dying | An LA Crime Story

Tart Man

By | Serial | No Comments

The man walked another four and a half blocks, up a winding little street to a four-unit stucco building built in the thirties. He entered the garden apartment. Inside, a battered and dusty old sky-blue surfboard propped up against the living room wall was the only bit of personality in the cracked plaster interior of the little one bedroom unit.

The man went into his tiny kitchen and put the tart on a paper towel. He got a dark beer out of his fridge and popped the top. As he started to take a bite of the tart, he heard a key turn in his front door. He opened the utensil drawer next to the ancient stove and took out a small twenty year old glock.

“Mr. Jones?” came a familiar voice. “You here? I’m gonna kill you.” The afore-mentioned Mr. Jones pocketed the glock and went into his living room.

“It was an accident, Leland.” Jones told Leland Hays, who was standing in his entryway, pissed off. “And stop threatening me every time shit happens.”

“Shit?!” Hays hissed, turning red. “That’s seventy five grand up in smoke! Why the hell were those girls in there?!” He carried on, talking about the Domingos fire.

“Ozrin wanted the pick-up there.”

“He never told me.”

“I thought he did–” Jones carried on, returning to the kitchen.

“You thought?! No. You don’t think, you do as you’re told. I had to hear it from the cops? The COPS!” Hays followed him.

“I just found out myself.” Panama told him, keeping calm.


“This morning. I went over there for the pick-up, saw the Police tape–”

“The fire was three days ago. You were gonna leave them there for three days?”

“…I left them food.” Panama took out a knife, sliced the tart in half.

“I called Ozrin.” Leland informed Jones, “He says the pick up was tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow? No–” He offered half the tart to Hays.

“And he said the location was never changed–”

Jones put the beer to his mouth, “Ozrin’s paranoid. He changes the location every other time then changes it back.”

Hays watched him take a long pull of the beer.

“Thought you quit all that.”

Jones took another. “I did.”

Hays took out his wallet,

“Get three more now, Before Ozrin takes his business somewhere else.” He tossed five twenties on the worn counter. “There’s a hundred for gas.”

He turned to leave, then turned back and almost smiled,

“Those girls dying is on you.” Then he was gone.

Panama Jones checked the time. It was ten-forty-five. He dumped the rest of the beer, took a bite of the tart, grabbed his board and left.

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