Catch and Release

by Alex Pavljuk

It was around midnight as a man, far in the reaching distance from the interior of his car, sat outside Grant Park watching a bench caught under the gleam of an ever dimming lamp light.

From the reaches of the encircling darkness, a young lady sat down. To her knowledge the usual bagman would be sat next to her within minutes. Little did she know that her dealer was tied up and sedated in the trunk of the man’s car.

With time rolling past in waves, the man removed a joint laced with Rohypnol from underneath the driver’s seat. The woman, sitting anxiously, sat with one of her legs crossed under her thigh, and the other down on the concrete path playing with the high-heeled shoe she had taken off after escaping the club for a quick cigarette and drug exchange.

Around 12:23 a.m., he opened his car door and approached the woman. She wore bell-bottom jeans and a very wrinkled belly shirt. She had a flared fur coat covering her shoulders whilst her arms wrapped around her ribs in an attempt to stay warm amidst the cool spring lake breeze.

The man sat down next to her and settled a small brown bag between their nearly touching legs.

“This everything?” She asked calmly yet assertively. With a nod he assured her everything was there.

Without hesitation, or recognition that this wasn’t her typical man, she lit up. The man calmly looked away and waited for her head to fall forward into her chest and collapse forward. Before hitting the ground he caught her by the left arm, her hair dangling forward, inches from the ground. He picked her up and brought her to the car. Leaving her in the back seat, he drove away.

The only light to enter the car was the ominous glow of streetlights. Even this late at night cars usually are around, but this Sunday night there was nothing except for the occasional stray cat testing the waters of this roadside roulette.

In time, the man arrived at an undisclosed location on the other side of the city.

He rolled into an alley and parked. He got out and lit a cigarette while strolling up to the thick metal bay door door. Four knocks, a pause then another knock. A slit in the door at eye level opened a crack.

“Name and business?,” a voice asked.

“Peter James, drop off.” He responded.

“Dead or alive?”


The door then raised slowly, “The deer and the bird are in the car, one in the back seat, one in the trunk.” Two men emerged from the couch on the other side of the room, they walked past the man and began removing the individuals from the car.

“Frank’s upstairs,” the man said as he gestured for the man to come in. He walked in and looked around, a skull with wings was painted on the wall.

Peter made his way upstairs and let himself into an office on the second floor.

“You can deal with one of them in the morning,” he said as he reached for the chair in front of the desk. Frank had just finished tossing a dart as he sat. Frank looked at the man and quickly patted down his suit and shuffled to his seat.

“How in the hell did you get them? We’ve been hunting for a while,” Frank said. He reached under the table and threw a clip of cash in front of him.

The man counted the bills, then, in a near fluid motion, pulled two of the bills from the wad and tossed them back onto the desk.

“Send the girl home, she didn’t need to be taken in.”

The man thought.

“Why’d you pick her up then?”

“It was the job, now let her go,” He responded, his eyes locked in a catatonic state of seriousness.

Frank nodded, and waved to another man standing by the door. He swiftly removed himself from the space to retrieve the soon to be stirring collateral damage back to where she was picked up.

There was a hum of silence in the room. They awaited each other to make the first move in a game of conversational chess with drugs, death, and desire in the midst of the board. Then, with a moment’s breath and a roll of the eyes the man spoke up.

“Anything else I can do for you?”

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