PLATINUM CRIME EXCERPT : MY LIFE IN WHITE COLLAR CRIME, by Marvin J. Wolf
Double Shell Game
All I wanted to do was empty the ashtray. It was overflowing with the butts I had smoked during a long weekend of surveillance amid the northern California almond groves, the back country of Calaveras County. It was pitch-black outside, so I pushed the switch to turn off the dome light before I opened the car door.
Godzilla grabbed my arm. I mean, he took the sleeve off my jacket, and then he and his pal, who was even bigger, hit me a time or two, and the next thing I knew I was rolling down an embankment.
I started to get up. Somebody said, "Pedro, go get him."
It was very dark, but somehow I saw or maybe felt this guy coming down at me. He was a giant. He came over the crest and I saw him as a murky silhouette. He was carrying a long length of chain. What they like to do, these guys, is wrap a heavy chain around you, then break your bones. They leave you out there for the animals to eat, and probably you just disappear forever.
So I went charging back up the hill. Godzilla swung first, and back down the hill I went. I was really hurting. I didn't know it then, but I had a fractured skull, three broken ribs, a broken nose, a split lip and cheek, and my left ankle and the two small fingers of my left hand were broken. I was a mess. What I did know then was that one more punch and it was all over for me.
So I went back up the slope, and this time I stayed low and tried to remember what the hand-to-hand-combat gunny had taught me at Quantico about a million years ago. I let Godzilla throw his punch and I stepped aside and grabbed his wrist with both hands, then quick quick quick twisted his arm behind his back. And kept twisting. I am not very big but I am wiry and strong, and I put all I had into twisting that goon's arm.
It went about like the gunny said it would, except for the screaming. There was a satisfying pop and a tearing sound that still makes me sick to remember. Godzilla screamed, and I was so surprised I let go and staggered backward into the darkness.
The other guy called out. Godzilla answered, "I'm hurt. Let's go."
"Old Missus Thompson, she be pissed you don' finish him," said the distant voice. "We be fired, huh."
"Then you come down. I'm hurt."
Godzilla went back up the hill with his arm sort of dangling. I heard car doors slam and then a big engine wound up.
When it was quiet again, I pulled myself back up the hillside and got into my leased, almost new '62 Plymouth. I was in shock, of course, and as much as I hurt at the time, from experience I knew it was going to be even worse later. But I was also happy.
Happy because, by going after me, Godzilla and his pal had confirmed that I really had found the $90,000 stolen by the Thompson sisters more than 15 years earlier, which was why I'd spent the last three weekends camped out in my car. Happy because finding this loot meant I was going to earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $27,000. And happy most of all because with that kind of money, I was pretty sure I would never again have to accept a case that could mean taking another beating.
Excerpt from unpublished novel by Marvin J. Wolf © 2018 Marvin J. Wolf
FROM Marvin J. Wolf
On this page are true stories, magazine articles, excerpts from books and unpublished works, short fiction, and photographs, each offering a glimpse of my life, work and times. I'll be posting weekly. Your comments welcome. © Marvin J. Wolf. All rights reserved.