-Tuesday, 7:40pm, Ramada Lounge-
"Are you sure this is what you want?"
"Yes, very sure."
"It's crazy stuff ... real permanent, you know?"
"Can you do it or not?"
"Yeah, I can do it. I just don't know if I want to. Something ain't right with this."
"Look if it's the money..."
"No it's not your green. Okay, I got some business to take care of upstate. You think about it, when I get ... No, don't interrupt, I'm doin you a favor here ... When I get back you tell me it's a go and it's done. You change your mind, we forget all about it. Three days, you think about it."
-Friday, 10:20am, telephone-
"Sid? Yeah it's Johnny ... listen I need a tire changed. Yeah, right ... Okay, bring your tools. What? No, piece of cake ... C'mon Sid, ya turn a few wrenches, yeah it's easy dope ... Right."
-Friday, 5:30pm, Al's Big Boy Diner-
"Okay here's the deal. Three grand..."
"What? Sid, where'd that come from?"
"Attica. I did a wooden nickel and I didn't drop a dime. Up front."
"I got two, what'r we arguing here?"
"I want three up front, ain't no arguin' Johnny."
"It's a pop-pop job, c'mon, here's two, take it ... Shit. Happy?"
"Well. It ain't three."
"Don't worry about it. Get the other one at Denny's after. I'll buy ya a freakin' burger."
"Shut the fuck up! ... Right. Here's the deal she's stayin' at the 8 Days, upstairs room 226. She got some jewelry, credit cards, little cash. Nobody cares what's missin' got it?"
"Bitch is in a motel, somebody's buyin' the tire."
"She ain't hooked."
"So ... What? Somebody pick her name out of a freakin' hat?"
"Why you askin? You know better Sid, c'mon. She's alone, she's gonna be alone. If she ain't alone you got the wrong room cause it ain't worth changin' a whole set, right?"
"I'm just sayin..."
"Yeah I know what your sayin."
-Tonight, 10:36pm, Indiana-
Sid drove through the parking lot of the 8 Days Motel slowly, looking at the different vehicles parked. They were all dark, all empty. There was a Chevy panel van nearby. He didn't really like the way it looked, but it had out of state tags and that made it okay. He parked near the open stairs at the far end, away from the brightly lit lobby. He hadn't seen anyone else in there though. The clerk was probably in the back, watching TV and drinking coffee, he figured.
He was happy with the location. The motel was on the interstate, a few miles east of Indianapolis. Mostly folks going from somewhere to nowhere and back again, a society in transition. Nobody ever saw or heard anything in places like this. The people who just might, would be checking out early and 300 miles away before lunch. A couple days, a week maybe before the locals here got the locals there to track those people down. They wouldn't remember anything but the monotony of the road and the kids fighting in the back seat.
Sid wasn't overly large, not especially menacing. Short black hair, weak chin, watery brown eyes and a thin mouth. Being average, being forgettable had helped him out more than a few times. He'd been caught driving a stolen car, with an unregistered piece under the seat, just outside in Buffalo. Five years got reduced by good behavior and overcrowding to 17 months. He'd violated parole 3 days after he got out, taking a job with Johnny in Cleveland. One of the boys again, but it paid the rent. Better than that shit job Corrections had set him up with.
This wasn't his first whack job, not the first woman either. Lotta guys didn't do women, something about it didn't sit right, even for the hardest guys. Like it would bring bad luck or something. Sid didn't know about that, most people tended to make their own luck, he figured. Like the woman upstairs, whatever she'd done was going to bring a lot of bad luck as soon as he finished his smoke. Three grand was a lot for a job like this, whacking a nobody civilian. He wondered if she was a witness or something and that gave him pause. He looked at the van again, wondering if there might not be a deputy marshal or two in there. Maybe a couple more next door, maybe even one in the room with her. A female, like they were sisters, just waiting for him.
Johnny had sworn she'd be alone though. Sid wasn't a rat, but if he got fucked on this one, he thought, those feds might as well give him a new name instead of handcuffs, because some people would be going down. He pulled on a pair of black leather gloves, pulled a black baseball cap down low and felt his little .32 semi-automatic in the big pocket of his jacket. There would be a camera on the parking lot, he knew, not a good one, but it would be there. He took a deep breath, opening the car door quickly and walking towards the stairs, keeping his head down but his eyes on the lobby, relieved that there wasn't anyone to see.
Sid paused outside the door, listening carefully and hearing nothing but the weak sound of the television. The curtains were pulled, but small flashes of light escaped, reflected off the walls. He removed his gun carefully, knowing all too well the tendency of such things to catch on pockets and such. That's why he never carried it in his pants, not after what had happened to Baltimore Joe. They called him Dickless Joe now and he was a ripe little queen in Attica, real popular. Sid shut those thoughts out, with a frown. Weird how the mind filled with stupid crap at times like that. He fitted the large silencer to the pistol with a half-twist and...
The sound was barely audible above the television, which really wasn't that loud either. Nancy looked at the door for a moment, holding her breath. It was a few minutes after midnight and she'd been waiting for it, but maybe not really expecting it. She stood up slowly, smoothing her night shirt, a lacy black thing her ex-husband had given her once, a long time ago. A lifetime ago really. Nancy walked to the door barefoot, feeling her heart beating faster, willing herself to breathe. She didn't know what to expect and that was the real fear.
As soon as Nancy unlocked the door, moving the funny shaped metal piece back, out of the way and turning the knob, Sid pushed hard, knocking the smaller woman backwards, so that she fell heavily onto the floor. He stepped in closing the door behind him and bringing up his gun. She was barely five feet away, sprawled on the carpet, illuminated by the television to her left.
"Don't move. Don't scream," Sid told her quietly. He was supposed to just do her, right then, without any talk, any hesitation. His finger had even tightened on the trigger, another small pull and it would be over. But...
"Sidney?" Nancy blinked at the man, recognizing him easily, even after nearly ten years.
"Nancy?" Sid stared back at the woman and swallowed hard. He lowered his gun slowly, easing tension off the trigger and just holding it uselessly at his side. "What ... What are you doing here?"
"I-I'm waiting ... Sid, oh God! It is you!" She stood up, smiling tenderly and felt a growing wetness in her eyes she'd never have expected. She ran up to him, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing his cheek.
Sid couldn't help but put his own arms around her, hugging her tightly and burying his nose in her long black hair. "Oh Jesus, Nancy ... Nancy..." It was all either of them said for several long minutes.
They were sitting together, on the bed, talking a short time later.
"Where have you been? You never called, you never wrote! Mom was worried sick about you!" Nancy berated the man, frowning and shaking her head. "We were both worried!"
"I know," Sid sighed. "How ... how is Mom?" He looked at his sister from the corner of his eye, afraid to face the truth.
"She's dead," Nancy said softly. "Seven years ago. She ... She had breast cancer, it was ... bad."
"Oh." Sid closed his eyes. His mom hadn't deserved that. Hadn't deserved any of it. She'd spent her whole life trying to raise Sid and Nancy alone, ever since their father had run off when Sid was just a newborn and Nancy barely out of diapers.
"I tried to find you," Nancy shrugged. "I called some of your old friends, you know. But nobody knew anything." She looked at her brother, hitting him suddenly as tears burst from her soft brown eyes. "Where have you been?"
"Hey ... Hey!" Sid grabbed her clumsily, wrapping Nancy up in a hug, shushing her as the girl pounded her fists weakly on his shoulders. "Shhh ... I was all over, nowhere ... Anyplace I could get work." He had no explanation, no excuses, he knew. Whatever he said would be meaningless, useless.
After a while Nancy stopped crying and she wiped her eyes on the bed sheet.
"So now you ... you're a ... hitman? You're a criminal?" Nancy looked at the gun Sid had set down on top of the television.
He held up his hands. "I do what I have to. You don't know, Nance. You don't know what it was like for me." Sid shook his head, staring at her.
"So tell me then," she challenged him. "Make me understand why you left us. Left me, Sid! Just like he did ... You abandoned me!" Nancy was going to start crying again and she fought it.
"I ... I can't tell you. I'm sorry, okay? I'm sorry, Nancy ... But look. I'm not going anywhere ever again, alright? I'll stay with you now, forever ... the rest of our lives. I don't have anybody, no one..." He felt his own eyes growing moist. "I've been so lonely, Nance. I missed you so much!"