What will lead the way?
I never said I was a patient man; not by any sense of the word. After all, I was born and raised in the most claustrophobic city in the United States. Growing up in a city housing over seven million people across all five boroughs tends to make you view human life in a different light than, say, how some bumpkin from the swamp may see it. To me, strangers ain't new faces. They're just meat vessels that are hogging the road I'm trying to travel on, delaying the time I'm trying to spend, and stealing the air I'm trying to breathe. Sure upstate New York is a lot nicer, but that don't mean dick in my case. People are bastards and, after twenty years of putting up with their shit, I've mostly forgotten the meaning of the word “patient”.
It don't help that I also came from a long line of angry Italians.
So I guess if I'd been born a country boy instead, I'd still be an impatient asshole about everything.
And after a week and a half of driving, hiding, and waiting, I was at my wit's end.
I imagine you're wondering how I've been spending my time since I escaped Brooklyn.
You're thinking, “Ah man, a life on the run! How excitin'!”
You don't understand, pal.
Let me enlighten you on the painfully tedious new life I had to endure before I could finally reach my final destination.
After the series of events on December 7th, I left Brooklyn with really only one plan; get the hell outta New York as soon as possible. The NYPD was no doubt combing the streets for my scummy ass, so I needed to go somewhere away from their jurisdiction. So I headed west, hopping on and off the interstate frequently as to avoid toll roads. This made the drive much longer than it could've been, but what choice did I have? I didn't need the dickhead running the toll booth identifying me and sending the cops my way. Besides, this ensured my safe arrival into the state of New Jersey.
Upon entering Jersey, I knew that I needed to get rid of Dad's Trans-Am before too long. By then, the old bastard probably reported his car missing, pinpointing me as the thief. Keeping the ride would've also made me easier to find; Knight Rider ended three years ago, after all. Nobody owns a Pontiac anymore. People nowadays are all about their Fords and Hondas.
So I pulled into a McDonald's parking lot just outside of Jersey City around 4:30 in the afternoon. Business appeared to be booming, as the drive-thru was backed up all the way to the road. A couple of horns were honking, some cars tried to leave the line, and I thought I heard some lady swear at the driver behind her. But I didn't care about any of that; I cared more about the group of guys hanging out around a ratty looking Ford Escort. These boys didn't look like thugs—not with all three of them wearing brightly colored windbreakers with combed back hair and chiseled faces. They looked like your typical wannabe “it men” that were secretly poorer than you.
Meaning I could, more than likely, play their insecurities like a fiddle and win myself a new car.
Well, probably not new.
But certainly newer than Dad's ol' clunker.
I grabbed the registration papers from the glove compartment and stuffed them in my back pocket. After grasping one of the straps of my backpack, I honked the horn to get the attention of my suckers. It took about three seconds for them to focus their attention on me. Upon exiting the Trans-Am, my ears picked up their reactions; they were exactly what I was hoping for.
“Gnarly wheels, my man!”
With my backpack slumped over my shoulder, I approached my unsuspecting customers while tossing and catching the keys with my left hand. “Like what you see, boys?” I asked with a casual tone as I stopped about five feet from their car. One dude with shit brown hair and pouty lips walked up to me and held a hand out like he wanted a high five. Rolling my eyes behind my aviator shades, my palm slapped his. “Yo man, your ride is totally happenin'!” said the fecal mop twerp. “Yeah,” started his slightly younger looking raven-haired friend, “I bet you get all sorts of bodacious babes with this baby!”
Christ, they even talked like wannabe “it men”.
I flashed the crew a fake, but fairly convincing grin. “Boys, I'm drownin' in pussy. Chicks dig the body and stay for the horsepower—know what I'm sayin'?” The Three Stooges let out this strange whooping sound that could be best described as one giant burst of excitement, wonder, and testosterone. This racket was followed up by them all slapping each others hands a couple of times, each guy alternating between another guy. If we were placing bets here, I'd put up fifty that these chumps ain't ever been laid a day in their pointless, vapid lives. “Man!” said the third, older black-haired dude, “I wish my ride was that cool!”
Aha, here we go.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to explain to you a thing or two about human nature. Humans—we're all a bunch of needy pussies, you know? I mean think about it; we ain't ever satisfied with what we got. We always gotta have more, more, more. Whether you wanna admit it or not, most people are sickeningly materialistic. All these pot-smoking hippies still stuck in the 60's can cry over free love all they want, but in the end people will always care more about cars and money than they do another human being.
Look at these chumps, for instance. They all three dressed the same, wore their hair the same way, and all spoke the same fucking way. These guys ain't got identities outside of this delusional daydream they have of them being “cool”; I refer to people like this as “parasitic hand puppets”. Parasitic hand puppets cling on to whatever small thing they can get that makes them seem significant. Whether it be the latest fashion trend or one measly joint, they will snap at it like hungry sharks. I come along in a Trans-Am and suddenly they're uncontrollably jizzing all inside their jeans.
I smirked, happy that they opened things up for me. “That yours?” I asked, nodding my head towards the Ford Escort. He scowled and nodded, not even peeking at the car. “I was supposed to be getting a brand new, 1990 model Corvette. But the Man kept me from getting it, so I'm stuck with this piece of shit.”
“The Man”, huh?
That's a funny name for your old man's credit score.
“Tough break, kid.” I said, stepping closer to the car to inspect it. It didn't look like too old of a car; maybe an '83 or '84 model. Youth aside though, this Ford certainly looked like it had seen better days. Judging by the chipped blue paint plus the number of dents and scratches on both the driver-side and passenger-side doors, I could tell this guy wasn't the most conscientious owner. Then again, neither was I. So maybe this was a good, yet only temporary match made in heaven.
“It run any good?” I asked, looking back at him. He shrugged. “I guess, yeah. Sometimes the steering is a little rough, but other than that it's good.” I gave him rather toothy grin, eyes widening to manic proportions behind my shades. Time for the kill.
“You wanna trade? Take the Trans-Am and give me the Escort?”
All three of their jaws dropped simultaneously.
“You serious, man?!”
“What can I say? I'm a little saddle-sore.”
They nearly screamed in excitement.
No questions about catches.
Nothing about functionality.
Nessuna on what kind of transmission it had.
My idiot customer was far too busy digging into his glove compartment for his screwdriver.
Not that I was complaining.
Keys were traded.
Handshakes were given.
License plates were switched.
This part didn't bother me none; the cops had no way of knowing Dad's license plate was on a new car.
Not unless they tracked these bozos down all the way here.
But even if these guys sold me out, I'd be long gone and in another car before the cops could even catch up.
Until then, let the parasitic hand puppets enjoy their Trans-Am while my happy ass headed south.
Despite being outta the fire, I still hadn't the slightest idea of where I was going. I tried contacting Zombie Bastard again to see if he was ready to give me something on Casa do Diaño. Sadly, I was only met with a vague “Be patient, mortal.” Uh, why the fuck should I be patient now? This was the same asshole who pestered me constantly over this bullshit. Now he didn't want to give me details? Fucking jerk-off!
Thoroughly irritated, that left me all alone as I drove without a clear destination, stopping only to piss on the side of the road.
I wanted to avoid gas stations as much as humanly possible.
I don't think I need to explain to you why.
Finally deciding I was sick of driving, I stopped in Atlantic City for the night. I managed to find myself a shitty two-star motel off to the side of the road. After flashing the middle-aged receptionist a crisp twenty, she tossed me my room key and muttered something along the lines of “One night only, buster”. I gave her a sleazy wink, free of charge; one night was all I needed. Upon entering my room, the sheets looked like they hadn't been cleaned since the last guest had been there. The air smelled of mildew and the smokey remnants of some cheap tornado. It was the type of place some married businessman would bring his busty, unmarried secretary to after a long day at the office. Still, when you ain't got much guap to work with, you make do with some suit's sloppy seconds.
Thus, December 7th ended on a quiet note.
And December 8th began on a very loud one.
I didn't sleep worth a shit, waking up around 4:15 in the goddamn morning. I blamed this on the crick in my neck from the pillow that might as well been a slab of marble. Upon getting up, the immediate thought hit me that I needed to ditch the Ford Escort and get outta Jersey now that it was dark outside. That's right; ain't no rest for the wicked.
After taking a quick shower and getting dressed, I grabbed my backpack and headed outside. In terms of getting rid of the car, I didn't have much of a plan. Would could I do? I certainly couldn't trade vehicles again; not at this time of day. Taking a bus was completely outta the question. I had not the cheddar or the peace of mind to sit for hours on end with a bunch of people who may or may not recognize my face.
So that left me with two possible options: hot-wire a complete stranger's ride, or jack somebody's car keys either through brute force or stealth. When sitting on the fence of a difficult decision, it's always wise for one to measure the pros and cons of each choice. In this case, stealing somebody's keys would be a lot simpler and require less tools. However, there was the possibility I'd get busted by some cocksucker in blue.
With hot-wiring, it would be a little less risky...though only a little less. Plus it could take a while depending on which method I used. Sure, the ol' “drill and screw” maneuver was probably the fastest means of hot-wiring a car. However, I doubted the “it man” carried an extra screwdriver with him, let alone a power drill.
“Can't sleep, boy? Or did your date show you up?”
I turned around to catch a glimpse of the receptionist from last night smoking a cigarette outside the main entrance.
She was looking at me.
Talking to me.
Talking at me.
I guess it's been decided, then.
This lady just sealed her own fate.
I approached the woman, forming a smile to mask my evil intentions. “You ain't clocked out yet, lady?” I asked, stopping in front of her. She took a drag on her cigarette and blew it up towards the sky. The bags under her eyes told me enough of her story for me to realize my question was stupid. Of course, there ain't no such thing as stupid questions when you're up to no good.
“Welcome to the life of the graveyard shift, boy. Where the only men I meet are creepy bastards like you who prowl around parking lots in the dead of the night.” I chuckled, still smiling at her. “Forgive me if these cars all look more comfortable than those pillows made of rock do.” To that she gave a hearty cackle. “Honey, the end of a sword looks more comfortable than anything this motel has to offer.”
At least she admits it.
“You live here, lady? You even got a car?” She snorted and pointed at the far end of the parking lot. “That beauty right there is mine. The '78 Chevy Impala.” I looked over and spotted her alright. Bright sun-kissed orange, stood out like a sore thumb. I whistled. “Quite the colors for such a drab motel,” I said as my hand reached under my shirt.
“You can say that—”
From outta my pants, I pulled Myra out and pointed her straight at the receptionist.
“Think those colors belong somewhere more fittin', myself.”
Her old eyes widened and she dropped her cancer stick.
“Son, you wouldn't.”
I pulled the hammer back.
“I would, baby.”
The look of horror on her face did some fascinating things to my body. Just like the day I killed Jacob Summers, my adrenaline was pumping hard. The anticipation of tasting this woman's blood made me shake. I still recalled my reaction to tasting Jacob's blood, and how excited I got. Would her old blood taste the same? Or would it be more bitter tasting? Perhaps more sweet, since it's coming from a woman?
I didn't even allow her to run before I pulled the trigger.
The shot went right through her forehead, her essence splattering on my face.
A wicked smile formed as I watched the life escape from her eyes.
She collapsed against the building.
I quickly snatched the ring of keys attached to her belt and bolted for the Impala.
Luckily for me, I was able to find the right key and make my grand escape outta the motel parking lot before any cops could respond to the gunshot.
As I drove away from the scene of the crime, I pulled the sun visor down so I could see myself in the mirror. I wasn't wearing my shades, so I could see just how big my pupils were at that moment. My index finger gently wiped some of the blood off my cheek and brought it to my lips. My tongue lapped up the fluid and, sure enough, I was in pure ecstasy. I was thankful that nobody else was in the car with me, otherwise they'd be forced to listen to my rather loud and overtly sexual sounding moans stemming from the experience.
I had become God again, though had I ever stopped being God?
I've always been all-powerful, motherfucker.
Lord Death struck again.
All hail the king.
I brought the finger back up and scooped up some more life essence.
After licking my finger again, I was quickly losing my focus on the road.
Body shaking hard from the spiritual experience, my right hand rubbed the uncomfortable stiffness in my jeans as I drove aimlessly on the highway.
By the time my high had worn off, I felt like giving myself an extra hard kick in the ass. Why, you ask? Because, in the midst of my euphoria, I had made a wrong turn somewhere and was now headed toward Philadelphia. You heard that right; goddamn Philly. Fucking Pennsylvania. I was going back up north. I didn't want to go north, dammit! I wanted to avoid north! So I lit up a cigarette and turned away, heading southwest. This new route took me into Delaware for a little while until setting me on the path for Baltimore, Maryland.
This, ladies and gentlemen, marked the moment of my journey where all forms of excitement turned into tedium.
As soon as I made it into Baltimore, I realized that I was fed up with the road for the day. Using some cash that the receptionist had stowed away into her console, I was able to afford a hotel stay within the city. This time, I chose a pretty nice place to rest. The room was clean, it had a balcony overlooking the city, and the staff provided complimentary room service. I liked the hotel, and decided that I was gonna stick around for a few days; at least until Zombie Bastard decided to come around and tell me what the deal behind Casa do Diaño was.
Unfortunately, this period of relaxation wasn't all bubble baths and free TV. All might've been calm on the outside, but not inside my head. Every time a special news bulletin came on TV, my heart nearly burst outta my chest. Every time somebody knocked on my door, Myra was pulled out and cocked. Every time a police siren passed the hotel, I was locking myself in the bathroom.
Any moment, I felt the jig could be up.
All my hard work—down the drain.
All my running—a waste of time.
What was taking Zombie Bastard so long?! He seemed so eager to have me hop aboard this crazy train of his. Was I truly the first person to ever bluntly tell this prick “no”? Was this his revenge; making me wait? Because that's what it certainly felt like; and boy did he make me wait. Until finally, on December 11th, he surprised me by giving me a dizzy spell while I was outside on the balcony. I hobbled back into the room and let myself pass out on the bed. And he gave me my answer...four motherfucking days after I originally asked him.
I also learned that Casa do Diaño had a thing for animals.
I mean, think about it.
Jerrika Blue turned into a werewolf.
And Dave's retarded rodent turned into a giant, demon horse of some kind.
What was gonna happen to me?
Was I gonna become the fucking Loch Ness Monster or something?
What was it gonna be?
What will lead the way?
After watching the shit show that was Dave's invitation into Casa do Diaño, I woke up in my hotel room and immediately tried to contact Zombie Bastard. I thought as loudly as I could. When that didn't work, I started talking aloud to him. “Answer me, you prick!” I ended up shouting, hoping nobody in the hall could hear me. “Hello? Hello?! Tawlk to me, dammit!” Still nothing. What the hell was going on? I had changed my mind. I told him that I was accepting his offer. What more did he want? This was the part of the negotiation where he was supposed to bless me with some kinda powers that will ultimately “lead the way” to Casa do Diaño. So, where were they?!
With one last feeble attempt, I relaxed myself on the mattress.
My eyes closed.
And I thankfully saw somebody.
But it wasn't Zombie Bastard.
It was a face that I saw often, though this particular face was one I'd only seen once before.
And he was looking as handsome as ever.
“Yo, about fuckin' time you came 'round.”
I was surprised when I heard my...his voice; the last time we'd spoken, he really only mouthed out his words to me. “Yeah, yeah,” I started, walking up to him in my mind, clapping my hand with his, “you guys got me sold, alright.” Genghis Two grinned, giving me a seductive wink as he readjusted his gangster fedora. God, I'm such an attractive man. “Eh, I ain't too annoyed. I know how stubborn I can be,” he said.
I ain't stubborn.
Thank you very much.
“So...” I started, gesturing at his outfit, “is this what will lead the way into Casa do Diaño for me? My fashion sense?” He cocked an eyebrow at me. “Ain't gonna be that simple, kid.” I held my hands up. “So what will, huh? What will get me the fuck outta dodge?” He shook his head. “I can't tell you that. It's somethin' you gotta figure out on your own.”
Now I was stomping my foot on the metaphorical ground. “Motherfucker, Jerrika Blue and David Jostens had their fuckin' hands held in this process! Why can't you throw me a goddamn bone here?!” He gave me a smug grin. “They didn't have anythin' particularly significant to bring with them. Jerrika only had her old man, who she brutally murdered. Dave? He was a fuckin' schmuck. The only friend he had became his horse. You, Genghis Dillinger Boy, do have somethin' you still need before you can go.”
I bit my lip, grilling him hardcore. “And what, pray tell, is that?” He poked the side of his head with his index finger. “Think, Genghis. Think. What is somethin' that's always been crucial to your happiness?” I glared at him. “Whatever it is, I can do without it if it means I get the new life I've been promised.” Now he was grilling me. “That ain't gonna be possible and you know it.”
He began stepping away from me, though he left me with one last note.
“Give it another week. She doan know yet.”
I tried to ask him what he meant, but he was gone before I could get the words out.
And thus I opened my eyes feeling even more frustrated than I'd felt before.
I was confused.
Pissed beyond all possible comprehension.
After getting dressed and packing my backpack, I stormed outta my hotel room and back out into the parking lot. I managed to get out there in time for some dude to be entering his brand new Mustang. The car was the same color that I was seeing after my conversation with Genghis Two. I couldn't take my anger out on myself obviously, so this bozo was gonna face my wrath instead. I whipped out Myra and pointed her at the sonuvabitch.
“Outta the car! Now!” The guy tried to quickly close his door and crank the car up, but I was too fast for him. I slapped the hood of his car hard, pulling the hammer down on the gun. “You have until the count of three, motherfucker!” Once I got to two, he was getting out of the car. “O-O-Okay sir, you can have it, just please don—” I pistol whipped him in the head, knocking him out cold onto the ground.
I looked inside and saw his keys were still in the ignition.
And with that, I was on my way outta Baltimore.
I headed south at first, but then made the last minute decision to go east, back into Delaware. Why did I do this? Fuck if I knew; my mind was one giant clusterfuck at that moment in time. I was at a point where I didn't know if whether or not this was what my life was gonna be for now on. Running from the law, driving all over the place in hopes of finding a place to stay safe. Was there even a Casa do Diaño for me to retreat to? Or was all of this yet another sick prank my own insanity has pulled on me?
I needed time to recuperate from this blow, so I stopped in Dover. Neglecting sleep and rejecting food, I obsessed over the words that came from my future self. “What is somethin' that's always been crucial to your happiness?” Why did my happiness matter now? The day I killed Jacob Summers, Zombie Bastard made it out like he was ready to take me to Casa do Diaño right then and there.
Jerrika got to go.
Dave got to go.
Why couldn't I?
If they wanted me to be happy, all they needed to do was fucking help me out here!
On December 13th, the hotel room I'd been cooped up into had grown too cramped for me—made me too fucking claustrophobic. So I went outside that afternoon and spotted a pretty blonde heading into the hotel with what appeared to be her boyfriend or husband. I snuck up behind her and yoinked her car keys from her back pocket and then, just for shits and giggles, slapped her ass in a spot would easily get her man in trouble. Of course, it worked like a charm and she snuffed him right in the jaw. Once the lovely couple was too distracted by arguing, I found their silver '88 model Honda Accord and hit the road.
It wasn't until I was about halfway to Washington D.C. that a thought had occurred to me. Well, okay, this thought had occurred to me several times during my time in Dover. But, quite frankly, I was still too infuriated by the situation to give the thought much...well, thought. Genghis Two had said something really cryptic to me before he left. “Give it another week. She doan know yet.”
Perhaps he meant the answer would come to me within a week?
Maybe this was the right explanation?
I wanted this to be the right explanation.
I needed this to be the right explanation.
And so, I stayed in Washington D.C. for four long days.
The first day was mostly tiring. Upon my arrival to the hotel, all I did was set my bag down, take a shower, and lay down in bed for the rest of the night, trying desperately to sleep. Naturally, this failed horribly. But I didn't care; I just wanted to skip the dull waiting process and get to Casa do Diaño already. If I could, I would've slept the entire duration of my time in D.C. Be dead to the world for an entire ninety-six hours.
Never mind the people dying.
Never mind the crooks being shot.
Never mind the happiness and laughter of the children playing basketball on the court.
Their happiness didn't matter to me because my own happiness apparently didn't matter to anybody but Zombie Bastard and Genghis Two.
But alas, my mind was too hyper for sleep to even occur.
So I stayed awake all night, staring at the ceiling.
On the second day, I forced myself to eat breakfast. The last real meal I'd eaten had been in Baltimore and my hunger had grown so outta control that I felt like I was gonna puke up stomach acid if I didn't get something in my system soon. So I treated myself to the complimentary breakfast provided by the hotel staff. French toast with a glass of orange juice; not a bad start.
Upon returning to my room, I popped in one of the VHS tapes I smuggled outta Brooklyn. The VCR read the tape and Terminator came on. Things were fine and dandy; I'd seen the movie hundreds of times already and had always thoroughly enjoyed it. However, the mood did admittedly change once the sex scene between Sarah Conner and Kyle Reese came on. No, it wasn't that kind of mood change, either.
Other than the incredibly toxic relationship between Dave and Rebecca, this had been the first instance of romance that I'd been exposed to since I left New York. I'd been so busy worrying about what was gonna happen to me that I didn't ever take the time to think about things like this. But now that I was required to sit and wait, I had more time to process thoughts that didn't pertain to cops executing me in the streets. And right at that moment, only one thing was on my mind.
That thing, ladies and gentlemen, was how much I missed Heidi. I wondered how she was doing. Was she considering Paul's sorry excuse of a marriage proposal now that I was outta the picture? What did she think of me now that she knew what I'd done? Did she even miss me? Because I sure missed her. So much, in fact, that the rest of the movie was rendered uninteresting to me as soon as she crossed my mind.
So much that the rest of the day just drug on as I stared at the ceiling for hours, thinking only of the girl I left behind.
Heidi's face continued to haunt me all throughout my third day in D.C. I spent the day laying in bed while I listened to some of my CDs from back home. I made it to my Led Zeppelin album before my lovely girl returned to her place inside my head. Plus, Robert Plant singing “Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You” didn't help matters all that much, either.
At one point, I tried looking at my Hustler magazine as a temporary distraction from my thoughts. This worked only for a little while with my thoughts immediately returning to Heidi as soon as my orgasm was reached. Seriously, what was the point of porn if it didn't serve the purpose of keeping your mind off shit? Just to provide something pretty to look at for a few minutes? I felt cheated, man. Cheated!
It wasn't until the fourth day that I finally cracked. I did the absolute unthinkable. That's right. Around the time the sky was just beginning to turn black, I walked outside the hotel and found myself a payphone. My stupid ass paid fifty cents to make a long distance call back home. Before you tell me, yeah. I knew that this was a bad idea. I knew that I'd be setting myself up to be yelled at by my folks. I knew I was risking the cops finding my location through wiretaps. I knew all of this. But I didn't care; I just wanted to hear Heidi's voice one last time.
After about four rings, I expected it to go to the answering machine. I had even prepared myself for that, thinking of all the things I wanted to say. I'd drop them a couple “I'm sawrry”s, tell them I'm doing okay even though I ain't really, and drop one indirect “I love you” for Heidi. If they did answer, I was prepared to tell Roy that I was sorry and that, despite everything, I always considered him the better father figure between him and Dad. If Heidi answered, I'd first ask if she was alone. If she wasn't, then I'd keep the conversation casual, maybe throw in a couple of compliments in the midst of my apologies. If she was alone? I'd tell her everything that was on my mind. I'd tell her how much I missed her and how sorry I was that I'd never see her again.
However, my old man picked the phone up and I quickly realized that I didn't prepare to actually talk to him.
I took a quick breath, preparing for the swollen eardrums.
“Genghis, is dat yuh? What de fuck yuh doin'?! Where's my mudderfuckin' car, huh? Where is my car?! Where are yuh? De cops have been here lookin' fawh yuh fawh days now! Dey're sayin' yuh did a lot of fuck-awful shit, boy. Okay?! You're in serious shit, son. What de fuck were yuh tinkin'?!” Yerp, that's about what I expected. “I can't tell you that, alright? It's a long—”
“Long stawhy? Long stawhy my ass! Yuh fucked up and killed yet anudder guy and took my fuckin' car tryin' tuh escape de NYPD! Dere, was dat your goddamn "long stawhy"?!” There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. My dad just summarized the entirety of my problem for you guys in just one sentence. No need to hear anymore from me, right? “There's more to it than tha—”
“Bullshit! Roy is wawhried sick aboutcha! Heidi ain't stopped cryin' since de day yuh left! Yuh proud of yawhself, tough guy? Makin' your family fall apart like dis?!” Maybe they care, Dad. But you're the one who started this conversation out by asking about the car before you even thought about asking about me. “I ain't got time for this. Is Heidi around?” “Doan yuh be dodgin' me, boy! Yuh got a lot tuh answuh fawh and you're gonna fuckin' answuh fawh it! Okay?!”
I gritted my teeth, growling into the phone.
“Give the phone to Heidi, you fat, alcoholic loser.”
I heard about five seconds worth of incoherent swearing before he finally spoke actual English again.
“De fuck d'ja just—”
Suddenly, what sounded vaguely like Heidi's voice came on. It sounded like she was telling him to calm down and let her answer the call in her room. It took some convincing, but eventually he agreed it was for the best. After a moment, the voice that started speaking to me brought a small smile to my face.
“Genghis? Is that really you?”
As sissy as it may sound, her voice made my heart skip a beat.
It had been too long.
Far too long.
“Yeah, it's me.” Almost immediately, she broke down into tears over the phone. “Oh my God—hallelujah you're alive!” She began sobbing very loudly. “I-I didn't know if you'd be takin' care of yourself or not! Had me really wawrried!”
Well, other than going a couple of days without eating…
“I'm fine, Heidi. But how are you?” “N-N-Not so good, Genghis! My tough guy ain't here when I—when I...” She broke down for a good minute or two. My smile faded. I hated it when she cried. It always made me feel like a real sonuvabitch. Once she stopped, she spoke up again.
“I-I-I read your message, you know? The one you left me?” Oh yeah, reality was kicking me right in the crotch now. “Yeah, I remember, Heidi.” She sniffed. “Did...did you really mean that? That you were going away forever? That we'd never see each other again?”
Hear that, ladies and gentlemen?
That was the sound of my heart being ripped from my chest.
“I ain't gotta choice, Heidi. I ain't welcome in Brooklyn anymore.” She sniffled again on the other end. “I-It don't have to be like that, babyboy. Y-You can just turn yourself in, you know? Turn yourself in! The cops may give you some kind of plea bargain for confessin'!” I bit my bottom lip, trying to hold back my own emotional volcano about to erupt. “I can't do that, Heidi.” “Why not, Genghis? Why not?! You took a person's life! Again! You know you need to face some kind of punishment for that, right?!”
Annnnd holding back the eruption failed majorly.
“Genghis...are you cryin'?” Choking on my sobs, I soon found myself sitting down in the phone booth with the phone nestled into my neck. “I-I know I did that, Heidi! Alright?! I'm sawrry! I'm so sawrry! I fuckin' know that I screwed up again! That's all I ever do, right? Fuck around, hurt people, and bullshit my way outta trouble. I'm a scumbag, okay? Is that what you wanna hear me say?! I'm a goddamn scumbag!” My sobs quickly morphed into embarrassingly loud wails.
I just want to go on the record, ladies and gentlemen, and state that I don't do this often. In fact, I never do this. Crying like an angry toddler is just something I don't do. This one instance is one that will more than likely never repeat itself again. And even then, this time could easily be attributed to the severe lack of sleep and faulty dieting habits I'd been exhibiting for a couple of days now. Genghis Boy ain't some bitch, alright?
“I never deserved a girl like you. I'm too sick, Heidi. I'm a sick man! Just...just forget about me, okay?! Let me rot in the bowels of the world while Paul makes you the happiest woman in all of New York.” There was silence for a moment on the other end, but I didn't rush her to respond. I wanted to get all of my pathetic crying outta my system before I even attempted to utter another word. As soon as my crying finally calmed down a little, Heidi spoke up again.
“Paul can't make me happy, Genghis. And maybe he never could, in all honesty.” I sniffled, wiping my messy face on my jacket sleeve. “I seriously doubt that, Heidi.” She made a noise that sounded either like a sigh or a deep breath. “D'ere's...somethin' you oughta know, Genghis. Where are you?” Now it was my turn to take a deep breath, though only to avoid another breakdown over the phone. “I can't tell you that, Heidi. I know that apartment is probably wiretapped.”
“No,” she immediately responded, “I promise it ain't. The police suggested they tap the lines just in case you called. But...after a week of no word from you, they decided that you probably cut us outta your life and that d'ere was no point in tapping the lines.” She let out one more sob. “I'm so, so glad that you didn't!”
But I did, though.
Or at least I thought I did.
“Just tell me over the phone, Heidi. What's goin' on?” She refused to say anything. “I gotta tell you in person, Genghis. It's impawtant.” I bit my lip again. As much as I wanted to see Heidi again, I knew that one of two things would happen as a result. One being that she brings Roy and Dad with her in the attempt to “set me straight”. Two being that she brings the fucking cops with her.
“Heidi, how do I know that some donut-eater ain't sittin' next to you right now? How do I know that you ain't tryin' to set me up?” She growled slightly into the phone. Considering that I was pissing her off rather than triggering more tears, this at least told me that she was being sincere with her request. “Forget about the cops for one second! This is somethin' extremely impawtant that I can't say over the phone because Packie might hear!”
So even though she just admitted that Paul can't make her happy, she still didn't want our folks to know about our relationship.
Story of my life.
I sighed, surrendering to her.
“D.C.” She was quiet for a moment. “Say what?” “You heard me, Heidi.” Heidi let out a few swears before talking again. “D.C.? As in Washington D.C.? The fuck you doin' there, Genghis?!” What an excellent question. Too bad I didn't know the answer, either. “I ain't stayin' much longer, though. As soon as I hang up this phone, I'm hittin' the road.” “And...goin' where? Where are you goin'?” I shrugged. “I dunno. Maybe south?”
I shouldn't of said that.
Why, you ask?
Because this opened a whole new door for Heidi.
“Ain't Virginia near D.C.?”
“I think so. Dunno if that's where I'll—”
“I'll see you there tomorrow.”
My eyes widened.
The connection on this call must've been shittier than I thought.
It almost sounded like she said—
“You heard me, Genghis. Let's meet up in Norfolk. I hear that's near the Atlantic Ocean.”
I shook my head profusely.
“Heidi, what are you—”
“Meet me at the bus station. If I leave in the next hour or two, I assume I'll be there in the mornin'.”
“I'm headed that way as soon as I hang up. Don't keep me waitin', okay?”
And with that, she ended the call.
I angrily hung the phone up. “Fuckin' stupid woman!” I shouted to nobody in particular. What did Heidi just do? What was so important that she couldn't tell me over the goddamn phone? What was she thinking?!
Whatever she was planning, I only knew one thing for sure now.
Norfolk, Virginia was my next stop.
Growling loudly, I exited the phone booth and went back to my hotel room. I packed my backpack and returned to the parking lot. The thought of scouting out another set of car keys to steal passed through my head, but I decided against it. If I was meeting up with Heidi, then I didn't need the D.C. police on my ass. So, crossing my fingers, I popped the trunk on the Honda Accord to see if that girl's boyfriend had a toolbox. Thankfully, he did. After pulling out the power drill and a flat-top screwdriver, I grinned wickedly and began the hunt for my next ride.
I spent a mere two minutes searching around for a target. I was careful to choose an old looking car as to avoid having the alarm go off whenever I smashed through the window. Once an old early 70's model Chevelle crossed my line of sight, I knew I'd found my target. As I approached the car, I took a deep breath.
After counting to three, I took a few steps back.
Here goes nothing.
I kicked the window as hard as I could, shattering the glass all into the driver's seat.
When no alarm went off, I sighed with relief.
I opened the door and brushed the broken glass outside the car. As I entered the blue Chevelle, I looked around for the keyhole. Upon seeing it, I stuck the tip of the drill into it and held the trigger. All the time in movies, you see these chumps going the extra mile to hot-wire cars. Fucking with wires, getting up under the car—why? You don't need to do any of that shit! Remember that “drill and screw” maneuver I mentioned earlier? Allow Professor Genghis to teach you up-and-coming criminals a much simpler trick to hot-wiring a car.
First, get a flat head screw driver and a power drill. Next, find a way inside the car. Once you're in, stick the power drill's tip into the keyhole. Drill a little ways into there, but not too far, alright? You're just trying to break the lock pins, not fuck up the ignition altogether. Give it about half of the drill's spike and that should be enough. Remove the drill from the keyhole and do it again.
Kinda like having sex.
Once those pesky lock pins are broken, stick the screwdriver into the keyhole.
Turn and voila!
You're a successful carjacker now!
Here's your gold medal, sport.
Oh, and as I explained that to you, I was doing it as well.
Guess it's No Sleep Till Norfolk for me, right?
The drive to Virginia was long and irritating, much like this entire experience on the run had been for me thus far. My mind was in a cataclysmic fury. Why was this happening? Why was I doing this? Wasn't I supposed to be waiting for something to happen? I mean, this was something happening, but this seemed like a step backward rather than forward. Don't get me wrong, I love Heidi to death. But I seriously doubted she had anything to offer regarding my passage into Casa do Diaño. If anything, all she'd do was beg me to come back to New York and turn myself in.
That wasn't gonna happen to me.
Not after all I've done to ensure my safety from the law.
I'm sorry Heidi, but you're gonna be going home empty-handed later.
I finally arrived in Norfolk sometime past midnight. I managed to find the bus station in town, or at least the main one. Surely this was the one Heidi was gonna arrive at, right? I hoped this was the right place, because I decided I wasn't gonna move until Heidi got there. So I eased my seat back, closed my eyes, and got some much needed sleep.
The blaring sun woke me up. Shielding my eyes from the bright Southern sun, I looked around the parking lot to see a large group of people huddled around a Greyhound bus. My mind mulled over Heidi's words from last night. She said she was gonna leave that night, and that she probably wouldn't be in Norfolk until the morning. I cranked up the Chevelle long enough to see the time on the clock.
This had to have been her bus.
I killed the engine and exited the car, jogging over to the crowd. It was hard to see any familiar faces, as most of the people collecting their bags were so fat that the width of their bodies blocked out the other passengers. I stood there, impatiently waiting for the lard asses to fucking move. One guy even broke a sweat while bending down to pick up his wife's bag. She at one point asked him to pick up her floral-print purse as well, but this just created an argument.
“Dear, imma man. I ain't pickin' up no sissified purse and have the boys call me a got-damn queer!”
“Ain't nuthin' queer about carryin' your wife's bag, Ken!”
“Shut up woman, you don't know any better!”
For fuck's sake.
I stomped over to the couple and picked the lady's flower bag up. “Where's your car, ma'am?” She gave me this really creepy smile, flashing me her set of rotting teeth. “Oooh, lookie here, Ken! This fine young man ain't afraid of carryin' my bag!” He growled and snatched the purse right outta my hand. “Ain't no fuckin' Yankee gonna take my woman from me! C'mon Eunice, let's git outta here.”
I flashed the redneck a cocky grin as he spit on the ground next to me.
As soon as his sweaty ass moved, a much better sight emerged from behind him.
The most beautiful sight, even.
Heidi wore her auburn hair down, pink sweater just a little too big on her. Her blue jeans fit nicely all the way down to her brown boots. She wasn't wearing any make-up, which I didn't mind. If anything, I preferred this look better than when she did try to pretty herself up. Her big eyes lit up as soon as she saw me.
I smiled wide, holding my arms out for her.
“Here I am, babygir—”
In an instant, she smacked me hard across the face.
Okay, I deserved that.
If anything, I deserved much worse than just one angry slap.
I rubbed the spot she hit as she wrapped her arms around me, burying her face into my left shoulder. She started to cry. “Y-You stupid idiot! Fuckin' dumbass man!” I smiled again, wrapping my arms around her tightly. “I missed you too, Heidi.” We stood like that for who knows how long. I was sure people were looking at us, but I didn't give a singular shit about that.
I had my girl in my arms again.
The only woman I've ever loved.
I thought I'd lost her, but here she was.
And I didn't feel like letting her go just yet.
“She knows now.”
I cocked an eyebrow, confused by the sudden appearance of Zombie Bastard inside my head. “What do you mean?” I accidentally asked aloud. Heidi pulled away from me and gave me a funny look. “What?” You know, I really needed to quit doing that. It always made people look at me like I was some kinda rambling lunatic. “Nothin'. Let's get outta here.”
I tried to turn away, but she yanked at my arm.
Oh shit, here we go.
End of the road for me, folks.
It's off to Rikers for this handsome scumbag.
“I need my bags first, Genghis.”
“You on vacation or somethin'?” I asked, half joking.
She gave me a rather intense look.
“You could say that.”
“Clyde is nobody without his Bonnie.”
I continued to look at her with a confused expression as she walked over to the side of the bus and returned with two bags. “Care to help me here, Genghis?” Speechless, I just nodded and grabbed the bag from her right hand. What was happening?
“Destiny always knows best.”
I put my free hand on my forehead, pressing my fingers against my temples.
“The show must go on.”
“Genghis, are you okay?”
“The light leads the way.”
What kinda fuckery is that?
What fucking light?
I shook my head, now looking at Heidi again. Her eyes watched me with curiosity. My eyes matched that look as I tried to make sense of things. She knew? Knew what? Was this what Genghis Two was referring to? That I needed Heidi before I could go to Casa do Diaño? Did Zombie Bastard approach her, too? Was there a Heidi Two living inside her head? Why couldn't Genghis Two just tell me that I needed to grab Heidi? It would've been easy, you know? It would've only taken him three seconds to just be like, “Oh, nab our girlfriend before you go, okay?” That's all he had to fucking do!
That's when I realized the day.
Exactly one week since Genghis Two had told me to wait.
Suddenly, a white light emitted from Heidi's stomach.
My eyes widened.
“Genghis, what's wrong? What are you lookin' at?”
She didn't see the light.
She didn't feel the light.
It was coming right outta her like a fucking lightbulb!
That was when a cluster of different voices hit my brain.
“Give it another week. She doan know yet.”
“Destiny always knows best.”
“Mmm, that was amazing!”
“D'ere's...somethin' you oughta know, Genghis.”
“The show must go on.”
“Let's meet up in Norfolk. I hear that's near the Atlantic Ocean.”
“The light leads the way.”
I gasped loudly as the realization hit me like a truck.
Everything had become clear to me.
I knew what Heidi wanted to tell me.
I knew why she brought these bags with her.
And I knew where to find Casa do Diaño.
I didn't know if this was Zombie Bastard's doing or not.
I didn't know just how much Heidi knew.
But I can tell you what I knew.
Life was gonna be a whole hell of a lot different from now on.
And lemme tell you, I didn't know if I wanted to scream in excitement or piss myself in fear.
“You still wanna go see the ocean, Heidi?” I asked with a shaky voice. She shrugged. “Sure, we might as well while we're here, right?” I gently grabbed her hand and led her to the Chevelle.
This, ladies and gentlemen, was my final day in the world you all know.
A lifelong adventure in the mysterious wonderland known as Casa do Diaño.