Maitre d’ to the Damned
By M.E. Brines
Copyright 2012 by M.E. Brines
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It was dark and the highway was as deserted as a mall on Christmas morning. Big Al was driving. The car, an older model metallic blue two-door compact with a permanent list to port where the ponderous weight of the driver had overcome the shock absorbers’ will to resist, was past its prime, needed a muffler and the paint was a little thin on top, just like its driver. I was crammed into the passenger seat, awash to my ankles in empty soda cans and wadded up takeout bags.
We were already ten miles past the eastern edge of Phoenix, Arizona, and Big Al wasn’t sparing the horses. We roared furiously down the darkened highway, the noise of the rusty muffler simulating power beyond the little car’s abilities. We could have been going faster but I prevailed upon Al to keep to the posted speed limit. The last thing we wanted at this stage was to get involved with the police, especially over something as stupid as a speeding ticket.
Just before midnight we turned off the highway onto the badly paved side road that led to our rendezvous. Roger had chosen the time and place: lonely, dark and isolated. That was the second clue he was going to betray us. The first had been when he hadn’t tried to bargain on the price. A suitcase full of hundred dollar bills is a lot of money, a fortune that could allow us all to live happily ever after, if we could only get our hands on it.