She twisted slowly as she hung from the meat hooks in the abandoned slaughter house. He lit a cigarette and stood back to admire his handiwork. Her head was slumped forward on her chest and she was starting to shiver and go into shock. Delor had methodically beaten her with a wooden drum stick from her toes to her shoulders and then applied electric shock treatment to the intimate parts of her body. She was gagged so that she wouldn’t bite her tongue so he was denied the pleasure of full throated screams. He always liked them to plead for mercy.
Rivulets of blood streaked her slim white body and she had lost control of her bowels so the place reeked of fear and faeces.
He grinned and touched his cigarette to her left breast. Her head flew up and a strangled scream issued from her gagged mouth. He wished he could use his knife because it had been years since he could give someone a Colombian neck tie, but the crazy pimp wanted her kept alive and he wanted to collect the other half of his money.
Delor thought back to his days in the Guatemalan militia when he had earned the nickname Dr Delor. His victims usually died before any useful information was extracted from them but it mattered little in a country where the junta had mounted a genocide war against the native population there was a surplus of victims available.
His superiors in the militia had noted his talent for torture and soon recommended that he go to the U.S.A. for further training at “The School of the Americas” at Fort Benning Georgia. He was an apt student and although he could barely read he quickly grasped the techniques of psychological and physical torture taught at the Ranger school. He was the perfect instrument in that he was a psychopath and was incapable of relating to anyone’s pain except his own.
He returned to Guatemala and was posted to the capitol city where he specialised in terrorising union leaders, church workers and human rights activists who had embarrassed the junta with reports in the foreign press.
Delor’s comeuppance happened because of his inability to read properly. His superiors called him in and instructed him to do away with a whole family that were a particular thorn in the side of the junta. He was given a piece of paper with the address scribbled on it. Told to memorise it and then to destroy it.
Now the man in his death squad who could read and was usually responsible for making sure they got the right people wasn’t available that night. Delor’s superiors were impatient that he get the job done at the soonest opportunity because there was a foreign civil rights group coming and it was vital to eliminate the witnesses.
They burst in on a family of the same name at the wrong address at two o’clock in the morning. The family was bundled into the back of a closed military van and driven to the garbage dump where most of the public atrocities were performed. The women were raped, the men and children tortured and then they all had their throats cut. The children first and then the wife and the grandmother and finally the father and grandfather each given a Colombian neck tie as a going away present.
Big mistake, they had killed the wrong family. Now ordinarily that would be no big deal but it turned out that the murdered family were first cousins to one of the top men in the junta. The other members of the death squad and their families paid for the mistake with their lives. Delor’s radar was still good and he escaped into the refugee stream.
He fled first to Mexico but he was recognised in the refugee camp and had to flee into the U.S.A. His contacts there advised him to carry on up the west coast to Canada.
He crossed the border into Canada at Blaine in the back seat of a couple who had picked him up on the road just outside Portland. The couple had been on a day trip and had not bought anything in the U.S.A. so they were waved right through.
He arrived in Vancouver with very little money in his pocket and gravitated to the downtown east side where he very quickly found a drug ring with use of his particular talents. He started out as a runner and collector.
The pimps were some of his more consistent customers and he soon was working with them to keep their bitches in line. They liked the way he could clear the bitch’s mind of any thoughts of independence.
This particular bitch, a juvenile, had been working free lance picking up tricks on a pimp’s turf. He was given two hundred dollars up front with two hundred coming when he finished the job. No cuts that would leave scars and no marks on her face had been his instructions. This was why he had to make sure she didn’t die on him.
He connected a hose to a spigot and hosed her down and then pulled on a set of latex gloves. Some of these bitches were H.I.V. and he didn’t believe in taking chances. He brought a carpet from his van and spread it beneath he dangling feet. Then he released her wrists from the handcuffs and lowered her on to the carpet. He had decided to steal her leather jacket and he had taken the several hundred dollars she had hidden in her shoes.
Delor pulled a dress over her shivering body and wrapped her in a rag bag old coat. Then he removed her gag and she mumbled nonsense in her delirium of pain. He laid her out and rolled her into the carpet when he finished just the top of her head was showing and taped the edges so it wouldn’t unroll. After all he didn’t want the bitch to bleed or puke all over his new van.
Once he had her secured in the carpet he went about the business of clearing up the evidence. He placed the drumstick and the handcuffs in a plastic garbage bag and disconnected the battery he’d used for the electric treatment and washed off the leads of the jumper cables he’d applied to her body with such good results. She had shit herself when he applied the probes to her breasts.
He disconnected the light and then loaded all the gear into the van leaving her for the last. He picked up her aching body to a chorus of cries and groans and placed her in the van so he could just cut the tape and roll her out the side door. Then he took a flash light and quickly double checked to make sure he hadn’t left anything behind.
He dumped her under the Burrard Street Bridge in the parking lot on the north side of False Creek.It was five o’clock in the morning and except for a few taxis the streets were empty. He pulled into the far side of the lot and opened the door cut the tapes and rolled her out the door. She landed with a soft thump and a surprised cry he closed the door and was off.
Delor drove into the east end until he spotted and open dumpster and disposed of the garbage bag and the jumper cables. Then he got rid of the carpet two blocks away from the dumpster behind one of the many flea bag hotels that dot the area. Delor drove to his new apartment in Kitsalino parked his van, removed the latex gloves and chucked them in to a trash bin in the parking garage, up in the elevator, keys out and into his top floor suite. The suite was decorated in Sears tacky and Delor went to nagahyde bar and poured himself a drink.
He checked his answering service, no calls and sat down and opened his mail. There was a notice from the Immigration that he should appear at the offices of the Immigration Service to attend a hearing on his refugee status. He couldn’t read Spanish or the English. He balled up the notice and threw it towards the waste basket. He could afford a shyster lawyer who could hold off the Immigration department months if not years. He showered and went to bed. Just another day at the office.
The ferry from Granville Island was landing at the ferry dock just south of the Aquatic Center. It was low tide and the catwalk leading to the park walk at a steep angle. From the dock it wasn’t possible to see the walk.
The ferry docked and unloaded its usual load of tourists and westenders fresh from a shopping trip at the market. The last passenger is photographer Joe Ward going to the blues concert at the beer enclosure for Sea Festival just behind the concession stand at Sunset beach. He was loaded down with camera gear from a shoot on a booze cruise. The sound of an amplified slide guitar drifted down from the Sea Festival stage.
He paused on the dock to rearrange the various straps and bags he was carrying then he followed the rest up the catwalk to the park walk. As Joe approached the top of the catwalk he noticed the people in front of him hesitating and saying isn’t that awful. He topped the rise and saw what appeared to be a large bundle of rags lying on a park bench on the north side of the walk. Then he noticed the hand trailing off the bench. He was tempted to take a picture but something held him back.
He went over and put down his gear and sat down on the end of the bench. He inspected the body which looked like a homeless person who had been run over on a gravel road. What looked like dirt was actually dried blood. Joe gently lifted the rag that was over the face.
“Christ! he thought, It’s a child, couldn’t be more than twelve, fourteen, max.”
The eyes flickered open,
“Fuck off”, she rasped in a hoarse whisper.
“You’re hurt”, Joe said, “Let me call you an ambulance”.
“Have you got anything to drink”? She croaked.
Joe pulled a can of ginger ale from his bag opened it and put it to her lips. The pop trickled off her lips and burned her dry throat as she could barely swallow. She choked and coughed and groaned because any movement was painful in the extreme.
“I can’t just leave you here in this condition”, he said.
“Look you old pervert, are you deaf? Fuck off and leave me alone” she rasped.
Joe reluctantly stood up and picking up his bags, left the can of pop where she could reach it and walked to the entrance of the festival stage. As Joe was showing his pass he noticed two police officers over by the stage. He pushed his way through the crowd to the stage and got their attention. The two police officers and Joe went back to the entrance where he pointed out the bench. One of the officers radioed in for an ambulance and then left to see if he could help while the other officer took Joe’s name and address and a short statement. The cop left to join her partner and Joe went back to the stage to take the pictures that he needed for his book.
Every time he paused, he thought about the youngster on the bench, wondering if he’d done the right thing. He promised himself that he would visit the kid in the hospital because he knew she would probably be confined to bed for at least a couple of days.
In between acts he took pictures of the crowd and two buxom young women caught his eye. They were dressed in cut-off jeans and halter tops. They came over to inquire as to why he was taking pictures. He told them and then used some of the drink tickets that the promoter had given him to buy them a beer.
Joe then got into a conversation with the local television star cum blues singer and the bimbos were suitably impressed. They, the girls, would never be mistaken for rocket scientists, but they were good fun so he let them hang around and used up the twenty drink tickets buying drinks fro them.
He continued photographing while the young women chatted up the musicians. Suddenly he had full cooperation from the musicians and he knew that it wasn’t because of his sparkling personality.
The end of the performance and the musicians shifted to have something to eat and then on to their night time gigs. Joe and the girls followed them to a sushi joint where everyone got fed and a good time was had by all.
Flash forward, six months to a rainy cold night and Joe had just finished photographing a blues act at the hotel where he now lived. All the local restaurants were full of revellers from the various bars. There were no empty booths but one contained a young woman that he thought he recognised so he went to the booth and asked if she mind sharing. She said no that’s OK.
He sat down and put his camera gear on the seat beside him, he ordered a burger and asked if the girl wanted anything. She ordered a drink.
Joe said, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
She said, “I don’t think so, but I see you around here all the time.”
Then the light went on and Joe realised that this was the little girl he’d seen on the bench at Sunset beach. He’d tried to visit her the next day but found out that she had bolted the hospital as soon as they had cleaned her up.
Just then a bedraggled young man, obviously a crack addict comes up to the table and pushes in beside the girl. She gives him a kiss on the ear and he grabs her purse and rummages through it and takes her cigarettes and her money and gets up to leave.
“You ain’t gonna make any money hanging around here with old farts, get your ass back out on the stroll.” he snapped “I’m gonna go score and if you are still in here when I get back I’m gonna kick your ass.
With that the pimp left the cafe, and went in search of his dealer.
Joe’s burger had just arrived and as he ate it he reminded the girl about where he had first seen her.
“It was you who put the cops on me, you son of a bitch.” she snarled
“Hey, you were hurt and bleeding, I’d have done the same for a dog.” he replied.
She got up to leave after gulping down her drink, she didn’t want a scene which would get her barred from the only place where she could get a coffee and get cleaned up between tricks.
Joe finished his snack and paid his check as she hit the street for the two block walk back to the high stroll. He sat for a few minutes thinking about what he had just seen and reflected that no good deed goes unpunished.
He finished his coffee and picked up his camera gear and returned to his room to develop his film.
©Copyright June 17, 2006 by John-Ward Leighton