Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler


premature fiction

Dirty Work

How do you know?”


Neither William nor Hernandez had spo­ken in the last half hour as they sat drink­ing beer and watch­ing the Giants strug­gle against an old pitch­er from Chicago who had no busi­ness doing so well.

How do you know?” Hernandez asked again.

William looked at him, but Hernandez’s eyes remained direct­ed at the TV. “How do I know what?”

How do you know it’s the same guy? How does Oliveri know? How does every­one know so damned much about this mur­der?”

William had nev­er been inter­ro­gat­ed before and it made him uncom­fort­able. He went to the kitchen for anoth­er beer and answered lame­ly across the formi­ca bar sep­a­rat­ing the small kitchen from the liv­ing room. “People talk.”

Another Giants bat­ter struck out and Hernandez turned off the TV. “They talk about the details of a body they haven’t even seen?”

They don’t need the details, the gen­er­al gist is enough. The details might slow ’em down.”

You mean ‘us’. ‘Slow us down.’ ”

William want­ed to leave. “So, it’s an ‘us and them’ thing now?”

No, it’s a ‘all of you and me’ thing now.”

Take it easy, man. You know it’s not that way.”

Sure it is.”

Then why did I come over here? Why did Oliveri? You sound like Luke Bettis.”

At least his ass makes sense to me.”

What’s that mean?”

He wants to keep his dumb white ass out­ta jail. I can respect self-preser­va­tion. What do you guys want?”

William gulped down more beer. “We wan­ta do the right thing. To get who­ev­er–”


–did this to this kid.”

Bullshit. Bullshit.”

Why else would we come here and tell you about Mike Boone and Tommy?”

If you gave a shit about Boone and Tommy you would have spo­ken up a long time ago and so would this old news­pa­per man with his god­damned let­ter. Everybody want­ed things qui­et. You all just want­ed it to go away.”

Some of us could­n’t speak up. I was a kid-”

You’re not now.” Hernandez fin­ished his beer and con­tin­ued qui­et­ly. “And now you want some­body to do your dirty work.”

William looked at Hernandez who was look­ing seri­ous­ly down the neck of his beer bot­tle. He put on his best red­neck accent and squirt­ed a sip from his beer bot­tle the way a good red­neck does before mak­ing a prou­nounce­ment. “Well, ya’ know what they say don’t ya’? There’s noth­in’ like a Mexican for dirty work.” And then he wait­ed, sud­den­ly wor­ried that Hernandez would­n’t get the joke.

Asshole,” Hernandez said into his bot­tle. And he smiled and shook his head, “That’s too close to the truth, bro.” He chuck­led and looked over at William.

It’s not fun­ny. That’s why it’s fun­ny.”

And Hernandez final­ly laughed hard. Too hard. “This fuck­ing sucks. This is the worst god­damned day…”