The Last I’m Sorry

June 25th, 2011  |  Published in Short Stories

Fish Car

THE LAST I’M SORRY by Bo Johnson

Mary Beth was crying. Not just crying, crying but really crying. You know that, “It’s hopeless, I can’t go on like this, I wish I were dead,” type crying. I just stood there in our little bedroom in our cheap little apartment near the university. I’m dressed in my running gear and watching her cry. There wasn’t much I could do or say because I was the reason she was crying. Again.

We use to run three miles a day, every day until she got pregnant. Two months ago. Now I run alone. It kinda.keeps me sane.

Heavy, broken hearted sobs. “You said that you weren’t going to make anymore runs for Salvador. You said that because you were going to graduate in three months you didn’t need any of his money. Salvador is a bad person.”

“Look, all I do is pick up package and take it somewhere.”

“What’s in it?”

“I don’t know, I don’t care and it doesn’t matter. I’m just the driver.”

“You’re the mule. That’s what they call you guys, the mule. And Channel 11 news last night said they have just busted three mules in three weeks. We have lived in this dump for almost four years and we can make it a few more months without his drug money. That money has blood on it Jack and you know it.” Man, she was really upset this time. I may have pushed her too far. I know that a guy that’s a full time student with a job at the music store isn’t a great catch but we had made it this far. In three months I would have my B A in Business and things would be better. I really loved Mary Beth.

“They said on the news that the other mules had cocaine and heroin.” I said that wasn’t Sal.

“Bull Crap! You should take that package straight to the police.”

“No way! “ She started crying again and pulling on her hair.

I could barely hear my cell phone singing because of the crying. It was Sal.

“What’s all the noise? “ he hissed

“Nothing, Mary Beth is just a little upset with me.”

“Maybe she ain’t getting the right loving.”

Bastard! “I’ll handle that. What do you need? “

“Can you make the drop? “

“What time? “

“5:30 this afternoon. It has to be there by 5:30 or all hell will break loose. No later, you got it? If you can’t make it, tell me now.”

“No Prob.”

“Don’t let me down,, Jackie boy.” he hung up.

She looked at me with those big red eyes and said, “Was that your buddy the snake? He is dirt. You don’t love me or you wouldn’t let me be around people like him. But no, he has been in this apartment.” I said something. I don’t think it made any sense.

She screamed, “If you go tonight then that is it, Jack. You will never be able to make it up to me and you will never see me again! “ She stormed into the tiny bathroom and slammed and locked the door. I had to go. It’s 4:45.

“Look Mary Beth, I’m Sorry “ I said through the door. “Please calm down and make some hot tea. Just settle down a little. I’ll be back in an hour and we;ll go have pasta and meat balls…………with a salad.”

“Bull Crap! Go to the police or go away!” I gotta go.

My right rear tire on my little brown Chevy 1500 pickup truck went flat in the right lane of 5 o’clock freeway traffic. Luckily I pulled right to the down side of an overpass on the freeway. My little 1995 pickup didn’t have a radio or air conditioner and now it only had three wheels. I didn’t have a jack or a spare. Remember, I’m a college student. There are a lot of things missing. I put my wallet and cellphone in my red bandanna and stuck it under the seat. I got out without being killed by whizzing cars and looked at the tire. It wasn’t blown out, just flat. I looked over the little three foot wall, down the grassy overpass and across the feeder road and saw a Pep Boys Auto Supply. I reached in the car and got my worthless check book that was next to the package and jogged off to the parts store. It took twenty minutes to find the only four cans in the store.

I wrote a hot check for the four cans of Fix-a-Flat and charged back up the hill . This was going to have to be fast. On the way up the overpass it started to rain. Not hard but enough to make it wet between the wall and the back right tire. I had to lay on my side between that little space and work. I was hoping my legs didn’t get run over. And it was hard to get all four cans sprayed into the flat with rain in my eyes. But I did it. The tire was full enough to get me off the freeway. Maybe all the way to the drop. Time was running out. I pulled into the first Shell station and aired up the tire. As I pulled back onto the feeder road I noticed that the freeway was stopped. I was going to have to take a surface shortcut through the city park and golf course. Where I was going was just a few minutes passed the park. Damn, it was 6 o’clock.

A pearl white Cadillac Escalade almost took the front of my truck off when it zoomed across in front of me and slid onto the right shoulder. The Latino driver was on the phone. I shot past, gave them a good ole go to hell look and drove into the park at about fifty miles an hour

I pulled the ringing phone out of my dirty red bandanna and flipped it open. I was going fifty-five through the empty, rain soaked park.

“Hey Jackie boy, where ya been. We been looking for you.” I told Sal that I had had a flat and didn’t have my phone on me.

“Sure Jackie boy. The last thing Mary Beth told us was you were going to the cops.” The last thing! “You touch her, grease ball and I’ll kill you! “

“No Jackie boy, I’ll kill you.” He hung up.

I was going about fifty when the Escalade hit me in the rear at about sixty. My head popped back and I could see the two guys in the Caddy in the mirror. I didn’t recognize the driver or the little guy with the 45 caliber pistol in his hand. He had an extra full clip between his teeth. These guys were going to a killing. They pulled up on my left and fired a shot out of the window just as I hit the brakes. The bullet took the windshield wiper off. Holy Crap! I jammed the gas, pulled up to their left and gave them a little fifty mile per hour jab in the back fender. I got around them then drove into the right ditch and was planning to drive across the golf course. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw that Black Bart was hanging out of his window just blazing away with the 45. I turned my eyes back to the ditch just in time to see the concrete culvert that held up the little golf cart bridge. Just as the little brown truck started flipping I heard the back window shatter.

Now it was quiet. The truck came to rest with the front end going up a big oak tree like it was part of the drive. The hissing of steam from the busted radiator was the only sound. I didn’t seem to be in any pain but I was afraid to move. In the big outside mirror by my window I could see behind me. The street lights in the park just came on and I could see the street and the running trail. On the trail was the body of a very still man. My God, I must have hit a runner. Runners love to run in a light rain. I’ve done it. Poor bastard.

The pearl white Caddy squeals to a stop with its headlights shining on the body and on me and the truck. I’m scooting down in the seat. The gunman rushes up to the victim like he is going to help.

He pumps two rounds into the poor bastard’s back. That’s not going to help. Now he is running to my truck. I don’t think he saw me. I only saw his hand reach in the right window and grab the package and he was gone. I climbed out of the window and was on my hands and knees on the hood. I’m calling this guy every dirty name in the book. Cursing Salvador. I’m standing on the roof of the truck screaming at these guys. When they sped off they ran over the legs of the poor bastard. That flipped him half way over on his back. I was standing about ten feet over the street lamp now. Standing in the air. I looked between my feet and I could see that the poor bastard was me. The bullet that shattered the back window just before the truck flipped had my name on it.. It ripped into the back of my neck and on into my brain. The flip threw me out of the truck. I didn’t know why I could now see all of the park and most of the city lights but it didn’t seem to matter. Nothing really seemed to matter. All I knew was the truth. That I loved Mary Beth and I would never be able to make up for this one and I would never see her again.

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