...Editor Daat Praen, while working odd jobs for a strange new man in the neighborhood named Bull Mayday, has just stumbled onto Bull's secret when he went to eat a round of cheese and bit off more than he could chew...
So there I was with a mouthful of Bull's jewels, and he's just come home. I'm still reeling from the fact that he's smuggling them through groceries, or whatever he's doing, and now he's standing there cracking his knuckles like he's getting ready to pop me.
"Listen," I say, defending myself, "the delivery came early, so I took it in. And then I got hungry, just, really, like two minutes before you came home. I didn't see nothin', I can forget the whole thing."
"Well, see, the problem is, Daatee, now you're keen to it," Bull said matter-of-factly. "There's no pretending you don't know what's going on. Say the police come around. You're not gonna rat me out, are you, Daatee?"
"I never would, I swear. I'll just leave, and that'll be that," I said. There was something in my teeth. I couldn't tell if it was a piece of goldquartz or a peppercorn.
"Nah. You're gonna have to stay," Bull said with a sigh. His eyes lit up as he thought for a moment. "Say, this might be okay. You're gonna stay here, so I don't have to so much. You can take care of things."
"Your mother?" I asked apprehensively.
"No, I'll still do that," Bull said. "You stay away from her. But you can handle the deliveries."
"But what about my dog, Marv?" I asked.
"Bring him over," Bull said.
Just to appease the strongman with the wild ideas, I told him, "Sure, okay. Let me go collect some things and then I'll be right back."
"Sounds good, Daatee," Bull said as he started to hum with satisfaction. "Oh," he added as I was heading out the door, "don't you try to go run away anywhere now, Daatee. Because I'll find you!"
It was both menacing and playful, surely the sign of a diseased mind. A real sociopath. My only option, it seemed, was to jump my apartment, to go and live with my sister on the other side of town. As far as I knew, Bull still didn't know my last name. I'd grow a beard, gain some weight. Something.
So I get home and Marv is going crazy, he hasn't seen me in hours and hours. He jumps up and knocks his food over, like he always does. I tell him we're going on a trip and he collects his favorite toys by the front door. What a good dog, Marv. So smart.
I packed a small suitcase and turned off the water and gas, and then I heard a pounding on my door.
"You in there, Daat?" It was Bull. He must have followed me home.
I'm one leg out the back window when he lets himself in. I can't remember if I had locked the door or not, but it wouldn't have mattered anyways.
"Where you off to?" Bull asked as he came in the kitchen.
"Uh... watering the plants?" I said with a shrug. We both knew it was a lie.
"Right. Come along, then. It's almost time for dinner," Bull grunted.
With his bear-sized paws pressing at my back we walked up Cahl Street to his mother's apartment. Marv was with us, but he seemed timid and scared, which wasn't like him. What had I gotten myself into? It was like I was being led to the stocks. Or jail.
But then, I'm not halfway up the patio to Bull's apartment when a car comes screeching down the street. Mind you, there weren't too many cars back then, they've really only caught on lately. So this car comes squealing along, right towards us, and then the windows roll down. Out leans the ugliest mug you've ever seen and his quickshot. Bam! One, two, three shots, right into Bull's chest. I duck inside the house as Bull's screamin' something after the car, a rat bastard until the end.
From inside the apartment I looked out at the front steps where Bull's tremendous form was slumped. Blood trickled down onto the sidewalk. I spun around towards the kitchen full of smuggled jewelry. And then I heard a watch siren go off outside. The neighbors all knew Bull and I spent a lot of time together recently. The police were going to have questions. What was I gonna do? And so I made a quick decision. And it changed my life forever.
NEXT TIME: MEERO CALASTRI or NEW MONEY