There’s no ability to retouch or retake this Josh my boy.
The rumble of the big towncar plodding through the dark made him think he was headed to the airport. Another early morning jaunt with his head barely there with a hangover not having time to settle in since it was so damn early. That’s what it felt like being in the back seat. Except now there was some nearly bald-headed guy with a chiseled chin looking ahead as he held a gun in his lap. Another robotic idiot drove the towncar.
Guess Morales doesn’t want to get stains on his kitchen tiles.
Josh couldn’t keep up, couldn’t compute, couldn’t try to figure out where this was headed. He knew the end, of course. His body decomposing somewhere. But how and where and when—yeah. His mind kept trying to figure that out. All while another part of him poked and prodded.
This was crazy. This was all insane. This was all about some girl. Some woman. Some really attractive lady. How many did Morales have in his life? That had been the question Josh asked over and over again. The reality that helped justified him being with someone else’s woman.
Now he was walking a plank. Well, maybe being driven to its edge.
For some crazy reason, he could hear Prince singing in his ears. No, not singing, but gurgling like he does at the beginning of “When Doves Cry.” It’s insane but then again, so was Carmella. She loved her some Prince. She used to jam it in the mansion Josh had just showed up in.
“He doesn’t like Prince,” Carmella once said about Morales.
“Love him,” Josh had told her.
Because come on . . . who doesn’t love Prince? Well, the 80’s version, the kind that landed him on the map before he got complicated and weird.
Carmella would turn up the music and they could barely hear each other above Prince’s voice.
Now on his last drive and last breath and last hour, Josh heard Prince again.
He thought of Carmella. Then about what Morales said.
How’d I’d get to this point?
“Where are we going?” he asked the guy next to him.
“Listen, just let me go. I won’t do anything.”
The beat and the noise and the voices continued to bang around his head.
Josh moved his right hand and slipped it in his pocket. The door was on his right side so he was fortunate he could do this unnoticed. The big incredible Hulk next to him continued to sit facing forward still as a rock with the gun looking like a piece of pie a kid might be bringing for his grandmother.
His heart didn’t just beat. It clawed down and ripped stuff apart. It shredded everything it could.
That was the answer.
That was the answer he told himself again.
“Where are we going?” Josh asked.
The landscape of Miami was slowly turning into Florida countyside. The driver faced forward. This beast of a man did the same.
“Seriously I have to take a leak,” Josh said.
A glance and then another ignoring look.
He could picture Carmella dancing naked on a bed.
“But I mean to tell you. There’s something else—the afterworld.”
Carmella singing Prince.
Carmella dancing around on top of four-hundred-dollar sheets.
Carmella getting him killed.
Josh held his breath for a moment.
I can’t I won’t I’m not able to.
But the breaths continued one and two and three and then he shut his eyes for a moment and looked out the window and remembered something better something more simple something far more lighter.
His hand gripped the handle of the corkscrew.
“Nothing gonna let the elevator break us down.”
Glancing over, Josh saw the big guy oblivious.
His right hand and arm flung around like some kind of catapult. The foot-long spiraling corkscrew caught the big guy square in the base of his larynx. Josh jammed it hard and kept pushing and thrust the big guy back against the seat as he coughed and gagged and spit and died.
The driver turned and shouted and started to slow down and somehow Josh felt out of his mind and body and soul as his left hand grabbed the loose gun from the hand of the guy next to him. He pulled the corkscrew back out of the thrashing guy’s neck and then he quickly batted it against the driver’s head doing little or nothing at all except sending him ducking and the car slowing down and swerving right.
The sound of thick, coated choking could be heard next to him. Josh ignored it as he dropped the corkscrew and then grabbed the hair of the driver and pulled and kept pulling and kept pulling and then
Turning rolling flying diving dying
The car was somehow airborne and Josh knew he was going to die but at least he got the guys trying to do the same to him.