What Waits in the Lab

What Waits in the Lab

I’m an asshole.

Let me restate that, I think I’m an asshole, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. To the point, I could have been doing a lot more with my life. My mother raised three boys, which had to be hard enough, but my dumb ass didn’t respect that. My oldest brother by three years was already doing time. My youngest brother I do my damndest to keep out of trouble. I bring him to church every Sunday and dress up in my finest with my mother and my Grandmother. I give him any money he needs, but he isn’t allowed to get into what I do. I won’t let him.

Me? I run security at a meth lab.

I could be doing something good with my life. I lie to my mother repeatedly and tell her I am. My grades were good enough in school to get a decent job, which I tell her I have. I could have gone to college. Can you believe I wanted to be an engineer? I keep tabs on the internet, I’ve got a nice computer at home which I BOUGHT, and some good security on my phone.

We would have been caught three times over if it weren’t for me, cameras, tabs on people, and some basic GPS tracking installed on our dealers’ phones which we graciously give them.

But honestly, I’m not sure I care much anymore. I could work somewhere else. It started with a junkie. A dealer turned junkie, name of Adrian.

“I was taking it to sell!” came the plea.

DB, who I never caught his full name, and I think he preferred it that way, rolled his eyes so hard I thought his entire chair was going to tip over. Adrian was bleeding from the lip, from the absolute killer shot I took on him just as he was looking up, pocketing what had to be a full kilo. That kilo sat in the most professional looking box you’d ever seen sitting on the desk now. Let me tell you, Adrian weighed about a buck twenty soaking wet and would have looked like he was putting on a pair of tits trying to walk out.

“You’re THREE payments behind,” DB stated. Whiskey rattled around in a glass he had, but I’ve never seen him drink it.

“That’s why I need it!” Adrian whined.

Now he WAS soaking wet. He had to have pissed himself, smelled like cat urine and was sweating like a pig. I could tell he wanted to scratch himself, like he kept going for it, and then stopped at the last second. I counted six times so far.

DB let the seconds stretch and Adrian flapped his stupid mouth again.

“I got same payments coming through, I was going to pick some up tonight and then drop this off for a…big hit?” he actually started to question himself as DB just stared at him. “Look man, I’m sorry I did a little, but I have the money to catch up, I was going to score this big thing I swear! It was going to be up on the North Side with…”

“You smell like cat piss, and I am ten fucking feet away from you…man.” DB said, cutting Adrian off. He was bored with his excuses now. I shifted my hands and stood a step behind Adrian. Oh god, that smell made my eyes water. DB stepped out from behind his desk where he sat. It was the oddest little piece in the middle of this abandoned warehouse. Thing had to be two-hundred pounds, red like a stained cherry, solid mahogany or some shit. Pristine as the day it was made, and DB made sure it stayed that way. Nobody put shit on it, or near it.

DB poured the glass of whiskey on Adrian.

Then the entire bottle.

DB thought this shit was funny as hell.

“OH MY GOD, that is SO much fucking better!” he laughed with the others, even Adrian who giggled to himself. “Now let’s talk.”

I pulled Adrian and his head smacked the floor. Straddling him, my body blocking the desk of course, two shots into his heart before he could even figure out what was going on.

“Adrian, I think we need to let you go.” DB said calmly.

I pulled one more shot into Adrian’s head.

“James, I need you to do me a favor.” he told me.

I turned slowly as to not get any accidental blood or whiskey sprayed onto his desk and holstered up.

“Yes sir” I replied.

“Adrian here,” he gestured at the body being rolled up and carted away quickly by the convenient rubber mat, “is…was probably the least of my problems right now.” He shooed the others out. Me and DB talk private sometimes.

“We have someone stealing. A lot. I think we’ve got a traitor in the building.” DB grumbled. He pulled out a new glass and poured another glass. He looked like he was preparing to take a sip, but just swirled it and inhaled. “I know it’s not you, you got your brother you’re taking care of, you work hard, you just drop off your cash and work fucking hard. That’s good man, you’re my right hand.”

That mix of ‘I know who you care about’ and ‘You’re the best’. I told you I wasn’t stupid. Could have gone to college.

“I let slip we’re going to be light on security. Going to a big bash North Side. Gonna make a quick ten g with a nice fellow I was recently introduced to through an…old acquaintance.”

Fuck me.

“Going to bring ‘all’ my boys with me. Except you. And ten other ‘yous’.” Meaning pick ten of my best.

Gangs don’t attack us. We’re basically cartel at this point. Hell, we started that rumor, and it’s not too far off. Nobody else is running anything our size, and it takes some serious bank to keep us quiet and invisible. Gang violence is quick, basically painless. Cartel will fuck you up for days. Then bring in your family and do the same to them. Then let you go for a week, make you think you’re free, and pick you up on a Thursday outside Dairy Queen. How long they keep you after that is just how long you keep them entertained.

So we don’t get attacked by gangs. They’d have to be suicidal.

That night the production was in full swing. Our shit was vaulted. They’d need a big old keg of dynamite to even dent our handmade nest, and a goddamn platoon to take us down. I’m not saying what we were packing, but it was not your standard street shit.

And they fucking came.

Can you believe it?

So the first car rolled up, and about a block out the windshield cracks and there’s a nice hole on the driver’s side of it. Told you we had some nice shit didn’t I? The guys get out of the car calm as fuck and just saunter down the road like they’re walking to a titty bar. Less excited though, maybe more like church.

Pop, pop, pop…pop. Down they go.

We’re relaxing, almost ready to tell my boys they can crack one open, when a full fucking fleet of cars comes down the road. There’s no houses, and nobody comes here without warning because they’re not fucking idiots. There’s nothing but space between us and maybe a dozen fucking cars.

Now maybe you don’t know anything about gangs so I’m going to educate you. If there’s a gang in an area, it’s a gang for that block. That’s it. Maybe they share a name with another gang, but likely they don’t know fuckall about them if they aren’t on that block. So gangs are made up of anywhere between six and twenty six kids. They usually try to keep order on their own block, but they’re stupid fucking kids so that includes shooting each other. Getting six of them to agree on something usually means you’re gonna see something on the news.

So you’ll understand if I did not have the strategy ready to deal with this shit.

Windshield driver’s side again. Perfect.

Except the other cars just pushed behind it, using it like a shield and a battering ram through our gate.

“You two, fire here until they’re at the door, then move your ass to Steel Hold.” I yelled as I went inside and secured the front door. Steel Hold was named as such because it was a one way door that led to a turnstile, like from a subway. The door to get in it was rock fucking solid, and the turnstile was set up to be locked or unlocked manually. You’re welcome DB.

It was basically a prison cell.

The rattling of gunfire began and I heard the wall and makeshift can barrier being pelted. A minute later and one of my guys was wailing on the east entrance door. My man let him in and shuttered the door, sliding the bars into puzzle-lock as I called it.

“Open that door again and I will remove your kneecaps with a blowtorch.” I happened to know he was afraid of fire, and he didn’t know you stop feeling pain from burning after a certain point. Leverage can be useful.

There was another bang at that same door, and gunfire. Then silence.

So fucking quiet. The worker bees weren’t even making any noise, and they were suited up in the loudest fucking outfits ever, I swear to God.

The bang of the Steel Hold door almost made me shit myself, and my guy came barrelling into the ‘cell’ right into the turnstile. Which was locked of course, why fucking wouldn’t it be?

I sprinted over to the other side of the building to unlock it as he rattled the bars like a rat in a cage, screaming bloody murder. There is no way I would make it in time, and I had my men spread out to fire at anyone who came through the door. I held my hand over the unlock button, the cell about twenty feet away. If I hit that button, there was a good chance it could spin two or three times more, letting in other people. My work isn’t perfect.

“How many more out there?” I yelled over.

“What? Comon man, let me fucking in!”

“How many more?” I repeated.

“I don’t know, a hundred? Just let me in Jady!” he pleaded.

“The FUCK did you just say?” I said. He used my mother’s name for me. My real name is Jaden, but I like James better. Only my mother and my grandmother call me Jady. Only my family even knows my real name. I would sooner shit golden eggs than hear what just came out of his mouth.

“JADY LET ME IN” he screamed, his throat low and hoarse.

“You spying on me you fuck? You’re the fucking mole you traitor shit!” I put a bullet in his hip and watched him go down. Walking up to him he was giggling to himself, my boys were watching and I told them to fuck off to guarding the exits.

“Jaaaaady! Let us in Jady! We need you, and you need us!” he giggled softly, his dark eyes staring intently into mine. His mouth flowed with a black substance that was not blood. I had not seen this before, but I knew what to do.

I held up my cross.

“Oh Jaaaady!” he grinned. “I didn’t know we were such good friends! Let me shake your hand, friend!” and he began to get up, oblivious to pain.

I had known the boy for a good six months. I do not shake hands…except at church.

I put a clip in him.

I have seen the life go out of a number of people. That moment when they’re just not there anymore. That didn’t happen. His eyelids stayed open, although his body didn’t move an inch. No breath. Blood flowed down his face and everywhere else. The body has a lot more blood than you would think. But those eyes kept looking at me. And they filled with something moving, twitching, and black. It’s like he had two eyes in the same place or something.

It dripped out of his eyes and mouth, into his pooling blood. It was moving. Toward me.

I knew the lab was not keen on fire near it. So I had the suits drag him out to the burn pit and scrub the blood after ample bleaching immediately after we verified the gang outside was also dead. They didn’t like having to do the manual labor, but overall the ordeal cut their work short for the night.

I let my boys go after the suits left, and watched the burn pit.

It would be an hour before the new crew arrived and I badly needed sleep at this point. When that adrenaline stops pumping after a fight, you don’t give a fuck. That’s why guys make friends after a fight. They’re just done.

But that black shit kept me up.

A van calmly pulled up next the burn pit and I nearly lost my shit for the second time that night. I didn’t even hear it come in. The fire was already dying down at this point, but still producing light. I scoped them down, as I was on the third floor near DB’s office. I couldn’t make out the plate, but the van had a rose and cross or some shit.

Did some motherfucker call a priest?

And behold a fucking priest steps out.

Two of our goddamn suits, out of their hazmat cooking gear, their faces lit by the embers of the fire.

They could make the shit in their bathtub. Why take their work goods? But take it they did, walking out with two kilos, which I would later say must have been taken by our dead boy for a handoff before he came back inside. Because they poured both in the fire pit.

The suits stood on either side of the priest and threw some type of white cloth in front of him. The priest gripped a cross with something wrapped around it and thrust it at the firepit multiple times, chanting some latin shit.

Something dark flowed into the cloth. It became black as night, filled with something writhing. They folded it quickly and gathered into the van again and were off in moments, the whole ordeal took less than five minutes.

The two suits still work there, and no more drugs have gone missing. According to any official rolls at least. DB runs a tight ship, but he doesn’t know exactly how much meth you can make if you’re efficient and you have the right cooks. And our suits were the best.

When I walk by them and nobody else is around, they stop work for a moment and stare at me.

Sometimes, I hear them whisper my name.