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Black - Part 10

black-part-10

Disclaimer

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Previously

His phone rang. The now-familiar but dreaded voice of Charles spoke. “You caused quite an uproar at the hospital. Good job getting away. I commend you. Don’t worry. I’m not going to hurt your wife and kid. After all, I do have morals. I know they don’t know anything other than what they hear on TV. Besides, I may need them to lead me to you.

“Now we could make this easy. Just meet me at the Maryland border. We need to talk. Let me put it another way. If you don’t meet with me, the next time you see my face you’ll have a pistol pressed against your forehead. The bottom line, Mr. Black, is that you are being tracked. We know exactly where you are, and it’s just a matter of time until we have you. Your choice. We can talk - or you can die. What will it be?

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The pressure mounted on John. “Okay. Okay. Where and when do you want to meet?”

“You made a wise choice, Mr. Black. Continue to drive until you get to the Maryland border. Go to the first rest area. Go to the restroom. Take the last stall closest to the window. You’ll be given further instructions there. After all, we can’t be too careful, can we, Mr. Black?”

John drove another 22 miles until he came to the designated rest stop. Pulling in, he observed the cars and trucks, looking for someone familiar. He saw no one. Cautiously, he made his way from his vehicle to the restroom. Across the room was the window, with several stalls in between. John walked to the last one. It was in use. Soon a man emerged, head down and limping across the floor. John entered.

The sticky note on the back of the door read, “Go back to your car. You will then be told what to do.”

Tired of the games, there was no choice but to return to his SUV. The man with the limp followed him. Waiting by the car was another man who ordered John to get in the back seat. The man with a limp was no longer limping as he shoved a revolver in John’s back.

Not really surprised but still shaken, John obeyed.

The driver spoke, “Charles sent us to take care of business – if you know what I mean.”

“No. No, I don’t know. Spell it out for me.”

“Come on, Black. I know you get it. This is your last day on earth. Enjoy the scenery. When we reach our destination, you are a dead man.”

Remaining as calm as possible, John’s mind went into overdrive. He looked around and noticed the one mistake his captors made. The door was unlocked.

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll find out soon enough, Black. We have one more town to go through and we’ll be there. Just be patient. I’m so looking forward to it. Aren’t you, Black?”

“Please, call me John.”

“Shut up, Black. Limpy, show him we mean business.”

Limpy cocked the trigger and rammed the gun into John’s side. “Hey, Harvey, why don’t we do him right here and get it over with?”

“No, we need to make him sweat for a while. It’s more fun that way.”

John, trying to remain calm, spoke up. “Okay. Okay. I get it. They promised me a meeting with Charles. You owe me that much.”

“Nobody sees Charles.”

“I already did. He forced his way into the back seat of my SUV. Very persuasive man. I look forward to meeting with him again.”

The driver laughed. “Let me repeat, “Nobody sees Charles. You didn’t see him, and you won’t see him. It’s that simple. Limpy, raise your head. Look at Black.”

Limpy’s eyes focused on Black. The driver continued, “See anybody you know, Black?”

John couldn’t believe it. “You’re Charles!”

“No, I’m Limpy. But I was in the back of this vehicle before. It rides nice.”

“So Limpy, why do you fake your limp? Just curious, you know.”

“Come on, Black. It’s just part of my disguise. Now enough of 20 questions. Let’s prepare for you to meet your maker.”

Soon they approached a town. John knew he needed to act fast. They were now surrounded by other vehicles as the stoplight held up traffic. Slowly, John’s hand moved to open the door. Making sure traffic was still stopped, and the driver and Limpy weren’t looking, John pushed the door open and tumbled to the ground. He ran down the street, pointing his finger at Limpy’s vehicle and yelling, “They tried to kidnap me. They tried to kill me. Call 911.”

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Several motorists did as they followed Limpy through the town. A police car waited for them at the next traffic light. The lights turned on. The siren wailed as the vehicle cut through the traffic and pulled over to the side of the road. The police cruiser sat behind it waiting for backup. Finally, another officer approached. The two walked toward the SUV, guns in hand. “Hands up! Get out of the car!”

Limpy looked at Harvey. “You better come up with something quick. Charles isn’t going to be happy.”

“Let’s go! Get out of the car!”

Harvey opened the door, hands raised above his head. Limpy followed.

“Officer, what have we done? I made sure I stopped at the light a block back. I wasn’t speeding. What seems to be the problem?”

“Let me see your license.”

“Certainly, Officer.” Harvey reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. “Now, let’s see. Credit card. Gas card. Another credit card. Oh, here it is.”

The officer took the card and examined it. The face matched. “Richard Jenkins, eh. Tell me Richard, what is your address?”

“3221 Oakwood Road.”

“Okay. Let me see the vehicle registration.”

Harvey swallowed hard as he reached into the glove compartment. “Of course, Officer.”

“This vehicle is registered to a Mr. John Black. Do you know him?”

Limpy admired Harvey’s quick thinking. “Well, yes and no, Officer. I mean, John Black is the guy the Pennsylvania State Police are looking for. We saw him on the street and offered him a ride. I recognized him from the TV surveillance video. I wasn’t really going to give him a ride. The plan was to drive him to the police station and turn him in, but he got away when he found what we were up to.”

The officer scratched his head. “Mr., uh, Jenkins. You trying to tell me you were going to give Mr. Black a lift in his own car? Come on, hands behind the back. We’re taking you in for questioning regarding a kidnap attempt.”

“Officer, wait! Wait, a minute. With all due respect, you should try to capture Black. He’s dangerous, and he’s probably running through the neighborhoods threatening people as we speak.”

“Come on, Jenkins or whoever. Get in the car.”

The police cruiser turned left at the next intersection. Excitement welled up in Harvey. John was walking down the street. “There! There he is, Officer! John Black. I told you.”

“I doubt there is any truth to what you say, Jenkins, but to humor you, I’ll question him.

The siren squeaked. In an instant, John disappeared between two houses. The officer peered over his shoulder. Thank God his backup was behind him. “Greg, go over to the next street. I have a feeling he’s headed in that direction. You can cut him off. I’ll radio in for more backup. Then I’m going to run these two back to the station. I’ll catch up with you at some point.”

Hiding between houses, John saw the police car drive by. He made his way back to the sidewalk and continued his journey on foot. John realized this was going to be a long day – and night. He safely made it downtown when Greg met him at a stoplight. He sped down the street and turned at a Burger King. He ran through the front door, through the kitchen, and out the back. Taken by surprise, the employees did nothing.

John needed to think fast. The dumpster sat in a corner of the parking behind the restaurant. John thought, It’s time to try something new. Dumpster diving. Let’s hope it’s a good one.

Greg stormed through the door. “Where is he?”

The cook pointed to the back door. Greg leaped over the counter and ran for the door. It was the spilled grease on the floor that took him down. Pulling himself up, he made his way to the door. He observed the parking lot. John was gone. Or was he?

Greg spied the dumpster. He lied, “Black, you’re surrounded. Come out with your hands up.” There was no movement, no noise. The officer repeated his demand. Still nothing.

Cautiously, he walked toward the heavy, metal dumpster. He slowly lifted the lid. John was not there. In Greg’s mind, the question was, How did John escape? And where did he go? He hurried back to the police car.

© 2021 William Kovacic

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