Silas scanned the dirty garage for any sign of the wayward Finn Brother and his large, violent cousin Kenny. He stood thirty feet away while Zola’s wooden heels clicked on the concrete as she sidled next to Archie and leaned into his nervous energy. Archie’s narrow blue eyes glanced at Silas but Zola kept his attention.
As seconds built into minutes, Silas walked backward to the side door and leaned outside to search for anyone coming. By the time he resumed his post, Archie was handing over cash to Zola. His voice cracked and Silas heard his cry.
“Please, I have a family, okay!”
Zola pulled him close to her face and kissed both of his cheeks then whispered in his right ear. Archie slumped to the counter and Zola walked toward Silas with a impish grin. Silas bit his bottom lip and struggled to swallow the bile forming in the back of his mouth. Zola pulled him to the door and said.
“Three-hundred dollars was all he had but we can get more this afternoon. Come on, we have someone else to see.”
The heaviness of the gun slipped from the small of his back to the top of his rear end. He pulled it out held it against his jeans as they got back inside the car. Zola laughed, pushed her heels off into the floorboard and put her toes against the dash.
“Three clients in Tampa is all I have Silas, but I might get a thousand dollars, hell, two thousand if we hit them up at their jobs at the right time. You know, this seems crazy to you, but what if we just forgot about going back to the strip club for Olive?”
Silas rubbed his sore throat then exploded, punching the steering wheel and slapping Zola’s feet off the car’s interior. He scooted within inches of Zola and grit his teeth.
“Shut up, Zola, shut the hell up, you hear me? Let’s get one thing straight! I don’t want you or your disgusting whore ass, ever! Get the money, then get away from us. We split the cash fifty-fifty because that’s what I agreed to with my girlfriend! You hear that word? Girlfriend! Now, you tell me where to drive next and don’t mention anything else!”
Silas cranked the Cutlass backed it out and swerved into traffic, almost hitting a station wagon in the closest lane. The gun dropped between his feet. He caught Zola’s eyes on it, then mumbled.
“Don’t even think of picking it up, Zola.”
He found the highway but with no direction coming from a shocked Zola he drove to the shoulder and let the car idle. Zola’s whimper became more noticeable. It was different than Olive’s. with more vulnerability and less focus. She seemed to be upset not emotional for effect. He closed his eyes and felt guilt poking his chest.
“I’m sorry Zo. Nothing is going the way it’s supposed to, at least not for the past two days, and I’m just trying to hold on to me and Olive, you know, that’s my normal.”
She sank in the seat and tears formed around her eye makeup. Silas put his hand on her shoulder. She leaned her head against it.
“Two exits down, Boggs Street, next to the strip mall is where you need to drive. The guy’s a stockbroker type, you know, master of the universe Wall Street wannabe asshole. Maybe you’ll hate him more than me when we’re done.”
Silas put the car into drive and found the on ramp.
“I don’t hate you, Zola. I barely know you. I just really love Olive. And I never thought I’d kill somebody.”
After a minute of silence, he leaned over and turned on the radio. The Pretenders played from a rock station. Silas and Zola exchanged smiles.
“You want me to turn it, you like dance music, right?”
She shook her head and answered.
“No, leave it, The Pretenders are just fine.”
I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.
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