INTERVIEWING A NEW
gotta hurt,” said
Marisa Turner as she finished pumping gas into her rental car.
Marisa was travelling east
Interstate 10, still a hundred and fifty miles from New Orleans. She’d
stopped for gas, fast food to go, and a
As she pumped her gas, she’d
watched an eighteen-wheeler pull into the diesel side of the oasis. After the
driver got out of his cab, he’d
walked around looking at the front of his truck like they always do, and then
headed into the McDonalds.
As soon as the trucker was
inside, Marisa saw a man drop from the undercarriage of the trailer onto the
The man who looked to be
early thirties picked himself up off the pavement, brushed himself off, and
walked in her direction.
“You okay, guy?”
asked. “Need anything?”
Marisa already knew something
about this handsome tag-a-long from his clothes. She’d seen the cheap
outfits prisons gave to
inmates upon release.
She’d been given clothes
that. More than once.
“Yeah. I’m hungry, thirsty, and could use a nap,” he
said with a smile. And after looking
Marisa up and down he added, “And if ya had a mind to — "
on the hungry and
thirsty for now,” said Marisa.
They both turned and watched
a State Patrol cruiser pulled into the parking lot.
“Why don’t you
get into the
front passenger seat so you don’t attract any unwanted attention,” Marisa stage
whispered. “I’m going into Mickey
D’s. Burger, fries, and a Coke?”
Marisa returned with the
food and drinks and was pleasantly surprised to see her new friend sitting in
“So, you wanna ride
with me for
a while, or is this the stop you were lookin’ for?” she asked, leaning in the
“I’ll ride for
“Ya don’t need
name. But I already know you’re Marisa
Turner from the rental paperwork in the glove compartment.”
“You went through
my car while I
was in getting food for you?”
“Found yer switchblade
driver side floor mat too,” Jeremy said with a smirk.
Marisa handed Jeremy his
McDonalds and put hers on the console between them. She then took a .22 from
an ankle holster and
leveled it at him.
“Give me my knife,”
through clenched teeth.
“I said I found it;
Marisa stared at him for
seconds. “Are you a tough guy?” she asked, putting the .22 back into its
“Yeah, I’m pretty
Jeremy. “That important?”
“I need to employ
a tough guy
for a couple of jobs I’ve got comin’ up.
“Well, I — "
“I know you just got
prison back there someplace. If you
don’t wanna get involved in anything right away that might — "
“It was the clothes,
said Jeremy, laughing. “Ain’t we a
“We’re not a
pair yet, but we
could be,” said Marisa. “I’m gonna eat
while I drive. Go ahead and nap after
you’re done. I’ll wake you up when we
get to New Orleans.”
around a mouthful of fries.
“Me. I’m Jeremy Weston.”
“Well, I seriously
said Marisa. “But it’s okay, I’m not
Marisa Turner, either.”
Jeremy. “I told ya we were a pair.”
Marisa kept her eyes on
as she ate her burger. Though she
thought Jeremy was cute and could maybe fill the bill for what she needed as
far as hired muscle for a while, she decided it would be best for now if she
didn’t believe a word he said.
And those prison clothes? She figured she knew why he hadn’t tried
hitch-hiking instead of riding under the trailer. Those clothes may have been
given to him at
the time of his release, but more likely he’d commandeered them in order to
make a successful escape.
There was probably an alert
for him up and down the Interstate. That
State Trooper who pulled into the truck stop hadn’t been a coincidence.
Jeremy would need some careful
watching during his probationary period.
They spent the night at
mom-and-pop motel in a little town thirty miles outside of New Orleans. Rising
early, Marisa gave Jeremy a
twenty-dollar bill and sent him up the street to a café for some breakfast for
After he left, Marisa gathered
her things. She’d paid cash in advance
for the room the previous night, and was ready to go. Jeremy made her laugh,
was good in bed, and
he may or may not have worked out in New Orleans. But the job was too important
to risk using
an unvetted partner. Especially somebody as loosey-goosey as Jeremy. She’d
do it alone.
Marisa sighed. Sometimes she had thoughts of what could’ve
Reaching into her purse
keys, she was brought up short.
No keys. Pulling back the drapes, she looked out the
window at the parking lot and saw her car was gone.
Stepping out the door, Marisa
laughed. “Damn! Ain’t
we a pair?” she said to the quiet
A car pulled into the driveway
of the parking lot. Her rental. Through
the windshield, Jeremy gave her a big
smile and a thumbs up.
Marisa smiled back and returned
the thumbs up.
But she had a decision to
before they got to New Orleans. What she
needed was a back-up she could trust with her life.
And Jeremy didn’t
fit that bill.
He was the type who did
the interview, but turned out to be a problem employee once he got the job.
Two Louisiana State Patrol
put on their flashing lights as they pulled onto the shoulder of the road,
scattering a flock of turkey buzzards.
Traffic on Interstate 10
and starting moving single file into the far-left lane.
“Looks like he could
boy,” said Trooper Lester Higgins.
Bonnie Mae Lapierre. “Got himself quite
a ways before he ran into somebody meaner than him.”
“One shot from a small
pistol to the forehead,” offered Lester after rolling the body over onto its
back. “Might’ve been ridin’ with
somebody who tired of ‘em.”
“Or maybe he was standin’
hitchin’ a ride and said the wrong thing to the wrong person.”
“I’ll call New
Orleans for the
EMTs,” said Lester, walking back to his squad car.
“Tell ‘em they
don’t have to
rush. This one here ain’t gonna be
needin’ all that much of their expertise.”
is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has
been a voracious reader for over 65 years. At the prompting of an old high
school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious
writer. He has had flash fiction and poetry published in Black Petals,
Bewildering Stories, One Sentence Poems, Yellow Mama,
Drunk Monkeys, Literally Stories, Dark Dossier, The Rye
Whiskey Review, Near To The Knuckle, Theme of Absence,
Shotgun Honey, and a number of other online and print journals. Unweaving
a Tangled Web, recently published by Hekate Publishing, is his first
is an illustrator for horror/sci-fi and pulp fiction websites and magazines.
She is also founder and senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous
Press. An SFPA Rhysling Award nominated poet, her poems have appeared in journals
such as Eternal Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s
Honey, and Red River Review, as well as numerous
anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night to
Dawn, Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales from
the Moonlit Path, among others, as well as in numerous horror anthologies such
as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big Easy, Thuggish
Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She
appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby" in Purple Cactus
Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for Zombie." Having lived in France,
Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides in southern