Archive for July, 2013

I might be placing myself in harm’s way

July 24, 2013 Leave a comment

I don’t really feel safe writing this, but it was such an exciting adventure, I can’t pass up the opportunity.  The central character was a short, plump guy by the name of Alvin Katraz.  He had the appearance of the kind of guy we used to call “butterball” behind their back.  In the case of Al Katraz, we rarely dared to refer to him as a butterball, even when far from his potential to hear it.  The reason was that Al had guns.  He liked guns, he was good with guns, and he had guns.  Several guns.

When I was told that I was to meet him for the first time, I was forewarned that he was not what he appeared to be.  He was not a butterball.  Rather, he was a skillful, reckless killer.  I did not fully believe that I was to meet a guy who looked like a butterball but was actually a violent murderer.  Strangely enough, I was taken to meet him at a gym where prizefighters trained.  I wanted to meet him because I wanted to interview him for a magazine article.  I was planning a story on bodyguards, and I was told that Alvin Katraz had been hired to protect some of the most iconic rock stars ever known.

The gym was on a major downtown street, on the third floor of a building that housed a popular nightclub on the ground floor.  The second floor was occupied by offices: the management of the nightclub, which was called “Vultures Vengeance”; the management of the gym, and a talent agency that was also owned by the owner of the club and the gym.

We entered at the street entrance beside the flashing lights of the nightclub, through an unmarked door.  We were facing steep carpeted steps.  We mounted to the second floor where the offices were housed and continued up to the third and final floor.  As soon as we entered, it was like being in a very unlikely environment, considering the busy downtown street and garish lights of the clubs and restaurants. 

The gym was brightly lit, illuminating a full size boxing ring, areas with punching bags and other training equipment.  At the far end, doors led to steam rooms and locker rooms.  A pair of pugilists were sparing in the large, raised ring.  One was a lean, muscled black guy in white satin shorts, who was obviously at home in the ring.  The other was a short, rotund guy whose fat face was pink, with a dark mustache rampant under his bulbous nose. He was fully dressed in a pale blue sweatsuit. He saw us enter, and paused to shout a greeting to Arthur Merican, the man who brought me to meet Katraz.

“Hey, Art,” he called to my companion. “Look at my new sparing partner.  Watch me show him how it’s done.”  With that he turned and delivered a serious blow to the solar plexus of the big black guy.  The guy didn’t even wince.  Instead, he shot a quick jab to the bulbous nose of the butter… the guy in the sweatsuit.  The guy fell over backward, flat on his back.  The jacket on his sweatsuit pulled up and revealed a quivering mound of white belly, devoid of hair, interrupted only by a deep navel.

The sparing partner stepped forward and offered a gloved hand which the pudgy guy took with his own gloved hand and struggled to his feet.  He glared at the black guy and said he was going to the showers.  The black guy apologized.  While the short, fat guy waddled back toward the shower room, the other man began to unlace his gloves, using his teeth to loosen the knots. He climbed out of the ring and strolled slowly toward the showers too.

Before he got halfway there, the guy in the sweatsuit came out through the door, raised a huge fifty caliber, nickel plated, semi automatic pistol and fired four thunderous shots through the black guy.  Blood and guts flew everywhere, and almost before the victim hit the floor, the sweatsuit guy had turned and was going back toward the shower room door.

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