“Excuse me…HEY, over here…lemme get a Jack.”
“Jack Daniels sweetheart. Ya know…booze! Straight up. In a glass. Now.”
The woman hesitated. She was new on the job. Two days out of training. She looked at her counterpart for assurance. For support. He stepped in.
“Sir…there’s no need to be rude…”
Egg took a deep breath. Normally he would have stood up and shown them both just exactly how rude he didn’t need to be. But not this time.
He didn’t need to create a scene. Not now.
After all that had happened to him in the past three hours, he just wanted to kick back, suck down a few drinks and relax.
He flashed her his most charming smile. The one he practiced in the bathroom mirror, in anticipation of moments just like this.
“I’m very sorry. You know how it is. First time…nerves and all.” Egg held out his hand and shook it in an exaggerated motion.
She smiled back, obviously charmed. The other man, her counterpart, gave her a quick glance and an eye roll…then moved on about his business.
“Apology accepted…I know how scary it can be for first time flyers.”
“Well I appreciate that.” The moment lingered as they stared at each other, smiling. Egg felt the rage building up inside him…threatening release.
“So…hows about you run along and fetch me that drink now darling.”
After being left on the side of the road by that **** Toby; penniless, without transportation and alone…Egg decided quickly that dying a slow torturous death wouldn’t be so bad after all. Maybe it was even fitting. What he deserved. He preferred the bullet into the skull…like Frau…but, beggars can’t be choosers.
As he run full speed up the twenty-two flights of stairs, he couldn’t shake the vision of Frau from his minds eye. That blank stare. Bloody forehead. Bits of charred flesh and brain matter.
“STUPID ****!” he shouted.
He felt…he felt…he didn’t really know how he felt.
On some level, he had really cared about Frau. Enjoyed his company. Liked to take care of him and show him the ropes. He felt like, in a sense, he had created him.
But on another level…wasn’t his plan all along to eventually kill Frau anyway? To use his as bait? As a decoy? As his own toady?
Maybe that was why he felt so upset. He didn’t get to split that bitches head open himself.
He would miss him…wouldn’t he.
Egg couldn’t think straight. It didn’t matter anyway. Not anymore. His only hope left was that somehow, someway, someone had left something behind that would stir something in him and make him want to continue on this crazy journey.
It was a slim hope.
Egg got to the 22nd floor and without hesitation burst through the door.
The heat was immediate and intense.
He thought of a long ago vacation as a kid…he and his family driving through Death Valley on their way to Los Angeles. They had stopped in a place called ‘Furnace Creek.’ He remembered stepping out of the icy cold air conditioning of the car into the mid-day summer heat…and not being able to breathe. The air seemingly too hot and heavy to be swallowed.
His mumma had bought him a brand new box of crayolas for his birthday and he proudly took them everywhere with him. Not that day. His father yelled at him and made him leave them in the car. Egg had propped them up in the back window, the lid open so he could see all the colors as he walked away.
Later that day when they came back to the car he found his box of crayons melted. The Brick Red and the Burnt Sienna and the Copper and the Forrest Green and the Raw Umber and Sepia and Salmon and Plum…all melted together.
That’s how he felt now. Like a box of crayons in the back window on a searing hot Furnace Creek summer day, his skin and his bones and his hair and his thoughts…
His eyes darted wildly in every direction. Looking for anything. Looking for that hope. Without it, he was determined to die here. Without it he would just lie down and let the heat have him.
There was a hallway with offices lining each side. He remembered from the file…room eleven.
He pulled off his shirt, wrapped it around his face and set off down the hallway, dodging the flames that kicked and bit out of the surrounding walls.
When he reached room eleven he found the door open. Through the thick black smoke inside he could see another door, toward the back…it was closed.
He made a quick decision and rushed it.
Egg had taken Karate when he was in high school. It was his father’s idea, seeing as how every other day he would come home from school with a black eye or a bloody nose or a broken finger. His father assumed he couldn’t defend himself. What his father didn’t know was that Egg started most of the fights. And he never got to see what the other kid looked like.
Egg hated Karate and wasn’t very good it. He lacked the focus and the concentration. At first, he could win all the matches…using his street smarts and the skills he had already attained to his advantage. The quickness. The ferocity. However, after the other kids started learning and getting better…he couldn’t keep up. One day, after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands, and feet, of a much smaller girl…he quit.
The only thing he took away from that experience was how to run, jump and kick. He didn’t know how to do it right, not like the instructor had taught him…but he found out quickly that it didn’t much matter. A run and a jump and a kick to someone’s face, or body, usually got the point across. It was in fact one of the reasons he wound up in Prison to begin with. The first time anyway.
So here he was again…a run and a jump and a kick and through the office door he went crashing.
When he landed on the other side he thought for sure he had landed in a pit of fire. The heat was savage. He felt his skin sizzle. His eyes boil. Images assaulted his senses. He couldn’t tell the difference between what was real and what was just his imagination flashing his life before him…
Colorful files. His father leaving welts across his mothers bare stomach with a leather belt. Stealing bills out of the Church collection plate. A hole in Frau’s head. His old prison celly...
“Skeeter…?” Egg tried to focus through the haze…
“Here you are sir. Can I get your friend something too?”
Egg turned his head and looked at Skeeter, sound asleep in the seat next to him.
“Ah, yea, get his **** a…eh, I mean…Could you please be a sweetie and fetch him a Jack too.”
Egg quickly flipped her a ten he had taken out of Skeeters wallet.
“Keep the change darling.”
Her smile wasn’t so pleasant this time.
Egg didn’t give a ****. He had his drink now. And soon he would have another. And he had avoided any altercations that might have drawn attention to himself.
He figured the nut was far enough away, up in first class with the curtain drawn, that they wouldn’t have been able to hear anyway, but he didn’t want to take any chances.
After untying Skeeter and busting **** to get out of the Broderick before it collapsed and before it was overrun with cops and fireman…they had hightailed it to Skeeters house. There, Skeeter gave him the lowdown.
“Wrights daughter. Crazy Mafa bitch yo. And her goon, dudes name is Brett. They on they way to Missouri.”
“Missouri…” Egg questioned…”What the **** in Missouri?”
“I don know G, but it sounds big.”
So they cleaned up and got ready to roll.
Egg shaved his beard and tucked his long hair up into a ski cap. JoJo had an extra pair of prescription glasses she let him have. And with Skeeters hip-hop wardrobe…
‘Hell, Frau wouldn’t even be able to recognize me.’ Egg thought…and then felt a twinge of regret. Maybe he should have protected him better…
Skeeter wasn’t as well disguised but they figured if they played it right, it wouldn’t much matter.
The shape the crazy bitch had left him in, last place they would ever expect to see Skeeter was on this airplane.
He had overheard the Goon confirming reservations on a flight to St. Louis. He didn’t get the flight number but he did hear, ‘First class.’ He also got the time and somehow even remembered the gate.
“Man, you always were good with details bro…even when faced with certain death.”
Skeeter, feeling all proud: “That’s jus how I roll yo.”
They got to the airport early and boarded the plane…requesting seats as far toward the back as possible, which wasn’t a problem.
Leaning over in his seat Egg had just got a glimpse of Angelique’s long Strawberry Blond hair as she boarded. He had only met her once but he would never forget it. She was so unearthly beautiful.
He quickly ducked back behind his seat…just in case.
Egg tilted his glass back, drained the last of Skeeters drink and set it down next to his own already empty glass on the tray in front of him.
The flight attendant seemingly materialized out of nowhere with a fresh drink in her hand.
“Well damn darhhling…you are good.”
Egg reached into Skeeters wallet for more money.
“Oh no sir, this one is already taken care of.”
“Taken care of?”
“Yes sir, by the extremely good looking man up there…” Pointing forward she smiled deeply, her face turning red as she realized what she said.
Eggs heart was thundering. He slowly craned his neck to peer beyond the corner of the chair. Walking up the aisle toward him was a very tall, dark Cuban man.
‘Damn, he is good looking.’ Egg managed to think.
The man stopped next to his seat and spoke to the flight attendant.
“Thank you very much. Now if jew will please escuse us.”
‘Oh…yes, of course.” She squeezed by, managing to inadvertently brush her chest against his arm.
Smiling, his teeth brilliantly white, the man looked down at Egg.
“Woman, heh. Waa jew gonna do?”
Egg smiled, wishing Skeeter would wake the **** up.
“Do I know you friend?”“Shirley sent me. My name is Che, and we share the same interests.”