She lay on her back by the side of the road, her left leg bent under, and her arms thrown out. A curtain of long, brown hair covered her face. Justin looked out the driver’s side window at her, and then, crossing his arms on the steering wheel, lowered his head until it rested on his wrists.
‘I didn’t even see her,’ he mumbled a few times. Then he shook his head, sat up, and looked over at Davy. ‘She just came out of nowhere!’ he said.
‘I know,’ Davy said. ‘Nothing you could’ve done. Now, we gotta get the hell out of here.’
Davy was right. Justin’s license was still suspended after that DUI. He’d go to jail this time, and not for just a couple of months. ‘Yeah,’ he said. Then he looked out the window again. ‘What about her?’
‘What about her? Nothing we can do to help her now. If you really want to, we can do one of those ‘anonymous tip’ calls later.’
Justin nodded. Leaving now was the right thing to do. He started the Toyota and pulled away. He tried not to go too quickly, so the tires wouldn’t squeal. There weren’t many houses along this road, but you never knew who might hear what.
After ten minutes of silence, Davy spoke up. ‘We ought to get away, you know. Just for a while. Just in case.’
‘Might not be a bad idea,’ Justin said. He stared straight ahead, his face expressionless. The occasional streetlights cast weird, shifting shadows on it as he drove. ‘But you don’t have to do anything. I was driving.’
‘Hey, we’re friends, right? Besides, it’s my car. I don’t need the cops all over me.’
‘Thanks, Davy. I’ll pay to get the car fixed.’
‘Don’t worry about that. I know a guy’ll fix it without asking questions, you know?’
Justin thought for a moment. ‘All right.’
‘We’re gonna need money, though. I mean cash. Makes things easier.’
Justin nodded. ‘OK. I’ve got a couple of grand in my account. I can get that.’
‘That ought to work,’ Davy said. ‘We’ll go to the ATM, get our stuff, and get outta here.’
Justin nodded again.
Neither man said anything during the three-mile ride to the nearest cash station. When they got there, Justin pulled up to the drive-through machine and did the withdrawal.
‘You want me to hold it while you drive?’ Davy asked.
‘Yeah, thanks.’ Justin handed the cash to Davy, and then pulled back out onto the deserted street. Davy smiled inwardly as he glanced down at the money in his hand. This was going to be easier than he’d hoped.
Davy and Nicole had a couple of different cons they used, depending on where they were and depending on the target. Nicole liked the ‘hit and run’ the best. She always said it was guaranteed. You didn’t get as much at a time as you did with ‘investments,’ but people didn’t ever call the cops, even after they’d figured out they’d been taken. Most people wouldn’t risk implicating themselves in a hit-and-run, especially if there was a body involved. And it was easy enough to find some sap with a DUI or two, and who needed a friend. Sometimes it only took a couple of weeks to pick your target and get him to trust you enough. Davy looked over at Justin as they stopped at the building where he was staying. In a way, he felt sorry for the guy. But, oh, well, everybody has to make a living. And it wasn’t like anyone was really killed.
‘See you in half an hour?’ he asked as he got out of the car.
‘Yeah,’ Justin said. ‘Shouldn’t take me longer than that.’ He started up the car and drove off.
After Justin left, Davy walked up the stairs to his own place, stuffing the two thousand dollars into his pocket. Not as good a haul as he’d hoped, but there’d be other chances before too many people remembered him. He used the bathroom, then looked out the living room window to be sure Justin was really gone. He was. Taking the stairs two at a time, Davy went outside and headed for Nicole’s Hyundai. He glanced around, got into it, and went back the way he and Justin had come. He’d better hurry, or Nicole would be seriously pissed at waiting too long out in the cold.
Davy got to their meeting place at Chuckie’s Roadside Tavern only two minutes after the time he’d told Nicole. Feeling good about that, he went inside. No Nicole. He waited a few minutes, in case she was in the ladies’ room. Still no sign of her. After twenty minutes, he decided he’d have to look for her. Maybe she’d gotten angry about something and went somewhere to cool down. She’d done that before. He pulled his ‘phone out of his pocket and called her. It went to voice mail. Then he texted her. Nothing. Now he started to get annoyed. This was not the time for her to be petty. There was only one thing to do: go back to the scene of the ‘accident.’
The night was even darker than it had been, but Davy found the place. There she was, still lying on the ground.
‘Nicole, baby, it’s me. It’s OK. It’s all done now, you can get up.’ No movement. Not even a twitch.
‘Nicole! Come on now, stop playing!’ Nothing. Now Davy was worried. He went up to her and cautiously touched her hand. It was cold. So was her upper arm. His stomach knotted up and a wave of nausea hit him.
Ten miles away, Justin pulled over at a fast food place. He wiped the car key with the bottom of his shirt, and then dropped the key on the driver’s seat, using the shirt again to wipe the door handle as he opened it. He got out of the car and looked up. Good thing the weather had held. It was cold, but dry. He was only about a quarter of a mile from the nearest bus stop, but he hated getting wet in the rain.
Justin looked around once more. He didn’t see anyone, so he started walking towards the bus stop. When he got where he was going, he’d call in a tip about the car and the body. Davy had been an idiot to let him drive, but then, he’d found that most people were idiots. Take Nicole. He’d liked her when he’d first seen her in Chuckie’s, where she worked, but she’d turned out to be stupid, too. All it had taken was a couple of dinners and drinks after he’d met her to get her to tell him everything – the whole plan. She hadn’t named names, but he’d filled in the blanks. Oh, well, a quick trip back to where Nicole was still waiting, and he’d taken care of two problems at once.