The Continuing Adventures of Raymond Garcia

By Scott L. Allen

Raymond is an off-beat character from my novel Valley Fever. From time to time, we’ll be chronicling some of his adventures here. WARNING: Raymond is not for everyone!


Raymond Gets Dressed

Only noon, and Raymond Garcia was out of bed already.  He wanted to sleep more, but he had to meet Mr. Shakespeare in two hours to deliver the stolen disks.  Rising early would give him time to prepare properly, to shower and dress, get a cup of java and a few lines of blow, stop for some menudo and two baskets of tortillas, one flour, one corn.  Why force yourself to make difficult decisions?

Raymond glanced out his window.  Clouds covered the sky, which was good.  Sunshine was fine, but not first thing.  He yawned and looked down.  Couldn’t see his feet, just rolling mounds of hairless skin the color of refried beans.  He pulled at his dick.  Couldn’t see it either.  Would if the sucker was hard though.

He hadn’t weighed in lately, but he knew the needle would top out at 340, which was as far as the numbers went on his scale.  His line of work, quickness was the important thing.  Maximum damage, minimum time.  Plus, all that weight intimidated people.  Who wants to mix it up with a guy twice as wide as a normal person unless it’s really necessary?

Chico, now there was a guy could fight all week, kind of shape he was in.  Raymond yawned again.  He hadn’t thought of using Chico to steal the disks until he’d studied Gregorio Hernandez’ badge for many minutes, eventually noticing the two could have been twins.  The first part of his plan had been to get the badge of a Velocity employee, an easy thing for a man with his capabilities, then he was going to figure out the second part.  Like divine intervention, when he saw that picture.  God telling him what to do, showing him the way.

This fucking Gregorio Hernandez had been quick, almost too quick.  Luckily, Shari was gone by then.  Hot-shit Gregorio thinking he’d get a piece of tight Asian ass, sniffing after her until he was right where Raymond wanted him.

No reason to trouble Mr. Shakespeare with the details.  Raymond knew he himself had crazy moments, but this Bobbie Shakespeare was liable to do anything.  Who could predict how he’d react if Raymond told him the whole story?  Better to just give him the disks and collect the ten grand.  One thousand to Chico, 500 to Shari for baiting the trap, that left how much in his pocket?  Fucking plenty, bro!

Raymond shuffled to his closet to select a suit and saw the big black Samsonite tucked in the corner, the one he was filling with Franklins.  He shook his head, surprised again by his vast knowledge.  How many people knew who was on a hundred dollar bill?

He tugged the corners of hangers, looking over some suits.  He had lots of choices.  One thing Mr. Shakespeare said, dress well, don’t look like a criminal, even if you were one.

Mr. Shakespeare didn’t say dress all in black like a Hollywood bad guy, but that’s what Raymond had done.  Part of the intimidation factor.  Made him look thinner too, according to the dago fuck who sold him all his clothes.  Amazing, what you could get in black, a real variety in patterns and fabrics.  Raymond visited the Los Gatos shop two or three times a month for shirts and suits, shoes and socks, classy leather ties.

It wasn’t easy building an image.  It was all part of something important though, your reputation and style.  Raymond took great care with his appearance because he was going nowhere but up, provided the business with this spic Gregorio Hernandez didn’t fuck up his entire career.

He selected a black Armani suit and laid it out on the bed.  Three grand, but that’s what silk cost.  The suit had come with a vest Raymond had tossed aside.  Guiliano the dago salesman had smiled thinly, like he was thinking, what am I gonna do with this big Mexican.  Hey, who needs a fucking vest, Raymond told him.  I look like some kinda queer to you?  You gonna put a vest on a guy wears a size fifty-six suit?

Maybe kick Guiliano’s bony ass all the way back to Italy one of these days.  Little foreign fuck.

A shaft of window light pierced the comforting gloom of his room.  Raymond squinted at a crack in the clouds and turned away, found himself looking at the stack of books he’d picked up recently, sitting there on his dresser.

He’d been driving his fine Cadillac down San Tomas Expressway after slapping around a deadbeat.  At the Stevens Creek light, he’d seen a big store called Barnes and Noble.

A stupid name for sure, but he’d pulled in anyway, playing a hunch.  The parking lot was so crowded Raymond had an idea.  Maybe this Barnes and Noble might be a good place to rob.

It was enormous inside, books all over in rows and rows, people all over too, doing nothing but looking at them.  He’d decided to leave when a serious Anglo bitch with a nametag that said Beth appeared, asking could she help him with something.  Honey hair piled in a bun, glasses, nice dimples, plum of a mouth ripe with possibility.

Raymond remembered saying perhaps you can, real proud of the way that “perhaps” rolled off his tongue.  He didn’t say what he was thinking, lose the glasses and pull down that hair, maybe we take a little siesta together, me on top.

This slinky librarian had laughed when Raymond told her he was a criminal.  “Maybe you could apply corporate techniques to your life of crime,” she’d said with a smile.  Raymond had no idea what she was talking about, but he’d followed her around the store, admiring her backside and looking at books, gradually coming to understand her point.

Damned if he didn’t leave with a heavy bag of books.  The Power of Positive Thought and Strategies for the New Millennium.  What the fuck was a millennium, and who cared?  Negotiating to Yes, which sounded dumb, unless it involved pummeling people until they did what you told them to.  Something called A Book of Five Rings.  What was that all about?

No end of crazy shit in that bag.  He’d driven home with ideas crowding his head, read these books, learn something, acquire powerful new skills.  A wonderful phrase, “acquire powerful new skills.”  He’d seen it on one of the books.

The books had sat untouched on his dresser for two weeks.  Gotta get serious, Raymond thought, stretching his arms, feeling his mind revving up.  Maybe he could even write one of these books.  Adapt or Die, Motherfucker!

Raymond laughed.  This was a great title!  Who wouldn’t wait in line to buy such a book?

He ambled to the dresser to check the prices on the books.  He liked the way they felt and smelled.  He selected one that had cost him $24.95, an outrageous price for a bunch of pages packed with tiny words no normal person would bother with.

Raymond grunted and threw the book on the floor.  Books with pictures were better.

Children’s books had pictures.  Raymond had no use for children, but many people seemed to like them.  He felt the building excitement of a new idea.

He’d begin his book career with something full of pictures, something parents could buy for their children!

Raymond realized all the books on his dresser had titles.  He’d never read a book to the end, but titles seemed important.  He thought a moment.  Here was another benefit to being a criminal.  You had lots of time to think.

Raymond stood naked in the window light, scratching himself and thinking so hard he worried he might pop something in his head.  He was ready to stop when he got a brilliant idea.

He’d call his children’s book The Moron in the Mirror, and he’d have them put a real mirror on the cover.  Here was a winner!  What child wouldn’t love such a book?

He decided to discuss this idea with Beth.  This Beth spent most of her time surrounded by books.  She’d be happy to reveal her book secrets, since it would benefit her as well.  She could get his book printed and sell it to all the mothers in town!  Then when the store registers were overflowing with cash from his books, he could rob the place.

Raymond closed his eyes in pleasure.  Here was a plan with merit.

It would be interesting to see this Beth again.  Since he preferred his women plump, she’d need to put on some weight if they were to enjoy a future together.  Twenty or 30 pounds would be enough.  Maybe he could help her find a book about how to fatten up.

Many of the books he’d bought from Beth seemed to involve goals.  Raymond decided he needed one.  He’d take care of his business with Mr. Shakespeare, and then he’d visit this Beth at Barnes and Noble and begin his book career.


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