Thursday, July 28, 2005

Friday Night Races - Part VIII

David and I moved to our own apartment the week after Succos. We were bringing in over $200 a night selling pot and hash to American kids, and were living the life. We were dealing for some Russian guy name Vlady. Selling was just a job, we told ourselves, just like any other job out there. And being on our own gave us more freedom to work on our own schedule.

Vlady was a scary looking man, with a scar on his arm partially covered by a dragon tattoo. One night, while drinking, he told us it was from a broken beer bottle in a bar fight. And how he had killed the man who cut him with the very same beer bottle. We didn’t know if he was telling the truth or lying, but we had no doubt that he was capable of doing what he claimed. And we had no doubt about the bulge beneath his jacket.

Our arrangement was simple. We paid him about three grand a week for protection and product. Then we turned around and sold the product at whatever price we set. We were independent contractors, making a living doing what we knew best.

Every Friday I would call Vlady and arrange the deal. He would tell me his price, and threaten to put a bullet in my head if I tried to cheat him. We laughed, but I had no doubt that he was telling the truth.

The police rarely bothered us. We stayed out of their way, only dealt to American kids, and didn’t leave any messes for them to clean up. So far, it had been ideal.

We each did our own thing during the day. David spent most days hanging out with Shanna, who had been kicked out of her seminary. She was spending a lot of nights at our place, sometimes sleeping in the living room, and lately, sleeping in David’s room.

I bought a used car, and spent most days working on it. The truth was, nothing blew my hair back the way a fast car did. She was ugly on the outside, but a thing of beauty under the hood.

Life was easy, girls seemed to come and go, and for the first time, I had money to spend.

I don’t know how long this Eden-like existence could have continued, but I had a promise to keep, and it was time.

On Friday I called Vlady to arrange the deal.

“Are we on,” the voice on the other end of the phone said.

“You know it, Vlad,” I said. “How much this week?”

“$3500, cops made a big bust in Haifa and supply is down,” he answered.

“I’ll give you $3100,” I answered.

“For $3,100, you can have a bullet through your head. Who is this? Sholom or David.”

“David,” I lied.

“David, $3500 you got it?

“Yeah, you got it. What time?”

“4:30. At the regular spot. Don’t be late.”

I hung up the phone. The clock said 11:44. I decided to wake David.


David and I went to lunch, and went over the day’s agenda.

“Listen,” I said, “Vlady wants o meet at 4:30. I can’t make it today. Can you do the pick up?”

“Yeah, sure,” David said, as he shoved another pancake bite in his mouth. “These guys make the best pancakes I ever had.”

“I’ll leave the money in an envelope for you on the table. Make sure that Shanna chick doesn’t steal it. I don’t like that she’s always hanging around us.”

“You don’t like her?”

“Not really.”

“Want to hear something funny. Remember that night she wanted to get together, a few months back. She thought that I killed Chaim.”

I was suddenly interested. “He died in an accident. Why would she think anything else?”

David drank his coke. “Some cop told her that back in Detroit. They said it might have been foul play. Who’da wanted to kill Chaim.”

“Why did she think you did it?”

“Remember when she had that abortion. She wrote in her journal that I said I would kill him for her. Maybe she wanted to thank me or something. I’m not sure, but I thought she was disappointed when I told her it was an accident.”

We went back to the apartment. I thought about what David said. I thought about Shanna. Did she suspect me? Would she suspect me tonight?

I counted out 31 one-hundred dollar bills, and put them in an envelope. I put it out on the kitchen table, and left David a note.

See you at 8. Regular spot. Sholom.

Then I left the apartment.

There was a restaurant across the street from our meeting place with Vlady. I got there at 4:15, and ordered a hamburger. Nothing to do now but wait.

I wished I had a closer view. I wished I could see David’s face as Vlady lifted his gun and pulled the trigger.

But I would see him get shot. And I would see him hit the ground.

At 4:30, Vlady’s black car pulled up to the spot. One minute later, David walked across the street, and leaned in the passenger window. I imagined what was being said. Vlady was calling David a funny boy, and asking for the rest of his money. David would be confused about what Vlady was talking about.

Vlady must have had a silencer on his gun, because I didn’t hear the shot ring out. But I heard the car peel away, and saw David’s lifeless body hit the floor. A bullet had ripped through the front of his head, and blood was pouring onto the sidewalk.

It could be weeks before he was traced back to this apartment, if ever.I knew David would have no ID on him. He had no distinguishing marks and no one would be looking for him. No one, except Shanna.

I found Shanna at the apartment, and told her a version of the truth. David had tried to screw a big time drug dealer, and almost been killed. Now he was on the run, and was going to try and escape into Egypt.

As her eyes turned glassy, I remembered one more thing.

"He said to tell you he loved you. And not to wait for him."

I knew my career as a drug dealer was over. After David tried to cheat Vlady, I knew I’d have a hard time finding a new supplier.

At least I know how to fix cars, I thought. I might need a job.

The preceding was a work of fiction. You can catch the story from the beginning by clicking on the The Race under Friday Night Races on the sidebar.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

and no one would be looking for him

Wouldn't Shanna?

July 28, 2005 3:52 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Yeah, i guess she would be. I'll have to fix that.

July 28, 2005 3:55 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...


July 28, 2005 4:01 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Apparently Sholom (hurray, now he has a name) is not a good guy.

July 28, 2005 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is even worse than the earlier post.

You are trying to end all this too quick.

July 28, 2005 5:08 PM  
Anonymous aetc said...


I think you're talented, but you are wasting your talents with Part VIII.

I was able to print Version I of the VIII part of the story before you pulled it, I just reread both versions. I agree with anon, they don't cut it, it is too neat an ending. Neither one packs the punch of your earlier writing.

You don't need to slip into the mystery genre. You were much better talking about their feelings about his death. Even though there may have been a murder, you don't need to tell us who dunn it, or give us another murder, (off a cliff or with a bullet.)

Your writing becomes great when you write about how they respond to the tragedy, become more frum, becoming less frum etc. voting whether to call, etc.

Even in this version, with Shanna getting kicked out of Yeshiva, tell us more about how she is dealing with the death.

The murder can remain a mystery, I really don't care who did it, I care more about the characters. And maybe once I have met the characters more fully, I can come to my own conclusions. Am I right, am I wrong? Your readers can debate, but they will never know what you were thinking, and that Airtime is great writing.

Just some constructive (I hope not too mean) thoughts.

Keep it up.

July 28, 2005 5:23 PM  
Blogger atoep said...

Good stories.

July 28, 2005 5:40 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

Why did Shana get kicked out?

July 28, 2005 6:01 PM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

you're absolutely twisted. Keep it up.

July 28, 2005 7:43 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

First, SW, AETC, ATOEP, Krum and JPT, I appreciate the comments.

Before no one wanted to hear about Shanna, now we need details.

We could sit here forever and go through some characters fall/return from orthodoxy. We can talk about baby steps away, and larger steps, and coming back, and finding a comfortable place within the orthodox spectrum, but that story would never move.

It would get tedious, and I would get tired of it.

I am sure that if one were to take the first eight parts, and read them together, there are things that don't fit.

I disagree with AETC and anonymous that both part VIIIs were terrible, but admittedly, I am biased. They may not have been what you were expecting, but I think they moved the story closer to its conclusion (And for those of you who read the first part VIII, you have a pretty good idea where this is going.)

I certainly appreciate the comments, especially where my writing becomes great dealing wtih emotion and tragedy and transition. And twisted plot points.

July 29, 2005 9:02 AM  
Anonymous AETC said...


When you write about Shanna it is very one dimensional. As Sports Psych said she is like Anshel in Yentel. As a reader of your story, I want her to have feelings, emotions, etc. You do that very well with the guys, but not with her. (Maybe Veev can help). So we do want to hear about Shanna, but in a different kind of way.

Secondly, I don't believe your story needs a conclusion, the way you do. If it got tedious and boring to describe their baby steps, then end the story with the detective closing the case or with the guys in Israel going their separate ways, and Shanna with David. End of story.

It would be a great story by having either of those endings. You have enough of a story with its characters and twisted plot points.

You seem to feel the need to tie up all the lose ends, and I don't think you need it. You can leave things to our imagination. Once you tie things up it becomes cliche, like a Hollywood movie, it is much fresher without putting all the pieces together.

July 29, 2005 9:55 AM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

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July 29, 2005 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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March 09, 2006 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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March 02, 2007 12:04 PM  

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