by Jon Jefferson
Locked. The blasted things were locked. George had told Eric to meet him here, even mentioned stepping inside the gates because the neighborhood wasn’t the best. “Doesn’t always go your way though does it?” Eric thought.
Eric rattled the bars again, just for good measure. He was at George’s mercy and couldn’t change anything. Eric needed a favor, a huge one. The odds of this going his way were slim. Sitting outside the gates to the warehouse like this though, well that took the cake.
Eric paced in front of the gates. The winter air cut through his thin coat. The pacing kept his blood circulating, kept him warm. He hated to think what might happen if he sat down for too long in this weather.
The headlights came around the corner, alerting him to a car coming soon. With any luck it would be George. Bastard needed to hurry his ass up and get here soon.
The car passed by. The dash lights reflected off the two occupants, girls from what he could tell. Still no George. Eric knew he was playing a power trip now.
“You coming in or what?” The voice came from behind Eric, the other side of the gate.
Eric gripped the .38 in his jacket pocket. “What the fuck dude? Are you trying to give me a heart attack?”
“I thought you were meeting me inside?” George pushed the gate open so Eric could join him.
“Gate was locked,” Eric said.
“Thought you had a key,” George said. “I’ve been here for an hour waiting for you. What was this favor anyway?”
“Let’s get inside. I’ve been out here freezing my ass off.”
On the surface, George ran a building supply business. Hidden behind that, he laundered money for several “businesses” through the warehouse. Low key work really, but there were risks. Accurate books for the warehouse were a must.
They sat in George’s main office, not the one the regular customers saw. They were in his business office in the subbasement. A hatch leading to this office was covered by a filing cabinet upstairs. He kept accurate records in this office too. The books could put quite a few people in jail for a long time.
“What’s so important we had to meet here?” George asked.
“They found it. I don’t know how, but they did.”
“Found what? You’re speaking in riddles.”
Eric looked him in the eye. “The package we buried a few years ago.”
George went white. “How did they find it? We lost that shit.”
“Eddie the Mouse called me this morning,” Eric said. “Said they were digging around where they shouldn’t be.”
“How do you know they found it though? Just because they were in the area doesn’t mean they found it.”
“He described it to me. The Mouse never saw it.”
“Shit, fuck noodles,” George said. “What are you going to do?”
“Dammit George, that’s why I came to you.” Eric smacked his fist down on the table.
“What do you expect me to do?”
Eric released a heavy sigh. “You are going to have to pull some strings. If this gets out I won’t be the only one that goes down because of it.”
“Let me make a couple calls. I’ll get in touch with you tomorrow.”
“Keep me in the loop.”
* * *
Eric popped the door locks with his slim jim. The Volkswagen wasn’t his car of choice but it was better than driving his own car into the neighborhood. After fiddling with the ignition wires the car fired up. He pulled onto the street, on his way to the garage where his car was parked.
This late at night, the deserted streets were a blessing. With no traffic to fight, he would be home in no time. He flicked on the radio and fiddled with the stations till he found some Motown, his dad’s music. James Brown and Aretha Franklin were always present in Eric’s childhood home. Even now, he thought of his dad when he heard it.
He parked on the far side of the garage, away from the cameras. They could catch him getting into his car though he didn’t want to be placed with the Volkswagen. He found his Impala right where he left it. Didn’t expect anything different, but it could happen.
A life of paranoia taught him a few things. A big lesson, he never got into his car without doing a quick sweep. Placing car bombs in the past taught him to be cautious. The distributor cap was in the trunk, left there before he went to meet George. Nice thing about these older cars, it was pretty easy to disable them and deter thieves. He swore by the adage, you can’t steal a car you can’t start.
The beast fired up with a roar. Sure, the car was old, but the modifications to it ensured he would never get rid of it. The armor plating built into the body did little for the gas mileage but the protection was worth it.
Eric gunned it through the garage, Aretha Franklin blasting through the speakers. The Impala’s tires squealed as they tore into the pavement. After a short drive, he pulled into his private garage and locked the beast up behind him.
“Where ya been?” Jessica woke up when he opened the front door. She slept on the couch, never was able to sleep without him. She had moved in two years ago, adjusted to his schedule no questions asked.
He hung his coat up, removed his shoes, sat on the edge of the couch. “Needed to meet with George,” he said. “Took the bastard forever to get there.” He brushed her hair away from her eyes. “You didn’t need to wait up.”
“I didn’t, fell asleep watching TV.” She pulled him in for a kiss. “I missed you.”
To be continued…
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