Photo by Ravi Palwe on Unsplash
My skin prickled. Fear? Anger? A mix of the two? I don’t know. I need to distance myself from Alex.
“Is that all? Call me stupid, but most people don’t have bills of fifty grand due all at once. Is that the amount that keeps you alive? Or, the full amount of the loan?” I asked.
Alex tipped his head back and cackled. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. “I have to pay that now. Think of it as a balloon loan with aggressive collectors.”
An officer casually walked out of the police station. Alex slid down in the seat as far as he could. He whimpered from pain and then whispered, “Please, we need to go.”
“Maybe I should flag that officer down and let him know you need medical assistance,” I said.
His eyes widened and then he shook his head. “No,” he whispered. “Go.” Alex was now partially in the floorboard, making it seem I was alone.
The cranking of the truck caused the officer to look our way. So, I gave a casual wave and a nod as I pulled away.
“Are you crazy?”
Without glancing at him, I said, “The officer heard the truck crank and had seen I was looking in his direction. Acknowledging him was the least suspicious thing I could do. He isn’t following us.”
“You’re stupid. I thought you were smarter than that,” Alex said, groaning as he pulled himself back into the seat. He moaned and laid his head against the seat.
“You couldn’t play along in the forest. If they thought there was a dog, they might have let us go with a warning,” he added.
“I’m dumb all right. I let you talk me into a whole lot of trouble.”
We were both silent for the few blocks to the library. I stopped the truck at the curb in instead of parking in the lot. “Your stop, sir.”
“You have to come in, too. I need to use your computer.”
“Not happening. I promised to bring you to the library. Get out before I drive back to the police station,” I said.
Alex scowled, got out, and slunk up the steps. He didn’t bother to shut the door causing forcing me to put the truck in park so I could pull it shut. He looked over his shoulder and with a smile, flipped me off. Good riddance, I thought.
As I pulled away, I turned my phone back on. I would never hear the end of it if Mom was trying to reach me and couldn’t. Halfway home, it rang. Thinking it was Mom wanting something picked up from the store, I answered it.