Keep Diggin’ The Grave

“If you hadn’t killed him, we wouldn’t be here,” I said, swinging my shovel against the December earth.

“Shut the fuck up and keep digging,” Hannah said. “It’s not like you didn’t agree.”

“Woah…I agreed to scare him, not to kill him!” 

Our shovels clank the ground beneath our feet, shocking my wrists with each swing.

“Great,” I said. “I’m an accessory to murder.”

“This coronavirus left me without a job,” Hannah said. “So would you stop throwin’ it in my face?”

“We needed the money, but not this bad—not enough to kill…”

“Steve, would you lower your voice,” Hannah said.

I whispered, “Putting ten bullets in the poor guy was…”

“What’s done is done. Don’t talk about this anymore.”

“We can’t get away with this forever,” I said, grunting as we roll his body in the shallow grave.

Hannah slides her hand down the small of her back.

“I figured as much,” I said, throwing my hands in the air. “You’re gonna kill me, too?”

“Dig,” she said, cocking the gun. “I can’t leave witnesses, especially loud-mouthed idiots.”

“I can’t believe this is how I’m going to die,” I said, laughing, waiting for an escape. “Hey!” I said.

Hannah glances over her shoulder. I throw the shovel, hitting her in the head. She stumbles, slicing the air with her arms, firing several rounds. “Son-of-a-bitch!” Hannah said.

Three bullets grazed my leg.

Hannah stood to her feet to finish the job. “No witnesses,” Hannah said, almost convincing herself this had to be done.

“You don’t have to do this,” I said.

Hannah stood in a firing position. “Couldn’t keep your mouth shut,” she said, shaking her head.

Hannah’s eyes slammed open, and her body seized, and she fell over as Angie, the girl I was cheating on Hannah with, tazed her.

“‘ Bout time you got here!” I said. “I was sick and tired of hearing her voice.”

“I had to tie up some loose ends at the shop.”

“You sure they’re all dead?”

“As dead as could be,” Angie said.

“Throw me the rope,” I said. “I wanna tie Hannah up.”

“Don’t kill her,” Angie said. “She’s already killed someone, and we have the evidence.”

“She knows too much.”

“We’re not killin’ her,” Angie said, grabbing the gun from my hands. I draw a sharp breath and blow my lips out. “You gonna say anything, Hannah?”

She shook her mouth, gag loose. “Nothing… I promise. I don’t know anything.”

I untie Hannah, and we climb in the car, hoping to beat the evening traffic.

Bang

bang

bang

Shots ripped through the back window. I peek over the seat. “She’s going to blame us for the murders!”

“She wouldn’t dare,” Angie said.

We pulled into a gas station. The attendant asked what kind of gas we needed. Angie went inside to get beer and tobacco.

“Is that blood?” the attendant said.

“This?” I said. “I got in a fight with a razor, and the razor won,” I said.

“But, you have a beard, sir.”

I slammed my eyes shut. “Why don’t you mind your own business?”

“Gee, sir. I didn’t mean anything by it.”

“Keep the change,” I said, handing him one hundred dollars.

“Thanks,” the boy said, eyeing the inside of the car.

I shrugged. “Need something?”

“No, sir…”

Angie returned as I start the engine. “A word of advice, kid: Don’t be so snoopy.”

“Of course, sir.”

“What is it?” Angie asked as we made our way down I-5.

"What is it?" Angie asked as we made our way down I-5

“That kid was too snoopy.”

“Think he might call the police?”

“He saw the blood.”

“And tell me you made an excuse, right?”

“Calm down,” I said, waving my hand.

“Oh, shit,” Angie said. “That kid is going to call the police.”

“Wait, what are you…”

“Loading the gun, what does it look like I’m doing?”

“We’ve killed enough…”

“He’s going to tell,” Angie said.

“No,” I said. “Enough killing.”

“I’m staying in the car.”

“Whatever, just turn around.”

We passed stoplights and street signs—as I wondered if she’d kill me next. I know more than anyone. I helped bury the bodies. And it was all against my better judgment.

“Stop the car,” Angie said, tapping my arm.

“We’re half a mile away,” I said.

“I know that, you idiot. But we can’t let anyone see our car at the fucking gas station!”

“Cameras?”

“Yes, they’ve got cameras.”

“Wish me luck,” she said, slamming the door.

“You’ll need it,” I said.

“We’ll talk about your cheap sarcasm later,” she said before throwing her hood on and running in the darkness.

I could leave right now, and no one would ever know. I could take the money and get the hell outta this town; outta this state. Outta the country.

Bang

Bang

Shattered glass cracks and screams echo.

I rolled my eyes. That’s our fifth murder of the day, and if Angie has anything to say about it, it won’t be the last.

Angie arrives back, and the car, gasping for air, doubled over.

“Get in,” I said.

“Give me a…”

“No time for sulking. Get in,” I said as I reached to push her door open. Dust kicked as I pressed the gas.

“Anyone see you?”

“Of course not,” Angie said, removing her sweater.

“We’re both tired,” I said.

Angie yawned. “Let’s get a hotel room for the night,” she said.

I glanced over my shoulder and blinker to the off-ramp. Cop cars raced the in other direction to the gas station we’d just robbed. “Just for a few hours…”

The check-in clerk didn’t ask any questions. This kid will go far in life, I thought. Not nosey, yet keenly aware of his surroundings.

“Did you guys hear about the killing up the road?” the kid asked.

“Do you take credit cards?” Angie said.

The kid receives the car and swipes the payment. “I guess someone got shot.”

“That’s a shame,” Angie said.

“Did he live?” I asked.

“According to the scanner, he’s still alive.”

“But near death, right?” I said.

“Oh… no, Jim wears a bulletproof vest,” the kid said.

“They didn’t happen to mention the suspects?”

“Nah… It was too dark out.”

“You’d be surprised at how many times that gas station gets robbed.”

“Pretty often, huh?” I said.

“Steve,” Angie said, pulling my arm, crinkling her eyes.

“Room 101,” the kid said, handing Angie the keys.

“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” I joked.

“Like rob a store?” the kid said.

I shake my finger. “Very funny, kid.”

We slammed the door behind us. “The kid knows,” Angie said.

“You don’t know that. This highway is a hotspot for robberies; I think he was just kiddin’,” I said in a calming tone. 

Angie stroked her chin. “Maybe you’re right,” she said, rubbing her eyes. 

“Get some sleep,” I said. “I’ll stay up.”

“Hold the gun,” she said, throwing it across the room to my fumbling fingers. 

I doze off only to have my eyes slam open to a…

I doze off only to have my eyes slam open to a

Bang

Bang 

Bang

“Open the door!” a voice said. 

“I’m going to jail,” I said low enough for Angie to hear. “I’m not the jail type.” 

“Shut up, and throw me the gun!” Angie said in a raspy whisper. 

Angie stumbled to her feet and stood in a firing position; the barrel fixed on the door. “Who is it?” Angie said louder than she wanted to. 

“Housekeeping,” a woman said.

I released the panic in my stomach. “We don’t need any towels,” I said.

“It’s the police, open up,” a man with a deeper voice said. 

I shook Angie awake and we slide through the window and sprinted to the car. I backed the car into some nearby bushes. Even from our distance, we could see the cops kick in the hotel door and throw flash grenades through the door. I burst out in laughter; Angie cackled to tears. 

“Fucking idiots,” Angie said. 

I could see the men arguing with each other in the window. One officer’s lips read, how could you let them getaway. 

“Look,” I said, “you’re going to need to color your hair.

“Just drive,” Angie said. 

“Where to?” I shrugged

“Anywhere but here.”

(© 2020 AC)

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