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Mama needs new shoes
by Shirley Holder Platt

Car theft "Sounds interesting!"

Chapter 1

He sat low in his restored, midnight blue Buick, flicking the ashes of his cigarette out the window. From behind, all you could see was his closely shaved and greased head, which was very round. It looked like a glossy, new, bowling ball wearing expensive sunglasses and driving the car. Ignoring the muggy heat, he had the windows rolled down to maximize the sound of fuzzy music coming through the partially blown speakers. The deep bass rhythm reverberated and shook the windows of nearby cars. As he pulle...

Chapter 2

An hour later I paced the floor in my apartment. I had a trail of crumbs from the box of Oreos I had opened, and I could feel my waistband tugging at my midriff. I always ate cookies after a job. I’d done it so often, I was afraid if I skipped the binge my luck would run out. I am superstitious like that. The wig was the first thing I discarded when I got home. I stopped pacing and stared at myself in the mirror I’d hung over the couch. Dark brown curls like corkscrews fell to my shoulders. I...

Chapter 3

The pickup was right where Jimar said it would be. It was a silver, tricked-out, Ford 350 with a shiny tool box cozied up in the bed next to the rear-view window. Bonus, that’d be full of tools we could hock. I walked by in tennis shoes and shorts, like a jogger on the street. When I got to the truck, I pretended to trip and fall into it. No alarm. I bounced it to make sure. Nothing. Good sign, I thought. I jimmied the lock and slipped inside. Had the thing running in no time. Drove away with ...

Chapter 4

Jimar got back to me with my cut of the truck deal that evening. When asked what he did with the dead body, he chuckled.

“Off loaded the whole box from the bed of the truck into the dude’s front yard. As soon as that was done, I drove it to the chop shop.”

I said, “It would be funny to be around when the guy woke up and thought he was leaving for work, or for wherever he’d planned to dump the body.”

“Get yourself dead,” Jimar said.


Chapter 5

As soon as he left, I shimmied into black skinny jeans, changed into a black wig, cut short in the back and a sharp angle pointing to my chin, I layered on thick eyeliner, and popped in contacts that made my eyes gray. I smeared cherry red lipstick on and kissed the mirror.

“Time to work,” I said to my smiling self. I loved this part of my life. Slinking around after dark, staking out houses, watching the nefarious going-ons of others always gave me a thrill. I thought of myself as a fe...

Chapter 6

Jimar lives in one of the newer loft buildings in town. He’s got an outstanding view of the green beltway that follows Buffalo Bayou. They’ve recently updated the surrounding area to be parkland with trails for walking, jogging, bicycling, etc. Jimar uses the trails to meet and make drug deals. Ms. Miu Miu told me to get within a mile, so I pulled into an empty space along the jogging trail of Memorial Park and put the car in neutral.

“What now?” I asked.

“Now y...

Chapter 7

My kidnapper, for that’s what I’d begun to think of her, got another phone call. The classical music tune. She listened for less than a minute then tapped the end button and turned to me.

“This is what’s going to happen,” she said. “You’re working for me as of now. If you say no, I’m handcuffing you and driving you straight to the nearest station where you’ll be arrested for grand theft auto, breaking and entering, theft, and whatever else I ca...

Chapter 8

My mind raced as I drove out of the park. This was a bad idea. I might be better off going to jail. If Jimar figured out what I was up to, he would have no qualms about killing me and dumping my body in the bayou.

“I can’t show up out of the blue on the same day he’s lost business like this. He’ll be suspicious, to say nothing about how angry he’ll be.”

She had the gun out again, and she pointed it at me. I was really getting tired of that.


Chapter 9

I checked the rearview mirror obsessively until I made it to the 610 Loop. When I’d made it that far without a tail, I relaxed and began looking around the interior of the car. It was a nice ride. It had Sirius radio, so I switched to The Joint and was in luck. They were playing Marley. A plan began to take place as I drove. What if I sold the car to Jimar? It’d serve those punks right for abducting and threatening me. I’d had such an easy time losing them, I was pretty sure they weren&...

Chapter 10

When I roused, my wrists were in handcuffs and my handcuffs were linked to Doofus by another set. I was in the back seat of one of the Escalades. Why couldn’t they at least hook me up with Pretty Boy? When my luck runs out, it goes all the way down the drain. I tried to rub the side of my head and pulled Doofus along with me. He yanked back, so I turned to the window reflection to check on my wound. Couldn’t tell a damned thing, but it hurt like a son-of-a-sailor, as Buffet would say.


Chapter 11

Doofus really was a good boy. He was still sitting in the back seat where we’d left him. He had his head down playing Candy Crush. I knocked on the window next to him and ducked out of sight. I crab walked around to the other side of the car and knocked on that window. I could hear him moving around. I could do this all day, but Miu Miu was sure to get help soon, so I knocked on the back window for grins then the driver’s side back window. Doofus opened the door and stuck his left leg out. I ...

Chapter 12

I awoke to a horrible racket next door, that would be at my apartment. Someone was banging on the door non-stop. I went to the window and could see a man, tallish, on the thin side of fifty, with gray side walls and dark brown hair on top. He looked like an older version of my old man.

“Open up,” he yelled.

Hmm, sounded like my old man’s voice, but how could this be? We had parted years ago and neither had made any attempt to keep up with the other. No way he could know wher...

Chapter 13

Pops sat in the easy chair and squeezed a slice of lime into his Corona bottle. He drank a couple of swallows and patted his pocket for the cigarettes he’d given up years ago. Old habits are hard to break. I watched him from the corner of my eye. What was his angle?

“So, what have you been up to lately? Anything lucrative?”

Ah, there was the angle. He needed money.

“Why, you know I won’t lend and sure won’t give you any cash.”

“Now, ...

Chapter 14

I’d donned what I think of as my Dolly Parton wig. Big shaggy blonde hair that curled and fell a little past my shoulders. Slipping into Jimmy Choo heels with a delicate bow near the end of the pointed toes, I felt like a million bucks. I winked at Pops and tossed my keys three times before heading outside. My steps were light and the hair was bouncin’ and behavin’ as I strode the four blocks to the waiting Mercedes. Dim lighting in the parking garage allowed me the freedom to exchange ...

Chapter 15

I had a wad of cash in my purse and it was making me itchy. I maneuvered through the indecent amount of traffic on Westheimer and into the lot for Neiman Marcus. It was my lucky day, there was an open spot right in front of the door that leads to the shoes. The saleslady saw my Jimmy Choos and started salivating. I love it when they suck up to me. I tried on fifteen pairs and she never lost the greedy gleam in her eyes. I settled on Michael Kors trainers that would be easy to jog in. You never know when ...

Chapter 16

Pops showed up first.

He came in without making a sound. Wrote a note to me.

"All painted. We’re outta there."

I gave him the OK sign.

I said, “Got a deal for you FBI nerds. If you get here in the next thirty minutes, I’ll let you in on it.”

We nodded at each other and smiled. I handed him a Corona and turned the television on. “Burn Notice," one of my favorite shows came on, even though it was a repeat. I love that Bruce Campbell character. Had...

Chapter 17

When we woke up, it was dark outside and the TV was showing a soccer game neither of us cared to watch. I turned the station to a movie with lots of chase scenes, gunfire, and car crashes and put the sound on as loud as we could stand it. Then I turned on the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer, and ran the shower. We got to work locating and removing all the bugs in the house. Pops had a sweeping device that proved handy. The most interesting placement we found was on the back of the toilet tank. What...

Chapter 18

I paced the floor nervously while Pops looked on from his comfy seat on the couch.

“When did you become a Nervous Nelly?” he asked as he popped the top on a can of Diet Coke.

“When did you start drinking diet soda?” I shot back and kept pacing.

“It’s all good. Stop worrying.”

“Yeah, I’ll stop worrying when this is done and I’m not in a federal prison.”

“Worrying isn’t good for your health. Also, i...

Chapter 19

“Good news,” Pops said during breakfast the next morning. “Found the perfect spot. It’s abandoned, but no paper in the windows.”

“We agreed…”

“Listen to your old man for a change. Will you?” He sipped his vodka laden coffee and smirked at me. “It’s got reflective glass windows. How perfect is that? No one will give a passing thought to cars in the parking lot. Plus it’s on a side street with virtually no traffic. It&rsq...

Chapter 20

“One call to Jimar, and we’re ready.” I took my phone out and tapped my foot until he picked up. Pops looked cool as a cucumber. I was sweating. Maybe it was having him there. I didn’t usually have an audience.

“I’ve made the deal. I’ll have 100 girls for you. You can pick up 10 at a time. I’ll need half up front in cash.” I had to talk very loud to be heard, as usual with Jimar.

“No way. I get 10 girls, you get seventy-five thousand...

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