We are almost always guilty of the hate we encounter.
- Vauvenargues, French Moralist (1715-1747)
Chapter 8: The Bag
The building was just past the next intersection. The cop cars and the ambulance were all stopped over in the right lane of the street, lined parallel to the string of cars parked at the curb.
The light was red and as Johnny began to slow towards the stop, Carlos said, “What are you in the right lane for? Get over in the left lane so we can drive by and see if they’re rolling him out!”
“Are you kidding? I don’t want to be spotted by anyone! No man, I’m taking a right up here and we can work our way around and up a block.”
“Nah man, just drive past all slow and careful like anyone else would do and let’s get a look,” Carlos insisted.
“I think Johnny’s right, lets turn right and circle around the block and park up past our cars,” Susan said as Johnny came to a stop and then began making a legal right turn on red. “You never know, the people who spotted you might be right out front and recognize you or something.”
“Don’t worry, they didn’t see shit. I used my Jedi mind trick on them,” Carlos laughed, but no one else was laughing.
Gripping the wheel tightly, Johnny’s heart had felt like it was going to leap right out of his chest, but he began to relax just a bit as the cops fell out of sight behind them.
He kept the speedometer needle planted and unwavering at the speed limit of 35. He maneuvered around the block with one left turn and then another, heading back up to Placentia Avenue again, now a block ahead of where they’d been. He found a spot to park close to the intersection, but still out of view of the scene. They were now at the south side of the block with the cops up at the north end.
“Alright, I’m gonna bounce,” Carlos said nonchalantly. The way he just seemed so completely unconcerned about all of this was starting to irritate Johnny.
“Listen,” Johnny said before getting out to let Carlos out, “Don’t everyone get in their cars and drive off all at once. No phone calls. I’ll be seeing you guys at work tomorrow,” he said to Susan and Darren, “And then the four of us will meet at Norms, 1 am.”
They got out of the car, mumbled some quick good-byes and then Johnny got back in and wasted no time getting out of there. Waiting at the light, he was about to keep heading straight, avoiding the scene entirely, but finally curiosity got the best of him and he turned left and headed back up the block. He realized Carlos was right, normal reaction (just an innocent man driving here) would be to slow down and drive cautiously past all the flashing lights from the cop cars, so he did. He saw two cops mulling in front of the building and that was when he saw it – the spot where he had set the bag of goods down, he had completely forgot about it until just now and of course, the bag was nowhere to be seen.