Steam rolled from the rusting room of the trailer. The ice had nearly all melted and the pond that sat to the rear and right of the trailer had once again become visible and Charles had forgotten about its presence the last time he was there. To the right of the pond was the barn that appeared to have fallen in a little more as well since the last visit. Charles sat in the van, alone this time, watching the front door. A tie hanging from his neck and his shirt buttoned to the top was a feeling that he wasn’t used to. He opted to wear blue jeans and the tie that he wore did have guitars, electric and acoustic.
He sat waiting, wondering why he had came to the trailer in the first place. He didn’t mean to drive all this way out here, he was in fact heading to the wake when he made left when he should have made a right. His mind was on something else completely.
He thought about the plan, the plan for the BBS to run the meth making business themselves and him getting out of Pine Bluff forever. He thought about what his role in all this was. Charles knew there would be sacrifices to make in order to reach his dream, to travel the world singing songs and wooing the ladies. He knew hearts would be broken and people would hate him, and all that was fine with him. He didn’t care if his brother ever talked to him again, he didn’t care if he never stepped foot inside of Pine County again. But he cared about his soul. Not in a religious way or a spiritual way but in a ‘can I sleep at night’ way.
He fidgeted with the gun in his lap, waiting. This was the longest it had taken Tony to come outside. That was the rules. Charles or any of the BBS were never to go inside and see the operation. They were lucky to even know where it was at. If Charles had heard the story once he had heard it a thousand times.
“It’s in my blood,” Tony would say, “back during prohibition my great grand-dad, Rueben Preston, started selling the shine that my family had made in these woods for over a hundred years. You see until then it was a make it, drink it business. My great grand-dad, having an entrepreneurial vision decided to sell stuff for a big profit, being risky business and all. It would cost him a couple bucks to make and could sell a case for fifty bucks. Then after the liquor became legal again his profit dropped off, until my grand-dad, Rhett, decided that during the sixties pot was a better money maker, and safer to grow. Plant it, check on it ever so often and pick it. Pot was a good money maker, what put me in the pin. I woulda’ never got caught had I not needed more room to grow my crop. Set up on some government land outside town and came to check on it one day. Usually the cops just cut it down if they find it. That day they decided to watch it. Caught me red handed. After prison I was clean for awhile but easy money is too hard to pass up. A few redneck chemists can make a killing if they know what they are doing.”
Fucking redneck is exactly what Tony Preston was. And Charles never liked him. But to kill him was something else entirely. Charles knew it would be hard to pull the trigger but if it had to be done then it had to be done.
The door of the trailer finally swung open and Tony stepped out in his painters mask once again. He waved his hand in the air as always and Charles stuck the gun in the waist of his pants. He stepped out of the van and waved back at Tony.
At the van Tony held out his hand and Charles took it in his and shook firmly. “What brings you out here today, we aren’t scheduled for supply until next week.”
Charles scratched his head, he really didn’t know why he had driven out here and that made the conversation more awkward. “I don’t know.” the answer came barely audible to Charles so he knew that there was little chance that Tony heard it.
“I said I don’t know.”
“Charles,” Tony reached for his shoulder, probably to pat it but Charles pulled the gun from his waist in a heartbeat, as fast as a gunfighter in the old west. He pointed the gun at Tony’s head. He motioned with his empty right hand toward the pond.
“You want me to go to the pond, Charles?”
Tony walked with his hands in the air toward the pond. Then onto its dock where Charles told him to sit down and he placed the gun to the back of his head.
“Tony, you like making meth for my brother?”
“Sure, I make good money, why?”
“I think it has been bad for your health. You?”
“Sure, I guess. Charles, what is wrong with you?”
“I’m tired, Tony. I’ve lost friends. Some to the drug, some because of it. I’m just tired of it all together.”
“I’m sorry, Charles, maybe you should get out of the business if you don’t like it.”
“ha, ha, ha, tell that to my brother. Well that isn’t true. He wants me out, but I have to do something for him.”
“I guess that’s why you’re here?”
“I’m supposed to turn over the operation, is that it?”
“Not exactly. You see I’m sent to kill you. I get two fifty. That’s enough for me to go to Nashville and never come back to this shit hole again.”
“Who is gonna make your shit?” a sudden realization came to his face. “That’s why they haven’t came out.”
“Bastards. They were like brothers to me.”
“Its only one.”
BOOM! From inside the barn Charles hears a gunshot. Tony jumps, hitting the back of his head to the barrel of Charles gun. This scared him even more and Charles saw the dock around Tony become wet with piss.
Charles felt the tension as his finger began to constrict, pressing slightly on the trigger. He felt that knot in his soul again and he released the tension.
“I can’t kill you.”
“W-what?” Tony began to weep uncontrollably. He jumped to his feet and turned to Charles. “I’m sorry, what.”
“I can’t fucking kill you. But you better leave. Now. Head out through the woods. Hide out there tonight and leave town. When I know you’re gone I will shoot in the air and tell Tiger that I threw your body in the pond. We are supposed to cut you up first but I’ll improvise.”
“C-cut me what?”
Just then Charles heard the chainsaw fire up inside the barn and Tony pissed himself again. He ran around Charles and then around the pond and Charles watched as he disappeared into the woods.
BOOM! BOOM! He fired two shots into the air and then made his way to the barn, but couldn’t bring himself to step inside. A few minutes later Donald Adams, AKA Tiger, came to the door covered in the blood of Michael Robinson, AKA King.
“What the fuck are you doing?” he bellowed as the door opened.
“I’m doing what my brother asked us to do.”
“It was supposed to happen when you came to pick up the next order, not today.”
“Sorry, I just got a little anxious, I wanted to get it done and get out of town. I’m ready to go.”
“I don’t understand the hurry, Charles.” Tiger wiped his blood splattered face with his hands. “I had to improvise to get King out here. Luckily he didn’t look down to the pond and see you standing with Tony, otherwise it woulda’ been a disaster.”
“Well let’s just say I have reasons for needing to get out of town, and I’m kinda’ dressed for a funeral, think you can finish King by yourself?”
“Yeah, but what about Tony?”
“I threw him in the pond.”
“He’ll come up.”
“I tied some blocks I found behind the house, he’s in the shallow near all the grass and the cat tails. I don’t think anyone will be able to find him before the fish eat him.”
Charles left Tiger to King and decided to head to the wake, he needed to make an appearance he had to say goodbye to someone who had once been a friend. And to say ‘I’m sorry’.