Red Tiger by Sean Black

Red Tiger by Sean Black

Author:Sean Black
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Sean Black Digital


31

With a final choking death sputter, Galante’s Honda Accord shuddered to a halt a few feet short of the auto-repair shop’s metal roll-over doors. A small knot of mechanics had downed tools and gathered outside to witness its final passage.

Lock and Ty climbed out and walked towards them. The mechanics’ boss emerged from in back and shouldered his way through his workers. Without saying anything they took the hint and drifted back to work inside.

Lock recognized the squat, steroid-swollen man with the mustache and sideburns from the description Galante had given them. This was Noah Orzana, a forty-six-year-old first-generation Salvadorian immigrant, who was unimaginatively nicknamed El Mecánico.

To the outside world Noah Orzana was a successful small businessman, who owned a number of auto- and body-repair places scattered across East Los Angeles. In truth, he was a leading associate of the Mexican Mafia. Maybe even a full-blown member. No one could say for sure. Membership wasn’t something anyone shouted from the rooftops.

The line between associate and member was often a distinction without a difference. Members of La Eme, like those of any proscribed organization, often publicly denied not only their involvement but the organization’s very existence. In court they would claim that it had been dreamed up by law enforcement as a way of persecuting members of their community.

Orzana walked over to them. Reaching up, he stroked his mustache as he took in the bullet-ridden vehicle that Lock had somehow managed to nurse all the way there from the diner.

“You get in an argument with someone?” said Orzana, smiling, clearly unfazed by the bullet holes.

“Fender-bender that turned into an argument,” said Ty, matching El Mecánico’s smile.

“That can happen around here,” said Orzana. “Kids, these days. You know what I blame?”

Lock shrugged a “Go on.”

“I blame all those video games. You know that Grand Theft Auto. Kids play these games where they go steal other people’s property, shoot people, kill cops. It’s got to have an effect on a young mind, right?”

“It can’t help,” said Lock, struggling to suppress a smile. He couldn’t tell if Orzana believed what he’d just said, or whether he’d already marked them down as some kind of law enforcement and was teasing them.

This was a man, if the stories and his early arrest record were to be believed, who had built a small empire on the back of handling stolen vehicles, breaking them down, reassembling the parts and selling on the cannibalized vehicles. These days he claimed to be legit, but the word was that his businesses were legit during regular business hours and after dark turned into illegal boneyards or yonques, operated either by his employees or leased to others by the hour.

A good crew of car thieves and mechanics could strip down a stolen vehicle into its component parts, including the engine and transmission, and build it back on a different frame within three or four hours. All they needed were the tools and somewhere quiet, like this industrial unit, tucked away at the end of an alley.



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