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Mop Jockey

by Michael Ayoob

About the Author: Michael Ayoob's debut, In Search of Mercy, won the PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Competition and the PWA Shamus for Best First Novel of 2010. Michael released an equally grotesque horror novel, Shadow Menagerie, in 2015.


Nothing brought out the worst like a Tucker Clark concert. I have no opinion on Clark himself or his brand of country rock, but his fans are the scum de la scum. He played the football stadium three times in six years, and his crowd of sixty thousand trashed the city every time. Public Works had to snowplow the garbage from the streets. The firefighters hosed the shit, piss, and vomit off the sidewalks. The cops booked dozens of arrests, mostly drunken fights, while the EMS crews rushed dozens more to the hospitals.

I was working graveyard in the Donnelly Street subway station when Clark last came to town. Given that Donnelly is a ways away from the stadium, I thought I’d gotten off light that night. Sure, his fans had knocked over some garbage cans and spattered the platform with liquid waste, but nothing that wouldn’t mop up. By two a.m., the station was its usual serene and mostly empty self.

That ended with whooping and belching and a booming, “Who wants some? Come get some!” echoing down the stairs, preceding three white boys in their twenties. Tristan Strickford was the tallest, showing off his beefy physique in a tight t-shirt. He was also the loudest, repeating, “Come get some!” every few seconds. A.J. Curry was a wiry thing in khakis, a flannel, and backwards ball cap, ears jutting out Dumbo-style. The other was Grant Bayridge, red-haired, red-faced, squat-built with squinty brown eyes.

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