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34 pages32 minutes

Summary

“I have a .44 magnum, pointed at your head.”
“Señor, I don’t have no money.”
“Not too long ago, an hombre named Gilbert Duarte was sent to pick up some money from a dealer, in another state. Gilbert Duarte and Juan picked up a lot of money, three duffel bags full. They then gave the money to George Wockle of Aardvark Science, who lives here in Los Angeles. George Wockle then sold out Gilbert Duarte and Juan. Gilbert Duarte and Juan died, in an ambush. Juan was a muchacho of mine. The policia are looking for me. George Wockle must not escape.” I then vanish, back down an alley.
The loco is suddenly gone and I stagger on to the shop. I tell my Manager, “I got stopped, on my way to work, by a loco. He gave me a message.”
“What message did he give you?”
“As best I remember, he said, ‘Not too long ago, an hombre named Gilbert Duarte sent to pick up some money from dealer, in another state. Gilbert Duarte and Juan picked up a lot of money, three duffel bags full. They then gave the money to George Wockle of Aardvark Science, who lives here in Los Angeles. George Wockle then sold out Gilbert Duarte and Juan. Gilbert Duarte and Juan died, in an ambush. Juan was a muchacho of mine. The policia are looking for me. George Wockle must not escape.’ That’s all I remember.”
“That is interesting, Pablo. I will deal with the matter. Now, you have work to do.”
“Señor Mendoza, one of my employees came to me with a story, this morning. You may recall the death of one Gilbert Duarte and the loss of several million dollars? Pablo, my employee, told me that a man with a gun told Pablo that the money was not lost, but instead was transferred to one George Wockle, who works at Aardvark Science and lives here in Los Angeles.”
“No Señor, Pablo is not very bright. However, if I assign work to Pablo, the work always gets done, including if he has to ask for understanding from the supervisor.”
“Pablo said, ‘Not too long ago, an hombre named Gilbert Duarte sent to pick up some money from dealer, in another state. Gilbert Duarte and Juan picked up a lot of money, three duffel bags full. They then gave the money to George Wockle of Aardvark Science, who lives here in Los Angeles. George Wockle then sold out Gilbert Duarte and Juan. Gilbert Duarte and Juan died, in an ambush. Juan was a muchacho of mine. The policia are looking for me. George Wockle must not escape.’ That was all Pablo remembered.”
Señor Mendoza says, “It was not our operation. However, there was a lot of money involved. I will have someone question this George Wockle.”
* * *
“Ruelas? This is Señor Mendoza. I need you to question a man named George Wockle, here in Los Angeles. This George Wockle is very clever. Make sure that he does not outsmart you.”
“Señor Mendoza this George Wockle may outsmart my head, he will not outsmart my fist.”
“Ruelas, it was not by chance that I called you.”
* * *
“Mr. Wockle, you can just call me Vito. You got a problem with some guy?”
“Yeah, Vito, there’s a guy named Jason Dial who’s causing me a great deal of trouble. I need you to deal with him.”
“You want him talked to, beat up, dead, what?”
Mr. Wockle says, “I need Jason Dial dead.”
“How bad do you want him dead and where do I find Jason Dial?”
Mr. Wockle says, “I need Jason Dial dead, $1,000 worth.”
Vito snorts, “That’s skid row bum money, you gonna get serious?”
George Wockle says, “I’m short of cash, right now. I work for Aardvark Science, here in Los Angeles. They can get me some serious cash.”
“Where do I find this Jason Dial?”
George Wockle says, “I can get Aardvark Science, here in Los Angeles, to call Jason Dial in for an interview. When he comes in, you can follow him and then do the hit.”
Vito snorts, “Like as not, I gotta do a road hit, in daylight. Gonna cost $100,000, half in advance. cash.”
George Wockle says, “I can get Aardvark Science, here in Los Angeles, to call Jason Dial in for a

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