Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Sometimes, if they want to, Ca-Ca's cousin Mike shows his clients something else they can do, like if they're jealous of the people they're robbing, or hate them, or something.  He'll show them how to plant bedbugs. Exterminators have 'em. They got every thing and they'll sell you some, if you want them. Mike has a guy on South Broad Street. Three generations in the business he is. That's who he gets them from... the bedbugs, I mean. Puts 'em in little empty pill bottles. Pop the lid and throw it in a corner, or under as bed and it'll be itchy season real fast. And if the student-thief already has bedbugs, all he has to do is rub an old t-shirt all over the effected parts of his bed, tie it up in a small plastic bag and ditch it in a ransacked bedroom. Some thieves shove toothbrushes down their pants and spit in whatever they find in the refrigerator.

Ca-Ca says she don't want to mess with no bugs. Mike shrugs and goes - Your loss... She asks him if he has bedbugs... He laughs and makes like he's gonna tickle her. She gets off the old sofa and sits on the cold linoleum floor.... Then he asks her if she really killed Esther, or is only afraid the cops will think she killed her.... She tells him to drop dead and go to hell..... Mike says - If I drop dead and go to hell, who's gonna go with you?... She sits there... He goes - Yeah, you didn't think of that. Did you, you little shit..... Ca-Ca says - Lemme alone. I don't need you. I can do it by myself..... You shit can do it yourself - goes the cousin. What if there ain't nothing under the window? What if it's a six foot drop to the floor, a hard floor, a cement floor? What if they got rats ? How you gonna open the safe? You sure she has a safe?..... She says - Yeah, I'm sure.... He gives her a look..... I know! I know! I know, you friggin' son of a bitch! Pony talked about it all the time, from when she used to babysit me when my mom was makin' all them pierogis! I know from BEFORE I killed Esther! You SHIT! You SHIT you!..... Mike's mother (Ca-Ca's aunt) yells down - Jesus Christ! What the hell's gone on down there!?....... They get quiet, but Mike gives her a look and it makes her feel funny... He says - I'm gone in with you... and I get half.... She just sniffs and nods her head. Then she starts to tear up. Mike gets down on the floor and hugs her. Not because he feels sorry for her. He doesn't want his mom to hear her crying.

When he walks her home, her mother's already dragged herself up to bed. Ca-Ca double locks the door and turns on a battery powered dollar store phony burglar alarm. Then she sits on the sofa and sees a copy of their neighborhood weekly. It's all about Esther's 'senseless' murder. God, her mother looks so sad.

Ca-Ca doesn't cry. She just sits there... Forty nine minutes later she quietly puts out the light and goes upstairs....

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Now Ca-Ca's cousin Mike was basically a good guy. He did stuff for people. Helps 'em fix their cars... babysits their pit bulls. Stuff like that. But if something wasn't nailed down when he needed money, or you weren't lookin'..oh well. He wrestled in high school. Knew how to get out of tight places. After they let him out of 'Moko' (an old Philadelphia slang term for prison... who knows what it means) he went into business for himself as a consultant... a breaking and entering consultant. Taught 'em how to do the shim-sham-shimmy... how to get into them tiny, cellar windows old Philadelphia row houses have. Back in the nineteenth century they were meant to accommodate coal chutes. But a couple generations later, when people switched to gas, they started putting little windows in 'em. Ditched all the coal bins. Laid down linoleum. Painted over the cement walls. Maybe painted the rafters too. Not exactly the 'family rooms' we have today. More like their great grandparents. But I digress.

The openings were about twelve inches high by sixteen across. Ca-Ca was small. She was ten years old. Once climbed into a dog house... a little dog house, like for a cocker spaniel. This was at a cousin's house in Jersey. Took 'em forty five minutes to find her. Had to lift the roof off to let her out and by then all the chicken and hamburgers were gone. All see got were hotdogs.

And there was more too it than shimmying through a horizontal 'dog door.'  Mike had a whole system. First you criss crossed all the glass with duct tape. Then you break the duct tape coated glass with a rubber mallet. That way it keeps together. Less chance of cuts. You want to avoid anything that might draw blood, 'cause most times the cops don't run the DNA, but sometimes they do and DNA is what gets you locked up. That's why crooks bring a blanket. They drape it through the window frame (once the glass is broken) and let it hang down inside. First thing you do once your in is go up into the kitchen and open the back door. Houses without dogs are best. Cats will just leave you alone. And as for time, one to three o'clock on a drizzly night is best. Streets are real quiet on rainy nights... nobody outside..maybe a cheater comin' home late, but they don't wanna be noticed either.

Mike had a whole mock-up down his cellar. Aunt Connie, his mom, yelled - What are you doin' down there?!..... He said - Nothin.' I'm 'consultin.' Now shut up and suck a butt you old lady you!... Ca-Ca laughed. She liked her cousin, Mike. He was cool. She could smoke around him and everything.

Next night he taught her how to break open a small safe. Didn't charge or nothing. But she was gonna give him a nice kick-back depending on how much Pony's grandmom had... even more if he found a good pretend-mom whore. That must be like bein' an actress, Ca-Ca thought. 

When her mom asked her where she was, she said 'Watchin' zombie crap with my cousin... Ca-Ca's mom never asked which cousin, 'cause some were just pretend cousins, but she did ask for the box of Rosemary and olive oil Triscuits.

Ca-Ca threw 'em at her and ran upstairs.

She prayed for God to send them a nice make-pretend-whore-mom...

Then she went to sleep...

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