(FF challenge, again)
It was a tough neighborhood in a lousy town. Gracie probably was stupid to buy a house there. But a two-bedroom bungalow for $20,000 in cash was hard to pass up, when similar houses two towns over went for ten times that much. She probably sunk almost that much again as much into security upgrades: Doors that couldn’t be battered down. Lexan windows in heavy frames. Heavy steel fencing that looked pretty, offered no concealment and was very pointy at the top. Steel garage door with no windows. Complete video camera coverage. Motion sensors. It’d take damn near an army to break into her home and they weren't going to be able to come in quiet. Gracie counted on the fact that criminals were, when you got right down to it, lazy. Her house didn’t have to be thug-proof, just stronger than any others. It was.
Gracie quickly learned that calling 9-1-1 did nothing. As far as the cops cared, she lived in a war zone and they weren’t soldiers. Crimes tended to be solved when the perpetrators were found dead next to the victims. Police patrols were nonexistent. The residents regarded the cops as just another street gang, albeit an inferior one.
Things were cool for awhile. Then they weren’t. She found scratches on her garage door. Evidently someone had tried to force it open. Her cameras showed one or two thuggish looking man-children going over the fence and trying to kick open her back door. One of them damn near broke his ankle and there was a trace of blood on the fence where they went back over.
Then she started seeing similarly-aged kids standing across the street. She got a smart phone and used it to monitor the cameras covering her house. If there were any of the goons too close, she didn’t go home, for fear that they might be able to get to the garage door before she could close it.
This had to stop. She knew of an ex-cop and part-time private cop in the area. She gave the PI some photos of the gang kids, along with some folding money. The PI soon had a report for her about the Rail Street Gang. The report contained dossiers of the gang leaders. “Switch” Rodrigues was the leader. He was so named because when he was on the Juvenile Hall baseball team, he could hit from either side of the plate. Rumor was he played the same thing sexually.
Gracie paid some more cash and soon had a report that detailed Switch’s routines. Switch tended to always go around with two gun thugs. He claimed to be Hispanic, but he looked more white than did the average goon in the Winter Hill Gang. Word was that his father really wasn’t and his mother’s people were from County Cork. None of that mattered to Gracie.
Gracie planned to go have a talk with Switch. It probably wasn’t a great plan. But she was one to go at a problem rather than wait.
Switch liked to frequent a private after-hours club that had its entrance onto an alley off of Warehouse Street. He typically came out of there between four and five in the morning.
Gracie was waiting for him. There was some spill from a light a hundred feet further down the alley. The light was behind Switch and it didn’t really reach Gracie. The alley was the standard mix of garbage, old wino barf, dumpsters and rats.
Gracie stepped out from behind a dumpster. She was wearing black jeans, a thigh-length black coat and a black watch cap. She said: “Switch.” The distance between Gracie and Switch was maybe fifteen yards.
Switch and his two buddies stopped. Switch squinted. “What you want, bitch?”
“I want your boyos to leave my house alone.”
Switch was puzzled. “Where you live at?”
Gracie knew that the semi-mangled English was an act. Switch had tested at an IQ of 125. He was still a thug. “500 block of W Street.”
“You the white bitch in the house that’s all forted up?”
“That’s me. Just want to be left alone.”
Switch seemed to smile and said to his two gangsters: “Bitch wants to be left alone. Maybe we take her somewhere and show her something else.”
Gracie pulled back her coat with her left hand. Switch and his buddies could see the butt of a revolver in a cross-draw holster. “Maybe not,” she said. “Best if you not come any closer.”
Switch was incredulous. “You’re bracing me? On my turf? With a fuckin' six-shooter?”
“Fuck this shit.” Switch went for the Glock in his waistband. So did the gun thug to Switch’s left. Gracie shot both of them, they went down with a plastic/metallic clatter as their guns bounced on the asphalt of the alley. Switch had barely touched his gun. The gun thug's piece had just cleared his waistband when he was shot.
The third gun thug froze momentarily. It was understandable, a stand-up gunfight was a lot different from robbing liquor stores and doing drive-bys. “You don’t have to-“ was all Gracie managed to get out before the kid unfroze and went for his gun.
Gracie leisurely shot him in the head.
She removed the three empty cartridges from her revolver and reloaded. She left the bodies where they were. The cops were going to be mystified when they found out that the gangbangers had all been shot with a .44 Colt, even it was of Italian manufacture.
Nobody reported hearing any shots. It wasn’t that kind of neighborhood. The bodies were found twelve hours later by the driver for the carting company that emptied the dumpsters. The bodies had, by then, been stripped of anything of value. Their guns had long since disappeared. The cops didn’t seem to put a lot of effort into the investigation.
Gracie figured that further discussions with the Rail Street Gang were probably pointless. She donated the house to a church mission group that was looking for a place for residential housing. She moved out six weeks later. Nobody ever talked to her about the killings.
The revolver went into a heavy clay pot together with a pound of thermite.