Summer of The I-40 Killer Chpt 3

I waited and watched for almost a week, making plans, discarding them.  I felt I should do something, but for obvious reasons, involving the police was low on my list.  Besides, it was just a sketch, not even a good one.  It wouldn’t be right, calling out the dogs on a potentially innocent man without positive proof.  It wasn’t just that the boss wouldn’t like the heat.  I had been raised not to be a snitch, gotten beaten for it as a kid.  Daddy always said, you have a problem with somebody, take care of it yourself. 

That was the thing, I didn’t have a personal problem with the guy, other than his staring at me, flashing his blades and giving me the creeps.  So what?  I’d done my fair share of the same back in the day.

Excuses aside, I knew in my gut that it was him.  I went to bed that night and slept like a rock for the first time in weeks.  If  he was a serial killer, that meant he wasn’t a cop.  Still, I had to tell somebody.

The tan on chocolate Buick Riviera with the tinted windows screamed Mafia staff car and the man who got out of it could have passed for Steven Segal.  Low key was not his style.  Slicked hair, Sergio Armani with a personal driver whose face even I’d never seen. 

My neighbors thought I was doing him.  It worked for me to let them.

He always called me Darlin’.  He and my ex went way back and after the shooting, The Organization kept me on to pick up the slack.  Not that I owed them anything.  Daddy made sure to teach me to always keep the balance in my favor and in the end, I walked away clean.  Not many people can say that and mean it.

He’d come for the money.  Fifteen grand in the bottom of the laundry basket.  I made him coffee, that’s all he ever asked me for, and while we were drinking it, as his driver waited outside, I told him the story. 

He laughed and I realized he’d been thinking the same thing I’d been, about the guy being a cop, so I laughed too.  Then he turned serious, asked me if I needed protection, if  I thought the guy had designs on me. 

Until that point, it hadn’t registered that I might be a potential victim, being a young woman.  I seldom thought of myself that way anymore.  That part of my life had ended in gunfire two years ago.  I played it off and told him if that was the case, it would be the last mistake the poor son-of-a-bitch would ever make. 

He gave a me a squeeze on the way out and told me to call him if I were ever to need a hand with something heavy. 

I told him I’d be sure and dig the hole first.

He smiled and kissed me on top of the head.

After he left, like always, I cried.

I carried the cups back to the kitchen, turned on the light.  I heard a sound outside my open back door.  The screen was latched and the porch light was on.  All I saw were the bushes by the steps swaying.  The back of the van was closed and it’s owner was no where in sight.  Could have been anything.  I locked up and went to bed.

The next morning came too soon and I wasn’t ready.  Running late for work, always have a legitimate job Daddy would say, I paid little attention to my surroundings on the way to the car.  Gun down the back of my jeans, coffee in one hand, keys in the other, I slid into the front seat of the Trans Am, started it, watched the tachometer inch into the sweet zone where I knew I could put it gear without killing it.  It was a hot ride, barely street legal, would get rubber on the highway at 65 and still have plenty of pedal at 100.  My ex and I had built it together and I prided myself on the fact that none of my friends had ever even gotten it out of the driveway. 

A motion in the rear view caught my eye in time for me to see a wraith appear behind the car, shirtless in dirty jeans with that double-edged perforated blade in one hand.  His jaw was clenched.  He worked his fingers around the grip, tightening, loosening.  Those cold dead eyes in the mirror never left mine and I understood that he knew.  He’d been outside my door last night.  He’d heard the whole story.

It was as if I saw everything through a haze of blood.  I slid the nine out of my pants, smiled just a little and mouthed, “Come on you mother-fucker,” at his reflection. 

He broke the eye contact first, glanced back for a second then slunk away. 

I put the car in reverse.  Strike three.


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