The Liquor Bank Job
You could tell they were twins, but life had clearly beaten one of them up more than the other, giving the impression that they’d been born ten years apart instead of maybe ten minutes. Sitting in the right turn lane on Crenshaw at Stocker I saw them immediately as they came out of the Liquor Bank across the street at a dead run, dodging cross traffic on Stocker as they crossed it against the red.
The one on the left was beefier, moved with a pronounced limp in his right leg and hunched his shoulders. Plus he had a lot more gray in the long dreads that poured down his back and his mouth was turned down in a perpetual scowl. He carried a fresh bottle of Hennessy in one hand and what looked to be a .38 in the other and had the worn out air and bearing of a tired fighter past his prime.
The one on the right moved on his toes, giving him an artificial bounce to the stride that comes either from a congenitally shortened achilles tendon or a lifetime spent wearing sneakers. Or possibly both. He had no gun but was cradling a bag of cash not carefully enough because the occasional bills fell out and wafted in their wake to the pavement like a leaf in fall. His identical hairstyle streamed jet black from a head held high. The upturned corners of his mouth gave him a far happier demeanor, as if he enjoyed what he was doing. He had to hold back not to outrun his brother and when they cleared the crosswalk they initially turned left toward where the IHOP was and beyond it the hill with unincorporated View Park on the left and Baldwin Hills Estates on the right, but the older one stopped and turned to look back toward Crenshaw, searching for an alternative. Guess he didn’t want to make that climb. At least not on foot.
They both rocked the same type of big bug-eyed 400-SPF sunglasses. The ones initially made famous by U2’s lead singer and later popularized by practically every female celebutante to make a sex tape, crash a Mercedes, or drive the wrong way on a freeway.
The older looking one wore a long black overcoat over a heavy red sweater and jeans. His brother sported a leather-sleeved varsity jacket embroidered on the back with the continent of Africa divided into bands of color, green over yellow over red. Beneath that was an t-shirt with a picture of Bob Marley on it, tucked into a pair of jeans.
They made a beeline for my car, and I knew what was next even before the one with the gun leveled it at my head as they trotted toward me.
I was already yanking the parking brake and bailing when he said that and a few moments later stood in the middle of Crenshaw as my ride motored out of view on its way up the incline to La Brea and points unknown.