Clean Getaway
By M. Thomas

The sirens were ear splitting, and the Sunday morning, hot and bright. In his rear view mirror, Willie saw the police car was so close that he couldn't get a full view of it. He caught a glimpse of another behind it, and there was no telling what was up ahead. But Willie had to keep going and hold on to his wits. His car was going to have to be ditched, and he'd have to make a run for it—but where?

"Give me the money in the glove compartment," he said.

The woman beside him reached in and handed him a tight wad of bills. She said, "What you gonna do?"

She held on tight as the street signal ahead changed to red and traffic came to a stop. Willie swerved to the left and the woman shouted, "No you don't!" Then she screamed. They were in the on-coming lane. Cars swerved over, while the police cars behind followed him into the lane. The woman screamed louder. They were going to crash. Willie thought, there's no way they gonna catch me. I worked too hard for this money.

At the intersection, Willie turned sharply right. Automobiles flashed by. Siren's blared. Tires screeched to a halt. Then he turned left. A car clipped him, and another spun around. He put on the brakes. The car stopped. Screams, sirens, and squealing cars became a symphony of ear-splitting noise.

Then—no movement—just a sea of stationary cars.

Willie reached for the thirty-eight on the floor, but, it wasn't there. He swept the floor with his hand and looked over the back seat on the floor. There it was. He grabbed it and fled the vehicle. The police were stuck on one side of the traffic jam, but more cops were pulling up on the other. He pointed the thirty-eight and shot. Pop-pop-pop.
He ran. They were not going to catch him. Not without a fight. It was drug money he had; but it was hard earned money. Why'd they have to stop him anyway? His license was suspended, but they didn't know that. They stopped him for no reason.

Willie remembered he'd left packets of cocaine inside the padding of the automobile seat. But what-the-hell. He had enough money, if he could just get away and lay low. He couldn't remember the woman's name he left at the car. She was a good lay. But he had to leave her. There was no way he could run and take her along.

He ran down residential streets, through front yards and into alleys. Dogs were barking. He could hear sirens. Willie stopped long enough to catch his breath. Then, he ran again. The further he got, the better off he'd be. But then, he thought, he needed to hide, and change his clothes before the police dogs were let loose to sniff him out.

Willie stopped behind a dilapidated two-family flat and looked through a window. There was no one except a young woman and two kids inside. He kicked in the back door and held the gun on her. She screamed and reached for the kids.

"Get in the bedroom!" Willie shouted.

The woman took the kids, a boy and girl, and fled into the room. The children cried as the woman got on the floor and crouched down over them. The lady cowered and wailed as she watched him holding the gun.

"Stay there. Don't move," Willie went to the window to check for cops. Then he emptied the dresser drawers on the floor and flung clothes out of her closet until he found what he wanted. He held up a shirt and pants that might fit, then grabbed the woman by the wrist.

"These clothes your husband's?"

"No," she said, shaking.

"Your boyfriend then. Where's he at?"

"He's at work."

"You kids go sit at the kitchen table and don't move. Go."

"Don't you hurt them!" the woman said as the children carefully got up and ran to the kitchen. Willie dragged the woman to the bathroom and closed the door. "Don't you kids go anywhere or I'll kill your mother!"

He looked at the woman and pointed to the toilet seat. "Sit down."

She sat.

"Ain't nothin' gonna happen to you if you do as I say."
He placed the gun on the floor, away from the woman, and filled the tub full of hot water. She turned away as he disrobed. He got in, splashing water on the floor. "Sorry about that."

The woman sniffled. He couldn't see her face the way she was turned. She wiped her eyes and said, "I want you to go."

"Soon, Sugar. Hey, I'm sorry for busting in here on yuh. I'll make it up to you."

Willie felt as if he was drifting. The hot water relaxed him, so he laid there awhile before soaping up and rinsing off. The woman got him a towel, but continued to look away. He got in the fresh clothes and took out the wad of bills. He gave each of the children ten dollars and the woman a hundred.

He was home free.

Then he heard dogs, and then the banging at the front and back doors. It was the police.

"Here," Willie said. He gave the woman an extra four hundred dollars. "You tell them I left five minutes ago. Show them the clothes I left behind, and I'll give you an extra thousand dollars, if they don't find me."

He hid in the closet.

The woman did as he asked. "Hurry up," she said standing at the front door. "He went that way."

The police started to leave. The little girl pulled at her mother's arm.

"No momma. He's in the closet."

The End

Mitchell:  I am a fiction writer who love the short story format. I've been published by The Binnacle, Aim Magazine, and several online publications including Long Story Short. I'm currently working on a novel, although it's taking me forever to finish it.  Contact Mitchell.

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