Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Ivan The Not So Terrible


Ivan’s hair and jacket flapped in the breeze as he hurried away from the bank. He held tightly a backpack full of wrapped bills. His heart pounded and he dared not look back.

He caught the cross-town bus and settled into a seat near the rear door. Half of a dozen passengers stared into oblivion. He got off at the corner of Highland and Bristol.

He walked to the Highland Terrace Apartments. He pressed the buzzer and the electronic door clicked. He walked in and knocked on the door of apartment 107.

The door unlatched. Ivan opened and walked in. He walked by a tall hefty man with a baby face oozing with evil. A narrow hallway led to a living room.

A man they called The Baboon sat on a couch with a TV remote flipping through the channels.

My name is Ivan. I’m Omar’s brother.”

Omar, the bread man,” Baboon said. “Always brought us the bread. We got his name from a faded sign painted on the side of an old grocery store. Seems like there used to be an Omar Bread. They call you Ivan The Terrible?”

Ivan grinned. “Omar was the black sheep. I’m the Ivan Not So Terrible.”

Ivan tossed the backpack on the coffee table in front of The Baboon.

Is it all there?” The Baboon said still flipping through the channels.

There’s a lot there,” Ivan said. “I didn’t count it. I was kinda rushed for time.”

The Baboon lifted the backpack by the straps. “That feels like enough. Do you want to stick around while we count it?”

You’re kidding,” Ivan said. “Can’t any of your boys count that high?”

Careful,” The Baboon said, “some of my guys are sensitive about their lack of education and opportunity, so I’d be careful.”

This pays off my brother’s debt, right?” Ivan said.

In full,” The Baboon said. “Pleasure doing business with you and your brother.”

My brother won’t be working for you anymore,” Ivan said.

The Baboon continued and found a cartoon channel and stopped. “The old ones were funny. The ones now are crap. You know, that superhero crap, demons, explosions. The stuff is unreal.”

And talking cats, dogs, and mice?” Ivan said.

The Baboon chuckled at something on the screen. “You’re right about your brother; he tried to settle his debt on his own. Didn’t go so well. So his debt became your debt. And now your debt is paid.”

Good day, sir,” Ivan said and walked down the hallway. The big man opened the door and let him out.

Ivan reached the sidewalk and walked toward the bus stop.

He pulled his cell phone from his pocket and dialed The Baboon.

Yeah,” The Baboon said.

This is Ivan. Where’s my brother?”

The bottom of a stone quarry east of town. He lost his footing.”

What’s the difference between a Baboon and a bomb?” Ivan paused. “Don’t know, do ya? One is a baboon and the other is ba-boom! Yeah, not clever or funny. The backpack is about 12 ounces heavy. That’s the ba-boom. Now that’s funny.”

Ivan pushed the button on a remote detonator in his jacket pocket. He heard an explosion. A window in apartment 107 shattered and propelled violently outward.

Not so terrible,” Ivan said.

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