Boring. The highway is just so mind-blowingly boring. The miles stretch endlessly on my trip to Florida. Boring. It´s still early in the morning and I´m already bored to death. The day doesn´t look promising at all. I could entertain myself by annoying one of my friends with a long phone call. But as I rarely drive long distances and the X5 is quite new, I haven´t yet bothered to purchase a snap-in charger for my phone. And I´ve forgotten to bring the USB charging cable. So I have no way to recharge my phone´s dead battery. Without my phone I can´t even access my music collection. Which makes everything even more boring. To the right I see a boring small Louisiana town. On my left side, a boring dark sedan is overtaking me. My boring tank is still half full. No reason to stop and interrupt my misery of total boredom. Why in god´s name haven´t I taken the plane? In hindsight, this idea to finally run in the new car was ridiculous.
On my right I admire a small group of cows. One is brown, all the others are black. Truly amazing. At least amazing enough to make them the main visual attraction around here. In my mind´s eye I see locals gathering around this spectacle every day, watching the cows in awe. On my left I see ... the nozzle of a gun pointed at my head. Instinctively I immediately fully slam the brakes. I barely realize that my side window shatters. I look to my right and see a highway exit through the other shattered side window.
Still fully on the brakes, I yank the car into the exit. I barely miss it. The pedal is on the metal again even while I´m still plowing through a stretch of grass before reaching tarmac again. I look into my rear mirror quickly. Nobody to be seen, just an empty and innocent looking highway exit. I realize that I´m surprisingly calm. Shouldn´t I be more upset? Would shaking like a leaf be more appropriate? At least a tinge of panic maybe? Hell, I´ve never been in this situation and I just don´t know how I´m expected to react. Surviving is quite high on my list though, that much is clear.
Who might want to kill me? I think I´m the classical nice guy. I´ve never fucked someone else´s wife - at least not as far as I know. My criminal career is limited to a stolen apple at the age of eight. And I somehow doubt that Mr. Thompson - the fruit dealer - has finally found out and is upset enough for such drastic measures. Is this maybe just a coincidence and no one will follow me? Some kind of spontaneous Louisiana greeting ritual? Oh, shit, no such luck, I see a dark sedan speeding down the exit behind me.
Of course, I press everything out of my car that it´s got. Which is a lot, as I had impulsively opted for the bigger kind of engine-thing. I have no idea about such stuff and hadn´t really understood the difference at the time. Eight cylinders somehow sounded better than six, so that´s what I had bought. All I know is that my car feels seriously fast right now. But surprisingly, my pursuers manage to keep up. Suddenly a shot smashes the front window. Shit. Of course, I duck my head, hating me while I do it. Because it´s silly, it´s too late anyway.
My still quite un-shot right rear view mirror tells me two things, both of which add to an already shitty day. First, there is a large lump of bird-shit on the mirror frame. Damn, this car is almost brand new. But I at least thank the obviously quite big bird for omitting to target my now non-existent windshield. Second - there´s a guy leaning out of the side window of that damn sedan, pointing a gun in my general direction. I´m not sure if he´s aware that he looks absolutely ridiculous, like in a cheap 60s gangster movie. I´m a little disappointed that he´s left out some kind of Humphrey Bogart hat. If I´m about to be shot, it should happen with style.
I see a small humpy country lane to the right and decide to use every advantage I might have against them. I have an SUV and they don´t. So I turn onto it, braking late and hard. And I immediately accelerate down this small track, almost pushing the pedal through the floor. I don´t even know where exactly I am. Probably somewhere in Louisiana still.
Driving at more than 100 mph down a small, holey track is a challenge and I have my hands full with keeping the car on it. I hope that the massive dust plume I´m producing might help me. My location is painfully obvious this way, but I don´t envy them for racing down this stretch of dirt at this speed in a dust plume. It´s difficult enough without it.
Suddenly the steering jerks and the tire pressure warning goes off. Shit, they´ve probably hit a tire with a round. The car remains surprisingly stable but I decide I have to leave it nonetheless. I haven´t managed to shake them with four good tires, so I certainly won´t manage to do it with three. I slam the brakes, get out of the car and run. I just run. There are some trees around me, but not enough to really hide me. I don´t look back. I barely look where I´m running. I just run like hell.
The bark of a tree on me right explodes into a cloud of splinters but I don´t care in the least. I run for my very life. I don´t even know how many of them are chasing me. One or two, maybe? Two, probably. That´s what they always show in the movies. No, the cops come in twos. The killers are always alone. Does it matter? No. But a surprisingly lot of stuff goes through my mind during these supposedly last seconds of a life I´ve thoroughly enjoyed so far. Well, it´s been good. That´s the phrase that probably describes everything best. Always stick to the classics if in doubt. And it´s sad that this good life has to come to such a sudden end at the ripe age of 29.
The thing is - oops, I have to watch this root - I´ve kind of won the big lottery of life. Although it might not look like that today. Caution, mud puddle, jump over it. I´m quite good looking. I personally don´t think so as I generally don´t appreciate the looks of men, including myself. But the part of the female population that fancies me has assured me so. And I don´t care much about the opinion of the other part.
A fork in the path. Okay, the left one. Why not? I don´t know where I am anyway. It´s not important where I run to. It´s important to keep doing it. And I do this whole running thing more out of habit to prolong my life as much as possible than out of hope that it might save me somehow. The battery of my mobile phone is dead. The number of cops in sight is - wait, I have to count - zero. Which, by coincidence, matches the total number of people in sight. I´m unarmed, not trained in any kind of martial arts, I´ve never been near a marine, a green beret, a navy SEAL or anything like it. I´m more some kind of peaceful, non-confrontational guy. Oops, I better run on that grass, the path seems dangerously muddy and slippery. So, I´m toast. I´m chased by a professional killer. And I´m just an unarmed, unskilled guy spoiled by a sheltered life. My only fight was with Timmy Burns at the age of eleven. And I´ve lost it. So they would probably kill me even if they went out of ammunition.
Spoiled? Definitely. Rich from the moment I had joined humanity. Heir of old money. Intelligent enough to finish an ivy league college without ever having the intention to actually work as a lawyer. Living a life of luxury, busy with meaningless stuff, never contributing anything to humankind. Apart from just being there. Blocking resources that would have better been invested in more ambitioned people. That´s what it boils down to, old guy. You´re just superfluous. No kids, no responsibility for anything. You´re a money-losing business for humanity. I´ve never seen this, somehow. I was just too busy being me. Driving around in fancy cars, chasing pretty women, living in nice houses, traveling. But now, running down a muddy path somewhere in the South, it seems quite obvious. It strongly looks like mankind will manage to survive without my presence. No one will give a shit, to be more precise. The insight is quite disillusioning. And it seems a little late to change my life now.
But one thing might be to my advantage. I´ve always been good at sports and I´ve been running a lot. I think I´ve maintained a good pace so far. I can´t hear anybody behind me any more and even the shots have stopped. Okay, I´ll take the left path again. So I might have been able to put a little distance between me and the killer. Or the group of killers. As far as I know, there might be as many as twenty guys chasing me. I have to chuckle as I envision a group of black-clad guys with sunglasses stumbling down this damn path. But seriously, not more than five self-respecting killers would have entered that shitty sedan.
It is at least consoling that I won´t die as clueless as I have lived. By now I have a strong idea who might want to see me dead and why. Being in this somewhat inconvenient situation is partly my own fault.
The path leads me around a bend and suddenly I´m in some kind of clearing. It looks like a trailer park. About fifteen trailers seem to be scattered across the clearing in what looks like a totally random pattern. Not two of them seem to be aligned parallel to each other. The positions are equally haphazard. They look like some toys, dropped here by an enormous child. Everything seems to be silent, not a single human being is in sight. Most of the trailers sport some weird decoration. Chains of lights, colored lamps, everything that might give the place a gaudy and cheap look is present. In it´s own tastelessness, the place is very consistent.
Well, I can´t be picky, can I? I rush to the nearest one of the luxurious residences, omitting the one with the “Jesus loves you” sticker, which seems somehow inappropriate, given the circumstances. I frantically pound on the door of my chosen potential refuge.
“I´m off service. You see, my light is off,” I am informed by a bored female voice from inside. My God, what is this, some kind of forest brothel? I´m running for my dear life here. But I´m glad that someone is home and is willing to at least talk to me. Even if it is through a closed door.
“Please open up! It´s important. It´s a matter of life or death. You have to help me!”
The door is opened surprisingly quickly and I´m being pulled inside. It´s quite dark in here and as soon as my eyes have gotten accustomed to the surroundings, I perceive a blond women in front of me. Her face is not pretty. It´s spectacularly beautiful. She has the sharply chiseled features of a classical beauty. What is she doing here? This seems wrong. I have no idea why, but somehow I feel that someone as beautiful as her should not live in an old trailer in a remote wood in the South, working as a prostitute. This is not how things should be, according to Josh´s rules of life.
She´s about a head smaller than me and looks at me expectantly with her fists in her waist. Her make-up is exaggerated and tasteless, but maybe this is what´s in demand around here. Given some attention to her styling and clothes, she would be a raving beauty. I hardly notice that the trailer seems to be packed with books, which surprises my a little.
“Sorry to disturb you, mam. But someone is following me and to be brutally honest, is trying to kill me. I´m Josh, by the way.” I extend my hand in the hope of breaking some ice here. I hope she will take it. I desperately need her as my ally.
She carefully studies my hand before slowly reaching out and taking it. “Hi Josh. I´m Mia.” She takes my hand, which I take as a good sign. “The thing is, life around here might not be ideal. But I kind of have gotten used to living. And I plan to do it for a while. I´m 26 and I think that might be a little early for my big departure. So as much as I´d like to help you, I can´t see why I should endanger my life for a stranger. You see, for all that I know, you might as well be the villain in this story.”
Wow, she might be a prostitute working in a rotten trailer in the middle of nowhere. But she surely isn´t dumb or uneducated. Quite eloquent, actually. I like her sense of humor, even in these stressed circumstances.
“I´m not. I swear.” Well, given the current situation, a little more volubility than this would be appreciated. My life might depend on it. This might be the first and only situation where my abilities as a womanizer would significantly improve something of relevance. And it seems that it´s the first time that I completely fail since Peggy Andrews´ bitch-slap in tenth grade.
“So give me one reason to help you.”
“Imagine the alternative. You send me out there again. I will be killed for certain. And you would have to live with it.” Uh, risky. I´m playing the guilt card. I don´t like me for it, but I´m desperate.
“So you´re betting your life on me being a woman of morals? You´re talking to a whore.”
I was still holding her hand, squeezing it. “Why should a whore have lower morals than anyone else? You see, I don´t like to play with guilt. This is not your problem and I hate to burden you. But I´ve also come to like being alive. And I´m just desperate. Being killed would really put a damper on my day.”
Her impressions softens and I hope that I´ve convinced her. Which would be a small miracle, keeping in mind how I look like. Dirty, sweaty, in torn clothes.
She heaved a long sigh. “Okay, what do you want?”
“Could you please call the police? My mobile´s battery is dead.”
“Sorry, we have no net here. No phones at all. This little paradise is as illegal as it can be.”
“Shit. I need to survive for - let´s see” I check my watch “15 hours. Until midnight. Then I´m safe.”
She looks at me pensively. Then she obviously comes to a conclusion. I just hope it´s the right one. The one to keep me alive. My life is in her hands.
“Follow me.” She leads me to a wardrobe.
“Mia, these are really bad guys. They are sure to look in here. Please, we need to find a better hiding place.”
“Trust me. We know about such stuff. We have some illegal immigrants among us.” Now she opens a kind of hidden door inside the wardrobe. A small hiding place appears.
“Gosh, you´re right,” I say. “This might actually work.”
“Get in. They are already looking for you. Two guys.”
“Thank me later. If I´m still alive then.”
I just look at her with what I hope is a sincere and thankful expression and stow myself into the small space.
She closes the door and I´m engulfed in total darkness. My only sensations are the slightly stale scent in here, the sound of her feet shuffling around and some birds singing in the trees. And now I hear a loud banging on her door.
“Open the damn door, you fucking whore.” The rhyme gives his demand some lyrical quality but the content is surprisingly rude. This is a guy that will clearly make no new friends around here. But his gun probably makes it unnecessary to be tactful anyway.
“I´m off service. Go to one of the others. It´s early in the morning, I´m tired.”
“I don´t give a shit. I´m not here to fuck a dirty piece of shit. Open the door or I´ll knock it down.” I guess that the whole trailer park will be aware of what´s happening by now. And this is probably not the first door they knock on. Someone here will be armed to protect the girls. But whoever it is, he or she doesn´t seem to be intent to do something about it.
But these are prostitutes and the guys pursuing me are professional killers. So yes, it´s probably a lot healthier not to mess with these guys. My lovely ex Sally seems to have spared no expense and has hired competent specialists.
I hear the front door being opened.
“So what do you want?”
“Looking for someone. Won´t take long. Just don´t get in my way.”
I hear him walking around, opening and checking everything quickly. Finally he opens the wardrobe. My life as well as Mia´s depends on this moment. Come to think about it, they will probably kill all inhabitants of this lovely theme park just to eliminate possible witnesses. This is sick. All these people would have to die for Sally´s greed. And for my mistakes.
“Okay. If you see a man in dirty and torn clothes, let us know. We´ll be around for a while.”
Mia doesn´t bother to respond and someone closes the front door.
“Stay in there for a while. We need to be sure,” I hear her whispering. Smart girl. Beautiful, smart, witty and willing to endanger herself to help me. What exactly is she doing in this dump?
I try to remain calm and patient for a while and not to succumb to claustrophobia. I´m not tending towards it, but I have to try not to acquire it now. The place would be ideal for the task. After an eternity, light floods my small hideaway. I unfold my aching body into the real world.
“It´s not over yet. They´re still around.”
“I know.” Our whole conversation is an exchange of whispers. We´re both aware that they will probably be busy right now with pressing some ears to some aluminum panels.
“You owe me.”
“Yes. What do you want?”
“Your story.” She smiles. How can she smile in such a situation? And boy, does she have a nice smile.
“Really? That´s all?”
“I haven´t said that that´s all. But it seems to be a proper down-payment.”
“Okay.” I realize that my voice is croaking a little.
“You´ve had a rough time, right? You stay here in the bedroom. No one can peek in here. I´ll get you something to eat and drink.”
I look at her incredulously. She´s right. I´m desperately hungry and thirsty.
I realize that something has gone completely wrong. I´ve married some kind of monster while a beautiful and caring woman like Mia had to work on her back to survive. At least I suppose that she has to do this out of desperation. No other reason is thinkable for such an angel.
She returns with some cookies and a glass of water. All of it is history within seconds and Mia smiles at me benevolently.
“Okay, go ahead,” she whispers.
“Well, I´ve led a rather easy and carefree life until today. Never been in trouble, no enemies, my life was just one pleasant journey. My problem began in college, although I didn´t know at the time. I met a girl named Sally. She´s very intelligent, can be very nice and funny and is rather pretty. Not as beautiful as you, but pretty enough.” She smiles briefly, but tries to hide it. “I have inherited a little money from my grandpa, which enabled me to go through college without too many worries.” I omit to mention that I´ve inherited a three-digit million sum. No need to tell her that. It had brought me enough misery with Sally. “Sally on the other hand had a scholarship because she is really bright and a very hard worker. She is driven by ambition and definitely doesn´t want to live like her parents did. But despite her scholarship she had always trouble to make ends meet. So I think I was the perfect match for her. I wasn´t too keen on a steady relationship but she was relentless and charmed me into it. After we had our degrees, she decided that we should marry. I had my doubts, but I was too passive and too lazy to really disagree. It would have caused to much trouble and too many arguments. So it was easier to just relent. But being a lawyer, I at least insisted on a prenup. If we broke up for whatever reason, she would get a relatively small lump sum.” 100.000, to be more specific. “But she is also a lawyer and she insisted to have a clause that in case of my death during our marriage, she would inherit everything. I saw no problem in it and understood her need for some safety. My fault. Because this clause is valid regardless of the cause of my death. And it is valid up to the day the marriage is finally dissolved.”
“Oh, I see where this is heading.”
“Exactly. To cut a long story short, our marriage went downhill fast. Maybe she had no intention to keep it alive and I sometimes suspect she even actively wanted to end it. To be honest, I don´t have a clue what she´s thinking, never really had. Anyway, I caught her with another man. Maybe she wanted me to catch her, I have no idea. Of course, I immediately filed for divorce. I believe that she had to accept the prenup against her will and relented only because of the death clause. Maybe this was the way she intended to get my money from the beginning. Well, after I´ve filed for divorce I´m sure she was tight on money. The divorce was granted six months ago. And three days ago my lawyer advised me to pay her the small amount she was entitled to. That was probably a big mistake. Because she obviously used it to hire these gentlemen to end my life. They need to kill me within - let´s see - 14 hours. If they do, my money will be hers. If they don´t she will have almost nothing. Maybe she needed the divorce because during our marriage she never had the lump sum to hire such guys. Only the one-time payment at the end enabled her to do that.”
“Wow, quite a story.”
“Yes, and I hope it won´t turn out to be a short story.”
“So do I. Because the end of yours would be also the end of mine.”
Uh, this is going into the wrong direction.
“So what´s your story?”
“Oh, that´s a sad one. You really want to hear it?”
“Well, it can´t be worse than mine.”
“Oh, it can. The short version - my father died when I was fourteen, my stepfather was an alcoholic that beat me and raped me as soon as I turned sixteen. Shortly afterwards he sold me to this slaver ring and I ended up here, unable to escape. Waiting for my savior.” She looks very sad.
I´m stunned. “Really? That sort of stuff happens? That´s terrible, Mia.”
“Josh, you´re a nice guy. But you´re totally gullible. I really don´t know if I can let you go out there without guidance again. You won´t stand a chance against the next evil bitch. You´re just too nice. And what´s the sense in saving you today if you´re too naive to survive on your own afterwards.”
“What?” I don´t understand a thing.
“Josh, you believed that crap?” She actually starts to laugh, but tries to do it silently. “I was brought up quite sheltered and had very good grades at school. But after high school I was just too lazy for a real 8 to 5 job. The thought depressed me. So due to default of a wealthy knight in shining armor I decided to pursue the reputable profession of prostitution. It seemed to be the easiest way.”
“Oh.” I have to grin now. “You wicked bitch.” She punches me lightly in the arm in retaliation and we both have problems to keep our laughter silent.
She obviously has the same dry humor and laconic way that has earned me the “cold fish” label from my ex. But the way Sally meant this was far from the truth. I´m actually a quite emotional guy. I just don´t want to run around with my hands holding my head, screaming. If I´m in trouble, I get calm and rational. And I try to see every situation in a humorous way. Mia seems to be the same, which probably is the reason we get along that well.
“But why are you doing it here?”
“I quickly learned that I don´t like pimps. They don´t provide much protection, they just provide trouble, violence, dumbness and disappearing money. Here we girls can work without that burden.”
“I see. But what about intimacy and love? And you still interested in such stuff?”
“Oh yes. I´m quite a book-worm and I read a lot of romance novels. I still dream of this stuff. What I do here is completely separated from this. Believe it or not, I have never made love to a man in my whole life. I´m still some kind of virgin.”
“You´re kidding me again?”
“No. Seriously. I´ve had vaginal penetration thousands of times. And I´ve sucked dicks equally often. But I think I never really had sex. Much less made love. I just provide two openings for rubber-clad cocks. I´ve never had an orgasm in my whole life. I´ve never had any kind of pleasant emotion while I did my job. I´ve never touched a dick without a condom. So yes, making love and loving someone is still quite high on my agenda. The problem is that I just don´t meet any nice men. The guys coming here are mostly the ones that don´t get any good pussy any other way. They are the sediment of the male population. Halfway attractive or nice men don´t come here, they don´t have to pay for such a half-hearted service. We are not really in the luxury segment of our business, you know? The problem is just to remind myself that there have to be decent men out there. And that I just don´t get to see them here.”
“Never?” I smile and wink.
“Well, rarely.” She also smiles.
“So you´re unhappy with your current situation?”
“Yes. But not desperately so. But I surely need to change something soon. But as easy as it is to get into this, as hard it is to get out. I hardly have any qualification for a normal job, have I?”
I just nod and decide that this gets quite serious and I do what I always do in such situations - I change the subject. “So do you think we can hide here for 14 hours?”
“We might if sheriff Clarkson and his deputy will come to see Clara and Becky. If we´re lucky, they will arrive shortly. The girls will probably tell them something is wrong. But I have no idea what they will do about it.”
“Okay, let´s wait and see.”
“Josh, I will have to switch on my light soon. If one of the girls doesn´t accept customers for a long time, the men hunting you will be wary.”
“You´re right. Is that a problem for you?”
“Not at all. It´s just my job. But maybe it is for you?”
Well, it might be, come to think about it. I like her. A lot, actually. But I surely won´t admit that now. Mia is already in more than enough trouble because of me, no need to complicate her life further.
“I think it´s necessary, ain´t it?”
“You won´t like it, right? And not only because you will have to wait in the wardrobe for the duration?”
“Yes, I think that won´t be the main problem. I like you. And I won´t like to hear you doing your job.” Okay, time for a little honesty.
“It will be hard for me too. I also like you and I´m afraid that I will be ashamed for the first time for my job. And I´m afraid that you will like me a lot less afterwards.”
“I don´t think so.” Although I´m not too sure about it. I honestly don´t know how I´m going to react. I´ve never been in such a situation. I doubt that many men have been. “And we don´t have much choice anyway, have we?”
“Let´s get over with it.”
“Okay. You don´t have to go into the hideout. You can as well stay in the wardrobe. If you prefer to sit in between my clothes.”
“That doesn´t sound too bad.”
And during the next few hours I learn a lot. First, I´m indeed getting jealous upon hearing some guys fucking Mia. Why am I reacting that way? I have plenty of time to think about it. Because I like her as a friend and I can´t stand to listen to her abuse? No, she isn´t abused in any way, she´s very relaxed and friendly with her customers. No emotions, but a sovereign way to handle the situation. The reason is that I like her, but not only as a friend. I´m just plain jealous.
Second, booking a girl like Mia is surprisingly mundane. The talk sounds like everyday talk. Yeah, it´s too hot for this time of the year. Have you seen the fuel price? John and Marsha are finally going to marry. Peggy is pregnant again. No sexy talk at all. Even when I jerk off, I´m usually in a more romantic mood.
Third, I really enjoy sitting in between her clothes and smelling her fragrance. I like smelling her. And I think that is telling me a lot about my feelings for her.
I between her customers I can leave the wardrobe. But I don´t want to be tactless by using the situation to see her in her non-existent “work-clothes”. That would be tactless. Well, I´d sure like to full inspect her nude body. But somehow it doesn´t seem right, so I keep my eyes on her face or somewhere else. She notices my problems, smiles a little and puts on a robe.
After three hours and just as many johns, the situation changes.
“Oh, oh. The sheriff and two of his colleagues have arrived.” Mia peeks out of the window while I have to stay hidden. “They go towards Clara´s, Becky´s and Andrea´s trailers. Now things will get interesting.”
She continues to watch the scene unfolding.
“They come out again. All three. All of them have their guns out. They are talking. Deputy Andrews goes to the squad car. Now the shit´s going to hit the fan. If the killers decide to shoot them, they will have to kill us all. But that´s risky. You don´t just kill three cops. Even as a hard-boiled pro. Especially as a hard-boiled pro. Too much risk for one job.”
“You know what you´re talking about?”
“I´ve seen a lot of shit. But not as closely as today, luckily. Boy, you owe me big time if we get out of here alive.”
“I do, doubtless.”
“I´m going to hold you to that, rest assured. Now go into the wardrobe. No, better into the hideout. We won´t know what´s going to happen.”
“Okay. 10 more hours. Shit.”
“We need to get through this.” She looks me directly into the eyes while saying this. I feel a tingling sensation in my tummy.
“Yes. We do. Thank you.”
“Thank me later. Now go. We have to hide you.”
“Do you think I should just run towards the cops?”
“No, I think they might just shoot you from a distance. They probably have rifles. Too risky.”
“You´re right. So I better hide.” This solution would have been her easy way out. She has again decided to risk her life to save mine. I feel a little guilty again, but also very pleased.
While I´m hiding in the less nice smelling hideout again, I can hear Mia servicing two more customers. I doze off a little before I´m informed by her that she´ll switch off her lamp now to get some sleep. If I needed anything. And that the sheriff has obviously decided to leave a squad car with two officers to protect his favorite whore Clara.
“These two guys won´t stand a chance against these pros while they eat donuts in their squad car.”
“Right, Josh. But there´s nothing we can do about it. Let´s just hope they won´t risk anything. I doubt these guys will want to kill eighteen people, including two cops, for the price of one. Too risky.”
“I agree. I just hope we´re right. I´d like to pee before you fall asleep.”
She laughs. “Sure, go ahead. And better take some sleeping pills. It will be a long night in there otherwise.”
I wake up when the hideaway is opened at some time in the night. Mia stands in front of me with her long blond hair open and freshly washed, wearing just a long T-shirt and a smile. She looks breathtakingly beautiful. The reason is that the ridiculous whore make-up is gone.
“Mia, you´re stunning.”
“My, thank you. You, in contrast, look like shit.” We both laugh.
“What time is it?”
“Eleven-thirty. Thirty minutes to go. Both cops are still alive.”
“Have you slept well?”
“What? You´re a weird guy. Not that much, honestly. I had to watch over you. What do you think?”
“You´re a weird woman.”
“I know.” We both smile.
“I really like to spend time with you, Mia.”
Surprisingly, she tears up, turns away and then closes the hideaway. Well, she´s a woman. They´re born to be unpredictable.
“At midnight it´s over, right?”
“Yes, then I will be officially divorced.” We´re talking through the thin wall.
“Okay. Wait, the cops are leaving. I have to stop them.”
I hear her rushing out. After a while she comes back in, rummages around a little and walks out again. Shortly afterwards I hear heavier steps in the trailer. Someone is searching it again. One of the killers, obviously. I hold my breath, literally.
“Hey, what are you doing in here?” I hear an assertive male voice.
“I´m just looking for a little fun. But the lady seems to be not at home,” a male voice answers.
“Get out of here. At once. Hands behind your neck. Stand over there. Don´t move.”
“You have a permission for that gun?”
“It has been used recently.”
“I´ve shot a little for fun in the woods.”
“Okay. That seems a little strange, doesn´t it? You shoot a little and then you visit a prostitute at midnight?”
“Well, why not?”
Midnight? I try to read my watch, but it´s impossible.
“Actually, it´s five past twelve, officer.” That´s Mia´s voice. Good girl. We´ve made it. I push the board outwards and leave my hiding place. The officer and the killer look at me surprised as I enter Mia´s small living room.
“And who are you?”
“I´m the guy this man is looking for. I´m the one that someone tried to shoot yesterday. They had to kill me until midnight and it seems that they´ve failed.”
“Shit!” the killer exclaims and looks at his watch. Well, maybe they´re not THAT professional after all.
“DOWN!” The officer throws him to the ground. “I said don´t move.” He cuffs him quickly.
“There is another one of those around,” Mia says. She´s the one for practical thinking, I realize. I´m useless with this, compared to her.
“DAN! Watch out! We might have a problem,” the officer shouts.
“Don´t move,” we hear from outside!
The following time is quite hectic. The officers are very nervous and insist that I accompany them to the station. I can´t even say goodbye properly. Mia looks very sad as she watches me get into one of the squad cars. She tries to smile bravely and waves her hand a little. Afterwards she rushes into her trailer. Does she expect never to see me again? Nothing I can do about that right now. The squad car is already leaving the place.
I decide not to file charges against anyone. I don´t want to live in fear until I can testify in some trial. I don´t want to change my identity in some witness protection program. Hell, I haven´t even seen the face of anyone actually shooting at me. It could have been one of the two guys in the trailer park or anybody else. The trial would end with nothing. It just isn´t worth it. I don´t even mention my damaged car. It would just be confiscated as an evidence. And I´m far from home, I need it. For far more important things than some fruitless war against the guys my lovely ex has hired. The chance that they rat her out is minimal anyway because they are in no real danger to be convicted. And I´m absolutely not interested in these guys.
So I have to accept that I enable these guys just to walk out of the police station together with me. One of them even congratulates me on surviving this.
“I wouldn´t have bet on it. You´re a damn good driver and a quick runner. Well done.”
Weird. What does he expect? That I give him a high five? That I regard this as some kind of sporting competition? I think it´s a little more personal than that.
“Have you been hired by a man or a woman?”
“Buddy, we never talk about such things. But women surely can be evil bitches. Generally speaking, you know?” He grins and walks away. That´s all I need to know. So my lovely ex has hired them personally, not her lover.
I´ve been able to recharge my phone at the police station, call a tow truck and pick up my car with the mechanic.
Two days later I have just left my hotel room after having picked up my repaired car earlier. My car is like new again - even the bird-shit is gone - and I´m enjoying just sitting in it. I have somehow bonded with this car. I mean, so far it´s the only car I have ever survived a potentially deadly car chase in. And I hope it will remain the only one. I don´t think I will ever sell it.
I start the engine but let the car idle for a while. I enjoy the air conditioning and I have the feeling that this is a big moment in my life. One of the big forks in the road. But one of the paths seems dark and unappealing. It represents the life as a bachelor I had decided to live after my failed marriage. The other is well lit. Colored, blinking arrows are pointing towards it. A big hand is beckoning me towards it. And it is labeled “MIA”, in big, illuminated letters.
So I finally engage a gear and drive towards the trailer park. What will I find there? Will she even still be there? Will she want to come with me, into an unknown future? She seemed quite comfortable there. Her current profession bothers me surprisingly little. Well, only one way to find out, right?
My car finally rolls into the trailer park. I had some difficulties to find it, despite the description one of the officers gave me. And to be honest, I´m a little nervous. A lot depends on what will follow now.
This time most of the women seem to be outside. They all sit on some kind of porch and seem to surround one person. I exit the car and slowly walk towards the group, expecting Mia to be a part of this gathering. To my surprise, she´s the one in the middle. And to add to my surprise, they all seem to console her. Coming nearer, I see that she seems to be sobbing like a baby and that the others try to comfort her. One of them sees me, gets up and approaches me.
“Sorry, man. We´re closed today. Please come back tomorrow.” I´m surprised how empathic these women are. They lose one day´s income to help a colleague in trouble.
“No, I´m not a customer. I´m here to see Mia. And nobody´s going to stop me.”
“You asshole. You better get to her quick. That girl is destroyed.” But she smiles benevolently.
Mia is currently sitting there with her elbows on her knees and her face buried in her hands. Spasms rack through her. Two of her colleagues are consoling her. She hasn´t even noticed me. Wow, she really has it bad for me, it seems. But instead of feeling sorry, I feel elated. Many of my doubts are already history. I´m glad because I have it equally bad for her.