“You’re late, Taylor.”
That’s what that fucker Teddy gets out at me when I get to the phone booth round back of the gas station I’m s’posed to stop at. Picked up before it hardly got through ringing the one time. Like he was waiting.
I wouldn’t put it past the fuck either. Even if nobody’s watching me, he’d want me to think there is. Or could be. Inside New York at least, I’d say it’s a possibility. Fuck.
“Kid had to take a piss. I’m calling now, aren’t I?”
I put it out there like it’s no big fucking deal but all the while I’m looking around. Trying to see who he’s got. Could be the fuck behind the counter or the guy pumping gas. Or neither.
“Don’t be late again, Taylor. I expect your next call on time, no exceptions. And no problems, or it’s your head.”
There’s something in how he says it that feels like he almost wants me to be late and I’m looking around again. Just like that, he’s hanging up and I still got that fucking crawling feeling at the bottom of my gut. Can’t pass it off as just my aching balls either. I’m being watched.
Can’t say I didn’t expect it. Teddy’s fucking paranoid and getting worse.
I’m careful. Always been careful. Probably doesn’t look that way from the amount of shit I’ve gotten into but I’m still breathing when a lot of fucks wouldn’t be. I don’t believe in luck but I do believe in being careful. Only ever been one time when I set that aside and jumped into something, knowing what it would cost me, and I took a bullet for it.
So I’m running all this shit through my head as I walk into the gas station. Rita’s still tied up in the back of the van so she’s not going anywhere. Had to tie up the kid while I came in here but he’s not gonna leave his mother anyway or he would have when she told him to run.
If somebody’d been tailing me, I’d'a caught that, so he’d only be watching me at the points along the way. The places where I’m supposed to call in. Probably why he set it up that way, watch me in places instead’a trying to tail me.
Guess the van could be bugged too. I doubt he’d go for sound. Probably a tracking bug. I could go over it later. Doubt it though. No way Teddy wants to risk a record of anything. Definitely not from me. I think he watches me. Uses me as long as he can, but all the time he’s watching for that one fuck up. I know where all the bodies are and if I talked, I could fuck him good and he knows it. It scares the shit out of him, I think.
I’m no rat. I think Teddy knows that but he don’t know it the way Chains might’a known it.
No, he wouldn’t bug the van. He’d be watching at the stops.
The guy behind the counter maybe. Fat fuck’s probably wearing the best shirt he has. Looks like the last time he did any decent work was around 1980. I peg him as the owner cus he’s sitting back there doing fuck all and I don’t see any of the other guys doing that. I figure he’s got to be the guy in Teddy’s pocket. There’s a garage around the side. Strip out cars. Doesn’t matter. I’m not here to see nothing.
Pull a case of soda out of the fridge and grab some juice after thinking about it, for the kid. There’s not much that’s any good to eat but I grab some shit out of the deli fridge they got by the counter. Looking through all’a the sandwiches for ones with a decent date on them.
That’d be just the fucking thing, wouldn’t it? Survive all this shit and get my ticket punched cus I ate some fucking poison sandwich out of this shithole.
There’s a bunch of other shit at the front. Crap you’re supposed to want to buy at the last minute, like these little fucking cars. Stupid. I felt like an asshole putting it on the counter with the rest of the shit but the fat fuck isn’t gonna say shit to me about it.
Still don’t know why the fuck they didn’t pack nothing. Not for her. Not for the kid. She’s got nothing, not even her purse. Must have grabbed them both in a hurry.
Before they could run again, is that it? Rita was ready to have that kid run and sure as fuck she doesn’t want to go back to Vegas if that’s where she came from in the first place.
The whole thing’s fucked up.
They’re both still tied up on the floor when I get back to the van. Not that I expected much different. I’m good at what I do.
Rita looks tired but still tries to put herself between me and the kid.
“Just letting him go, lady.”
She’s not talking when I pull the cloth out of her mouth. Just gives me a hard look and then lies back on the floor. Been crying.
Kid’s not crying anymore. He’s got a hard look, like his mother. Tries to pull away from me as I untie his hands. I don’t want to look at either of them. The broad’s bad enough but having to take that strap offa the kid’s wrists makes me feel like the lowest piece of shit going. Don’t say it often cus I don’t really feel it often anymore but I’m fucking ashamed of myself that it’s got this far. That I have.
This isn’t beating the fuck out of people. It’s not whacking people. It’s fucking worse. Like Rita, the kid turns away from me the minute he doesn’t have to face me no more.
I’m a fucking dirtbag. A dirtbag a kid don’t want to look at. Nothing for it now. I took this job, not that I had a fuck of a lot of say in it. Now I got to see it through.
“I won’t untie your mom while I’m driving.”
I’m explaining to the kid as I put all the shit out on the floor of the van, in between the two of them.
“You’re gonna have to hold it for her if she wants anything.”
Feeling stupid, I leave that little car on top of a sandwich and go back up front with a coke and something to eat.
It’s a good half hour before the kid moves. Unwraps a sandwich and shares it with his mother, holding it for her as they share bites.
Doesn’t touch the toy. Knew that was a fucking mistake. What the hell was I thinking? I’ve got his mother tied up in the back of a van and he’s gonna forgive me cus I bought him a toy?
I don’t know shit about kids but how would I? The only kids I can remember is me and Matty. The rest of the Knockaround Guys. Buncha little fucking monsters that’d rather play with a gun than pick up some stupid little piece of shit car.
Except Matty. Never had it in him. Even later, after Wibeaux, he never had it in him. It’s no good thinking about Matty now but I can’t stop it. Not with the kid back there. It’s like a busted tooth and I can’t stop working over it once I know it’s there.
Dead fucking silent, the both of them, so I got nothing to do but think. So much for worrying about having to listen to people jabbering at me the whole fucking way. Quiet’s worse.
I’m fucking around with the radio at every light but I can’t settle on anything. When I do find something anywhere half decent I’m out of range in no time. Or I get all sorts of fucking static cus of buildings and shit. Usually I prefer it quiet, go figure.
Another hour and I give it up. The radio stays off.
Copyright © December 2008 xxxevilgrinxxx