Car Thief

I didn’t really wake up that morning.  Without thinking much of it, I spent the entire day in bed, Biloxi-style.  It wasn’t until my eight o’clock appointment with JD grew close that I got dressed.

I went digging through my things, pulling together a little more than four-thousand dollars from the Cannabis Trust.  Not nearly enough but I would make it work.  I dumped the money into a clear plastic bag and tucked the bag into my backpack.  I packed the rest of my possessions as best I could and left them by the door.

I walked to the bar.  I was planning on driving the LeBaron home; there was no need to take the truck.  The convertible sat by the curb in front of the bar.  Inside, JD waited alongside the other regulars.  He had the keys out and tossed them from one hand to the other.  He saw me walk in and grinned.  I guessed that he and his buddies had been having a sucker-born-ever-minute conversation right up to the moment when I walked in.

‘Thought you might not make it.  You got the money?’  I pulled the bag out of my backpack.

‘Here’s a down payment.’  JD grabbed it from me; his eyes went wide at the sight of so many twenties.

‘You mind if I take it for a drive around the block?’ I said.

‘Take it, take it.’  JD was more intent on the clear plastic bag full of twenties.  I lifted the keys off the bar and walked out, leaping into the LeBaron Dukes-of-Hazard-style.  It whined at first but once I got the engine to turn over it seemed to run well enough.  I peeled out from the curb and settled into the familiar ride.  When I reached the first intersection I looked right and left.  A drive around the blockFuck that racist munchkin. I floored it, headed for the hotel, stopped there long enough to grab my things and slap a cash-filled envelope on the front desk.  On my way out of town I said goodbye to the truck.  I’d already removed the license plate and the identification from the truck’s glove box.  I’d switch plates once I got clear of town.  I pulled onto the highway and considered how JD would react.  He’d no doubt already used some of the down payment to buy a round of drinks for all his bar mates.  They’d be drunk before they missed me.

I bent eastward, headed for home.  I took Highway 84, toward McComb, where Robert Moses had struggled to register black voters.  I drove with the top down, enjoying the night air.  I couldn’t stop laughing as I imagined JD’s reaction, wishing I’d been there to see it.  There are few things as satisfying as the knowledge that you’ve just swindled a midget with a handlebar mustache and a prejudiced disposition.

I stopped in McComb for a late dinner, and by the time I was done I decided I had no desire to press on that night.  I was in no hurry to hit Poscataw.  I switched the plates under the cover of darkness and got a hotel room

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