St. Nick's Outlaws
By Jim Colombo
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Copyright 2001 Jim Colombo
It was Monday six in the morning and Foxie came to a screeching stop leaving five
feet of Goodyear tire on the street in front of C.J.’s house. Foxie had awakened the
neighborhood again and Mrs. Vetter peeked through her curtains to see what was going
on. A few minutes passed and C.J. closed the front door and walked to the squad car. He
waved to Mrs. Vetter assuring her that all was well while she discreetly hid behind the
curtains. C.J. entered the squad car.
“God damn it, Foxie. You gotta wake up the fuckin’ dead every time you come
here? Just once, just one fuckin’ time, stop the car like a normal person, not like Barny
Ohlfield. This ain’t the Indy 500.”
“Jesus H. Christ, all you do is piss and moan. You could say, gee, Foxie, thanks
for picking me up very fuckin’ day of my life. How nice to see your sorry ass.”
“Fuck off. Let’s get out of here. Drive the fuckin’ car.”
They drove down Geneva Avenue, turned on Alemeny Boulevard, and then got
on the central freeway to the Tenderloin. C.J. sat comfortably in the seat and began to
doze off when the car radio announced a white male was found dead at 71 Jesse Street,
an alley that was used by delivery trucks for the bars on Turk Street. It was a block away
from the Rainbow Room where the boys collected their bribes every Monday morning.
Foxie floored the accelerator and C.J. sunk deep into the seat and his hat slid down over
his face. “Shit. What’a we got, Foxie?”
“We gotta a stiff at 71 Jesse Street. The coroner is on the way to bag and tag.”
They arrived and assisted the coroner’s team. A street person had died from the
cold and malnutrition and lay with his arms and legs spread in the trash bin, as if someone
had arranged him. A forgotten soul discarded by a cruel animal that scavenges the
Tenderloin. The dead man’s eyes were open, looking up to heaven for help. His shoes, a
his coat, and any identification were missing. He had been dead for more than ten hours
and was stiff from rigor mortis. The man was hoisted out of the trash bin by four of the
Coroner’s men. His arms and legs were broken, so that he would fit in the black plastic
body bag with a tag that read: John Doe, DBNC; death by natural causes. The coroner’s
vehicle drove away with John Doe and Foxie and C.J. took off for breakfast at Blackie’s.
They arrived at Blackie’s dive on O’Farrell Street, a hole in the wall that served
greasy food with dirty utensils, cold beer, and an ambiance that needed a flame thrower to
sanitize the joint. Some days it seemed like the floor was moving, but upon further review
it was only a variety of insects that were searching for food.
“Hey, Blackie, how the hell are ya?” asked Foxie.
“Swell,” said Blackie, trying to not look bored.
“Hey, Blackie,” said C.J.
“C. J., what’s doing?” asked Blackie. Blackie respected C.J. and tolerated Foxie.
“We just had a 501 at Jesse Street. Some asshole took the dead man’s shoes
and coat,” said C.J.
“Well that’s one less bum we gotta deal with,” said Foxie with no remorse.
“You ain’t got no soul, Foxie,” said Blackie.
“Yeah, that’s right. And I ain’t got no heart that bleeds each time some bum or
some fuck whose dumb enough to live in this shit-hole gets iced.”
Blackie looked long and hard at Foxie. “You wanta fuck’in picture, Blackie?”
asked a pissed off Foxie.
“Hey, Blackie, how’s about some ham and eggs, and a Coors?” asked C.J.
“Yeah, and a bowl of the good stuff and a Coors,” added Foxie.
Blackie walked away and got a large bowl and filled it with yesterday’s chili, put it
on a dish with packages of crackers around the bowl, and slid it down the wooden bar top.
Foxie caught the bowl, centered it and began the ritual. Each bag of crackers was crushed
and poured into the bowl. A bottle of Tabasco sauce was turned upside down and given
seven slaps, then two big squirts of catsup. Foxie mixed the contents in the bowl and with
precision and efficiently he inhaled the bowl of chili. C.J. watched in amazement and
noticed something dead in the bowl of chili, but Foxie was in overdrive to observe that he
had eaten he catch of the day: a dead moth. C.J. said, “I never knew that you’re part
Foxie threw the large spoon into the empty bowl, and leaned back after his effort to
down a bowl in less than sixty seconds.
“One minute three seconds, Foxie,” said Blackie.
“Fuck,” said a dejected Foxie. His eyes widened and he stretched his arms so that
they were horizontal. He rised his head and, ”Booooort.” All was well. Foxie had
belched. The earth continued spinning.
“God damn, Foxie. Was that as good as sex?” asked C.J.
“Better, ‘cause the chili tastes better the second time.”
Blackie served C.J. the ham and eggs and each drank two bottles of Coors.
“Hey, Foxie. I heard that the black kid who lifted your sunglasses, his mama
died,” said Blackie.
“She got some bad stuff and croaked.”
“Where’s he at?”
“He and his two sisters are in Juvie.”
“That ain’t no place for kids. Who’s the God damn case worker?”
“Shit if I know,” said Blackie.
“C.J., ya mind if we drop by Juvenile Hall later today?” asked Foxie.
“I thought that you were the asshole with no fuck’en heart.”
“Bite me, C.J.”
When they finished the last beer they said good-bye to Blackie, and proceeded to
the Rainbow Room to collect their bribes. Foxie walked into the Rainbow Room as if he
owned the place. It was his court and he was the king of the Tenderloin. C.J. followed.
The usual assortment of pimps, pushers, and players waited their turn to pay their dues for
another week, so that they could rip off the losers who lived in the sewer called the
Tenderloin. Foxie enjoyed the homage paid to him. C.J. felt uncomfortable. If some dude
came in blasting and dusted Foxie and C.J., the good citizens of the Loin would watch,
then pay homage to the new king. C.J. was starting feel that they were on borrowed time.
He referred to Cinderella and the stroke of midnight, telling Foxie that soon the hands on
the clock would be straight up, and the party would be over. Foxie believed that he was
too smart to get iced. He had nine lives. Foxie enjoyed the power more than the money.
He lived for the adventure. It was the air that he breathed. They took the cash, thanked
all for their generosity, and left the dark confines of the Rainbow Room. They opened the
door and a wash of bright sunlight drenched both men. They walked to the squad car and
drove off to their safe deposit boxes at the Hibernia Bank on Market and Powell.
“I’m getting too old for this shit, Foxie. I want to call it quits. I’m thinking of an
early retirement. I’ll have twenty years next August. I want to transfer to communications
and finish my tour. I don’t want to worry about some freak dusting me. Then I’ll open a
small liquor store with my stash.”
“It’s your ass, C.J. If you want to split, okay. No hard feelings.”
“I’m tired of packing a gun and wondering if today is the last time I’ll see my family.”
They continued to drive to Powell Street to deposit their stash. Foxie was
concerned about C.J. wanting to quit the force so soon. C.J. was a liability now and Foxie
had to find a partner to continue his venture, maybe one of the drug lords in Chinatown.
They were growing marijuana in the lot across the street from the police station. What the
hell, Shin Wu was paying Foxie for protection and he could get a bigger piece of the
action. He was the man. Wu had muscle and distribution. All Foxie wanted was a fair
piece of the action, so he could retire in style in five years. He always wanted a big house
in St. Francis Woods. No cop could live there. Foxie was dreaming and his family
wouldn’t want to move.
“Hey, God damn it. The light turned green. Wake up,” yelled C.J.
Foxie continued his dream. Soon they arrived at the Hibernia Bank. They
greeted the guard and walked to the safe deposit window and were escorted
downstairs to the vault. The attendant left them to conduct their business. After a few
minutes they left the bank and continued to cruise the Tenderloin. Foxie was thinking
that he should get more because he took more risk. Maybe it was good that C.J. was
quitting. Lately he had been carrying C.J. He could keep all of the juice for himself.
C.J. could look the other way with prostitution and gambling, but didn’t like drugs or the
slime that dealt that shit. There was big money with drugs. Foxie would keep C.J. at arms
length for now. He thought about the black kid in Juvie. What could he do to help?
Baseball season was beginning and it was time for physicals provided by Nurse
Kindall. She warned the lads that she was not impressed with their display of manhood
last semester. She understood that some of the lads were free spirits, but it was a bit
much for a lesbian to view twenty-four useless cocks.. As the lads completed the
insurance forms and went to undress for their physicals, Nurse Kindall greeted the lads
and displayed her new large rubber mallet. “Just in case someone gets a boner,” she said.
They lined up in their shorts and socks. She sat the table for a moment. She like watching
them getting impatient. Then she got their attention when she bashed the table with the
rubber mallet. “Fly. Not to worry.” She cleaned the bottom the mallet removing the trace
that once was a fly.
The physical went without event with no one having the notion to erect the tent.
Each lad coughed and said thank you upon completion of Nurse Kindall’s physical. “That’s
the last time you’ll grab my balls,” mumbled Macell.
Nurse Kindall turned and faced the lads. “That was your last physical and soon you
will graduate, so I wish all of you good luck in the future.”
The lads thanked her for tolerating them for the past three years and went back
to the lockers to dressed. “Do you think she’s really flat? asked Duke.
“I don’t think she wears a bra,” said Brocker.
“She’s flat as a board and has tiny nipples,” said Ciaffi.
“How the hell do you know?” asked Brocker.
“She takes a shower before she goes home each day. Casmir didn’t know her
habits and walked in one day to fix a toilet. She walks out of the shower right past him
butt naked and he didn’t know what to say. She got dressed and left,” said Ciaffi.
“No shit,” said Duke.
The lads left the gym and went home. Baseball practice would begin next Monday.
The team would begin with stretching exercises, and running laps. Then the next week
they would begin drills and batting practice. Baseball is a gentler game than football and
has a slower pace. A fullback runs every play. A right fielder will sit and watch half of the
game from the dugout and the other half from right field. Maybe three balls would be hit to
him during a game. Zuppo once said, “Baseball is a walk in the park with two lunches.”
Jim was looking forward to the season with all of the guys back from last year’s
A few juniors had made the team. Woodrow Wilson Wong was the first Chinese to
play varsity baseball for St. Nick’s. He was a second string infielder about five foot six and
weighed about one hundred and thirty pounds. The lads introduced Woody to Doggie
Diner and Renzo’s Pizza, traditional baseball food that stuck to the ribs, unlike rice.
Woody tried hard and spent extra time in the weight room. Jim and Duke helped Woody
with technique. Woody made up for his lack of size with spirit and hustle. Duke called him
the secret weapon. Woody was a good base runner and when the team needed a stolen
base he came through. Jim thought that this year’s team was better than last year’s team.
He could hardly wait for the first game, March seventh.
More next week...