The car goes right through the hole I made in the guardrail and straight into the swamp.
I pull out my flashlight and shine it there.
“Come on. Come on.”
Two minutes later and I’m getting antsy.
On the third minute I see the sets of eyes as the car slowly descends. When I see the scaly backs of the gators and one of the bigger ones fighting off a smaller one, making it known the biggest gator eats first, and everything if he can fit it, I know my job is done.
I put one foot in front of the other and get to it.
Forty-five minutes later I arrive at the gas station. The day laborers are already showing up.
“Circular saw, my friend?”
The guy can’t believe his luck.
I hand it over, toss the registration papers in the trash, and walk around back and see the 2006 silver Ford F-150 right where it’s supposed to be.
The pull the key from my boot, slide it in the lock, and twenty seconds later I’m on my way home.
I already know what comes next.
The next day
The alarm sounds way too early.
I tap my phone to turn it off and drag myself out of bed to the shower, hoping the water will be the blast that gets me going.
I make an instant coffee, and while the water is boiling I grab my phone and scroll through a list of messages.
When I got home last night I set the phone to do not disturb. I needed time to make heads and tails out of what happened yesterday. It was so strange to me. It was like Dimitry was about to reveal something big to me and then all of a sudden things went south.
He showed me a sliver of his world, and it was exciting and unique. How much more I see it very uncertain right now.
I scroll through my messages, and just as I do another comes in from Piper asking where I am and if I’m okay. She’s worried after what happened to Anthony? What?
My phone rings, which is rare these days, and I take her call.
“Turn on your TV. NBC 6.”
I do and see a car that looks eerily similar to mine and some sort of crime scene or clean up? The area seems to be sectioned off, a wall of yellow tape keeping reporters at bay.
“Okay. I see it.”
“It’s Anthony,” she says.
“Anthony would never be caught dead in a car like that, and the TV announcer is saying the police haven’t released the name of the body yet.”
“They don’t have to. Social media. It’s all over and spreading like wildfire.”
“Fake news. That can’t be Anthony.”
My stomach rolls over and I hear the loud whistle of the water kettle.
“I have to run. See you at class?”
“Are you sure you want to go?”
“Why not?” I say nonchalantly, trying to keep my cool but I know there’s a bit of a quiver in my voice.
There’s a long pause and finally she says, “You’re right. Better to just go about your business as if nothing happened. See you there,” she hastily wraps up and then ends the call.
I set the phone on the table and keep my eyes focused in on the TV screen, while the water kettle continues to whistle.
I still doubt that it’s Anthony, but if it is, maybe that explains why Dimitry acted as he did yesterday at the Cuban restaurant…and why he seemed to be in a rush after.
I shake my head quickly, shiver and move away from the TV, pouring the hot water over the dried caffeine crystals.
I just stare into the cup until the brown liquid spills over the top. “Oh crap!”
I reach for a towel and quickly clean up the mess. I need to get a hold of myself quick, and figure out what’s going on.
And not just figure out what’s going on with Dimitry and I, but with Dimitry and…other people, who may or may not be deceased.
Now I am nervous, very nervous.
The loud ring of my phone wakes me and I want to toss the fucker across the room. I hate electronics to start with, and I hate them even more right now.
I set the thing on the highest ringer volume it has, and although I knew this call was going to come, I didn’t expect it to come right in the middle of my dream where Dakota is riding me.
I look down at the sheet across my waist. Fuck, I’m pitching the world’s biggest tent and my balls are sore as hell. My mind is still groggy, getting interrupted in the middle of deep sleep, and I wonder if I was actually about to have a wet dream.
Damn, this woman has me on edge. A thirty-five year old man having a wet dream. I didn’t even know that was possible.