Might’ve been three hundred miles out when the smell hit me. Now I knew it wasn’t my job to pick around and look for things less I was told. But maybe if curiosity got the best of me and my mind wandered and I pulled over somewhere secluded but no one needed to know that.
My job was to drive. Don’t ask no questions, don’t be stupid, only run if I got to, and drive the car from point A to point B. Don’t give it to no one you aren’t supposed to. Get paid a flat rate, extra thrown in if done over a long distance. Maybe some food money if the Family knows your name.
Only reason worth doing it. Cars weren’t anything special. They needed to blend in.
Maybe one day I’d get a call. They’d want a Ferrari. Naw, fuck that, a goddamn Maserati; and I’d drive that cross country. Open highway all the way with the top down with the grass sweeping past like a green tide. What a fucking dream.
I kept thinking about it, tryna remind myself of what that dream used to feel like, when that smell hit again. Wasn’t a skunk. This was prairie country and no skunks around till I hit the backwoods again. Maybe, what, another two hundred miles?
But fuck was this one sticking around. It was in here with me. And it was close to eighty out and yeah the AC was blaring but I knew it’d be getting worse and soon.
Then my mind got to wandering again.
They found about the deal I’d made. Retirement. One last drive, I’d said to the other Family, and I’m all yours. They don’t look up to traitors but I gotta do what I gotta do. Besides, I’d be on their side now and I’d help them take over the routes here.
I gotta do what I gotta do. Girl with me. Kid on the way. All three of us need a way out.
All of us.
I wasn’t nothing and this was all for them.
And now the bosses took one of the spare bodies they’d got floating around somewhere and shoved it in the trunk and told me to cross a few state borders in plates that’d come up bad. I’d get pulled over with a body in the back. Even if I’d been doing this long enough to not be pissing my pants and blabbering on about interstate car exports by Russian mafia families on the West coast a bunch of plains country cops wouldn’t believe whatever lie I came up with and drag me in. No fucking chance they’d believe me. They’d find a corpse in the back. I’d look like a killer and the name sounds Spanish. All the fucking proof they’d need to drag me off.
Assuming they don’t put me in a ditch and put one in the back of my fucking head.
Don’t think like that.
-They’re even cops to begin with.
I needed a plan then. Don’t pull over and look. They’ll find you faster that way. Get somewhere off the main road, secluded, and ditch this fucking thing and wipe every fingerprint and drop of sweat out of this car.
The girl and the kid inside her were only halfway from my stop point. I didn’t know if the Family knew the address. They’d come for her first. I needed to beat them there.
Fuck this. Fuck everything. I needed out now. This all needed to end.
I pushed on the gas until the world raced past and the smell wasn’t as bad anymore.
I drove along that single land road and let the setting western sun bring me home.