Sliding in the drivers side of the van, I adjust the seat, which is at maximum settings to handle her body. I place the leather bag on the passenger seat, taking a few things out for easy access. Her floorboard is covering in candy wrappers, leaving no question how she came to be as large as she was. Empty soda bottles roll through them making clattering rustling noises as I pull out of the parking garage, heading south toward the interstate.
Salsa music pours out of the speakers, which gives me a chuckle envisioning her dancing. I scan the stations, settling when I hear the hard riffs of a classic rock song. My gloved fingers play on the steering wheel building and destroying ridges of blood that are left behind. Pressing the control, the window lowers, allowing the cool night air to massage my face. I need to clear my head and prepare.
Her van has surprising power for a van. The Stow-and-Go seating is a nice touch as well, giving the ability to carry large loads, but I won't need that tonight. It would give plenty of room for taking my boys to their soccer games or maybe carrying the team to a victory dinner at the pizza place. Better to not get too attached, it will all be spare parts by morning.
Traffic slowly dwindles the closer I get to downtown until the streets are near empty. Not many feel comfortable enough to travel into this part of the city after dark. Unless they are going to the hospital.
It was at dinner, one night, that I realised I was not just a shoe salesman for Mr. M-. Recently, I had decided it was time to ask Jill to marry me. Mr. M- wanted to meet her before I proposed, so he had invited us to dinner with his wife at their house.
"We are going to be late. Can't you go a little faster?" she chided, knowing from my stories about Mr. M- that he did not like to be left waiting.
"We have plenty of time honey. Relax a bit. You look fabulous. Mr. M- is like a father to me. I am sure he will like you," I reassured her knowing she was just nervous.
As we pulled up to the gate, a man in a suit stepped out of a door built into the wall. Noticing who it was, he turned, without a word and opened the gate. Proceeding onto the driveway, we rounded a slight turn around a copse of trees and the house came into. It was the largest house I had ever seen, all the windows glittering like jewels. Jill was speechless.
We were escorted from the car by two men in suits and Jill's apprehension gave was as we were treated like royalty to and incredible meal in the grand ball room. Jill and Mrs. M-, who looked to be her same age, about twenty years or so younger than Mr. M-, settled into comfortable conversation and Mr. M- beckoned me to join him in the Smokers Room, for an after dinner drink.
His sharp eyes pierced me over the rim of his glass, "So you like this girl?"
"She is quite beautiful and you can tell she adores you. Marriage is a big step."
"Yes Sir. As you know, I don't know my real father and I was hoping that you would stand in for me."
I watched him contemplate the request, then he answered, "I would be honored."
My cheeks burned in the smile as we shook hands. Placing his glass on a table, he beckoned me to a tall backed leather chair.
"Before you make this decision, there is something we must talk about. I have watched you now for a few years managing the store and I think you have a lot of potential. I need a man with your attention to detail. What I am about to ask you, I do not do so lightly. You are like a son to me, and now I want to make that a reality..."
Blue lights fill the mirror and I decelerate, pulling to the side of the highway. My heart jumps with what this means, but I calm myself knowing the importance. I make out the silhouette of one officer in the patrol car behind me. Good, just one to deal with, so I can get to the hospital.
Reaching across the vehicle as if reaching for my registration, I take what I need from the passenger seat. Removing the left glove, I squeeze it letting blood cover my palm, then dangle it out the window as the officer approaches.
"Officer...on my way to the hospital...bleeding bad...please help..." I say, my voice weak.
Stepping forward to get a better view, he never sees the gun until the first bullet enters the corner of his eye, pealing back the bridge of his nose. The second catches him in the cheek, sending him spilling backwards to the pavement. I imagine the dispatcher, frantically calling for back up on the radio, having watched it all through the patrol cars dashboard camera. Thoughts of her fear excite me.
I retrieve a plastic bag from the passenger seat. Holding it out the window, the urinal cake from the bathroom at the shop falls through its lips landing on the uniformed chest of the officer, slipping to the crook of his arm. Excess piss and water drips after as I crumple the bag, pulling it back into the car.
The cops will get the message, and while there will be retribution, they will understand you don't piss off the wrong people, by messing in their business.
(to be continued)