Here it is, the fifth and what I thought would be the final chapter in my story "Dumb Luck". This chapter took a bit longer to unfold than I thought it would, so I'll be writing a sixth tomorrow. I'm confident I'll be able to get to the end of the story in that chapter.
Thank you all for your encouragement along the way. It definitely helps to know that you're out there and are interested in hearing the plot unfold.
I think I'll continue, outside of the blog, to develop the characters and expand on the details and see what the end result is. I've never tried writing anything of this size before, but in my own little fantasy it sure would be nice to see this sitting on a bookshelf someday.
Thank you as well to those of you that have offered up suggestions for the story and most importantly how I can improve as a writer.
If you're new to the site or haven't had a chance to read the first four chapters I would encourage you to go back a few posts and start there. Happy New Year and . . . Enjoy.
Each with money in hand, the two men were off to complete their transaction. As they crossed the front lawn Darren asked, "Is there any gas in the car?"
"Yeah, at least a half a tank." Stopping at his driveway Ryan continued, "Think about what you're doing man."
"I don't have time to think about anything, except getting as far away from here as I can."
"Look, if you do this, you're done! I mean no more house, no more job, goodbye family . . . Where does it end?"
"Are you kidding me?" Darren replied, "I just bought a house I can't afford and that dead end job of mine will probably never even know I'm gone."
"OK, so what about your family? You can't just bail on them."
"What family?" He said, "My dad walked out when I was five and my mom's drunk more than she's sober!"
By now they'd made it into Ryan's garage and neither of them were feeling too good about the situation they were in.
"The keys are in the house. I'll go get them."
As his neighbor reached for the door Miles said, "Are Karen and the kids home?"
"Yeah, they're inside."
"Not a word!"
"It's cool, I don't think they know anything about it yet. . . I'll be right back."
A couple of minutes later Ryan came out of the house with a set of keys in his hand and his wife in tow. What was she doing out here? He wondered.
"Hi Darren." she said, "What are you up to?"
He shot his neighbor a, What the hell did you tell her? look.
He was immediately greeted by Ryan's wide open eyes and his head shaking back and forth ever so slightly. This was his non-verbal communication that indicated, I didn't say a word.
Darren knew this wasn't the time for idle chit-chat, but he had to come up with something to say. Trying to keep his cool, he looked at Karen and while pointing to the car said, "I decided to buy the Buick from you guys."
"Really. . . I thought you said you hated this old clunker. Besides, you have that nice Jeep of yours. What are you going to do with two cars?"
This was the opening he was hoping for.
"Didn't Ryan tell you?"
With a puzzled look aimed toward her husband she said, "Tell me what?"
Darren quickly interjected, "My Jeep was stolen today."
"Oh my god, it what?"
"It's a long story and I don't mean to be rude, but I've got about a half a million things to take care of and I really need to get going. I'll fill you in later OK?"
"Sure. . . Darren. . . I'll leave you boys alone to finish up then."
As she headed into the house she glanced back over her shoulder. Her intuition told her something wasn't right with this picture, but it also told her not to get involved. . . at least not yet.
"Good night." she said, and went inside.
It seemed like every time he turned around someone else was getting drawn into this saga.
"Look, you two have been good to me the past few months and I don't want to get you in the middle of this so here take this."
What he said and what he did next seemed to be in complete contradiction with each other. He reached into the bag, then handed Ryan another bundle of fifties.
"Here take this. It should help you forget I was ever here. . . Right?"
"What about the car? They're going to find it eventually."
"I don't know. . . Report it as stolen. . . I don't care, tell them anything. . . Just give me a couple of days please."
"I'll do what I can"
With that he threw the bags in the trunk, climbed in the car and fired it up. As the garage door raised, Ryan stuck his head in the passenger side window and said, "Where are you gonna go?"
"I don't know yet, someplace warm though. I'm sick and tired of this cold weather."
Seconds later he made a left turn onto Kingston Street and he could see flashing lights ahead. They were getting closer. He knew he'd barely made it out of there, but just how much time he had left was a mystery.
He pulled over and watched as three black Suburbans zipped past him with their red and blue lights flashing from inside the front grill. These were no ordinary police cars, he thought. These are what the Feds drive and they're way to close for comfort.
All he could hope for now was that the couple he'd just left would keep their mouths shut long enough for him to put some distance between them.
Snow started falling again as he was headed south on the interstate. He wondered what was happening back at his house and more importantly perhaps, he wished he knew what was going on next door.
Two hours had passed since getting into the car and still not a single piece of news on the radio that was of any use to him. He found himself cursing the stations for playing music and wished he'd hear, 'WE BREAK AWAY FROM OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMING TO BRING YOU THIS SPECIAL BULLETIN.' but it never came.
He still wasn't completely sure where he was going, but if he could keep up this pace he'd be out of the state in a couple of hours. That's a start. He thought.
A couple of miles later he looked down at the gas gauge and realized the needle was on E. He'd have to stop and fill it up.
Another ten miles down the road he saw a service station ahead and pulled in. He was in luck. It didn't look very busy and there was an open pump on the island to his right. When he stepped out, he realized the gas cap was on the opposite side of where he normally filled up his Jeep.
Noticing what Darren had done the attendant said, "Not your car huh?"
Paying no attention to the fact that the guy was just making small talk, he harshly replied, "Of course it's mine! What are you talking about?"
"Take it easy buddy, I didn't mean any offense, but your gonna have to move it to the other side for the nozzle to reach."
By now other people filling up their cars were starring at Darren and listening to the two men's exchange of words. This was not the kind of attention he needed.
To be continued.