Book Excerpt/ The Big Dogs

EXCERPT FROM THE BIG DOGS

BACK IN THE HIGH LIFE AGAIN

Two months to the day after Thanksgiving, Miss Grace Yunqué, of East Elmhurst, Queens, rose late on her day off, fixed herself brunch, then boarded the westbound M60 bus at 23rd Avenue.

She preferred taking the bus whenever she could. The subways saved time, but were fraught with risk. Despite a heavy police presence underground at key times and terminals, the cop coverage tended to thin out to nothingness towards the outer boroughs, and unless there was someone with a badge and gun on the platform with her, she simply didn’t feel safe on the subways any more.

Besides, the bus was fast, thanks to the Mayor’s enforcement of bus-only lanes across major bridges. And it was comfortable. Miss Grace Yunqué had no idea which kind of bus she rode along the M60 route (a slightly older Orion VII Next Generation semi-low floor hybrid electric built by Daimler Commercial Buses), but it was quite good. She had seen much, much worse in her day.

As usual, the bus looped north through LaGuardia International Airport, meandering by the Marine Air Terminal on Bowery Bay, before settling down for its long westward cruise along Astoria Boulevard. As the bus arced out across the Robert Kennedy Bridge spanning the Hell Gate section of the East River, she looked down upon Wards and Randalls Islands far below, dusted with snow. She was mentally planning her own route. While her main business of the day was routine (a followup visit to Dr. Lazar regarding her condition), the stop she planned to make afterwards was anything but.

Miss Grace Yunqué was a homely, portly Latina of Peruvian descent in her late fifties who was starting to feel gravity’s pull more acutely. Her arches were falling, her heels ached at night, and her ass seemed to spread wider with each passing year. Her husband was dead, her children grown and struggling with families of their own. What little brightness there was in her life came from her grand-nephew José, and her Pomeranian, Hector.

Still, it wasn’t all bad. She had worked for years keeping the books of a small firm that made spare parts for servicing city buses. The benefits were good, and she had her late husband’s small pension coming in as well, which she diligently invested in TIPS, inflation-protected bonds that had been adjusted for the extended period of low rates following the crash. Miss Grace Yunqué did not know when the city’s fortunes would take a turn for the better, but she intended to have a toe in the water when they did. She believed the city would rise again—someday, perhaps not even in her lifetime, but someday—and she wanted to have something to bequeath to her darling little niňo José.

Which was why she was heading into Manhattan this morning, to report the goings-on she’d been seeing in the company’s financial statements for months now. She knew fraud when she saw it, and she intended to cash in by reporting it.

Comments

  1. Intriguing excerpt. I hope you enjoy it!

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