I walked the Buffalo as quietly as I could up past the cabin, happy I'd waited till dark to bring it back. Seeing those graves, it had hit me once again just how crazy Catalina was, just how easy it would be for her to suddenly decide she was done with me and blow my brains out. I set the handbrake and eased the door shut, frowning at the other Buffalo sitting there; it had been fixed up since I dropped me and Catalina off there. I started creeping back towards the hill, figuring I could walk down to the road at least and either hitch a lift or jack someone for they car... and then I heard her voice.
"Clod?" she called, confusing me. It sounded like she asking a question, but she was calling me a clod? And using a word like that wasn't like Catalina; she'd be more likely to call me asshole.
"Hey, Catalina!" I called out, figuring I could just keep her distracted so she didn't ask why I was there so late in the evening,"It's Carl!"
It was quiet for a second, then I heard her giggle and call out,"In here, mi amor!"
"A'ight, come on," I said, turning from the door and walking back down the stairs, figuring I could get into the Buffalo and park it so she didn't see the damage, then fake it while driving so she didn't realize what I'd done,"Let's go."
I started walking away, but she didn't follow me.... at least, her body didn't. Her voice did.
"JOO GET JOOR SORRY ASS IN HERE RIGHT NOW, CARL JOHNSON!" she yelled through the door,"OR I SHOVE A FUCKING HAND GRENADE UP IT!"
I turned back, confused. I thought she'd be excited to go rob a bank, maybe she wanted to show off the inside of the cabin or something? Chicks seemed to like doing shit like that, even Catalina.
"A'ight," I sighed,"I'm coming."
I stepped inside, starting to tell her that I really needed to make some paper, but what I saw in there stopped me dead. My greatest dream turned into my worst nightmare. What was it? It....
.... I.... I don't want to talk about it.
I stood outside as the sun came up, it was pretty, but it was the last thing I was thinking of.
"How was it?" asked Catalina, stepping up behind me and sliding her hands under my pits, over my chest and down my waist.
"....It was different," I said at last.
"I KNEW joo would like it!" laughed Catalina, reached down and giving Lil' Carl a tweak.
"Yeah, but Catalina, I really ain't into that kind of thing," I told her,"It's a little too mu-"
"What joo talking about!?!" she snapped, squeezing Lil' Carl, not in a nice way,"Joo got to fuck me, didn't joo? Joo got to put joor stupid prick into me, didn't joo? Like joo been wanting too since we met? Joo got to get joor stupid fucking mouth all over my breasts? To feel my ass? Didn't joo!?!"
"BUT WHAT! Joo men! All the same, never satisfied when joo get what you want!" she shouted, pulled her hands free and stepping back, looking pissed,"I don't know why the fuck I bother with joo!"
"Look, baby," I told her, trying to make peace, after all, the bits she'd mentioned HAD been everything I'd hoped for. It was the bits surrounding the fun that thrown me for a loop,"I thought we was going to make some serious paper!"
"I'm starting to get really bored of joo," she sighed.
"I just need the money," I tried to explain, but she was already talking again.
"And I'm just a cheap fuck?" she demanded,"A whore joo don't even pay?"
"No, I didn't say that," I told her, feeling like I was on the back foot again.
"Carl," she complained, turning her back on me,"I say I'm in love with joo, and joo act like I'm an idiot... I know joor kind, Carl. I am serious, I will kill joo if joo ever mess around."
She turned back to look at me, and a hard little smile crossed her face.
"Enough!" I shouted,"I need some fucking money!"
"Carl, joo are really boring me now," she said, turning back around and folding her arms over her chest, and I could tell she was enjoying this, she wanted me to beg.
"Please, sweetheart," I said,"I got in some real, real deep shit."
She didn't say anything for a moment, then she turned her grin on me and winked," Okay, maybe today we hit it big! Get the car."
"Okay," I grinned back,"Uhhh... let's take the red Buffalo."
We headed down the hill onto the road towards Palomino Creek, and I switched on K-Rose, seeing Catalina shake her head at my choice of music, even though she knew it was that or nothing.
"I hope joo drive better this time around," she told me, but I could tell she was teasing.
"You ever driven a quad? It ain't easy," I told her, then grinned and teased back,"'Specially when you got a screaming bitch on the back, shooting past your ear!"
"I like it when joo angry at me, Carl," she giggled,"I will try to anger joo more often."
"Now that I'm looking forward to..." I said, and then "Always Wanting You" finished up on the radio and Mary-Beth started talking... about us!
"I heard about a couple robbing places together around the county," she said, and me and Catalina looked at each other, surprised,"So romantic, reminds me of me when I was younger, robbing places with my first husband.... until I caught him in bed with the getaway horse."
"This Mary-Beth is one crazy bitch," Catalina said,"Carl, I promise joo I will never have sex with a horse.... no matter what Cesar might tell you."
I had to laugh, and she joined me, and despite last night's weirdness, I started thinking that things were going to work out okay between us. Yeah she was crazy, and she had some weird ideas about sex, but we could work through it, sure we sparked, but it was because there was real chemistry there between us - I felt it and so did she.
People started screaming, but Catalina screamed louder, telling them to shut up or she'd kill them, kill they families, kill they fucking pets. I rounded them up with the shotgun, it was quiet this time of morning, and held them in place, they arms raised as Catalina moved for the safe - this little nothing town too small for a proper vault.
"Keep these idiots covered!" she yelled at me.
"A'ight!" I shouted, shotgun pointed at them, two scared bitches looking like they about to cry, a faggy looking cracker looking like he about to do the same, and a pot-bellied security guard with a sad moustache who looked like he was just itching to reach for his piece,"You heard the lady, no heroic shit!"
I heard Catalina cursing as she tried to get into the safe and looked in her direction, then looked back and saw one of the bitch's arms dropping. I lifted the shotgun to her face and her arms went straight back up, and I looked around, wondering if there was a silent alarm somewhere they might be able to trip if they got enough time. Shit, that wouldn't matter, I just had to keep them all covered till Catalina got into the safe, how hard could that be?
"I give joo ONE simple job!" Catalina screamed at me,"IDIOTA!"
"Fucking police bastard motherFUCKERS!" shouted Catalina, the other hostages crouching down with they arms over they heads. Seeing me put down the security guard - motherfucker had shot at me first - had taken any fight out of them, but now 5-0 were outside,"CARL! Smash the ATMs and get as much cash as possible!"
I rushed to the ATMs set up alongside the walls if you didn't have time to wait the one minute a shitty little bank might have on a busy day. I didn't have time for finesse, just jammed the shotgun against the ATM, turned my head, squeezed my eyes shut and fired. Metal and plastic went flying everywhere with a big boom and I heard 5-0 outside start shouting at each other in a panic, not knowing what was going on. Catalina started scooping up money as I moved to the next ATM, then the last.
"Better take the back door! Follow me!" she shouted, blowing the lock of the door leading out into the bank's back room. I rushed after her, leaving behind crying ex-hostages, a downed security guard and a shitload of gunpowder-blasted metal and plastic. My first bank robbery, and it had gone about as bad as it could.
Catalina was already blasting through the door into the back alley, and for a second I thought maybe the cops were too stupid to have had the back covered... and then all hell broke loose.
We moved on down the alley, firing on the redneck police who had thought they were gonna be shooting fish in a barrel and instead found out the fish in this barrel had shotguns. A helicopter buzzed by and a cop lost his hat, shouting and pissing and moaning and I laughed, thinking we weren't doing so bad all things conside-
"Pick it up a little, joo retarded asshole!" Catalina screamed back at me, and I picked up the pace.
"You two!" shouted the rednecks who had just pulled up,"FREEZE!"
So much for FREEZE!
"What's keeping joo, Carl!" laughed Catalina as she zipped out the alley ahead of me, two 5-0 on bikes falling in behind her with me bringing up the rear. I had to grin, when she was pissed off then I got pissed off at her, but when she was in a good mood it put me in one too.... until I saw where she was headed. That fucking bridge.
"ARE JOO AFRAID OF SPEED, CARL!" Catalina shouted back at me.
"HEY FUCK YOU LADY! PULL OVER!" shouted the police officer who'd just seen his buddy crash out on the bridge,"I'M THE POLICE!"
"CATCH ME IF JOO CAN, PIG!" she laughed, sounding like she having the time of her life,"JOO TOO, MISTER POLICE MAN!"
Turns out Mister Police Man can.... not.
"JOOR TOO LAID BACK, JOO LAZY SLOB!" Catalina yelled at me as we moved on out from under the intersection and back into Montgomery.... and then she ran straight into a roadblock of cops.
They didn't seem to know what to do with her anymore than I did, so I pulled up as they stood gaping and she jumped onto the back of the bike, slapping my shoulder and asking... no, telling... no, DEMANDING,"Take me home, Carl."
So that's what I did.
"Look, we gotta talk about something!" I shouted back to her as we floored it out of Montgomery, cops too dumb and slow to get back into they cruisers and get after us fast enough.
"WHAT!?!" she shouted, sounding freshly pissed off again,"What do I have to say to joo?"
"You're a great girl, and all, but you GOTTA calm down!" I shouted, hoping she was hearing out straight-up I was being,"I know some cold blooded cats wouldn't act like you!"
"Oh!" she laughed, cruel,"Joo get given a lioness and joo want a pussy cat? WIMP!"
"No, I just want..." I started, trying to explain it to her.
"Joo know why I act like this?" she asked me, then told me before I could answer,"I'm in love, Carl. A woman's heart is a tempesteous place... and joo will break my heart.... SOMETIMES I WANT TO KILL US BOTH!"
"Hey uh... yeah," I said, feeling her hands tightening against my sides,"Please... don't do that... just... just RELAX! Relax a little!"
She was quiet for a moment as we drove on cross country, bouncing over hills and between trees, then she snorted.
"C'mon, Carl, move it!"
We pulled up outside the house and Catalina was off in a flash, storming up to her front door.
"Hey Catalina, ba-" I started as I got off of the bike, but she turned with eyes full of fire and I actually took a step backwards, a little off-balance.
"I call joo when I want joo, joo fucking piece of shit," she told me, then reached down her top and pulled out wads of cash she'd stuffed down there at the bank,"Here's joor fucking cut, root around in the fucking dirt like the pig joo are for it!"
She tossed the money in, then stormed into the cabin and slammed the door shut.
"Damn, that bitch is crazy," I whispered to myself, then did what she'd said and bent down to pick the money up out of the dirt. I couldn't afford too much pride at the moment, I had to pay back Tenpenny's debt to Truth, then get myself close to Truth to find a way to turn their relationship back on Tenpenny.
So there I was, rooting around in the dirt like a pig and feeling lower than low when my phone rang, and when I answered it was Cesar, and he had good news for me.... good fucking news. He'd found out how Smoke organized drugs to be brought in and out of Los Santos from San Fierro, and how he organized payment to go back.
It was time to take the fucking war to Big Smoke.