Silas moved the Cutlass’ rear view mirror to see what Bart was putting inside the trunk. After it slammed shut, he watched Bart stick his right index finger inside a baggie of white powder then pull it out and run the finger over his teeth. A grin escaped Bart’s thin lips before folding the baggie and shoving it in the waistband of his jeans. Bart got in the car, fidgeting as he gave instructions.
“The name of the place in Sarasota is Paul’s Bar & Grill. Head north and do the speed limit. Between my pants and the trunk, we have about 3 to 5 years of jail time.”
Silas sighed and said under his breath, “yay, another 100 bucks.”
He liked driving with the windows up so he could listen to the radio but Bart rolled his down and stared at Silas until he did the same. After a couple of minutes of silence, he stopped at a red light and Bart broke the awkward tension.
“This guy we’re going to see, Paul, he’s a hippie type. He hates confrontation. So when we get there follow me inside and don’t speak. That shiner under your eye and your high school football muscles will be all the leverage I need.”
The light turned green and Silas pressed down the accelerator. The soft Florida wind whipped about the car and they didn’t speak for almost ten minutes when he reached the interstate on ramp. Bart pulled out the baggie of white powder from his jeans and offered it to Silas. He who waved Bart off, then watched him sample the material with his finger over his teeth, again. Silas pulled into traffic as Bart’s question cleaved the night air.
“So, is Olive like your old lady or just a thing?”
His gall punched Silas in the heart. He swung back at Bart with a blunt sentence that shouted over the swirling wind.
“She’s mine and I’m hers so let’s just leave it right there!”
Bart laughed and said something in return but Silas didn’t hear him. He increased the speed of the Cutlass, passing an old pick-up truck using the far left lane. Bart rolled up his window and yelled.
‘Slow down, rookie! We get popped for speeding and we’re both dead!”
Silas’ sweaty palms relaxed on the steering wheel and he let off the pedal, watching the speedometer go from 75 to under 60 in seconds. He rolled up his window and replied.
“Look, Bart, I appreciate your place for us to stay and the chance to make some quick cash, but Olive and I are off-limits when it comes to your other stuff. She starts her new job tomorrow and maybe I should look for one in Tampa, too? You know, one where my face doesn’t get beat up and speeding tickets don’t send me to prison?”
Bart didn’t respond. Several minutes passed when they both saw a sign for an exit advertising a truck stop. Bart sat up straight in his seat, smoothed out his thin, greasy hair over his scalp and neck, then said.
“Get off at this exit. I want to get some cigarettes and something to drink. By the way, just so you know, running junk is my only business. I just help Zola with hers. So if she turns your girlfriend out, that’s not on me. It’s been my experience that women make up their own minds with that. But shit, I could, be wrong. Maybe your girl is special.”
Silas pulled the Cutlass onto the off ramp and looked up at the gigantic truck stop called Heroes. He shook his head and thought to himself how nothing in Florida is as it seems.
This is a new story episode of my serialized fiction, Light of Day, about two 19-year-old lovers, Silas and Olive, on the run in 1989 Florida. There’s no prompt but Merriam-Webster’s aka @merriamwebster on the twitter’s ”word of the day” is cleave, so I used that.
Here’s the Pixies with Gigantic.
I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, next month.
The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com