Thursday 30 July 2015

Fifth Avenue

By Michael Carta

Room 212. Super Motel, State Route 57. 10:55am

“Alright, since no one else is talking, I’ll start; my name is Frank. I have been a pizza delivery driver for over 15 years. Even if I won the lottery tomorrow morning, I’d still deliver pizza that evening. It is what I do, what I was born to do. Think about it man. You get to drive around with loud music and free food. No one cares if you shaved that morning, or if you got their email from yesterday. It’s freedom, tasty freedom! Oh, and did I mention you get paid under the table tax free? Admit it, even you have ordered a pizza.”

“Would you just shut up already? You’re starting to get on my nerves. Are you even sure you’re supposed to be here? I mean seriously, the rest of us at least look like professionals…” said the man seated at the card table near the window.

Frank peered around the hotel room at the other men all wearing black suits.  Across from the one who just spoke, there sat a man with sunglasses. Both were smoking cigarettes to pass the time. On the only bed in the small room, there was a third man who was flat on his back with his legs crossed and a black ball cap covering his face.  They all seemed to be in their mid-thirties and in perfect shape.

“I bet you could run for miles without breaking a sweat… typical overachievers. Good thing I don’t believe in running.” Frank looked down at his rotund gut in comparison. 

“This here is an accomplishment! Years of dedicated overeating- a financial status indicator if I ever did see one!”

“Seriously, if he does not shut up, I’ll put him out right here.”

“Number three, it would benefit you well to remember your place in this hierarchy.”

“Shove it man, we’re both just peons in this.”

“That’s my point. Well taken care of peons in a very lucrative industry- I think you’d like to keep it that way, yeah?”

“What are we supposed to do with fatty thunder thighs over there when things go down? Who’s caring his dead weight? I sure as hell am not. He’s all yours number two.”

“I guess that makes you number four then?” Frank said playfully towards the other man at the small table. The man smirked in return.

“Look, we do not make the calls; we’re not CEOs yet so cool it. For now we roll with what we’ve got, and if the Man says this guy is part of our assignment, then this guy is part of our assignment. We have a perfect track record thus far; don’t let your irrational bitching mess that up. He was either placed on purpose as a test to see how we do, or there is an unforeseen element that you have yet to realize. You have to trust the Man if you ever want the Man to trust you.”

“I’ve got some double stuffed crust pizzas in the car if anyone’s brave enough?”

“I like him ma’, can we keep em? Can we? Can we?” Said number four.

“Only if you feed him every day and give him baths too.” Said number two.

“Everything’s a joke with you amateurs…” Said number three.

“Hey we all deal with stress differently. Just focus on your part of the job. We all have specific instructions.”  Number two’s watch beeped twice indicating it was now 11:00am. “It’s time.” He quickly jumped from the small bed and continued to the door where he waited momentarily for number four to accompany him. They left and locked the room door behind them.

“It’s just the two of us now, huh?” Frank said. Number three blankly stared back in annoyance.

“Look, just watch some T.V. or something, whatever I don’t care, just leave me be, okay? I’m not feeling too hot today and need some time.” Number three proceeded to anxiously peer out of the window.

Bored, Frank plopped on the bed almost breaking it. “Cheap hotels.” He mumbled. He grabbed a remote, which was very sticky and turned on the T.V. He did not know if the stickiness was from his own hands, or already there- he didn’t care. After several minutes of watching Tornados destroy trailer parks, he was in a deep sleep.

The clash of the room door slamming into the wall yanked Frank from his dream state. Confused and delirious he sat up. “Mom, what’s going on?!” Number two stumbled into the room and collapsed at the foot of the bed. 

Quickly Frank remembered where he was as number three darted to assist his fallen comrade. “What’s going on guys, where the other dude?” Frank demanded. 

“Shut your fat ass and help me!” Number two barked. He got up and helped roll number two over. He was unconscious and bleeding from the mouth. Frank was petrified at the sight. 
“He’s so pale…”

“He has been shot; hold his head up while I get a towel!” Frank sat there in shock holding number two’s head in his hands. It felt like he had a fever and was still breathing.  

“Here, put pressure on the wound, I am going to get number four!” He tossed a towel at Frank and bolted out of the room.

Cautiously, Frank lifted number two’s jacket from his chest to find blood seeping out with each breath from the gunshot wound. It was on the left side close to the heart. He fought the urge to puke and covered the area with the towel. Blood soaked through like it was toilet paper. He applied pressure and closed his eyes. Number two started coughing and regained consciousness. With an extraordinary strength he grabbed Franks shoulder and hoisted himself into a sitting position. 

“You ‘re… you’re alive!” 

“Not for long, listen up. There’s a trash can in the lobby” He painfully coughed blood and nearly passed out. 

“Man you’re not looking good, you need to lay dawn” number two slapped him hard in the face. 

“Listen, there’s a trash can in the lobby, inside you will find a small case about the size of a book, you need to take that to fifth avenue, got that?” 

“I don’t understand.” Frank murmured. 

“Do as I told you, you’ve got to get moving, it all depends on you now.” There were three loud, but muffled popping sounds from down the hallway. 

“Gunshots… They’re here. Leave me and go through the window, remember the avenue on fifth!.” Frank was bewildered and hesitated. Number two propped himself against the foot of the bed facing the door and removed a silver handgun from his jacket. 

“Go now, buddy! This sure won’t be pretty.”

Frantically Frank kicked the screen window out and tried to climb through. He fell forward into the bushes. As he regained his balance and stumbled to the sidewalk, he heard several loud gunshots from the room. He ran as fast as he could to the parking lot expecting to get shot. His lungs burned and his knees where bleeding from the fall. 
“Fifth avenue… fifth avenue…” he told himself.  

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