Knife to a Gun Fight
I arrived at Lupita's bail bonding office in the middle of the afternoon. The sun was just starting to slowly descend in the west, as the north-east winds became colder with each passing minute.
I did a quick drive around the block, which was my nature and didn't spot any unusual parked cars. There wasn’t anyone that could pose any immediate threat.
I finally parked in front of her office. Slipping out of my car, I locked it and slowly walked toward the main entrance. Once inside, her receptionist told me that Lupita was in court on a bail hearing and wasn't due back for a couple of hours. Well, that was that. No business here, at least until she returned.
Getting back in my car, I made a slow U-turn coming out onto Stone Avenue. Straightening the LeBaron, I then took a left and headed out to Triple A Bail Bonds. Maybe my luck will change and I'll grab a case with Fred Luna or Frank Marshall.
Fifteen minutes later, driving on Broadway Boulevard I made my way onto Congress Street, with Triple A's office toward the left side of the road about a hundred yards up ahead.
I live a life unlike that of most police officers, where at any given moment I stood to be shot, knifed, gunned down in an alleyway, or just followed by anyone wanting to do me harm, as was now the case. And God only knew how many enemies I've made in my run. I’ve bagged some very deadly mean men since becoming a bounty hunter. Some of them feared me, but most hated me. And those that hated me wanted me six-feet under.
With twilight fast approaching, the evening was turning into a cold November night. Plus, traffic was still slightly heavy. A lot of commuters were starting to head home after a long day, so I had to keep my speed down to about fifteen miles per hour.
Before approaching Triple A's offices, I decided to circle the block once. About a hundred yards into Congress Street, I saw what appeared to be a red Dodge Charger. It was parked on the right side of the street, with the engine running, smoke blowing out of the exhaust. As I drove past it, I saw two men in the front seats. The driver casually looked my way as I drove by. It was a quick glance, but I also saw several cigarette butts lying on the ground by the driver's door. It could be nothing, or then again. They had surely aroused my suspicion and it set off alarms in my head, which is why I decided on a second pass.
Coming around the block on my second go around, I didn't stop. Instead, I drove slowly past letting them get a peek at me. As I quickly glanced their way, the guy behind the wheel looked over at my car then stared straight at me. What I saw flash across his face was some sort of recognition. It became apparent to me that he knew who I was.
Jesus H. Christ! How what, I thought. Were they here for me? I thought so, since the look the driver gave me said it all. Or was I being paranoid?
Damn right I was. I didn’t think these two guys were acting on their own; no way. Someone had given them my description and that of my car. And that someone was playing a deadly game with me.
I felt that this could well be connected to one or two of my prior jumpers. Guy's who promise to get at me for hauling them back to jail. Someone was trying to keep their promise - had to be.
No use thinking about that now. Now I needed to know their intentions, which I surmised weren't going to be good.
I smiled, thinking that earlier in the day I felt restless and bored; now here I was back in the fray, in action mode once more.
I kept on going. Checking my rearview mirror, I saw their car pull out of the curb, get into the flow of traffic staying about three car lengths behind me.
I continued to drive as if I didn't have a tail. I had to know if it was me they were after, before I was forced to show my hand. So I started taking some evasive maneuvers. At the next intersection, I turned left and a few moments later so did the Dodge Charger.
Okay then I said to myself, let's try this once more. So I hung a right at the next street and sure enough, the Charger stayed with me.
Okay, I now had my confirmation!
Now I needed to find someplace quiet. Somewhere I could force my hand, get them out of their car and see what they were made of. But it wasn't going to be easy. I needed just the right place to try and stage a show-down.
And I knew just the place.
I got back on West Congress Street. I took it all the way under the interstate, past South Cuesta Avenue, with the Charger still tailing me about four car lengths behind me. And as the road curved around toward the south, I saw exactly where I wanted to go. A few yards ahead I made a left turn onto North Congress Terrace, a dirt road. I slowed slightly, letting them catch sight of my car. I didn't want them to lose me.
And it was a good spot. There were several abandoned homes, two alleyways and an empty dirt parking lot, completely away from prying eyes.
I came to a stop, turned off the LeBaron, and waited for the Charger to stop behind me before climbing out. And they came rather slowly, maybe expecting an ambush.
Stopping about two car lengths behind my car, I saw them both exit the Charger. As their doors closed, I too exited my car and drew my Colt. It was chambered and ready with the safety off, hammer pulled back. I held it behind my back. As I faced them, they slowly started walking toward me, one on either side about two yards apart.
They looked like the cold hard professionals types. They knew what they were doing, and it showed.
But, so was I.
You would say that stuff like this only happens in the movies, right?
As they drew nearer, I saw they both held what appeared to be military Ka-bar knives. These were ugly looking knifes. It had a blade length of about seven inches if memory serves me correctly. It was designed primarily for the military as the main fighting knife. And these two hoods held a knife each. Apparently, they didn’t want the sounds of gunfire to attract the cops, or maybe the knives were their favorite killing weapon.
So they came for a knife fight then. Alright, I meant to disappoint them. But I didn't show my Colt just yet.
Slowly and very deliberately, I moved away from the side of my car still with my gun held behind my back.
"You guys looking for someone,” I said. “Or did you lose something here?"
The bigger of the two smiled at me.
"Me and my brother here, we want you asshole."
I sighed and took a deep breath, but didn't say another word. They didn't waste time talking either.
Slowly they spread themselves out some more. Apparently they had some experience in this kind of fighting. Once they saw I was stepping away from my car, they looked over at each other.
Suddenly and without a word, they charged me from both sides. The closest to me was the tall heavy set brother. The moment he came swinging his Ka-bar in a figure-eight motion - up and down and around movements - and as his blade made its up-ward movement, he was almost on me. From the corner of my eye I saw his brother momentarily halt his forward charge, apparently to let his brother draw first blood; that was my opening.
Without a moment's hesitation, I withdrew my gun hand from around my back. Holding the Colt by my side, I took a step back raised it and aimed toward the lower part of his body, and shot him once in his right leg. With a howl of pain he dropped to the ground, forgetting the blade as he clutched his right leg trying to stem the flow of blood that gushed out of him, which was starting to soak his pants leg.
I took a quick step forward, wanting to put my boot to his face. But just at that precise moment, his brother recovered from the initial shock of seeing his brother getting shot. He rushed me with a loud yell.
He came at me in a straight thrust maneuver intended to stab me in the side of my body. But just as the blade reached me, I did a quick 360 degree turn at the same time deflecting his blade with my left arm, and came around behind him. Taking a step back from him, just as he tried regaining his stance, and holding my Colt with both hands, close to my mid-section, I put a .45 caliber bullet in his left calf too.
Yelling and howling with pain and the shock of getting shot, he too fell on the ground grabbing his leg, trying desperately with both hands to stop the flow of blood spilling out of him onto the ground.
I did my best not to kill them. Just wasn’t my style anymore. Also I needed some answers.
As I holstered my Colt, I walked over to the first guy I'd shot. He was moaning and groaning with pain, but not as loudly now. Bending down I picked up his Ka-bar. I leaned in and held the point of the knife inches from his face.
"So, I know you two?"
Defiant to the end the guy was, even as his eyes lit up at the sight of the tip of the blade, just mere inches from his face. He clenched his teeth. He said, "Fucked you wetback."
I grabbed his hair, none too gentle, twisted his head to the side and slowly slipped the tip of blade into his neck. It was just enough to draw a tickle of blood.
"I need answers, now!"
"Okay, okay, stop okay. I'll tell you what you want to know."
As I let go of his hair, I withdrew the tip of the blade from his neck, but held it close to this eyes.
"That's a good boy. So, who put you up to this?"
"A guy called Angel Serrano said he wanted you dead."
"How you get on to me?"
"Angel told me what kind of car you drove and gave me a description of you."
"Yeah, okay, but how you know where to make contact?"
"Angel, he said you worked with Triple ‘A’ bail bonds. So we decided to wait it out for you there."
To my left side I heard his brother still moaning with pain. Turning toward him, I saw he wasn't going to get up any time soon.
I returned my attention to his brother. I shot him a violent look and raising my trigger finger, I said, "Consider this a warning. You come looking for me again, I won't be thinking of just a leg shot. You understand?"
"Yeah . . ."
I said, "You go to the cops, and you'll find me on your door step. Got it?"
"Yeah, I got it."
I searched them for weapons, and not finding any, I pulled out their wallet, and removed their driver’s licenses.
I waived the licenses in my hand.
“Now I know where you guys live.”
Getting back up, I started walking back to my car, and threw the ka-bar away. As I opened the driver's door, I paused for a minute trying to listen for police sirens out in the distance. But I didn't hear any. Doubtless, this had been a good spot.
Getting behind the wheel, I turned on the ignition and heard the roar of the engine coming alive, and putting it in first gear I drove straight out onto West Congress Street and headed for home.
Like my car coming alive, I felt the same way.
I'll handle Serrano later.