Settlement – Gray Metal Faces, March 12A

“Allez.” Get the center, he lets me take it. Feint the head cut, get him to flinch — slash the arm, EEEEP, look over YES, only ONE LIGHT this time, ref doesn’t both calling it out, just uses hand signals. Return to start. Not sure what was up with that touch, might have just been resting. Or looking to play the tempo game — watch that. “Pret.”

“Take it easy.” Double-J’s voice a command, not a plea, as he glared at the man on the right. “Yer gonna get your money, but like I said, I ain’t got it on me.”

Two women in their thirties exited the Pizza Place, and Baseball Cap brought his right arm down from his left hip, The Bird noticing with relief that his hand was empty. The man on the right frowned after the women passed. “So when — ”

“Friday.” Double-J pointed with his left thumb in the direction of the road outside the parking lot. “Get paid, Friday. Stop by the apartment, I’ll have yer money then.”

“Huh.” Vapor billowed from Baseball Cap’s mouth with his skeptical grunt. “Friday.” A car, followed by another, drove into the parking lot, pulled into nearby spaces. The Bird looked at the two men facing Double-J, saw their faces relax. As  doors opened from the newly arriving cars, the man on the right tapped his index finger on the teen’s shoulder. “Just ‘member, we knows where you live.”

Double-J barked a laugh. “Should hope so, you were there last Saturday!”

The occupants from the new arrived cars walked past the men, who waited for the newcomers to reach the restaurant door before jostling past Double-J, who remained stationary, the shoulder bumps of the two men glancing off him like bird wings against a statue.

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