PERFECTLY HAPPY WORKERS
Not too much was working these days.
In the passenger seat, Eric was having trouble with his seatbelt. It wasn’t that it was stuck or even disabled. The metal sat coolly in its socket, but Eric didn’t seem to be having a good time.
“Fuckin’ thing,” he said and took the belt off entirely. George frowned. There wasn’t a lot of risk in their job, he reflected vapidly. The day was warm, the air-conditioner was on. Outside the sun shined and now that the morning was done, none of it was getting in his eye.
There was a certain point where George always got an erection coming east of the Mississippi.
“Fuckin’ thing!” Eric put the belt back on. Instinctively, George looked in the rearview mirror. A cop with his lights on was directly behind him.
“Shit!” said Eric as George pulled the car over.
Not a whole lot of risk and not a whole lot working as well, thought George.
George fast-talked the cop. He was a middle age white guy much like George was. Eric had some kind of farmers tan going on but he looked out the windshield, ignoring the cop on his direct right and let George do the talking. It was probably the smartest thing he could do.
So, the cop walked away, befuddled by George’s small talk about going east and all, and don’t mind the trailer in the back, yeah, it was home-made, but the lights worked, why did he get pulled over anyway?
The cop, mumbled something about a description matching them. George kept nodding and smiling. Eric continued to stare straight into the horizon.
“What’d we do?” asked George.
“Ah, nothing, someone pulled a gas run, but no, you fellas look all right…” That was code that they were looking for some black guys or just wanted to get a look at the California plates.
George smiled, letting his heart settle. He didn’t know what Eric was thinking. He mumbled thanks a long time after the officer left and didn’t touch the seatbelt after that. The sun continued its journey across the sky and eventually, as it was setting, they were in Tennessee.
George pulled the car and trailer into the parking lot for viewing the Blue Ridge Mountains, put it in park and got out of it. Eric followed.
They walked over to the fence, stared out at the mist and the view and Eric lit a cigarette and George sucked on his chewing tobacco. A couple minutes later a girl in a trench coat and glasses walked beside him.
“Do you like the Talking Heads?” asked George amiably.
“Oh no, please don’t be like that, darling! Shit, we’ve been all over and you, you with your spy master disguise…”
“You’re going to be all over again. They want you in California.”
“We just came from there! This is bullshit!” Eric walked away then, kicked a rock over the edge of the cliff.
“Regardless, those are the coordinates.”
“All right, all right, but please, take a look at the business and tell me where it needs to go.”
“We’ve got…. Damn it!” A few yards away, Eric got into the car and slammed the door.
It had been going on like this for a month. George didn’t know what was going on. Eric had been dropped off to him in Boston and his surly ass wasn’t the only thing getting sick of the feel of fake leather seats. After they picked up the weapons in NYC, they drove straight to Louisiana, then to Minnesota, then to California and then to Southern California, and now to this southern, stupid, idiotic, fucked up place on the side of a road!
“Hey!” she said, taking off her glasses. Her eyes were blue. “You signed up just like all of us! We’re all hoping this will come off…”
“What’s the point of a revolution that does nothing! Christ! I thought things were ready! I thought it was cool to be radical again!”
Eric honked the horn.
“We just don’t need that kind of service right now,” she said, then walked away. George stared after her.
“Well, excuse me for listening to you when you did!” He yelled. He didn’t care. There were several cartons of bullets and a couple assault rifles under a big camping equipment tool-box in his car’s trailer. Sights and silencers in the trunk.
George didn’t care, why should he? Why should anyone? Why should anyone care about the world and be willing to do something to change it? What the fuck was the point?
George slammed the car door. Eric was all hunched into his seat with his boots on the glove department and his head covered by a cap.
“Where too now?” he asked.
“Nowhere in particular,” he said and started the car. Outside the air was hot and he threw on the air-conditioning again and drove away. Eric whistled something because their radio was broke and it was a long way from L.A.
Benjamin Joe lives in Buffalo, New York where he works as a freelance writer for The Niagara Gazette and IPWatchdog.com. His first novel, Nirvana Dreams, was published by NFB Publishing in November and excerpts from it can be found in the March 2018 Ghost City Review and Issue 14 of Riggwelter Press. A short story can also be found at Aspirant Magazine. Twitter: @benjamin_joeb01
featured image: Bob Modem