I give up. I can’t bring the Italian anywhere, so I’m going to leave him. Back to Oklahoma…
You see, I didn’t mean to get mixed up in the whole drug cartel business. I mean, it was really my parents that got me mixed up in this. Not me. And I didn’t even know them, other than before about thirteen years ago. Three years before this story.
Back then, I was just a fifteen year old lad. I still lived smack dab in the middle of Oklahoma. I lived in my little cottage a few miles out of town, where I worked as a doorman at the hotel in town.
It was a few months after a random rich girl had dropped into my life for a week and convinced me to fix my house. Before that my life revolved around a small propane burner that provided heat and light. When it rained, I’d sleep on an old Home Depot bucket to keep from sleeping in the river running down my floor.
Then she changed all that. I took what little I had, and bought some paint and wood. I was building a railing on my patio on a clear spring day, when a shiny BMW drove up the half mile driveway to my house. A young man dressed in jeans and a shirt jumped out of the back and asked if my parents were home. I shook my head - they hadn’t been home for ten years. He leaned back into the car, talked with the occupants for a few moments, and then came out. To this day I’m not sure how they fit six large men into a five seat car, but six intimidating men came out of that car and approached me.
One of them pulled out a gun and asked if he could take a peek around inside. I was inclined to gesture towards the door. One man stayed behind and asked “Do you know if your parents left any sort of key?”
“Not that I can think of.” I replied. I tried not to casually set down my tools on a counter, but I accidently knocked over a box of screws.
He noticed my shaking hands “Oh, really?”
Then it hit me. I had run across a key several months ago, in one of the cabinets. “Actually, I do remember something. Is it in a plastic bag with an address and a passport?”
“Where is it?”
I pointed down the open front door “Go down that hall, turn right into the kitchen. It’s in the back of the cabinet above where the refrigerator would be.”
The man motioned for me to lead. I protested “Can I just pick up these nails?”
He grabbed me by the arm. In a split second my other hand grabbed a hammer and drove it into his ribs. He sputtered and reeled back, releasing my arm. I muttered a quick apology, and jumped on my bike. I bicycled out the half mile to the mail box before they figured out there was no place for the refrigerator. I looked back over my shoulder and, seeing them getting into the car, pulled out a fake brick and grabbed the plastic bag. Then I biked across the street into a small grove of trees, left my bike behind, and hiked five miles to town where I could hide.
I slept in the back of the Ma & Pa Grocery Store. They were nice people, even if they were about a million years old. When I came back home the next morning, the fire department had just put out the fire. The men had taken apart most of the house, down to the wooden studs, and then burned it to cover their tracks when the cops found them. They left behind a propane burner and a short note:
“We will find you. And we won’t fall for your little hidden stone trick again.”
I carefully folded up the note and put it with the key. Then I put my thumb on the ignitor button, and the burner started. Relieved that it still had gas, I found an extra Home Depot bucket to sleep on for the night.