Friday, January 18, 2019
Flash Fiction Friday, Week 3 - The Best-Laid Plans...
The prompt this week was to incorporate a random location and a thing into our story. There were six choices for each, so I rolled the dice to get my prompt. I decided to give it a try with whatever came up the first time. For the location, I got parking garage, and for the thing, I got plastic fork. What a combination! This was quite the challenge, but I ended up having so much fun with it. I hope you enjoy.
The Best-Laid Plans…
“Joey’s a dead man! Who does he think he is, stealing from me? Wait until I get my hands on that ungrateful little punk.”
When he woke up that morning, Joey decided he had had enough. Thousands of dollars in cash passed through his hands each Friday, but none of it ended up in his pocket. He was one of Big Jim’s bag men. At the start, it seemed like a good deal. Ma needed an operation, and Pop had run off with some woman he’d met at the ballpark. When Big Jim offered him $100 a week to do pickups, it seemed like the answer to their prayers. Ma didn’t like it, but she was able to have her operation, so it all worked out.
Joey’s first stop was the Hotel Royale. The bag was heavy this morning. Gambling there was popular and Big Jim’s cut was hefty. Joey decided this would be enough to set him up in a new life somewhere else. Normally, he, as did all Big Jim’s bag men, would go immediately to the bus depot and put the cash into the storage locker, but not today. Big Jim collected all the bags after dinner. It was then he’d notice Joey’s was missing; but, by that time, Joey would be gone.
“Where would Joey go, Big Jim?”
“Joey doesn’t know I did my count early, so he thinks he’s got time to spare. He’s predictable, Ralph. He’ll eat at his favorite diner one last time. Always does after a pickup. That’s where we’ll start.”
There was no need to rush. Joey went home and transferred the money into a suitcase along with some clean clothes. He walked the few blocks to Danny’s Diner and ordered the special. After he’d finished, he left Danny a sizeable tip. He’d miss this place, but it was time to move on. On his way out, he grabbed a handful of plastic forks and shoved them in his back pocket. It was a habit he’d had since childhood. When he and Ma would eat out, she’d tell him to grab a bunch of forks. They had a drawer full of them at home, but she always wanted more. He didn’t question it. Some folks grabbed packets of ketchup; Ma wanted forks. What’s the harm…
He left Danny’s and walked to the corner to catch a cab to the dock, where he could join the crew of one of the ships. When he looked to his left, he saw Big Jim and three of his goons crossing the street heading for Danny’s. What the hell… There were no taxis coming, and Joey knew he had to make himself scarce, so he ran into the parking garage across the street. It would be the perfect place to hide. And wait. He didn’t wait long.
“I know you’re in here, Joey. You’re like those fairy tale characters leaving a trail of breadcrumbs; only, you leave plastic forks. Come out and bring my money.”
Damn, Joey thought, and reached into his right back pocket. There were only two left of the five forks he’d taken. Big Jim would have his goons at all the exits, so driving out wouldn’t be smart. Wait. There was a way Joey could get out. All he had to do was hide in someone’s trunk. He wouldn’t have to sit in there long since this garage was short-term parking only. He moved quietly trying to find the right car – one with out of town plates.
“Joey, come out, come out, wherever you are.” Big Jim was close now.
Joey saw a car with Jersey plates, and knew that would be his ticket out. It was an older model and the alarm was easy to bypass. He climbed in, put his suitcase in his lap, and quietly closed the trunk until it latched. He didn’t have to wait long. About ten minutes later, someone got in, started the car, and drove out of the garage. I made it, he thought. Big Jim will never find me.
The sounds of city traffic had ceased long ago, and Joey believed they were on one of the county roads. Joey knew out here the houses were few and far between. As soon as the car stopped, he’d exit the trunk, pull the driver out, hop in the driver’s seat, and be on his way to the dock. The sound of the car on gravel brought Joey to full alert. I’ll bet it’s a driveway, he thought, get ready. He grabbed the lever to release the trunk lock and waited. Voices. What the hell…
“You got here fast, Harry. I can’t thank you enough.”
“You don’t have to thank me, Big Jim. You’re family. I’m not going to leave my brother-in-law in the lurch with the old man. It’s all here in $20’s. I’ll just put the squeeze on one of my clients and make up the difference with my boss. Not a big deal.”
Wait a minute. Big Jim? Brother-in-law? Joey’s Big Jim had a sister who lived in Jersey, and her husband’s name was Harry. His Big Jim had a place out in the county where he got the week’s take ready for delivery to the old man. Of all the trunks of all the cars in the whole damn city to climb into…
“Harry, one last thing. I couldn’t resist picking up a couple of things for sis and the kids. There’s also a little something extra in the box for you, just to show my appreciation. I know its heavy, but it should fit on your front seat.”
“It would, Big Jim, but on my way home, I’m going to pick up my Aunt Cissy. She’s going to be staying with us to help with the kids after Lucy has her surgery.”
“No problem. Help me lift it up, and we’ll just put it in your trunk.”