Working Title: Dead Friend
I left the office that day and took my favorite route, down a wide residential street in an attractive older neighborhood, into the commercial district, past the old brick buildings you’d find on any main street in Small Town America. It was late morning in mid November. The leaves had finally turned but still hung on. The famous Oklahoma wind had been gentle thus far and the temperatures, mild. The sun shone and the day promised to be beautiful, like most Fall days are here.
I headed for the bank across town with the usual things on my mind, sales figures, payroll, customer accounts, what needed to be mailed and filed. Passing the cleaners, with its perpetual plume of steam rising, I stopped at the intersection on Broadway, turned right at the county court house. Of course someone would back out in front of me here. Someone always did. I slowed and right on cue, an electric blue, older model Corvette was reversing. There was no one behind me. I stopped to let it in, turned on the radio, looked up again. The car looked familiar. Too familiar. I’d known a man with a car just like that once, ridden it from time to time. Years later, I’d seen it around town, driven by someone else. Then I stopped seeing it at all and after a while it drifted away, like old memories will do.
I followed the Corvette to the light, remembering a past I’d buried. I couldn’t help but notice that its driver was watching me in the rear view, a man about my age, blonde hair sticking out from under an orange cap. If I didn’t know better I’d swear that was David, driving his old baby, up to no good like always.
The driver was still watching me as I stopped behind him at the light. We studied each other in his side mirror while waiting for the green. He pushed his cap back just a little. Same build, wide face, pale blue eyes. Was that a spark of recognition in them? It couldn’t be, but my heart beat suddenly in my throat, as if my body accepted something that my mind rejected completely.
The light changed, he punched the gas, turning left without signaling and as he did, he looked back at me, leaned out his open window and grinned like a Cheshire cat.
Incredulous, I cruised slowly through the intersection and watched him go, until distance broke eye contact and I was sure I hadn’t seen a ghost.
“You son of bitch,” I said, then laughed out loud. “You sneaky son of a bitch!”
David Casey sped away in his old blue Corvette as if he’d never been murdered twenty three years ago.