Jesus Morales sat with his eyes closed in his bombed out BMW at a forgotten rest stop along Interstate 57. The sun was fast setting in a hazy western sky now the color of punk rock purple lipstick. It had been a long day already for the tired traveler. Except for the never ending line of over the road trucks behind, traffic was light tonight getting out of Chicago.
Amped up on crank, his tired body needed sleep. Really required it, but his mind wouldn’t slow. There’d be no rest for the weary. He knew it when he had signed on for the gig.
“Please…can you do this for me Jesus,” the caller had asked, almost begged.
972. The call had come from Dallas. Morales didn’t know the caller, didn’t need to. The less he knew of the person on the line the better off he was, but he listened to the long distance plea.
“Chicago, New Orleans and L.A,” the caller had asked. Morales could almost feel the man smiling as he spoke. The voice sounded wealthy, Texan and used to getting what it wanted. “There’ll be one hundred and fifty large coming your way if you can.”
“Yeah,” Morales had said, “Yeah, I think I can work it in. Get me the names and I’ll see if I can’t take care of it for you.”
The caller seemed pleased with the answer, sighed and took a deep drag from a cigarette, “Thank you Jesus.” The caller let the breath out real slow, possibly enjoying the sound of it.
Thank you Jesus, he thought now sitting in his car. Hyde Park just outside of Chicago earlier Tuesday, the hit was easy, clean. It would be fourteen hours on I-57 later that he would roll into The Garden District, a wealthy suburb of New Orleans. He’d have to waste most of the night waiting for the mark to leave some political fund raiser. He could almost see it now, the target in his crosshairs. Damned politicians were all about money, but weren’t we all?
Three hits, three days. “I want to send a message,” the caller had said from behind the cover of a bad long distance connection.
Southern Illinois at dusk and Morales was still far from California, Lauren Canyon where the beautiful people lived. His eyes hurt from staring into the sun all afternoon, from the lack of sleep, fuck from the thought of the job still ahead of him. Should be a piece of cake, he though. But there’s always the chance? If it came to that, he’d just as soon turn the gun on himself as to risk time in prison. Guys in his line of work didn’t last long there.
Morales squashed out a spent cigarette in the overflowing ashtray and turned on the radio, already in the middle of a bass heavy and familiar twelve bar riff.
The Texas caller’s prayers would be answered, Jesus had just left Chicago.