Part II: Chapter Nineteen

January 1, 2014 by Randy Steinberg

There was no escape.

The sun shone down on the pool and the concrete unrelentingly. Not a cloud in the sky. Unless you stayed inside or under an umbrella, you couldn’t avoid the ultra violet rays coming from fifty million miles away.

Jason flees town after being shot.

Jason flees town after being shot.

Chad wore a hat and plenty of zinc, as he sat in a lifeguard chair perched high above the swanky pool area of the Salem Country Club. The pool was only six feet deep at the far end, and there was little danger of anyone drowning: it was an easy gig. The fringe benefit was the country club girls, and oftentimes their mothers. The girls competed with each other for who could wear the skimpiest bikinis and the mothers—the ones who had lifts and tucks—competed as well, though most wore one piece suits.

Chad was allowed to play tennis or golf on off days, and the snack bar made some of the best burgers around. Of all the things that happened over the summer, the days at the pool were the safest and most consistent. Nothing happened, and Chad could count on that. He could count on staring at the girls, though he regretted not bagging any of them. He’d been close a few times, but they could sense he was a bit of an outsider. Even though he was from their social class, he had the stink of Revere on him. Fucking snobs. I’m going to Dartmouth, don’t ya know.

At about the same time Jim Shea took a shot at Jason, Chad pulled his sunglasses down so he could better ogle a mother and daughter combination without getting caught in the act of eye-banging. The daughter was probably fourteen but fully flowered, and, better yet, she knew it. But the mom was no slouch. The daughter had clearly inherited the fine body from mom who had no wedding ring on. Divorced Chad thought. Maybe lonely. He could make a play.

These fantasies were interrupted by Matt who came barreling into the pool area in his Foot Locker uniform. Heads turned as the zebra approached Chad in the lifeguard chair. Chad blushed with embarrassment, but with all the sunblock on it was impossible to tell how red his face was. “We have to talk,” Matt called up to Chad. Matt himself was not comfortable around so much wealth. All eyes were on him and fingers edged towards phones to get 9-1-1 keyed up.

“What are you doing?” Chad tried to whisper.

“Chad, this is important. Jason’s gone,” Matt said.

Chad forgot about the snooty country club members whose lives he was supposed to guard at the pool. His own life was now again in danger. His friends’ lives. He hopped down from the chair and led Matt away from the pool.

They sat in a Toyota Corrolla. “Who’s is this?” Chad asked.

“My manager’s. I told him it was an emergency,” Matt replied.

“I didn’t even know you had a license,” Chad said.

“Stop fucking around,” Matt retorted. In fact, he did not have a license, but what was a minor law broken at this point? Matt was intense, scared, fumbling. He pulled out his cell phone. His hands shook. He dropped the phone and frantically searched for it below the driver’s seat. He found it, put it on speaker, and played a message from Jason.

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Jason burst through the door to the warehouse at Jackie O’s Liquors and jumped into his car. He peeled away from the store, and when he was back on the main road he felt a trickle of something on his upper arm. He thought it was sweat, but when he wiped it away he saw his fingers were red. He looked down at his arm. There was a hole in his blue, Domino’s-issued tee shirt. Spilling from beneath the sleeve was blood.

Jason panicked and the car swerved. The Domino’s sign, affixed to the roof of the car, broke loose and crashed into the street. He kept going, for fear he was being followed. He made a few sharp turns and pulled over on a quiet, residential street. He checked behind him. No cars. No shots.

Jason lifted his sleeve. A red streak painted his upper arm. He grabbed a wad of Domino’s napkins and dabbed at the wound. It didn’t appear deep, only a graze, but it stung and blood seemed to be everywhere. The other pizzas he was supposed to deliver were ruined.

After a few minutes, the bleeding slowed. He used a bottle of water to clean the gash and then put fresh napkins on it. He wrapped a rubber band around it and thought about what to do next. He made a hasty decision, one he could really catch hell for, but it was better than staying around Revere to get killed.

Between his own money and the cash he had from delivering pizzas, there was around $100 in his pocket. He was going to take the money and run—in his case, drive. Drive to where? Straight to Michigan. It was about a fourteen hour trip. With the $100 for gas and the unbloodied pizza for food, he would easily make it.

He’d tell the University of Michigan football coach he wanted to come to campus early, to get ready for try outs. That would impress him. He’d have to call his father to explain why the car was gone, but his father could fly out and take it back. And he’d have to send his manager at Domino’s the money he took; he wasn’t a thief after all. He hoped the grazing wouldn’t require stitches. Once out of the Boston area he’d find a CVS or a Walgreen’s and buy some first aid supplies. Jason would need a little luck to pull this off, but the odds of surviving were low if he remained.

But he wasn’t going to leave town without warning his teammates…

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“B, it’s J… Jason,” his voice came through Matt’s cell phone which was on speaker so Chad could hear the message. Jason’s voice shook with fear as he explained, “They took a shot at me. They tried to get me. It was Carmine. I’m okay, I think. I was hit, but I think it only grazed me. I’m leavin’, goin’ to Michigan. My dad’s gonna kill me, but I’m not stayin’ around here. I wanted to warn you. Tell Chad. You’ve got to get away. They’re coming for youz guys…”

The call clicked off.

“Call him,” Chad said.

“I’ve tried. It’s going right to voicemail,” Matt replied. “Maybe he thinks they can track him if he keeps it on.”

“Do you think he knows that?” Chad asked.

“I don’t think it really matters,” Matt replied. Chad agreed.

“What do we do now?” Chad wanted to know.

“Maybe J was right. Maybe we should go to the cops,” Matt said reluctantly.

“Don’t you think it’s way too late for that?” Chad asked. This time, Matt agreed with him.

“There is one thing we can do,” Matt said.

“What?” Chad asked.

Matt wasn’t sure Chad would want to hear what he had in mind.