by Starsky Hutch 76, adapted from True Romance, screenplay by Quentin Tarantino
Later that night, Stretch O’Brien stepped out of his red Mustang. He was right smack dab in the middle of a bad place to be, even in the daytime. To pump himself up, he did a quick Elvis Presley gyration. “Yeah… yeah…” he said in an Elvis Presley voice. He made a beeline for the front door of a large, dark apartment building.
Once he was inside, his adrenaline was really racing. He had the TV Guide that Maggie had written the address on in his hand. He climbed a flight of stairs and made his way down a dark hallway to apartment 22, the residence of Drexel Spivey. Stretch knocked on the door.
A young black man, about twenty years old, answered the door. He had really big biceps and was wearing a red and white fishnet Metropolis University football jersey. Somehow, Stretch didn’t think he’d ever been to college. “You want somethin’?”
“Naw, man, I’m Jakeem,” he said. “Whatcha want?”
“I gotta talk to Drexel,” Stretch said.
“Well, what you wanna tell him?”
“It’s about Maggie,” Stretch said.
A figure jumped in the doorway, wearing a yellow Farrah Fawcett T-shirt. “Where the hell is that bitch?” Drexel said.
“She’s with me,” Stretch said.
“Well, who the hell are you?” Drexel said.
“I’m her husband,” Stretch said.
“Well. That makes us practically related,” Drexel laughed. “Bring your ass on in.”
Drexel and Jakeem walked into the room, continuing a conversation they had been having before, and left Stretch standing in the doorway. “You ain’t seen nothin’ like these rock whores. They be young, man. Bitches want the rock, they be a freak for you.” Drexel looked over his shoulder at Stretch. “You know what I’m talkin’ about.” Drexel gestured to one of the three stoned hookers lounging about the apartment. He sat down at a couch with a card table in front of it, scattered with take-out boxes of Chinese food. Yolanda Montez was interviewing a band on MTV on the television blaring in the background. “Looky here, you want the bitches to really fly high, make your rocks with Cherry 7-Up.”
“Chicks love pink rocks,” Jakeem agreed.
This was not how Stretch expected to confront Drexel, but it was exactly what he had expected Drexel to be like. He positioned himself in front of the food table, demanding Drexel’s attention.
Drexel gestured to Stretch with his chopsticks. “Grab a seat there, boy. Want some dinner? Grab yourself an egg roll. We got everything here from a diddle-eyed-Joe to a damned-if-I-know.”
Drexel looked at Stretch and gave an evil grin. “No thanks? What does that mean? Means you ate before you came down here? All full. Is that it? Naw, I don’t think so. I think you’re too scared to be eatin’. Now, see, we’re sittin’ down here, ready to negotiate, and you’ve already given up your $#!&. I’m still a mystery to you. But I know exactly where you’re comin’ from. See, if I asked you if you wanted some dinner, and you grabbed an egg roll and started to chow down, I’d say to myself, ‘This kid’s carryin’ on like he ain’t got a care in the world. Who know? Maybe he don’t. Maybe this fool’s such a bad mofo, he don’t got to worry about nothin’. He just sit down, eat my Chinese, watch my TV.’ See? You ain’t even sat down yet.”
Stretch took out an envelope and threw it on the table. “I’m not eatin’ ’cause I’m not hungry. I’m not sittin’ ’cause I’m not stayin’. I’m not scared of you. I just don’t like you. In that envelope is some payoff money. Maggie’s moving on to some greener pastures. We’re not negotiatin’. I don’t like to barter. I don’t like to dicker. That price is non-negotiable. What’s in that envelope is for my peace of mind. My peace of mind is worth that much. Not one penny more.”
You could hear a pin drop. Once Stretch started talking, Jakeem went on full alert. Drexel stopped eating, and the whores stopped breathing. All eyes were on Drexel. The pimp dropped his chopsticks and opened the envelope. It was empty.
“It’s empty,” Drexel said sourly.
Stretch flashed a wide, Cheshire cat grin that said, “That’s right.”
“Ooo-oooh weee! This child is terrible. Jakeem, you know what we got here? Charles Bronson. Is that who you supposed to be? Mr. Majestyk? Looky here, Charlie, none of this is necessary. I ain’t got no hold on Maggie. I just tryin’ to lend the girl a helpin’ hand–” Before Drexel finished his sentence, he picked up the card table and threw it at Stretch, catching him off guard.
Jakeem came up behind Stretch and threw his arm around his neck, putting him in a tight choke hold. To Jakeem’s shock, Stretch somehow managed to ooze out of his grip and then, with his free arm, hit Jakeem hard with his elbow in the solar plexus. He didn’t have a chance to find out if that blow had any effect, because at just that moment Drexel took a flying leap and tackled the two guys. All of them went crashing into the stereo unit and a couple of shelves that held records, all of which collapsed to the floor in a shower of LPs.
Jakeem, who was on the bottom of the pile, hadn’t let go of Stretch. Since Drexel was on top, he started slamming fists into Stretch’s face. Stretch, not wanting to reveal his stretching abilities in front of witnesses who might let it get back to the cops, couldn’t do a whole lot about it.
“Ya wanna mess with me?” Drexel shouted. “Ya wanna mess with me?” He hit him again. “I’ll show ya who you’re messin’ wit!” He hit Stretch hard in the face with both fists.
Stretch grabbed hold of Drexel’s face and dug his nails in. He stuck his thumb in Drexel’s mouth, grabbed a piece of cheek, and started twisting.
Jakeem, who was in an even worse position, could do nothing but tighten his grip around Stretch’s neck, until he felt like his eyes were going to pop out of his head.
Drexel’s face was getting torn up, but he was also biting down hard on Stretch’s thumb. In the back of his mind, he noticed it tasted kind of rubbery.
Stretch raised his head and brought it down fast, crunching Jakeem’s face and busting his nose. Jakeem loosened his grip around Stretch’s neck. Stretch wiggled free and got up on his knees. Drexel and Stretch were now on an even but awkward footing. Stretch was dying to simply take Drexel down with a swing of a giant plastic fist, but the hookers were watching.
Jakeem snuck up behind Stretch and smashed him in the head with a tire iron and stood slack-jawed when it bounced back, and he didn’t fall over. It did, however, disorient him. Jakeem dropped the tire iron, grabbed him from behind, and pulled him to his feet.
Drexel socked Stretch in the face three times: a left, a right, then another left. Then he kicked him hard in the crotch. Jakeem let go, and Stretch finally hit the ground like a sack of potatoes. He curled up into a fetal position, holding his crotch, tears coming out of his eyes.
Drexel’s face was torn up from Stretch’s nails. Jakeem had blood streaming down his face from his nose and onto his shirt.
“You OK? That stupid dumb-@$$ didn’t break your nose, did he?” Drexel asked.
“Naw. It don’t feel too good, but it’s all right,” Jakeem said, still in shock.
Drexel kicked Stretch, who was still on the ground, hurting. “You see what you get when you mess wit me, white boy? You’re gonna walk here and tell me! Talkin’ smack in my house in front of my employees. You must be crazy. I don’t think that white boy’s got good sense.” Drexel laughed to Jakeem. “Hey, he must a’ thought it was White Boy Day. It ain’t White Boy Day, is it?”
“Naw, man, it ain’t White Boy Day,” Jakeem laughed.
“Man, you done screwed up again. Next time you Bogart your way into a brother’s crib an’ get all his face, make sure you do it on White Boy Day,” Drexel taunted.
“Wanna-be…” Stretch spat, still hurting.
“My mother was Apache,” Drexel said, kicking him again. Stretch curled up.
Drexel bent down and looked for Stretch’s wallet in his jacket. Stretch still couldn’t do much. The kick to his crotch still had him down. Drexel found it and pulled it out. He flipped it open to Stretch’s fake ID.
“Well, well, well, looky what we got here. Clarence Worley,” Drexel said. “Hey, dummy,” he said, putting his foot on Stretch’s chest. “Before you brought your dumb ass through the door, I didn’t know nothin’. I just chalked it up to au revoir Maggie. But because you think you’re so macho, I know who she’s with — you. I know who you are, Clarence Worley. And I know where you live — 4900 116th street, apartment 48. And I’ll make a million-dollar bet Maggie’s at the same address. Jakeem, take the car and go get ‘er an’ bring her back here.” He handed Jakeem the driver’s license. Jakeem went to get the car keys and a jacket.
“I’ll keep lover-boy, here, entertained,” Drexel said. He turned back and hollered, “Jakeem, what the hell you doin’?”
“I’m tryin’ to find my jacket.”
“Look in the hamper. Linda’s been dumpin’ everybody’s stray clothes there lately.”
While Drexel had his attention turned to Jakeem, Stretch reached into his sock and pulled out the .38. He stuck the barrel into Drexel’s stomach. Drexel, who was standing over Stretch, looked down just in time to see Stretch pull the trigger. Tiny spots of blood speckled Stretch’s face. Drexel shrieked in pain.
“What’s happening?” Jakeem said, stepping into the room.
Stretch didn’t hesitate; he shot Jakeem four times in the chest.
Two of the three hookers ran out of the front door, screaming. The other hooker was curled up in the corner. She was too stoned to run, but stoned enough to be terrified.
Stretch pointed the gun at the remaining hooker. “Get a bag and put Maggie’s things in it!” She didn’t move. “You wanna get shot? I ain’t got all day, so move it!”
The hooker, tears of fear ruining her mascara, grabbed a suitcase from under the bed, and, on her hands and knees, pushed it along the floor to Stretch.
Stretch took it by the handle and wobbled over to Drexel, who was curled up like a pillbug. He put his foot on Drexel’s chest. “Open your eyes, laughing boy,” Stretch said to Drexel. When he didn’t move, Stretch delivered a sharp kick. “Open your eyes!” Drexel opened his eyes and looked at him in terror.
“You thought it was pretty funny, didn’t you?” Stretch’s other hand suddenly shot out, turning into a shapeless rubbery mass and wrapping itself around Drexel’s head. He was too pumped up on adrenaline at this point to care who saw what he could do. Drexel’s muffled cry could be heard underneath as he clawed at the rubbery hand. Eventually, his struggles ceased, and he stopped moving altogether.