So, you left the used car lot to head back to Greenville?
Yeah, and it wasn't a pleasant trip either. I stopped at the first gas station I could for some air fresheners but it didn't help any. The stench was so choking that even with the windows down I felt like I had to breathe through my mouth.
To make matters worse, the car didn't sound too good. I guess it ran good enough, but I always got the feeling that something was going to break at any second. Could have just been the fact I hate Buicks though.
Sorry, got off track.
I knew I had to go to Greenville. It was the only place I could get help and there was only one person who could give me that help, Little John. I figured if he had the contacts to get me into this mess, he might have the ones I needed to get out. Seemed logical at least.
Anyway, it was starting to be evening when I got there, so I figured there was a good shot Little John would be at work. I pulled into a small gas station and got directions to the Blue Moon Bar.
Five minutes later, I was pulling into the gravel parking lot and walking through the front door, suitcase in hand. Sure enough, Little John was standing behind the bar cleaning some glasses.
I'll bet he was shocked to see you.
That'd be putting it modestly. He was shocked and he wasn't happy about it.
The second he saw me in there he blurted out "Hell no!" and started walking toward me motioning for me to leave. You could tell by the way he was walking he was freaked, for a big guy, he sure can move.
Anyway, when he got up to me he said, "Hell no! Hell no! Get the Hell out of here boy! I can't have a corpse laying on my floor! Don't be bringing that stuff in here!" while making huge gestures toward the door.
"It's OK! It's OK!" I shouted back, "No one followed me, it's safe."
"Yeah, for an hour, only until they find out you're here and make the drive down. They gonna kill you and they don't care where you are."
I let out a long sigh, it was still sinking in how much trouble I was in, "Listen, if you help me out, I'll be out of your way quicker. You owe me at least a few minutes."
He got really angry when I said that and looked me dead in the eyes. He went to speak but the anger kind of drained out of his face and he said, "Yeah, I guess you're right, come on back it's safer there."
He led me to the back of the bar into a small storeroom. Unlike Stan's room, this one was actually used for storage. He told me to "Pull up a crate" and I planted myself on a case of Jim Bean.
"You're in deep shit son, deep shit," he said to me.
"Yeah, I know. How do I get out of it?"
"Well, you can get rid of that suitcase there."
"How do I do that?" I asked.
Little John kind of pushed his fingers into his forehead and started thinking, "Well, if you give it to Stan, Los Gorillas will kill you, you give it to the Gorillas, Stan will kill you. You can give it to the cops and you'll do fifteen years in the slammer, of course, you probably won't survive that either," he said with a chuckle. "You're monkey-fucked."
"That's not helping me," I said.
"Heh, sorry man. Just telling it like it is. Sorry."
He's got a point you know. You were screwed.
Yeah, I never thought giving away over half a million would be so damn hard. I guess I should have taken a hint from government and blown it on a useless study or something.
Anyway, I thought about the situation for a second and asked him, "Why do the Gorillas want the money so bad, it's not theirs anyway?"
"Two of their guys are in jail thanks to Stan, they kind of feel like Stan owes them. Stan of course, disagrees. He always was a piss-ant about these things."
"Well, maybe I can call them you know, tell them to work it out with Stan and leave me out of it."
"Doubt it buddy," he said, "Their leader ain't exactly the negotiating type."
"You know him?"
"Yeah, we go back a ways."
"Well, what can you tell me? Maybe I can think of something."
Little John got lost in thought. He pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his shirt pocket and lit up. "When I was fourteen," he began, "I moved to L.A. My old man had been in the Marines so we moved around a lot. When he finally quit, he got a job with an L.A. Trucking company and I started going to this piss-poor high school on the south side."
"You, in L.A.?" I said with a small laugh, "No offense but I thought you were a good ol' boy."
Little John waved the cigarette in front of my face, "I am and don't you forget it," he said. "Anway, I met this fella by the name of Miguel Hernandez. He was a short, fat, hairy little bastard, got picked on a lot you know? Everyone called him a gorilla because of the way he looked. Kind of bonded with him, me being the new kid and all. Well, unfortunately for the other kids, he hit a late puberty. By the end of my second year, he'd gained a foot in height and and almost a hundred pounds. Worst of all, that fucker could hit. See this tooth here," he said motioning to a chipped tooth in his mouth, "Miguel did that to me just fuckin' around."
"Nice guy," I said.
"He's got a temper, but he's cool when you know him. Anyway though, I wasn't there long. My dad's company moved to Greenville and I've been here raising Hell ever since."
"Let me guess though, you've kept in touch with Miguel."
"Yep," he said.
"And you were the one that put Stan in touch with him."
"Yep," he said, "Never thought this shit would happen though."
"So why don't you call him up and help me out!" I screamed.
"Calm down man, Jesus, you're louder than a kid getting a drum set for Christmas. I'd do that if it'd help. But Miguel is a businessman now. Money's money and friends are friends. He wants his damn money and he doesn't give a shit about his friends, I'm surprised he ain't pissed at me."
I'll Bet that was a heartbreaker.
Oh, it was. I just kind of slumped over on the crate and almost started crying you know. I was really choking back tears. For the first time I really, really started wishing I hadn't left my wife.
"So I guess I just keep running," I said, "Running until they finally catch me."
"Yeah, well," Little John said, "At least you've got enough money to make it a good time. Could be the best time of your life."
I paused a second to let things sink in, "No it won't. I won't be able to enjoy it, even if it lasts for eighty years."
"How do you figure that?" Little John asked sitting upright suddenly.
"I'm going to always be looking over my shoulder. Every moment I'm awake I'm going to be waiting to get shot. I can't live like that. I don't even think you could."
Little John twisted his toe into the concrete, "Yeah, well, maybe. But what else are you going to do?"
"I'm going to go back."
Little John shot up like a rocket and almost kicked his crate across the floor, "You crazy-ass bastard! What the Hell are you thinking?"
"That I got into this mess because I ran away and that running farther won't fix it."
He started shaking his head, "You'll get your ass killed."
"It's better than the alternatives."
Little John started pacing around the small storage room for a bit, puffing at his his cigarette every few steps. When he was done, he flicked the butt to the ground and said, "You serious about this? Really serious?"
"I don't have a choice."
"Well, if you're going back, at least let me give you some protection," he said getting very serious.
"You mean a gun."
"No, I mean a condom. Of course I mean a gun dipshit," he said rummaging through one of the boxes. After a few seconds, he produced a small gun and showed it to me.
Kind of upping the ante isn't it?
That's what I thought and I was scared of it. I just kind of looked at it for a second not sure what to do, "I… I… I've never used a gun before, I wouldn't even know what to do with it," I eventually said.
"You ever used a computer before," he said. I nodded yes and he continued, "Ain't much different, just point and click," he said taking aim at a box over to the side and squeezing the trigger causing the gun to produce a click as it tried to fire an empty chamber.
"Listen, I'm serious man, I can't use a gun."
"And I'm serious, you need one. At least carry it so you can't say I didn't do nothing for ya," he said handing me the gun and a full clip, "Now, it's only a 22 so it ain't gonna stop a gorilla, if you catch my drift, but it might help you out."
"Thanks, I'll keep that in mind," I said. After looking at the gun and thinking for a few seconds I said, "Do you have a way I can contact this Miguel guy?"
"I can give you his cell phone number but I don't know where the guy is right now," he said pulling a napkin out of his pocket and writing the number down.
"I'll work on that later, I need to get moving," I said standing up.
"Woah, do you have any idea what you're going to do when you get there?"
"I've got a plan," I said slyly, "But I need to hurry if I'm going to make it work. If they find me first, well, dead men have no plans."
"I hear that one brother," he said shaking my hand, "Take care and, um, don't call me alright? I'm in enough shit as it is."
"Not as much as I am," I said with a smile, "But don't worry, I won't be in touch."