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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Roy Dorman—Interviewing a New Employee

89_ym_interviewingnewemployee_hlyon.jpg
Art by Hillary Lyon © 2021

INTERVIEWING A NEW EMPLOYEE

 

Roy Dorman

 

 

“Damn! That’s gotta hurt,” said Marisa Turner as she finished pumping gas into her rental car.

Marisa was travelling east on Interstate 10, still a hundred and fifty miles from New Orleans.  She’d stopped for gas, fast food to go, and a potty break.

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 blacktop.

The man who looked to be in his early thirties picked himself up off the pavement, brushed himself off, and walked in her direction.

“You okay, guy?” Marisa 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 like 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 — "

“Let’s work on the hungry and thirsty for now,” said Marisa.

They both turned and watched as 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?”

“Beggars can’t be choosers.”

Marisa returned with the to-go food and drinks and was pleasantly surprised to see her new friend sitting in her car.

“So, you wanna ride with me for a while, or is this the stop you were lookin’ for?” she asked, leaning in the front window.

“I’ll ride for a while.”

“What’s your name?”

“Jeremy.”

“Jeremy what?”

“Ya don’t need my last 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 under the 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,” she said through clenched teeth.

“I said I found it; I didn’t take it.”

Marisa stared at him for a few seconds. “Are you a tough guy?” she asked, putting the .22 back into its holster.

“Yeah, I’m pretty tough,” said Jeremy.  “That important?”

“I need to employ a tough guy for a couple of jobs I’ve got comin’ up.  Interested?”

“Well, I — "

“I know you just got out of prison back there someplace.  If you don’t wanna get involved in anything right away that might — "

“It was the clothes, wasn’t it?” said Jeremy, laughing.  “Ain’t we a pair?”

“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.”

“It’s Weston,” Jeremy said around a mouthful of fries.

“What’s Weston?” asked Marisa.

“Me.  I’m Jeremy Weston.”

“Well, I seriously doubt that,” said Marisa.  “But it’s okay, I’m not Marisa Turner, either.”

“See,” said Jeremy.  “I told ya we were a pair.”

Marisa kept her eyes on the road 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 out 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 a 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 the road.

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 been.

Reaching into her purse for her 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 morning.

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 make 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 well at the interview, but turned out to be a problem employee once he got the job.

***

Two Louisiana State Patrol cars put on their flashing lights as they pulled onto the shoulder of the road, scattering a flock of turkey buzzards. 

Traffic on Interstate 10 slowed and starting moving single file into the far-left lane.

“Looks like he could be our boy,” said Trooper Lester Higgins.

“Sure does,” answered Trooper Bonnie Mae Lapierre.  “Got himself quite a ways before he ran into somebody meaner than him.”

“One shot from a small caliber 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’ here 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.”

 

THE END




Roy Dorman 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 novel. 




Hillary Lyon 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 EasyThuggish 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 Arizona.  https://hillarylyon.wordpress.com/



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