and hat were Slayton’s treat. This girl didn’t look like a whore now, he thought. Her trim figure
accentuated an ample bosom, and her skin glowed light bronze, crowned by large, round eyes and a short Afro. They stopped
off at a medical clinic after the shopping spree, to treat her back wounds and get a prescription of antibiotics.
“Where’d you get all that money?” Bambi asked, watching Slayton put the roll of bills in his pocket.
“Unlimited supply,” he laughed.
“You’re a millionaire?”
She kicked a mound of frozen snow as they walked up LaSalle Street. “Well, you ain’t no gun-runner, are ya, ace?”
“You’re a cop.”
“Do I get three guesses?”
“I can’t tell you what I do for a living.”
She didn’t speak for a few seconds. “Can you take me home?”
“Where do you live?”
“No, I mean home with you.”
“Can’t do it.”
She mumbled something Slayton couldn’t hear then, “Well, you know they’ll come after me.”
“You from this area?”
“No. Paris. Paris, Kentucky. Used to be a joke.”
He pulled out the wad of cash and stuffed two hundred
dollar bills on her palm. “Take the bus today.” “My family don’t want to see me.”
“Then try Detroit, St. Louis, anywhere else.”
“I’d like to help you, whatever it is you do.”
“You came in that room just in time. I think that maniac was going to kill me. He kept talkin’ about using his butcher knife.
I was his bad girl’n all.”
“Huh? Well, anyway, I’d like to repay you—to .clo something for you.” Slayton flashed a suspicious eye. “I don’t mean fuckin’,”
she stammered. “Hell, I could turn on my charm if I wanted to. I wanna help you find that man Howard.”
The more Slayton thought about it, the better he liked her suggestion. “First thing I have to do is call my business associate,
then take a cab down Michigan Avenue to get my car.”
Parks intended to wait five more minutes before the troops were called to rescue Slayton.
“What were you going to do,” began Slayton, calling in from the Lake Street garage under the clanging of Chicago Transit Authority’s
notorious el train, “send a squad of National Guardsmen to extract me from the South Side ghetto? You didn’t even know where
“Look here, Slayton, we’re supposed to be working together. A little communication on your end might benefit us all.”
“I’d rather work alone.”
“Suit yourself, but I still insist that you call in every four hours. Hamilton Winship in Washington has been bugging me to
keep tabs on you.”
Slayton talked, and Bambi watched. “Okay, Parks, I’ll phone again at seven-thirty.” These damn company men were sticklers
for cooperation, even though their ill-suited assistance could bungle the chance to break the case.
The two-story brick building at Division and Central wasn’t large enough to store three thousand of anything, let alone rocket
launchers. The neighborhood was one of the more seriously poverty-stricken areas of Chicago, although not quite measuring
up to the surreal Dante’s
look of the south side. Trash covered gutters and pavement alike, and during the winter mixed with sooty, black ice cakes
was glued inexorably to the asphalt. It looked like a demilitarized firefighting zone.
Residents of this section were the hopelessly poor, factory slaves or semi-skilled workers or welfare recipients, black
white. Store windows were frequently devoid of glass and filled with steel panels, an obviously drastic measure to thwart
Slayton stayed in the car while Bambi, now decked out in a brand new fur coat, strutted past the cyclone fence and rapped
briskly-on the door.
Howard Westphal, your average all-American boy gone to seed, with greasy, stringy black hair combed behind pointy ears and
Coke-bottle glasses with thick rims, answered.
Bambi put on her best I’m-here-to-please-you behavior. “Howdy, babe, is this the residence of Howard?”
“Yes, what do you want?” Even his voice was unimpressive, tinged with a soprano shrill. He dismissed her poor phraseology
as just another dumb prostitute’s illiteracy.
“Gussie Charlemagne sent me over here to keep you company, darlin’, as a special surprise.”
Howard suddenly grew up. “I don’t fuck no nigger twat,” he said, like a pronouncement of law.
Bambi retained her poise. “I ain’t no ordinary five-dollar special, sugar. I’ll do anything you like.” He ushered her inside.
The air was thick; she sat on the couch and didn’t move. This man was
Nazi paraphernalia adorned each wall in the two-room apartment. The windows, pasted over with graphic photos of homosexual
anal copulation, were choking for light. Howard called to her from the kitchen, “You like to fist-fuck, nigger?”
Returning from the refrigerator with two cold bottles of ale, he sat next to her and began stroking her breasts.
“Take off your clothes and go down on me, bitch,” he ordered.
While she undressed (hoping her partner in the car would join her soon), Howard removed his pants and began masturbating.
He reached into a dresser drawer and popped a load ring into a .44 Magnum revolver. “Whatcha gonno do with that thing?” Bambi
said, beginning to tremble.
“Just do as you’re told, bitch.” He spun around and leveled the gun to her head.
She gave him such delight that he lowered the gun to the floor after fifteen minutes, rolled her over in a prone position,
and began caking his hand with Crisco.
The door punched inward, its lock snapping off. Howard dared not move—Slayton had the Smith & Wesson pressed to his head.
“Who… who, what do you want, buddy?” was all he could muster at the end of a revolver. “Are you from Vice or something? She
Bambi stood up and dressed. “This pervert was intendin’ to stick his arm up my ass.”
“Is that so?” hummed Slayton.
“Hey, man,” said Howard, “she was asking for it.” “I’m not Vice, Howie, so relax.” With one foot, Slayton nudged the Magnum
over to Bambi.
“You want my money?” Howard choked.
“I want guns, buster. I’m Lisle Beaudin from Natchitoches, Louisiana, an’ I understand you have some fine weapons stashed
Bambi handled the Magnum, wondering why her friend unaccountably changed his accent from North to South. “I’ll keep him covered,”
she said, even though the monstrous gun lay unbalanced in her hand.
Slayton pushed Howard over backward. “C’mon, boy, I want answers.”
“No guns,” he replied.
“Don’t lie to me, boy, or I’ll have to start puttin’ holes in you.”
Howard blanched. “I—I don’t know what to tell you.” His scrawny, utterly decrepit appearance lowered Slay-ton’s guard, and
the Smith & Wesson was withdrawn to a safer position. Bambi continued to hold the larger revolver.