I hear the garble of music and radio station static. The sensation of warm leather against my face. The sound of a never-ending humming, as glasses clink together. Horns honking, tires screeching-bits and pieces of broken conversation. More horn honking, and a few clever colorful strung together vulgar swears.
Stirring slowly I open my eyes, and sit up-take in my surroundings. I’m in the back of a stretch limo. Windows tinted dark as midnight, but I could see out them clearly. Traffic outside the limo is terrible, not stand still but its crowded. Pedestrians risking their lives to cross the street, speed walking and dodging in between passing cars. It was like a life or death game of hop scotch or watching a human version of the game ‘Frogger’.
Only takes a moment for me to remember what happen. I had just been part of a murder. Well could I really call it a murder? I mean we buried him alive-so he was alive. He just suffocated. This argument went over and over in my head. Even recalled an episode of ‘1000 ways to die’, where a guy had die from being semi buried. Despite the dirt only being up to his chest, he still died from the weight and pressure the dirt had on his chest. If you can’t breathe-well…..you die.
Slumping on the leather seat, I exhale. On a whim just to see if my luck was any good, I pull on the door handle. Locked. Mumbling to myself, I hear the buzz of the partition. In the place of the dark glass I could see the back of LJ’s head.
My focus goes to the rear view mirror. Our eyes meet like two estranged lovers.
“Sorry about that kid. If Rin had his way-he would have knocked you out with the shovel. Not sure if you’ve picked up on it, but he can be a bit unstable at times.” LJ attempts to give a friendly smile, but it comes off as creepy.
With a tone riddled with sarcasm I replied, “You think? I hadn’t fucking noticed it all. I mean between catching his wife cheating and burying the guy alive. Oh let’s not forget about urinating on a man after you almost beat him senseless. Gee, even after all that I hadn’t had time to come up with a proper first impression of Rin. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll be sure to keep my eyes open.”
Rubbing my neck, I peer out the window. We’re parked in front of Union Station. That explains the commotion I was hearing earlier. We were on South Canal St., further up the block I could see a CVS. Good old Chicago, always on the go. Not as busy as New York-but still the windy city holds its own.
“Hey you got anything, my neck is cramped. Guess I passed out wrong or something.”
LJ, begins to scan the radio station, “No, but have a drink. The bar’s loaded. Top shelf stuff. And trust me, be happy all you have is cramped neck.”
“I’d be happy if I could go home. Think you can arrange that”, I say while pouring a glass of vodka.
The black glass rolls up and isolates me again. Moments later LJ opens the back door and hops inside.
“Listen, I don’t know what the boss wants with you.”
Smiling nervously, “That makes two of us.”
He fixes himself a drink and continues.
“But like I said, at least with me watching you. The worst you will have to worry about is a sore neck. Trust me if Rin was on this detail of keeping an eye on you. You would wake up with a sore ass, if you woke up at all. So do us both a favor, and don’t try anything stupid.”
LJ down his first drink, motions for him to refill his glass. We repeat this cycle four more times.
He continues, “No offense-but you don’t look like much. Wonder why the boss wants with someone like you. You’re definitely not from our line of work.”
Refilling my glass I nod agreeing . “So what exactly is your line of work, cause to be truthful I don’t even know who your boss is. And even more I don’t know shit. I don’t even recall how I wound up with you guys or anything.”
He’s about to answer when an alarm on his phone goes off.
“Well nice to know we know about as much as the other.” He opens the car door and exits. “Been nice chatting with you kid.” He slams the door, moments later he starts the limo and pulls off.
He heads up West Adams St, passing the Sears Tower. Meanwhile I pour myself another drink, and begin plotting my escape. At this point LJ is alone, I have a better chance to escape versus when Rin and him are together.
Making a right turn on to South Slater Street he stops at the Barnes and Knoble on 1 East Jackson Street. Staring out the back window, I can see he put on the blinkers. We sit, I’m expecting to see the back of his head again from the partition or have him pop back in the back again. Nothing happens.
Looking out the window, there’s a crowd gathered outside the bookstore. A long line, I found that odd-especially for a book store. Wasn’t a normal long line, it was one of those kinds you see where people stand anywhere from 30-45 minutes to get into an exclusive club.
Sitting in the middle of the limo I watch the people. Their body language, their expressions. Whomever this was, must be a big deal. Looking to the left I see a sign advertising.
“Tonight only meet the best-selling author “Empress Zoe’”
Below the words was a head shot of an attractive woman. She was fair skin, long dark flowing hair. Her eyes were dusky, hard and seductive. They spoke the kind of mystery that would get a man killed. Her lips looked welcoming, yet could probably read you your rights and serve you the kiss of death all at the same time.
The door of the limo quickly flung open, seconds later a woman jumps in. Slams the door and exhales. She doesn’t notice me, and goes into what seems to be a state of meditation. Her breathing is in sync with the opening and closing of her fists.
It was the same woman I had just stared at on the sign. The advertisement had done her beauty no justice. She was lighter in person, and her lips still looked deadly but a bit friendlier. Her frame was thick in all the right places. Her black sweater and jeans clung to her like a new-born infant to a breast. I watch her as she digs the heels of her knee-high boots into the carpet of the limo. She still hasn’t noticed me.
She begins mumbling a slight prayer to herself, and begins to fidget a bit. Her eyes still closed, I sit quietly to go unnoticed-I even breathed shallowly.
“If you’re going to be in my limo and invading my space. The least you can do is fix a girl a drink. It’s been a long six hours for me meeting and greeting fans. Signing autographs and taking pictures. And I’ve got three more hours to go.”
She opens her eyes and stares at me with raised her eyebrows.
To Be Continued……