With images of your wife being tortured flashing in your head, you take a deep breath to gather energy for one last push. You push Calvin off of you enough so that you can move him to the side. Once Calvin has fallen, you flatten you hand like a blade and hit Calvin in the side of his neck. Calvin buckles under the pain, and chokes from the blow, giving you a chance to crawl from underneath him.
While Calvin is grabbing at his neck, trying to breathe, you knee him in the face and knock him out. Deciding that Calvin’s knife could prove useful later, you pick it up. You hop over Calvin’s sleeping body and grab your bag off the ground. You place the knife in the bag and stroll out of the alley, whistling as if nothing happened.
The one block walk to the Westin happens without incident, thank God. But as you walk up the six stairs, you notice that everyone is staring at you like you dropped down from outer space. At first you ignore them and dare someone to say something to you, but when you see your reflection through the lobby doors right before they open, you suddenly feel a little sheepish. You look like hell. Your little spat with Calvin turned your casual jeans and t-shirt look into a hot mess. And you smell.
Damn it. You did not want to go in there looking like this. And carrying a big bag of money? Someone would call the cops for sure. That would be all you needed to make your day even more spectacular. However, you can’t just turn around and walk out; that, too, would look far too obvious. Instead you play it cool and walk up to the receptionist. “Excuse me,” you say to her, completely acting as you are oblivious to the fact that she has her nose up at your stench of garbage and pee.
“Yes, sir, how may I help you?” she asks in a friendly courteous manner expected of all front desk personnel.
You smile politely and ask, “May I use your telephone for a moment please?”
She smiles politely back and says, “I’m sorry, sir, but the phone is really only for hotel guests and personnel.”
“I understand,” you say, moving closer to her so that she can get a good whiff of alley cologne. “However, if I could just use for a couple of minutes to make a quick local phone call, I’ll be out of your hair.
She hesitates for a few seconds before conceding to the fact that you wreak and if giving you the phone (which no doubt she will disinfect as soon as you leave) will get you the hell out of here, well it was one small step for mankind. “Here you go,” she says, sitting the old fashioned ringer on the counter before backing away. “Press nine to get out.” Before you know it, she has disappeared, as has everyone else as the counter. Good. You would rather make this phone call in private anyway.
You dial seven digits and wait.
“Hello,” a man says on the other end.
“I’m sorry,” he says fasicsiously. “I don’t understand what you are saying to me.”
“Valpatine, I need your help. You have to come get me. I’m at the Westin on fifth.”
“Whoa, slow down there, killer,” Valpatine says and then he laughs at you as if he just made a joke at your expense that you did not get. “How soon do you need a pick up?”
“Alrighty. I’ll be right there.”
You hang up the phone and take a deep breath. Dominic Valenz, aka Val, aka Valpatine, aka Valium, aka your crazy as hell friend. God only know where you would be without him. By that same coin, God only know where you would be had you never met him. If Valpatine wasn’t getting thrown out of bars he was working on out running the law on any given day. He lived completely off the grid. No credit cards, no cell phone, no Facebook, nothing. Probably the best thing the man ever did in his life was introduce you to your wife.
In a pinch, however, there was no one better or more reliable. Considering the fact that there were only three people in the whole world whom Valpatine considered a friend, you felt fortunate to know him. It was actually a better thing than you realized that you were calling him. Now, instead of going to Best Buy to buy all of the stuff you would be needing in order to make those credit cards and ids, you could just do it at his house. You were actually starting to feel pretty good about this whole deal. Things seemed like they could be starting to look up.
You decide to wait outside on the hotel steps. You walk outside. Before you can even begin to sit down, you hear a very familiar, very unwelcomed voice.
“He’s about yay tall…”
You turn your head in the direction of the voice to see Calvin talking to the doorman, giving the doorman what is at first a very vague description of you. Six feet tall, dark hair, green eyes, muscular. Like really, Calvin. He has just described 10’s of thousands of people in this city. But then he drops the words dressed in a t-shirt and jeans and most likely looks like hell rent over and carrying a big ass bag.
Alright, now you have a problem. Trying not to make a scene you casually walk down the steps, hoping either you get out of sight before the doorman spots you or that Valpatine gets his happy ass here soon. You curse yourself with every step you take. You knew you should have just killed the bastard and put out of your misery. But no. you had to be nice. You had to try to spare the idiot’s life. Well, thank you karma for making that mistake come back fast. Good Lord, some people just really need to learn to let shit go.
“Excuse me, sir,” you hear the doorman yell. But you ignore him. However, you do not ignore the sound of footsteps pounding down the steps after you. You take off the down stairs, trying to get out of view of the public. This time things with Calvin were going to get nasty.
Calvin must have rolled down the stairs like a donut, because he caught up to you before you get out of sight, and tackled you to the ground. The taste of chalk and salt invaded your tongue as you made out with the sidewalk. This is unbelievable, you think as you wish you had placed that knife in your pocket instead on in your bag. Damn it all to hell.
New Jersey picks up your head and proceeds to bash your face into the pavement, not caring even a little that people are watching and gasping, calling the police, taking pictures and video on their droids.
“Hey,” someone yells. “Hands in the air and get off of him.”
Calvin takes his hands off of you. You turn to see a cop pointing a gun at Calvin. “Get off of him, sir. Now.”
“Officer, you don’t understand,” Calvin says as if he is going to try to reason with the cop. Has that ever worked for anyone in history? Ever?
“And I don’t care to understand,” the officer said. “Understand this. You have five seconds to get off of him before I shoot you.”
Calvin finally gets off of you. You stand up as the officer asks if you’re okay. You nod that you’re fine. Calvin is standing next to you with his hands behind his head. The clock is ticking on when Val is going to get his ass here. He doesn’t live that far away, but all of these minutes were turning into hours.
Without a single warning, Calvin attacks you. You parry the blow, breaking his arm in the process. When he falls to his knees in front of you, you break his neck and push his dead body away from you in disgust. In front of everyone. The dead weight of Calvin’s head makes him hit the ground hard, cracking his skull.
Oh shit. He was dead. You killed him. So, this is how your life was going to end, huh? It kind of sucks. You look at the officer. He is still holding his gun, but he has yet to say anything. That doesn’t stop his mouth from moving though.
You also remain speechless amid the deafening silence that follows when someone is killed right in front of a crowd of people whom, you are sure, have never seen anything like this in their lives. Damn it all. Where the hell is…
Screeching tires answer your question.
“Get in,” Valpatine yells through the rolled down passenger window.
“Hey, freeze,” Mr. law enforcers yells when he realizes that you are about to make a getaway.
Yeah, like that is going to happen, you think as you quickly snatch up you bag and jump into Val’s car as he speeds off. Welp, you’ll never be allowed to show your face around there again. You just killed a guy and then took off.
“What the hell just happened?” Valpatine asks you as he cuts across traffic like he’s trying out for a stunt driver position on a movie set.
You energy drained and enthusiasm for life swallowed with the breaking of a bone, you shake your head. You tally up your dead. Two dead bodies, one missing wife, cops all over you, weird people calling you…you look at the clock on the dashboard. 11:30 am. It wasn’t even lunch time, yet. “I have no idea,” you say to Valpatine. You couldn’t wait to see what the next hour would bring. And you could forget about getting that money out of your bank account by any legal means. You were going to have to break into that sucker, either physically or electronically, that latter of the two being your preference.
Oh, and speaking of banks…you remember the teller gave you a note that you had yet to read. You pull it out of your pocket and unfold it. Your heart stops as the words come together. “I’m sorry about your wife. Meet me at the pizza place across the street in an hour. I may be able to help you.”