Джордж Пелеканос: The Sweet Forever

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Джордж Пелеканос The Sweet Forever
  • Название:
    The Sweet Forever
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Little, Brown and Company
  • Жанр:
    Криминальный детектив / на английском языке
  • Год:
    1998
  • Город:
    New York
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-0-316-69109-3
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    3 / 5
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The Sweet Forever: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Before you can thrive you have to survive. When cocaine hit Washington, D.C., in the mid-1980s, the city became nearly unlivable. Gun-carrying kids turned entire neighborhoods into war zones. Zombies walked the sidewalks on week-long binges. Many police officers and public officials, flush with drug money, looked away. Set amidst this chaos and danger, The Sweet Forever captures an unforgettable fight for survival as two men confront the most soul-chilling violence ever to visit the city. Marcus Clay is proud of his small chain of record stores, and proudest of his new store, right in the old neighborhood — now the epicenter of the drug trade. But a black man can’t get a break, even on his home turf, when the whole town is going crazy. Even his best friend, Dimitri Karras, who manages the store, is coming to work with his jaw wired tight from his newly acquired cocaine habit. A bad situation turns lethal when a car crashes in front of the store and Marcus sees someone grab a bag out of the backseat and run. The local drug lord wants what’s in that bag — and will do whatever it takes to prove that he is the law in this neighborhood. Nobody, certainly not a small-time businessman, is going to stand in his way. In searing confrontations, Marcus and Dimitri must defy the darkness close to home — fighting for their lives, their livelihoods, for the very soul of the city. Opening up the shadowy territory where private sin connects with larger, deadlier evils, George Pelecanos weaves familiar details from the recent past into a thriller of compelling menace and power. With characters as real as your own flesh and a relentless, dazzlingly original story, The Sweet Forever is a classic thriller from one of the most inspired writers at work today.

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George P. Pelecanos

The Sweet Forever

To Rosa

Part I

Friday

March 14, 1986

One

The first time Richard Tutt made it with a suspect’s girlfriend, he realized that there was nothing, nothing at all, that a man in his position couldn’t do. He’d gotten some just that morning — a high-assed young thing by the name of Rowanda — and the feeling had stuck with him right into this bright, biting afternoon.

Tutt made a left onto U Street, eye-swept the beat that he knew he owned.

The Power. It was a cop thing, but not an across-the-board cop thing. The desk jockeys never had it. The homicide dicks were too tortured to have it. A few of the boys in Prostitution and Perversions had it, but only some of the time. The beat cops, the ones who really knew how to walk it, had it all the time.

Tutt dug the free-fall feeling that came with the Power. He even looked forward to the looks he got — the looks of fear and hatred and, yeah, the looks of respect — when he stepped out of his cruiser. He’d been a cop for five years, always in blue, and always out on the street. You could keep your promotions and gold shields. Tutt liked the fit of the uniform. He knew he’d never wear anything else.

Tutt turned to his partner, Kevin Murphy, who was staring through the windshield, one thumb stroking his black mustache. Murphy’s head throbbed with a dull ache; he hoped for a quiet day. He’d fallen asleep on the couch with a beer in his hand the night before, trying to make out the blurred images on the screen of his new television set. Murphy’s nights had been ending this way for some time.

“Let me ask you something, Murphy.”

Murphy exhaled slowly. “Go ahead.”

“Got a man-woman kinda question for you.”

“All right.”

“Had me a little brown sugar action this morning, on the way in to work?”

Tutt, bragging double, not just letting Murphy know he had gotten some pussy, letting him know it had been some good black pussy in the bargain.

“Oh, yeah?”

Tutt smiled. “Yeah. Lady took a long ride on that white pony.”

Murphy thinking, Yeah, ’cause you promised some poor sucker’s girlfriend that you wouldn’t bust her old man if she gave a little up.

“Have a good time?” said Murphy.

“Damn straight.”

“Good for you, man. So what was that question?”

“Right. So I’m playin’ with her privates, see, got my finger right on the trigger.”

“Uh-huh.”

“I haven’t put it in her yet, but even without that, her elevator’s gettin’ ready to shoot right up to the penthouse suite, you know what I mean? Just about then, the bitch looks up at me and goes, in this real whiny voice, ‘Pleeeease?’ ”

“Yeah?”

“My question is, what was she askin’ for? I mean, please what? Please do? Please don’t? Please have a bigger dick? I was wonderin’ if this was something, you know, the sisters say all the time, something I just don’t know about.”

“I wouldn’t know, Tutt. I only been with one sister for the last ten years. Had some sisters before I was married, understand, but not every single sister. So I can’t speak for all of them. And I sure couldn’t tell you what this particular sister was lookin’ for when she asked you the question.”

“I’m bettin’ she was begging for it. Had to be ‘Please do.’ ”

“Think so, huh?”

Tutt drove the blue-and-white east on U. Black Washington’s once grand street was ragged, near defeated by crime and indifference and Metro’s Green Line construction, which had blighted the area for years. They passed the Republic theater, dark now, where Kevin Murphy had seen classics like J.D.’s Revenge and King Suckerman and a bad-ass prison picture called Short Eyes back in ’77. Flyers touting the mayor’s upcoming reelection effort were stapled to telephone poles, his increasingly bloated image distorted in a haze of dust kicked up by jackhammers and trucks. Murphy’s eyes followed a young dealer stepping out of a drug car parked at the curb.

“Murphy?”

“What?”

“Don’t get this wrong, partner...”

Don’t get this wrong, huh? Here we go.

“...but all I kept thinking of when I was hammering this black chick is that y’all, what I mean is you brothers, y’all fuck in a furious fuckin’ way, you know what I mean?”

“That so. How’d you arrive at that conclusion?”

“Well, okay, here’s what got me started. I was watchin’ this porno flick the other night. My brother-in-law, the art director, brought it over. All-black cast; the star of the flick was hung like a donkey, you know what I’m sayin’? Anyway, this brother in the movie, he was just wailing on this punch, up on one arm, doing some high-ass, violent-ass thrusts.”

“Man was goin’ at it.”

“Like I’ve never seen. And the way this girl was screaming, now, I shouldn’t have been surprised. I mean, I’ve been with some black women, man. So you know that I’ve heard some screams.”

“Oh, I know.

“But watchin’ that porno tape, it made me think of that old expression.”

“What expression’s that?”

“ ‘I thought I’d fucked a nigger’ ” — Tutt grinned — “ ‘till I saw a nigger fuck a nigger.’ ” Tutt air-elbowed Murphy, cackled in that high-pitched way of his. “You ever hear that?”

Murphy stared at the Twenty-third Psalm card he had taped to the dash. He made his lips turn up into a smile. “Nah, King, I never did.”

Tutt breathed out in relief. Murphy calling him “King” — Tutt’s nickname from the Twinbrook neighborhood, where he’d come up — meant everything between them was okay. Course, Tutt knew it would be okay. Civilians didn’t understand about the shell cops had, the things that could be said between partners. You could use any goddamn words you wanted to use in fun, because those were just words, and there was only one real thing that mattered, one serious task at hand, and that was to watch your partner’s back out in the world and know that he would do the same. Sensitivity was for the high-forehead crowd, the ones standing comfortably behind that last line of defense, skinny-armed liberals and ACL-Jews. Men knew that words were just words and only action counted — period.

“Hey, Murphy. I was just shittin’ around. Hey, you all right?”

“I was thinking on somethin’,” said Murphy. “That’s all.”

I was thinking of my wife...my mother, and my brother, and my father. Niggers, all of them. I was thinkin’ on how I betray them every day, listening to those filthy words coming out of your fat redneck mouth, doin’ nothing, saying nothing to shut you up...

“Hey, Murph. No offense, right?”

“Nah, Tutt,” said Kevin Murphy. “None taken.”


Murphy noticed the kid wearing the Raiders jacket, maybe ten or eleven, standing outside of Medger’s Liquors at 12th and U. He had seen the kid the last year or so, hanging on that corner, often during school hours. No one had the time to bother much with truants anymore, but Murphy wondered what the kid was up to, if he was a runner or a baby foot soldier or just checking out the hustler’s map, prepping himself for a lifetime of nothing.

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