The morning Toma die, I was sitting out under that busted up concrete mez in front the old ferry terminal, back to the grimy ply board stuck up where glass used to be, picking black dot flies out the swarm with the pea green laser I stole from the knickknack lady selling garbage art to tourists, other end of the plaza. She’d a been pissed, but I’m a better pickpocket than most kids.
Sure I coulda stole the cash off a suiter and bought the thing myself, proly woulda been the right thing to do, but she been a bitch to me a whole week ‘fore I stole it, shouting some shit about my being a carrier and chasing me off my usual corner. Was bullshit, I’m telling you, I ain’t never been sick with the catch and I had plenty chance to. Believe you me.
Anyway I was feeling good and situated, playing my shooter, doing my part to clean up the city, careful as an angel not to get my weapon in anyones eyes, that shit’ll burn a season, I should know, when ain’t nothing but Toma Waverly decides he deserves my attention. He could earn it, sure, but I wasn’t givin' it away.
“I’m going to tell the Peace Keepers you’ve got a unwarranted weapon.” That big dopey American accent a his made everything sound like an Ironman picture: Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.
“Go ahead. I’m sure they just love to hear ’bout your little side bidness.”
“It’s not side. It’s a day job, proper and paying.” He crossed his arms, the way older boys do when they tryin’a intimidate you, all puffed ego in patched denims. Adorable.
“Hey, you tell the story you need, I'm fine with that.” I smirked, blasting a few more buzzers and watchin'um bounce against that cracked out pavement. “I ain’t judging but PeK’s don’t give second-handers too much respect. You better off on my good side. I mean if I dun had a good side that is.” I wasn’t lying to the boy, just givin’ him truth at sunrise, when the lights still happy to be here and everythings lookin’ prettier than at noon. “You know I’m right.”
He huffed and sat down, close as shoulders, saying, “Didn’t mean it anyway. Just joking aro-”
Don’t think I ever heard the gun. Not till my brain played firecrackers and movie explosions over repeat dreams of that next second, that special kinda sick that comes of blood and terror.
Before all that, the worst thing about Toma wasn’t the nasty mouth he had on him, I mean we all had a mouthful of blacks but this boy sport the brokenest out teeth you ever saw. But worse than that, worse than the hair or the sore spots, was that eye. Toma was missing a whole eyeball right out the socket. You could stick a whole finger in there and he didn’t even flinch. He would flinch though on a new’en. He tell um ‘Yeah go head. It don’t hurt none’ then shout and hollar a fit when they did it. The looks on their faces... He knew I liked it when it hurt him, even if it was just pretend. Big shot play act’n, just for me.
He aint got no eyes now though. No head to put ‘em in. No blood to feed ‘em. Toma gone and the Peace Keepers made good sure he ain’t never coming back. Some crazy would pop a PeK next day in Toma name, claiming balance on that never ending debt exchange. As if revenge ever made a thing new again.