I jump over the bed like a stoned action hero that retired long ago, rolling over the hard mattress and falling to the ground on the other side.
Sarah’s eyes follow my stunt in disbelief.
Then the first bullets break the glass and punch through the cheap wood of the door.
Cowering next to the bed, thinking about how I’m supposed to be praying right now, I see between the legs of the bed Sarah fallen to the floor. Can’t see if she got hit by a bullet. Not that I want her to die or anything, but right now, I’d say she’d had it coming. Then she gets up (thank God), swearing up a shit-storm. Outside, more guns are being fired, and more bullets carve their way through the wall and front door. I push myself up to the bed, but duck again quickly as a stray bullet lands in the fabric close to me. Lucky one.
Sarah’s not losing a second. She’s already thrown her dress back over her head, and while it hangs loosely on her shoulders, she’s busy stuffing the two bags of cocaine back into her chest.
I manage to get to my feet, trying to ignore the most obvious imminent bullet that’s headed surely my way.
I say, my voice somewhat shaky, “What the hell you think you’re gonna do with that?”
First, she ignores me. Then she has to duck and fall backwards, or else another bullet would fuck her right up. “Getting it the hell away from you guys,” is what she replies.
Right. “Like you know where to turn that stuff a profit.” Outside, more guns are being fired, and I hear squealing tires and engines crying out loud.
She looks at me like I’m the one who just doesn’t get it–her head all tilted and her her eyes all glaring. We both then notice that the chaos has quiet down outside. Sarah’s about to say something, but is startled by someone coming through the door (the lock long since being obliterated by gunfire). It’s Mitch, his head peeking around the splintered wood. “The hell, guys? Let’s get the fuck out of here. Quick.”
Sarah’s still looking mad. Is she seriously considering NOT going with him? Fuck it. I push myself past her and follow Mitch outside. It’s then that I see the dead biker that not even five minutes ago was holding Mitch by the neck. His back riddled with bullets, and a puddle of blood spreading slowly from his fat body. A nearly hurl my wedding-buffet up and out my mouth at the sight of it.
Mitch hits me in the face. “The fuck was that all about?” he says, but doesn’t wait for a reply. Instead, he yells into the room, “Move your fucking ass, Sarah, and let’s get the hell out of here before more of them show up.” He’s waving a handgun around while he gestures her to get moving.
He’s right. I see the black sedan and the bikes, but neither The Knuckle’s man, nor any alive bikers are anywhere in sight.
She still hesitates. But eventually, the three of us jump into the mob’s car. I hit the driver’s seat. At first I didn’t notice him, but sitting unconscious in the back is The motherfucking Knuckle. Mitch gets in next to the mob-boss, and Sarah sits in the passenger’s seat.
I say, “What the hell is going here, Mitch?”
“Just fucking drive,” he says, now waving his gun around before my face. I put the car in gear and drive off, leaving behind dead bikers and host of witnesses from the motel.
After a few silent moments, Sarah says, “Who’s that guy?”
“Our only chance to fix this shit,” says Mitch.
Fix this? By kidnapping the boss? Has everyone gone bat-shit crazy today?
I say, “What are you talking about?” I watch Mitch and The Knuckle through the mirror, taking my eyes off the road for way too long.
Mitch answers, “After the shooting stopped, The Knuckle crawled back into his car, hit by a bullet.” Now that he says it, I can see blood pooling under the boss’s ass. “He’s still alive. And if he wants to stay this way, he’ll give us our money and clear our name.”
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Sarah’s trying to reach back to get to Mitch, but he shoves the pistol right in her face, saying, “Fuck off, woman. Enough with your shit.” She quickly backs off and pouts in her seat. Fear in her eyes. Anger in the tremble of her lower lip.
“He’s going to hunt us down, Mitch. You know that.” I say, nearly driving off the road. Starting to see a little double.
“Once we get our money, we’ll leave the state. We split the cash and go our separate ways for a while. If it was up to me right now, I’d leave you fuckers here to rot just like you left me back there. But I reckon we’re better off working together now.” Mitch leans back in his seat and rubs his forehead.
“What makes you think I give you the drugs?” says Sarah.
Again, I look at The Knuckle sitting there, bleeding and sleeping. I wonder if he’ll actually do what Mitch wants him to do. It’s not the worst idea, I guess. While Sarah and Mitch bicker back and forth about the drugs (ending in her keeping the bags in her dress, which suits Mitch just fine, apparently), I focus on driving before we end up in the ditch a second time in one day.
Married not even a day, and they’re already fighing like an old couple. Adorable. And fucking annoying.
We don’t have a destination right now, but I figure the father away the better.
After about twenty minutes—by now everyone’s become silent and lost in their own thoughts—The Knuckle comes to under painful moaning and a heavy sigh. Mitch leans away from him, pressing his back against the door, and trains the pistol on the mobster.
Confused, The Knuckle says, “What is going on?”
Mitch answers, “You shut up and do as we tell you to. Or I’ll cap your ass, understood?” The Knuckle nods. His eyes connect with mine through the mirror, and I can see genuine fear in them. Mitch continues, “We have your cocaine. You pay us the street value for it, and you’ll let us go without any issue. And we’ll make sure you’ll have a chance to get patched up and live through this.” It’s then that the man notices his gunshot wound, and the sticky blood he’s sitting in.
Mitch is going to far.
Sarah tries not to take part in any of it, instead staring out the window and counting clouds or some such shit.
The air grows thick and tense, and everyone is but a twitch away from losing control.
Eventually, Mitch wants me to pull over so he can take a piss. “Don’t take your eyes off him,” he says, gesturing with his gun to The Knuckle. Sarah gets out, too. To stretch her legs, she says. Of course, she takes the drugs with her. Under any under circumstances, tits full of cocaine sounds like paradise, step-sister or not. She’s ruined that for me, though.
Outside, I see the two talking, but can’t hear what they say.
Then The Knuckle says, “Nathan, boy. It’s not to late to fix this.”
I try to ignore him. Feeling dizzy. Lightheaded.
He says, “I promised to look after you if you work for me. That offer still stands.” I hear him shuffle in the backseat, and then his face is close to mine. Stretching like this makes him hurt more, I can hear it in his voice. He whispers, “Forget about your friends. They’re as good as dead. But there’s hope for you, boy. I’ll take you in and make you one of my man.”
Will he really do that? I glance over to Mitch and Sarah. They’re still arguing outside the car with their backs to me. “How do I know I can trust that you won’t just kill me, too?”
“Because I’m a man of my word,” he says with wryly. “I will forget the incident with the cocaine. For all I know, you did nothing wrong and it’s all the fault of your friends and the unexpected appearance of those filthy bikers.”
“That easy?” I say, not convinced, but also not against the prospect of starting over with The Knuckle.
“Nathan,” he says, “I’m a business man. Driving people to become the best they ought to be is my specialty. I can make someone out of you, Nathan. You can have it all. Money. Woman. Leisure. But I need my cocaine back. Those bags belong to some very rich and powerful people.” I turn my head to look at his face. He’s in pain, sickly pale, and shaking. “The second they find out what happened, you and your friends are done for. Unless…” He leans back in his seat under agony and pain, flashing his too-wide teeth as he groans and moans.
“Unless,” I continue his sentence, “I help you get it back.”
He adjusts himself in his seat, the wound in his lower back obviously bothering him more by the second. “I chose you because I knew you’re the right man to work for me, Nathan. You belong with my organization, not with these maniacs. They’ll drop you and leave you for dead the second they have a chance.”
Sarah hitting me over the head with the case full drugs comes to mind. The Knuckle’s right. They don’t give a shit about me. They only use me for their schemes. For all I know, those fuckers are out there right now, talking about what kind of idiot I am. Pretending to look all mad at each other, but in actually laughing their just-married asses off.
“Open the glove department, Nathan.”
I look outside. Sarah is turned away from Mitch, and he looks like he’s unsure whether to be mad or sorry, turing back and forth in an attempt to either hug her or walk away from her. She’s got him whipped already.
“Okay,” I say, and open the glove department. Inside is a small revolver. Six-shooter, like the one Mitch and I used to shoot cans instead of going to school. Wonder whatever happened to that gun.
“Make your choice,” says The Knuckle.
I take the gun and hide it between my hip and the door. “We could just drive away right now,” I say, but somehow I already know why we aren’t. Besides the fact that he desperately wants his drugs back, that is.
“I will not let them get away unpunished.” I knew it. “We play along with their little game, and when the time is right, you will do what you must. I can count on you, can I not, Nathan?”
Swallowing that big gulp of betrayal and guilt, I reluctantly say, “Yes, boss.”
Looks like Nathan found way out of this very bad situation. If the Knuckle sticks to his word, and if Nathan does indeed come through for him, he’ll be taken care of.
What could possibly go wrong with that proposition?