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Billy the Kid On the Lam: A Short Story
Thanks for Returning
I appreciate you following along as my anti-hero blasts his way through another adventure.
When last we saw Billy, he had just double-crossed a crime boss and a Mexican drug cartel, leaving six bodies in his wake. Now he’s putting some distance between himself and those seeking vengeance, and he’s got a sweet innocent with him.
Let’s see what he’s up to this week!
I’ve got the Russian mob looking for me up north in Jersey and Washington Heights. I’ve got the Mexicans eager to slit my throat in Key West. As I watch the miles flash by with Genna driving, I’m thinking now is a good time to see the U.S.A. is our Chevrolet, except Genna drives a late-model Lexus and she ain’t in the mood to sightsee. Genna had the bad luck to have insomnia and walk the beach at the exact same time a drug shipment came in. She was about to become collateral damage when I shot the Mexicans to save her. Now it’s safer for her to be with me than remain in Key West, and anyone who knows my history knows that’s not much of an upgrade in safety.
She glances at me for the umpteenth time, looking for answers.
“What do we do now?” she asks.
I wish she’d quit asking that damn question.
“There is no we, Genna. You’re better off dropping me at the bus station and then getting as far away from me as possible. The Mexicans don’t know your name and even if they do, chances are good they won’t nail you for this. They’ve got their drugs, or at least they will have soon, so all you have to worry about is your ex-husband. Put some miles between him and you and pretend this didn’t happen.”
We drove another twenty miles before she spoke again. The further north we went the heavier traffic was along the Overseas Highway. Cypress and oak scrub flashed by, then more water on both sides of the road, as the lady kept us at a steady seventy. Worry etched lines across her mocha face like some mighty river carving canyons after a heavy storm.
“Okay, forget about me for a second. What are you going to do?”
Variations of the same theme. I didn’t blame her for the questions. Her life had been tossed in a dumpster because of a late-night walk along the beach. It was just the wrong late night on the wrong beach.
“I’ve been dancing this dance since I was fifteen, first with the Italians, then the Russians, and now the Mexicans. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of running errands and doing scut-work for gang-bangers with more testosterone than brains. I need to lay low and find a way out of this life, but first I need some information. If you want a destination, why don’t you drive me to Atlanta? That’s as good a city as any for me to write a new chapter. Drop me off there, take half the money I lifted from Tiny Momma and go make a new life somewhere. Twenty-five grand will get you a new start in a new town. You’re pretty. You won’t have any trouble finding work no matter where you go.”
“What’s in Atlanta?”
“I’ve got a friend there. He’s got some information I need before I make my next move.”
“About the Russians and in particular about a guy named Ivan, who is dead because of me. His friends aren’t happy about it. Now how about you take a break on the questions? I’d appreciate a ride to Atlanta. If you can’t do that, or won’t, then drop me in the next major town and I’ll catch a bus.”
After a hard ten hours of hard driving we pulled into the Big A at four in the afternoon. The city was humming with commerce, busy worker bees shuffling along to the sounds of currency, all trying to add to their tally and make their mark. All major cities are the same. The further one goes from the central business district, the closer one gets to the part of town you won’t find on travel brochures. My business was with a childhood friend, Pete Callaghan, another crazy Mick bastard and one of the few men I trusted. Last I heard he was working freelance, running numbers, skimming the cream, doing the odd job usually farmed out by the Russians and Italians. If anyone would know my current status it would be Pete.
I found him in a tavern on East Tupelo, his usual place of business. He was sitting in the corner booth nursing a draft when I walked in. He saw me, smiled, shook his head and the hand I offered.
“Billy the Kid! I’ll be damned. What are you doing here? I figured you for dead in the East River, but you always were a tough nut to crack. Do you have any idea how much trouble you’re in?”
“I’ve got a pretty good idea, Pete, but I need you to tell me for sure.”
“The Russians don’t forget, Billy. You killing Ivan just about makes you a legend among the Russians, and I don’t mean that in a good way. You’ve got a hundred grand on your head. They’re looking for you on the east coast, in Vegas, Los Angeles, hell, anywhere and everywhere. If I were you I’d find a big rock and crawl under it. Maybe this will all blow over in five or ten years, but I wouldn’t bet on it.”
“I figured that’s what you’d say, Pete, but I had to know for sure. I guess I’d better hit the road. You never saw me, right?”
“Saw who, Billy? Hey, remember the day we both lost our virginity with Doris Bowman? Damn she was a hot one. Those were good times, weren’t they?”
“They were indeed, my friend. Gone forever, I’m afraid. Neither of us are virgins now.”
She was still sitting in the car when I left the tavern. Too afraid to drive off, scared shitless for waiting, she was flipping a mental coin when I opened the passenger door and got in beside her.
“You’re still here,” I said to her profile.
“I’m still here. I can’t figure out what to do. I want someone to wake me up and tell me it was all a bad dream, but that’s not going to happen, is it?”
God she was a good looking woman. The Atlanta sun glowed on her chocolate skin. Her full lips tightened as she waited for me to tell her everything would be all right, but her dark eyes held the truth of the matter.
“Listen, Genna. I’m about as hot as I can be. I can’t go to any major city. The Russians are looking for me. They’re offering one-hundred thousand to anyone who fingers me or kills me, and you could end up being collateral damage if they find me. My best bet is to hole up in some small town, somewhere the Russians couldn't care less about, and hope to shit this goes away. And then there’s the Mexican problem, so that means I can’t go to the east coast, or the south or the west coast. I need to disappear in some state like Kansas or Oklahoma, some hick-assed state where organized crime wouldn’t be caught dead in. I’d love to help you but honest to God, you’re better off with your crazy-assed husband than you are with me.”
Tears filled those beautiful eyes and began to flow down her cheek.
“I can’t go back to him. He’ll kill me eventually. Please, just let me stay with you for awhile, at least until we both figure out what we’re going to do.”
What was I going to do? I felt a responsibility towards her.
“Your pick, then. Kansas or Oklahoma?”
She started the car and pulled away from the curb.
“How about Iowa?” she said as she accelerated into traffic. A few minutes later she started laughing. I asked her what in the hell was so funny.
“I just realized today is Thanksgiving.”
As the car pulled away from the tavern, Pete wrote the license plate down. He pulled out his cell phone and placed a call.
Who knows, right? Wherever Billy goes, trouble follows, so we’ll just have to wait and see if this country is big enough for Billy, the Russians and the Mexicans. Hopefully, Genna won’t regret her decision.
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)