I'm Abe Wolfgang, an Electrical Engineer, writer, Father, husband, and full-time lover of story. I blog about those stories, how they impact us as humans, and why they are important. Occasionally I write my own as well.

James Straver - The Finale

“My target?” James heard the question before he could stop himself asking it. He was trying to play along with the ruse, and he did not want the man to realize that he was leading him on until Thompson was ready to strike. Lucky the man did not seem concerned with this slight slip-up. He did, however, react when James’ phone began to buzz.

“You should probably get that,” the man said, “it should be Kenny.”

James pulled the phone out of his pocket and pressed the answer button. “Kenny?”

“So, you finally decide to pick up,” Kenny said. His voice was a register higher than the man next to James, and there was a hint of country twang as well. “Listen, I’m on my way over right now and I noticed a few suspicious looking vehicles around the perimeter. We’re going to have to get a move on.”

“Roger that,” James said and hung up. He was beginning to ease into his role at this point, letting the rough side out, and exuding confidence. He turned to the man next to him to give an update, “Kenny is on his way over.” He purposefully neglected to mention that Kenny was in a hurry.

“Well, you can fill him in when he arrives,” the man said. He pulled a manila envelope from his blazer and slapped it down on the bench next to him. “Take a look over these.”

James retrieved the envelope, cautiously opened it and removed the contents. He paged through some ledgers, official-looking reports, and finally some photographs. There were a few photos of men he did not recognize, and one he did. It was detective Thompson. “What exactly am I looking at here?”

“We have been following a rogue detective in the local police department for some time. He goes by the name Thompson, and while he has been sympathetic to our cause in the past, he is now looking to bring us in. We have decided that he has exhausted his usefulness and must be taken care of.”

“Thompson?” James asked, dumbfounded.

“Yes, that is him in the photograph. The others are his closest friends, family, the like.” The tall man rose from his seat and turned to walk back to his vehicle. “I will contact you with details on the remainder of your payment after you have finished your assignment.”

The man returned to his vehicle and drove away. James remained on the bench, bewildered by the file that he held in his hand. It held documents and photographs that showed Thompson’s ties with a shady operation. He began to realize that he was not a pawn in the detective’s trap, but a spy. Thompson could easily be using him to find out what this man’s plans were, and how much information they had on him. He thought back to the police station, and how the detective had so willingly taken his case, and how eager he was to sign James up for this surveillance. It all began to make sense in his mind, which also revealed to him that there was no easy way out of this situation. He could not go back with Thompson, in fear of being used for some scheme, but he could not trust the drug dealers either. They were drug dealers, after all.

Another vehicle pulled into the vacated spot only a few moments after the black SUV had left. This car was a beat up old Honda Civic, rust lines adorning the body panels like trim. The window rolled down and a man called out from the car, “James! Get over here already!” It was Kenny’s distinctive voice.

James obeyed, but only out of curiosity. He wanted to see who this man was, so he walked over to the waiting vehicle and bent over slightly to see inside.

“What gives man? You have the package?” Kenny asked as he pointed to the envelope in James’ hand. “I saw the boss just left. Come on, hand it over. He told me that we were going after some detective.”

James hesitated for a moment and chanced a look over his shoulder towards Thompson’s car. He was more than a little confused now, and could not be sure who to trust. On one hand, he had thieves and drug dealers. These were men who would break into his home during the night and could have killed him in his sleep. On the other hand, there was a possible dirty cop, and all James could imagine was being thrown into prison on trumped up charges.

Kenny caught the glance. “You brought him here didn’t you?”

“No wait, I don’t understand what is going on, believe me,” James said. He looked back at the detective’s car again in time to see the door open and Thompson step out into the morning light.

“James, I have no idea what that man has told you, but you can’t trust him. Get in the car,” Kenny said as he unlocked the door.

In that moment, James was torn between his two options. He wanted to wait for the detective to explain the situation. It would, after all, be the smart thing to do. He could let the authorities handle these criminals. On the other hand, he had no way of knowing the truth behind the file he was holding, or Kenny’s claims. He could very well be looking at a corrupt detective, and there was no way that he would go back to the police station with him.

Thompson was now halfway to the bench and called out to him. “James!”

“Ok, but we can take my car. It’s right up the street,” he said. He ran to where he had parked, only a few cars up from Kenny’s vehicle, and climbed in his car. Kenny followed suit, and they were away. “What have I done?” James asked himself. He had not thought to look again, but Thompson was most likely right on their tail.

The black BMW swerved in and out of the morning commuter traffic, passing the slower moving cars as if they were standing still. He was glad that they had taken his vehicle, since he knew how it felt, how it moved. He was also unsure of Kenny’s driving skill, which was reinforced when he commented that, “you were always a better driver than me anyway.” James was continuously scanning his mirrors, and before long he saw that Thompson was on the pursuit, his blue and red lights painting the morning with color. He turned down side streets and narrow alleyways. He was trying to be unpredictable in his movements, but the chasing cars stayed right on his tail.

“Where are we going?” James finally ventured to ask.

“Back to a safe house. We have to lose this guy first though,” Kenny said as he peered out the rear window.

Thompson was gaining on them. The pursuit had grown to several patrol cars and a few high speed chase units. The detective’s car was leading the charge and had pulled up directly behind them. James had lost all hope of losing him at this point, and watched in horror as Thompson positioned his car and cranked his wheel hard into the BMW’s rear quarter panel. James lost control of the vehicle, and the rear wheels squealed across the road as the car began to spin. They spun through ninety degrees and plowed into a row of cars that were parked on the street.

Kenny was out before James, and had his gun out and leveled on the detectives vehicle. “Back off! Everyone get back!” Kenny screamed, waving his gun around wildly. He rotated from side to side in order to threaten then entire perimeter of police cars that had assembled.

Thompson was at the front of the line, and had taken cover behind the open door of his car. He had his gun trained on Kenny, as did the other twenty officers. “All right now, let’s just take it easy,” Thompson yelled back.

James had extricated himself from the vehicle at this point, though he wished he had stayed when he realized the situation that was brewing. “Give it up Kenny, you won’t get out of this alive,” he said.

“No way man,” Kenny said as he walked over to James, “you’re can be my ticket out.” With that, he grabbed James around the chest and jammed the gun into his temple. “I walk away, or James goes down with me.”

A fresh wave of panic ran through James. He was being pulled off balance by the man’s grasp, and the barrel of the gun pressed uncomfortably into his skull.

“We can talk this through,” Thompson said. “Just put the gun down.”

James found the courage to speak. “Thompson, get this guy off of me,” he said.

“Shut up!” Kenny screamed, then pressed the barrel even harder against James’ head.

“James, listen to me. You seem to have created some elaborate ploy, and I’m not sure that you even realize what you are doing,” Thompson said. “Just put the gun down, and we can bring you in. We can help you, James.”

The words hung over James, and he didn’t quite understand why Thompson was addressing him. Why was he not talking the gunman down? The weight of the gun was beginning to bruise his temple.

“Think about the duffel bag in your room, but no signs of forced entry,” Thompson said. “Think about the phone calls that never really happened. I knew that there was something off about this case, but when you were sitting on that park bench talking to yourself, it all started to come together.”

“Talking to myself? What is he saying?” James thought.

“Don’t listen to him, James,” Kenny said, his voice strangely not emanating from where his head should have been. “He’s trying to get into our head.” The last pronoun threw James over the edge.

The thoughts came, whether Kenny wanted them to or not. He began to realize the utter insanity of the situation that he was in. It all began to make sense in him mind. He was then aware of the gun, resting in his own hand, pressed against his own head.

The End.

-----

If you missed the earlier parts of this series, the links can all be found on the Stories Tab.

Thanks for reading! I hope that you enjoyed reading this short story, and I hope to be able to do this again soon. At this point I think I am going to do some editing on my full length novel, to see if that will go anywhere, and I also have another short story in the works that I will share with you when it is complete.

Work-Life Balance

Hustle