Ol’ So And So


In south Dallas, a man’s status in the street hierarchy involves the business of “Ol” before his name.  There’s always a spate of street grunts with names like Ol’ Peewees or Ol’ Who-Knows-What-The-Hell.

But when a guy walks around with an unencumbered road handle, better give him some hat size.  And so it was with Preacher.  No “Ol” crap before his name.   After 30 years pimping, dope-dealing, ass-kicking, and killing, he was a solid, no prefix player.  Preacher went about 305 and was right likely to pull the head slam-ass off any fool who crossed him.

Preacher had landed into the joint twice on plea deals which smoothed the edge of  murder convictions so much, the straight world, had they bothered to find out, would have embarked on a round of shit hemorrhages and letters to the editor.  On two falls for homicide, Preacher had served only eight years – not a bad trade for fifteen or so killings – most all Ol’ somebodies.  Damnedest thing, witnesses disappeared or changed their mind.

Then a fancy who called himself Houston Red set up shop two blocks away; rented a house, parked his Cadillac in the yard, and ran his girls all up and down Birmingham and MLK Boulevard.   He’d never been to Houston.  The name came from a crooked card game.  But Red wasn’t an “Ol” classification.  The nuclear disaster born of geographical encroachment of fuckups was inevitable.

Preacher used his nephew, actually his sister’s boy by her third man, as his dog- robber.  When Preacher had to kill a dude – and hellfire, some guys made you kill them – he always drove his Lincoln.  The nephew sat in the back seat with a .38 in the ear of the doomed man until suitable location was found.   Then they’d force Ol’ So and So out of the car. “Didn’t leave no mess inside,” Preacher said.  The conclusion became a self-explanatory statistic.

So Preacher and his nephew way-laid that fool Houston Red and drove him to the alley behind the old folks home off Central.  Just at the climax, that ingrate nephew turned the pistol and put one behind Preacher’s ear.  Word on the street it was an inheritance thing – the nephew’s greed – not that anyone gave much of a damn.  The nephew wouldn’t live long enough to get all that gore out of Preacher’s Lincoln, anyway.

Homicide sent a couple of guys to the morgue the next day.  Texas law required that minimum so the cops would at least look at the cadaver before kicking the case in the trash and the carcass over to the med school.

“My goodness,” the morgue clerk said reverently.  “This poor man was only 42.”

“Lady,” one of the cops said dryly, “that’s a hundred and thirty in the straight world.  Ol’ Preacher was way the hell overdue.”  He turned to leave. “Lunchtime, partner…half price enchiladas today at Hernandos?”

And Preacher, now in past tense, became just another Ol’ somebody.

~ fin ~

Gary Clifton, forty years a cop, has been shot at, shot, stabbed, lied to and about, and often misunderstood. He has over 150 short fiction pieces published in various venues, a novel, Burn Sugar Burn, in National paperback, and a masters in psychology from Abilene Christian University. He is currently retired to a dusty north Texas ranch where he doesn't give a damn if school keeps or not.