"Wait," Annebél yelled at the girl. "We are not with Sal."
Though Annebél was in good physical shape, with her body thickly muscular, she could not keep up with the girl in the lavender dress.
That girl possessed long, spindly legs that pushed a mere wisp of a body forward. She jerked her head back to gauge her pursuers several times.
Each time, the girl seemed to propel down the street with an even swifter stride.
For Tasìa, the chase was hopeless. Her physical energy was sapped.
At this point, she merely followed behind Annebél, barely keeping the tall woman in eye view.
What were they going to do when they caught up to the girl?
It would certainly expend all the time Tasìa allotted for the remainder of her evening activities.
Daga Chicas closed at two am on the weekdays.
But she could not be out running around on her latest escapade for much longer.
She had to get some rest and prepare for her meeting with León.
And what of the Alfa Romeo HybrClydis? Will this development hinder my plan?
Tasìa brushed her bangs back as they tended to bounce and obscure her vision. The action ahead of her was growing curious.
Annebél stopped in her tracks as she peeked around the corner of a building. She started backing up in a steady retreat.
A disgusted grimace bore on her face. Tasìa was now close enough to hear Annebél curse.
"Fuck! What a little fool. She saw the squad car and ran right to it."
As Tasìa passed by, the taller woman tried to grab her. Tasìa twisted away in a neat dodge quite handily. She was pleased to see that in spite of her exhaustion, her reflexes were still keen.
She peaked around the corner. The girl stood beside a patrol vehicle. A cop was helping her remove the duct tape.
Tasìa jerked her head back.
"Ah, shit," she muttered.
Annebél pulled on her arm.
"I'm coming," Tasìa protested.
"By the bridge, there is a second cruiser. It's going to sweep over in this direction."
Tasìa jerked her head up and to the side to confirm with her own eyes. The cruiser was headed down an off-ramp.
Tasìa assessed the circumstances. She could scurry up to a rooftop, but what of Annebél?
Tasìa looked around, and she found a promising solution.
"Over here," she said as she gestured to a small floral bouquet design shop.
From her quick surveille, Tasìa thought it unlikely the shop had anything more to obstruct her entrance than the big brass lock embedded in the front door.
There was not even bulging wear and tear indicative of a deadbolt.
Waving her arms she urged Annebél to crouch down. The tall woman wanted to flee.
"We've got to go. The cruiser is this close to being on top of us," Annebél exclaimed.
"Trust me. One second," Tasìa stated, calmly.
She removed a bobby pin and a lockpick from her hair. Annebél grew quiet as she watched on.
Within seconds Tasìa had the door open.
They tumbled inside the shop and slammed the door shut before crouching together behind it.
Tasìa and Annebél smiled awkwardly at one another in the silence of the dark shop that smelled of roses, poppy, lilacs, and lavender. Only moonlight from large surrounding windows allowed them to see one another.
Annebél's red hair seemed oddly pale in the absence of direct light. It normally appeared vibrant and brassy.
Her eyes were puddles of white. Tasìa could see the air as it curled curiously out of the tall woman's nostrils.
She realized it was the LSD superimposing psychologically suggestive interpretation upon reality.
She could see that Annebél was restless with questions.
"What are you thinking, my friend," Tasìa asked.
"The bike courier gig, was that just a cover?"
Tasìa grabbed her knees and she chuckled.
"Yup. I normally work in the Esconda Vida, taking out security systems of old, abandoned mansions, so this little lock wasn't a problem. Done it a thousand times."
High beam lights swept through the windows above them. Tasìa put a finger to her lips. The cruiser could have been equipped with sonic detection. If it was also equipped with infrared sensors, they were fucked.
Tasìa had two solutions to that eventuality. The .32 on her calve and the .45 now clipped to the inner strap behind her fanny-pack.
The lights above stopped sweeping, but began to pulse instead. A mewing-like sound from the cruiser accompanied it.
Annebél looked agitated. She began to fidget.
Tasìa shook her head and gestured with her hands for Annebél to calm down.
"A mere scare tactic," Tasìa mouthed slowly and repeatedly.
Her best guess, born of experience, the cop thought he might have seen something but he wasn't sure. If he was certain enough, he would have probable cause to try the door.
He was merely seeing if he would get a reaction to justify investigating further.
After several more seconds, the cruiser finally left.
"I can tell you have some experience at this, Avellana." Annebél raised her brows in complement. "The way you kept your cool. Me, I felt like crapping myself."
Tasìa acknowledged the deference with which she was being afforded with a nod.
"Let's give him a minute. He knows he saw someone on the street, but he doesn't know if we fled, hid, or entered a building."
As she spoke, Annebél grew distant. She was now quiet with her head moping and a glum puss squinched on her lips.
"What's wrong," Tasìa asked.
Annebél cleared her throat.
"I was thinking about that girl. If you were to price her clothes altogether. . ."
"Less than two hundred USD," Tasìa answered.
"Yeah . . . what I was thinking. Why the hell did she go to the cops?"
"She was scared shitless. Too young to know better."
Annebél shifted her position, and she leaned forward.
"Even so, she doesn't come from money. Her family can't back up a claim against the Javierras. When the cops piece it all together, they are just going to turn her over to the mafioso sons of bitches."
Tasìa took a minute to join Annebél's glum mood. The cops turn their backs, the girl gets disposed of by the goons out in the middle of nowhere.
Or, something even worse. She thought about the weird malevolence set in Sal's eyes and something he said.
I was just sitting there fantasizing what I was going to do to get back at that bitch.
What could she do about it? Tasìa's itinerary of good deeds was full for the next several days. Penciling in a jailhouse breakout at the local police station was highly problematic.
"You know," Annebél said as she prompted Tasìa to get up on her feet, "I think I may have a way to buy that girl some more time. Come on."
Tasìa nodded as she cracked open the shop door and peeked out.
She turned back to Annebél and told her, "we need to get to that Alfa Romeo before the cops have a chance to impound it."
Annebél winced as they started to run. She appeared as if she was tossing the idea around in her head.
"Are you planning on stealing it?"
Tasìa took a moment before she answered. She tried to gauge whether Annebél was on board with the idea.
"What else should be done with it? Let that punk loose on the roadways? Kidnapping, raping and driving while fried out of his gourd?"
"I'm not a thief but I did have my own idea in mind."
"When I saw the fuckstain was nowhere around, it occurred to me to blow that car the fuck up."
Tasìa almost shrieked at the notion.
"You would destroy something that beautiful and luxurious?"
She caught Annebél's contemptuous sneer before the woman made an effort to suppress her reaction.
Annebél squelched a tight gulp in her throat before making her argument.
"It would send the Javierras a message that there is someone out there, someone with a violent streak, who is not impressed with their decadence, their opulence; that the entire frame of reference of their lifestyle means nothing to that person."
Annebél stopped at the end of the parking lot to crack her back. She let out a soft moan of relief before she continued.
"A theft they can grasp. They can write it off as a happenstance of the world in which they live. But wonton, nihilistic destruction is beyond their kith and kin. The only possible reaction of their lizard minds is to fear it."
Tasìa had to restrain tears from her eyes. Her thieving spider-monkey mind did not approve of destroying the Alfa Romeo HybrClydis either.
The gunmetal and curvy vermillion trim chassis seemed to make love to her eyes in that very moment she was hearing its destruction contemplated.
"It's both a fantastic work of art and a masterpiece of sublime engineering. Have you ever seen a HybrClydis with the hood popped open? Dual twin-cam nüBusso V-6 engines tilt mounted and synced to a non-measurable by standardized equipment time differential. It is not its fault that human garbage owns it."
Tasìa almost lost her voice as she tried to contain the emotion whelming up in her throat. She wiped tears from her eye.
Annebél put an arm around her shoulders.
"Avellana, mon petit démon. Be practical. Whether they come around searching for evidence, or the fuckstain's father reports the car missing, the cops are going to want to know what happened to it.
"There are maybe four or five places in an hour's drive from here you could take it. None of them would want that heat put on them with the Javierra's involved, especially.
"You are a daga chica. You were likely thinking of Ydreä's garage, weren't you? Do you want to put that kind of pressure on her? With her old lady in prison? The cops will definitely come sniffing around."
Tasìa slumped and she sat down on the curve. Damn was she tired. What could be said in turn to that? Her best argument was silence.
Tasìa wiped away a stream of tears, and she stared off into the distance.
"Avellana, remember that little Virago you used to cruise around town on?"
Tasìa squinted up. She studied Annebél's face.
"Do you remember me from then?"
The brawler's brow turned quizzical.
"We never met. I had just got here, but I remember you used to be a bike courier zooming around everywhere. I bought that Virago off of Isabella for my brother. He is kind of small like you, but he can't even handle that sweet little 750 bike.
"So what do you say? I'll trade you the bike for the car?"
"That deal sounds a bit skewed in relative value don't you think?"
"The car is more trouble than it is worth and you know it. A work of art? Maybe. But it is made in a factory. They assemble new ones by the hour. We'll find you another one."
"I only steal from those who deserve it."
Annebél cocked her head to the side as she studied Tasìa.
"Even here in the Quadra, there are plenty of deserving assholes with high-end sports cars."
Tasìa relaxed her breath. She would have to let this one go. In her coldest of calculations it was dawning on her that with mutual enemies and a surprising commonality, Annebél was going to be a necessary, no, an outstanding ally.
Give her this, she'll be in our debt.
Tasìa gave her a lopsided grin as she passed the keys over.
"Fine, but where do we go," Tasìa asked as she pointed to the fuel tanks. "We certainly can't blow it up here."
Annebél offered her hand to help Tasìa up. She took it and sprung up, but to test their intimacy Tasìa did not let the hand go.
Annebél hugged Tasìa in with her own free arm, and leaned her head in.
"My boyfriend is a machetero working to control the vine infestation over at El Hoyo. He can get us some dynamite."
Tasìa gazed back at the Alfa Romeo HybrClydis.
"It's just killing you inside, isn't it," Annebél said. She then started pulling Tasìa to the vehicle. "Come on, Avellana. No reason to stand around all pouty face."
Tasìa protested, "it looks so perfect. Like it was made for me."