As the noon hour approaches and the Ark crawls ever northward, a broad-spectrum blast comes over the TCB:
Well now. Sally Kruger, as I live and breathe. Hello, darlin’! It’s been too long.
I got to wonder, what in hell is goin’ on in that mind of yours? Have you checked into the cracker factory and lost your shit completely? Now I don’t mean to wax all profane on you, ‘specially not here in the middle of the street where ever’one can see and start judgin’. But I confess myself shocked beyond my ability to hold my tongue any further. We go way back, you an’ me. When you was nothin’ more than a slip of a girl learnin’ to wrench at her mama’s knee, and I was still workin’ out of my original location on South Central Avenue at 91st, I could see you had potential. You ran a number of little errands for me while you was still in school, as I recall. We got a history we share, Sally girl, and when I think about what your mama might say if she heard the latest news…
My head knows it’s only money. That Huntington Beach scrapyard was just one out of a dozen locations I built with my own two hands over the years. It was big and profitable, but losing it don’t set me back none. I got more business comin’ my way than a dozen of me could want or need. What I got is like a license to stamp license plates, and I don’t need no incarcerated employees to run it, neither.
No, it ain’t the money, sweet Sally. It’s the knife you twist in my back. I practically raised you, taught you near everything you know about cars and people and how to get what you want outta both, and this is how you repay me? You have your gang of fanatical Mechanic thugs knock over my junkyard, blow up my branch manager and his goddamned dog, and steal all the inventory… and drive on up the road at one mile per hour like you thought it didn’t matter one bit if I even noticed?!
Sally, I’m a reasonable man. If anyone else had masterminded this unbelievable collection of criminal acts, they’d have been smoking corpses ten minutes after Stretch’s dog went offline. But I know you. I’ve known you nearly all your life, and I don’t believe you would be plumb foolish enough to do something like this unless you felt you had one awfully compelling reason.
So listen: I want us to understand each other again. The Sally Kruger whose PB&Js I used to cut the crusts off for, she done growed up into somebody called Cougar. A force to be reckoned with, say those who keep on top of such things. But the Uncle Freddy who used to cut the crusts off your sammiches? He’s Fleetwood now. A force to be feared, a force to be avoided, a force to stay off the bad side of, says everyone.
You will come see me at my new office in Commerce. Right up the road from where you are, ain’t even outta your way, you can’t miss it. You will come see me, and tell me what you’re up to. Before sundown.
Every gun barrel, grenade launcher, heavy rock, and sharpened stick in the Basin is pointed at you right now. You come see me, we’ll see if you can’t make this right.