As part of my participation in My 500 words, I am posting what I write each day. Mundy Gilbert is a character in my novel in the works, Sidewinder. I’ve been telling his backstory for the past two days here. This entry continues Mundy’s Story.
Mundy was being questioned. He felt more relaxed than he knew possible. The only feeling he could liken this to was the bliss one feels being half awake from a nap. He was aware of the darkness and quiet. He thought perhaps his eyes were closed. Voices came from the darkness and asked him about his past. It felt good to talk about himself and his past. He had already shared about growing up in the shelter on a core world, taking to the streets and learning to pick pockets. When he accidently robbed a crime lord, he was hired on to work for Dean Handler, the most powerful gangster on Channel.
The differences between the street gangs Mundy had run with and the gang he was with now were few. One of the main things was that his older gang was warmer, more friendly. These guys took things more seriously. There was accounting and people wanting to know where he was going. Mundy caught on though. Structure was good.
In less than a week, he was working street games in the transportation hubs. Sometimes there was a shell game, with a ball under a cup. Mundy could be a lookout and sometimes he was a plant, a person who pretended to win so that others would come and lose. Mundy learned card games and how to cheat at them. He was still too young to join up on high stakes games, but he could spot cheats in other games and point them out to his team.
For the first few years, he never saw Dean Handler. The crime lord had plenty of people working for him that came and checked on the underlings. But one day, the big man who had been there when Mundy was recruited showed up. Everyone called this man Spelunk, and the room fell silent when he came in. West, one of the leaders of Mundy’s street team, got up and made for the back door. Spelunk told him to stay where he was, and West did.
Mundy sat in the chair telling the voices in the dark about what happened, but when he got to this part, it was no longer pleasant. West had been beaten almost to death while the rest of the crew watched. Mundy had never seen anything that bad. At the time, he cried, but telling it in this quiet dark, he could stay calm.
When the beating was done, Spelunk took off his gloves. Mundy felt a big fist pull his chin up and he was looking into the big face, which looked amused and disgusted.
“Quit your bawling, you baby,” Spelunk said. Then he flung the bloody gloves in Mundy’s face.
Mundy sat in the chair, eyes closed and reflected. “I tried never to cry after that,” he said to the voices in the dark.
He never saw West again, but it was made clear that West was stealing off the profits.
Then a year later, Mundy was busted by the bulls for holding stolen goods. Down at the police station, he stayed quiet, played dumb, and told the cops nothing. When he was let out, his crew boss met up with him and told Mundy how good he’d done. Dean Handler himself heard about how Mundy could side step questioning and told nothing. Mundy didn’t know how Dean found out what happened within the walls of the cop shop, but he had heard everything.
Days later, Mundy was living in a new place, over a restaurant where he could get a meal 3 times a day. His job hadn’t changed, but the guys he worked with did. These new guys were friendlier with each other, and soon to Mundy too.
Dean Handler personally came by once a month and talked to anyone there. The first time he saw Mundy, he remembered his name and gave his shoulder a pat.
Mundy felt like he could stay there forever. And yet, as he sat in the dark room talking to the voices, he remembered that it only lasted a few years. And because of what he had done, Mundy was never going back.