here is a paragraph or twelve from one of the subplots of A Deed of Trust
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Diego, feeling a little embarrassed, reached into his front pants pocket and pulled out an envelope. He tossed it casually across the desk. Fat Pat took out the two checks. Each one was endorsed for $300,000.
Fat Pat looked up and asked, “Where’d you get these, Rodriguez?”
“What? I ain’t gonna tell you that shit, man. The fucking checks are good! Just gimme my money we agreed on so I can get the fuck outta here,” said Diego.
“Yeah, I know they’re good. You see, well, here’s the thing. We got a problem,” Fat Pat announced scratching his head.
Diego spouted back and pointed at Fat Pat. “Problem, I ain’t got no problem, motherfucker. You better not have no fucking problem either.”
“Well, you see, it ain’t my problem, it’s yours.” Fat Pat went on, “When you called, I thought that the paper you had was blank certified checks or money orders or registered checks, or some shit like that. You didn’t say that you was carrying checks from a fucking real estate title company trust account. I don’t know that I can move these. I damn sure can’t give you no fifty cents on the dollar. Hell, I won’t even be able to get twenty-five cents on the dollar for ‘em myself.”
Diego was outraged. “I knew it! What the fuck you talking about? Now you’re the one with the fucking problem. What’s the difference? A bank is a fucking bank, right? Now gimme my money and I wanna get the hell outta here.”
“That’s where you’re mistaken my friend. This ain’t no bank. It’s like a big, Goddamned check cashing place. If these things don’t clear these trust accounts soon, the title company’ll stop payment and/or report them stolen. I’d say you got about ten days max to move these. If it were those other kinds of checks that I mentioned, shit I could let those set forever. No one would give a rat’s ass. But these, these are different. Best I can do is give you ten cents on the dollar. That’s it.”
“Ten cents is a fucking insult man, and you know it. If you couldn’t move ‘em, you wouldn’t even be offering shit. So, I tell you what I’ll do, I’ll take twenty-five.”
Fat Pat held up both hands. “No can do, Rodriguez. Ten is the max. Take it or leave it.”
“Fuck you, I’ll leave it.” Diego stood up to leave.
Fat Pat leaned back in his chair again. “Hey man, that’s your choice. But, don’t be stupid dude. Everybody else is going to tell you the same fucking thing and you’re running out of time. Just remember that old saying, part of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.”
“Just remember that I offered them to you first.”
“Okay, Rodriguez, okay, fifteen cents, but that’s it. Turn that down and you can walk right out the fucking door.”
A small victory for Diego. He felt he had won the fight. Diego frowned, “Si, I will take the fifteen cents that you offer.”
Fat Pat opened his safe and counted out $90,000 cash. Diego stuffed the money in his paper bag then stuffed the bag into the front of his pants. He buttoned the bottom three buttons of his shirt so the bag would not show and hastily exited the pawn shop. Ricky smiled and waved goodbye as he left.
Diego waited at the Coastal Marina for almost an hour after their scheduled time to meet. He had tried to call Maria a couple of times, but there was no answer. Surely she hadn’t changed her mind. They had their whole future together ahead of them. He would be lost without her. Diego started to get worried. He headed back to their apartment. He needed to know how she felt before he left.
On his way home Diego tried her once again on his cell phone. This time she answered. She was crying. “Maria, what is wrong? Why are you not at the marina?”
“Diego, Miguel and Carmen are here. Please, you need to come home quickly.”
“I am on my way, Maria. Please don’t cry. I love you.”
“Please hurry. I love you, too, Diego.” Those were the last words that Maria would ever speak to Diego.
As Diego entered the apartment complex, nothing seemed to be out of place. Kids were playing and mothers were hanging clothes on the lines. The same group of men that was sitting on the stoop when he left were still there talking about nothing at all, a typical spring day in southern Florida.
Diego slowly opened the door and stepped inside the apartment. He called out for Maria, but there was no answer. Out of his right eye he saw a smattering of blood on the kitchen floor. Diego started to breathe hard. He reached into the back of his pants and pulled out his gun. Why doesn’t she answer, please God, he thought. He had just talked to her on the phone not ten minutes ago. Where could she be? Don’t let that be her blood. He slowly eased to the kitchen door. It took all he had to peek around the corner for fear of what he might see; what he was responsible for. What Diego saw there made him vomit. In separate chairs sat Miguel and Carmen, both were tied up with their hands behind them and their mouths were covered with duct tape; both had a single gunshot to the forehead. Small streams of fresh blood ran down the fronts of their faces, slowly dripping to their laps below. Their eyes not yet glazed, but empty. Both were dead. Diego’s eyes welled up and he started to sob as he sat shaking on the kitchen floor.
Sitting there, Diego started to panic. This time he yelled loudly for Maria. There was still no answer. He ran down the hallway to the lone bedroom with his gun drawn. He suddenly stopped outside the bedroom door. He hung his head, sniffled and took a deep breath. He wasn’t sure whether or not he wanted to look inside. Once again, afraid of what he might find. That’s when he heard muffled, sobbing sounds coming from inside the room. As he slowly opened the door, with his gun in position, he saw Maria on the bed. Her wrists were outstretched above her shoulders tied to the headboard She was gagged. Her mouth too was covered with duct tape. Thank God she was still alive, he thought. Diego rushed to the bed and laid down his gun. He struggled to quickly untie her hands. Maria's eyes grew large as she started to jerk and scream, but beneath the tape her screams were barely audible. Diego was preoccupied with getting Maria untied. He never saw them. The last things Diego saw were Maria’s tears as they trickled down her cheeks, a small crimson dot that suddenly appeared on her forehead followed by a slow trickling of blood as her head jerked backward hitting the headboard of the bed. The smell wafting in the air made him realize that his grasp of the reality of what he saw was too late. The last thing he thought was, Miguel was right. The last thing Diego felt was the warm steel of a silencer at the end of a 9mm that had been placed firmly at the back of his head.