I HATE IT HERE! It was the hundredth time she had screamed that in her head that day.It is now late October and she had been stuck here in the armpit of America since August. How did this happen, you might ask? Well, the story involves a 1972 Challenger convertible, engine trouble and a bag full of cash!
On that terrible day in August, she had rolled into this speck of a town with a bad radiator, a possible warped head gasket and some pretty sketchy cylinders. It was hot..100 degrees with 99 percent humidity. It was like breathing soup in comparison to the desert air she was used to. At least luck was with her. There was an auto mechanic right where the challenger gave it's last gasp billowing out tons of smoke, overheated. Dan, or at least that what his shirt said, blurted out"That don't look good!" "Ya think?" They both busted out laughing. What else are you going to do? They both pushed the car in to get it up on the lift. In no time he had her in a loaner car, and with a cheap motel just over the hill, things were looking up. Sort of.
Even though there was no way the challenger was going anywhere, she had an overwhelming urge to keep going, to leave this place as soon as humanly possible, take off running down the highway! Her guts were clenching and screaming RUN! Didn't know why, it was just one of those intuitive feelings that you always regret if you don't follow it.
Phew! Thinking back she remembered how glad she felt when that day was over! What was expected to take two or three days had stretched out to 2 months! Where is this little slice of heaven you might ask? It's Okay Oklahoma! Ok, ok! Like a surrender! Okay has one stop light, three churches, a Mom and Pop store with a laundrymat, and the garage. The good people of Okay kept their distance. They would scrunch up their fake pious smiles as they strolled out of the churches, the wives pinching their husbands arm if his gaze lingered a little too long. The treated her like a pariah. For some reason everyone in Okay is old. Old like faded overalls on the line, having ED, popping blue pills old! Every time one of the blue haired old hags would give her a dirty look over their "man" it took everything she had not to laugh out loud! Trust me ladies, you have nothing to worry about!
It's really been that long? ? Wow, she let her mind drift back, back to that night in Las Vegas and how this all began, her outlaw life, Her pit boss boyfriend Lou wanted to sneak into the vault at the casino and have sex.." roll in the dough" he called it. With a shrug she agreed. How often do you get the chance for that! With a quick stop at security, ( have a technical difficulty with camera 2 until you see me, wink wink) there they were rollin in it. When Lou left her there in the vault while he went to the bathroom she couldn't believe it! Scooping up as much as she could carry, she snuck out before he came back. What an idiot!
As she rounded the corner right off the strip is when she saw the challenger.Her dream car! Instead of doing the sensible thing and checking it out and all that she yelled "I'll take it!" In hindsight she should have known something was up when the salesman couldn't stop grinning and even threw in a full tank of gas!
So here we are. The good news is the car will be ready in the morning, and she will have laundered enough of the casino money to get a ticket for something leaving the country.Wasn't sure if the serial numbers were on file someplace, but you can't be too careful. With a sigh she got up, took a big stretch and prepared to go do her. "rounds"
As she backed out of the carport she caught a glimpse of him. He was so average and ordinary looking he seemed to disappear into the surroundings. He was just a flicker in the corner of her eye. It had happened a few times, and usually when she was leaving. Once when she came back she had the errie feeling someone had been in there. Since everything was locked up and the money was still there she blew it off.
It was well after dark when she returned from her "laundry" rounds. Juggling a pumpkin with a bag of groceries, she fished for her keys, As she leaned against the door to steady herself, it surprisingly opened. Did she forget to lock it? Probably. What did it matter, who would want to break into this dump anyway?
Sitting down her bag she went to the fridge and grabbed a beer, and a knife from the butcher block on the counter. After spreading out some news papers on the kitchen floor, she turned her mind to carving. The pumpkin was an impulse buy from a farmers stand on the way back. It's something to do, she thought, while waiting for tomorrow and getting out....won't be no fancy Instagram moment, that's for sure. A crocked smile and a buck tooth, and we'll be good!
From her viewpoint sitting on the floor, she noticed them.
It was a pair of men's boots.
They were sitting right by the front door.
Her mind was racing, trying to make sense of those boots being here. Her synapse weren't connecting. She couldn't make sound to scream. Could not make sense of what she was looking at, and that she was in danger.
She hadn't realized that she dropped the knife until she felt it against her throat. She couldn't move as he slowly tilted her head back until she was staring into his cold, dead pale blue eyes. It was him. Mr invisible.
As she felt the sting from the blade as he held her gaze, the last thing she heard was one word.