“Anthony, I’m so excited for you, twelve months down, twelve to go,” a woman says on the phone.
“Kari, this has been a long year. I miss you so much,” Anthony says.
Kari puts her hand on the glass divider and gives a long, loving stare into the eyes of Anthony, “So what are you doing first when you come home? Coming to my house and…” she cuts herself off with a big smile and wink.
“Going to your house and get the key to my case so I can get what I’m in here for. Then going back to your house and maybe let you decide the rest, Beautiful. You still have the key hidden away, right?” Anthony asks.
“Yeah, I’ve got the key. I forgot to tell you that Drew called the other day,” Kari says as she runs her fingers through her long black hair. “He just asked how I was doing and mentioned something about the briefcase.”
“The briefcase? What exactly did he say?” Anthony fiercely asks.
“I don’t know. He just said that it’s been a year, and he was thinking about everything and decided to call me,” Kari says as she leans in towards the glass.
“Well, what did you tell him?” Anthony asks.
“I told him that the cops took everything that had anything to do with you. I figured if I said that then he wouldn’t ask about anything else and leave me alone.”
“Your times up, Ma’am,” a low-pitched voice says from behind a red metal door.
“Okay Honey. I have to go. Just be careful and don’t get in trouble.” Kari wipes a tear from her left cheek and says, “I love you.”
“I love you too. Twelve months to go and I’ll be home. You be careful too,” Anthony says as he puts his hand to the glass. Kari raises her hand and presses it against the glass as if she was trying to push through it. A large policeman puts his hand on her shoulder to get Kari on her way. She slowly lowers her hand from the glass and again mouths the words, “I love you,” and then she is gone.
Kari’s dark skin shines from the recently applied body spray she put on after a long hot bubble bath. The scent of strawberry fields fills the room as she brushes her hair. Her blue satin robe fits loosely on the body. A loud noise from the front porch startles Kari and she goes to investigate, “Hello. Is someone there?”
A man’s voice echoes from the porch saying, “Yeah. I was just wondering if you wanted to talk with some guy that hasn’t seen the inside of a house for a couple of years?”
She walks over to the window by the door and pulls the curtain away in an attempt to see who the man was. “Who’s out there!”
“You don’t know? Well, you should. It’s time for me to get out,” Tony says.
“Tony! Is that you? I knew it was soon, but you caught me off-guard. Why didn’t you call me, I would have got you,” Kari shouts.
“Why did you grow a beard? I couldn’t recognize you with that thing – and all the weight you lost, you look good,” Kari says with a surprised tone.
“Yeah, it’s me. How you doin’, and why didn’t come by the last couple of months? I thought you were done with me or something.”
“No, I’ve been working over at the shop because I figured we’d need some extra money with you coming back home. I’m sorry Honey.”
“Don’t worry about it. I just want to sit on that couch and get used to being free again.”
Kari tells Tony, “Why don’t you go take a nice hot shower while I make you some food?”
Tony emerges from the bedroom with clothes left behind two years ago, which now fit very baggy on his much more muscular, in shape body, and goes into the kitchen for a drink. He grabs a beer and looks around. “Kari,” he shouts, not knowing where she is. He sees food Kari prepared for him on the table and he begins to eat the food he had longed for so long while he had been locked up. As simple as it is, macaroni and cheese taste like some sort of expensive entrée to him.
Tony gets up from the table and walks outside. He sees her car is gone. The sun is beginning to set as he starts to walk around the neighbourhood. He looks at all the new and renovated houses ion the area. A lot of these houses were built while he was in prison. “I’m glad we moved here before this place got too expensive,” Tony says to himself as a child on a bike passes him and looks at him like he should be wearing the helmet. Tony walks around the block. When he gets back to his house, he notices Kari’s car is still gone, so he decides to go inside and relax on the couch.
A phone ring awakens Tony. He sits up and feels Kari lying on top of him. He lets it ring a second time before he decides to get up and answer it. When he gets a few feet from the table where the phone is sitting, Kari rushes to answer the phone before Tony picks it up. Her hair is wild and her face is without make.
“I love in the morning,” Tony says while he walks to the window to inspect the day.
Kari answers with a sensual, “Hello,” and smiles at Anthony. “Yeah. Uh-huh. Well, why are you calling now? Um, actually he’s right here with me. Tony, it’s for you. It’s Drew.”
Tony grabs the phone from her, “What? What are you doing callin’ here?”
“T, take it easy, I was just callin’ Kari to find out when you got out. Looks like lucky timing, huh?”
“Lucky timing, more like unlucky timing. Who do you think you are calling me after leaving me alone for the cops? I can’t believe you.”
“Tony, calm down man, I’m sorry for all that. But what would you have done? Would you have stayed to get caught with me? I don’t think so.”
“I would have stayed so at least we could have tried to make a getaway together. You know, how we went in to it, together. After I hid the box, what did you do? I mean we knew the cops were on our tails, so how did they only get me? You had to plea-bargain for yourself. What did you get Drew, probation?”
“Shut up! You know I wouldn’t have done that,” Drew says.
“Then how did you get out of everything? I’ve wondered this for two years, ‘Why am I in here by myself,’ and the only thing I can think of is that you gave me up. Well, what a true friend you are. ‘Sure I can help him do the crime, but if we get caught, he can serve the time,’ that’s what you were thinking, weren’t you?” Tony says as he begins to pace around the open living room, staring at Kari. “Well, it’s all mine now, the money, the jewels, everything. I’m glad I didn’t let you talk me into taking you with me when I buried that case.”
“Okay. Maybe I did get myself out. There was no way I could do time. I couldn’t handle it. Think of it this way though, if I didn’t plea-bargain we would both still be in there because they would have got us for everything. This way they only got you for breaking and entering and resisting arrest.”
“What’s he saying,” Kari says from her position on the couch.
Tony waves his hand at Kari and says, “Shhh.” “I can’t take this right now Drew,” he slams down the phone and collapses next to Kari on the couch. She begins to rub her fingers through his newly cut hair and she looked intently at the unevenness.
“Tony, why don’t you let me give you nice hot sponge bath to relax, and then if the rain holds off, maybe we can go get the box,” Kari says, rubbing Tony’s chest as he slides over and nestles up to her.
“I think I’ll go get the stuff myself. I would just feel safer if I was alone.”
“Well, I guess. I’ve got some stuff I can take care of while you’re gone,” she says. “How long do you think it’ll take?”
“I don’t know. I might just drive around for a little bit and see the sights. I haven’t been out in a while,” he lets out a big laugh and Kari smiles at his joke.
Tony gets up and heads into the kitchen. “What do you have to do while I’m gone?”
“I’ve just got some errands to run. Some stuff for the shop, you know.”
He goes to the cabinet above the sink, removes a loose side-panel, feels around and finds the key. He makes his way to the garage and finds a shovel.
“Get that out of the living room. Where do you think you are? A barn? Jail?” now she laughs at her own joke.
“I’ll give you some credit for that one,” Tony says with a grin.
The sky is slightly overcast with more clouds rolling in, but the temperature is rather warm although the wind is gusting. Tony gets in the driver’s seat of the car, “I haven’t done this in a long time,” he thinks to himself. He pushes the gas and the car jumps forward, then instantly the breaks, “Reverse stupid,” he says out loud.
As the old car makes it way down an old gravel road about 35 minutes from his starting point, it gradually begins to slow down and stop. Tony gets out of the car in an empty field. There is nothing anywhere in sight except empty fields, trees, and some cows off in the distance in front of the setting sun, which is peeking through the last bit of openness between the thick cloud cover. Thunder rumbles in the distance. Tony grabs the shovel from the trunk and starts walking. He jumps over a small, broken-down fence, picks up a big heavy rock, drops it a few feet away, and starts digging. The thunder is beginning to become much louder, and he feels a slight drizzle on the back of his neck. Digging faster now, the hole is about two feet wide and three feet deep. The next jab into the earth hits solidly into something, and Tony knew what it was, his treasure. He looks around once more, just to be safe.
“Yes! Two years gone, but now I’ve been repaid!”
Back in the car, the drizzle has turned into a downpour. Headlights on and wipers running full speed, Tony notices the car makes an odd jerk. “Come on, we’re almost there. Just make it another mile to the gas station.” Then all the lights on the dash suddenly flicker and the car reacts by dieing in the middle of the road. “No, not now!”
Almost ten minutes pass by as Tony tries to, to no avail, start, coax, and even fix the car. He arrives at the gas station after twenty minutes of walking in a lightning filled rainstorm, carrying the metal briefcase at his side. He walks inside the small building and asks the attendant to break a five-dollar bill to use the pay phone. Soon he is in a car with Kari and a towel wrapped around his drenched body.
When the car pulls into the driveway, Tony notices a familiar car parked across the street. The house is dark when they two walk to the front door, hand in hand. Yet as Tony smiles at Kari, she does not smile back.
“Did you notice that car across the street? Is that a neighbors?” Tony asks with the car trapped in his mind.
Kari smiles and looks away from Tony as she ignores the question about the car.
“I can’t picture why I know that car,” Tony says, as she unlocks the front door and turns the knob.
Kari walks in first, and doesn’t turn on the light. Tony follows her in, and as a bolt of lightning flashes, he sees the outline of a person on the couch across the room.
“Who’s there?” Tony says. Kari ducks into the small hallway between the living room and bathroom. The figure doesn’t answer, but stands and moves closer to Tony. Tony jumps back and flips on the light switch.
“You bastard! What are you doing in my house?”
“Tony, buddy, it’s me Drew. I thought you would be happy to see me, especially after our talk this morning. I thought me made up,” Drew says as he looks for Kari.
“Why are you here?”
“Kari didn’t tell you? You went to go get our money- me and Kari’s money. I thought you knew, Kari is my woman now,” he smiles at Tony and winks at Kari. “Why do you think she wanted you to get that briefcase so bad? Why do you think I called this morning? It wasn’t to talk to you. She covered me pretty good then. Good job Kari.”
“Kari. What are you doing? How could you do this to me?”
“It’s always about you. Well, this is about me. What do you think I was supposed to do for two years, just wait around for you? I don’t think so. I and Drew got so close. He was there for me. We deserve this. You can have this house and everything in it, we’re getting out of here.”
“No. I’m getting out of here, alone. You two can have each other, I’m keeping this,” Tony says as he glances down at the briefcase, making sure neither of the two makes an attempt to get to him or the fortune.
“Well, maybe this will help you change your mind,” Drew pulls a chrome-barreled handgun from behind his waste and waves it at Tony. “Just drop the briefcase walk out and drive away. When you come back, we’ll be gone, and you’ll never hear from us again.”
Tony looks at Drew, and then dissects Kari with an omniscient stare. He shakes his head in disbelief and drops the briefcase to his feet. Every thought in his mind is visible on his face. He walks backwards to the door, opens it very slightly, and slips his thin body through the small gap. Instead of getting in the car and driving away, Tony sneaks around the house and goes into the small utility shed behind the garage. “Where’s that gun at?” he asks himself, looking for his old gun hidden in the shed. Banging around in the corner, he lifts up the loose board under the windowsill. “I’m getting what’s mine and they’re getting what’s theirs.”
Sneaking back around the house, Tony has a look of evil and hate in his eyes. He prowls to the side of the house and looks into the bedroom window. Drew and Kari are packing up clothes and supplies for the trip.
“What am I going to do now?” Tony whispers to himself.
He sees Drew look out the window and quickly ducks down in to the bushes. Tony then crawls to the back door and quietly sneaks inside the house, which, earlier in the day he loved. Still crawling, he slithers into the hall closet, where the door was already open from Kari ripping out her clothes. He slowly pulls the door shut to where it is just cracked open so he can see between the edge of the door and the door jam into the bedroom. He sees Drew’s gun lying on the dresser across the room from where Drew is, and Tony decides to make his move.
“Don’t move!” he shouts as he jumps from the closet. “Alright, I think we have some new plans for how this night is going to end. You two just stay still,” now waving the gun, Tony first ties Drew up with rope from the shed. “Kari, as much as I hate to say it, you’re coming with me for now,” Tony grabs Kari’s arm and kicks Drew in the stomach repeatedly. Tony yanks Kari into the kitchen, lights a candle, and sits it on top of the refrigerator.
“What are you doing,” Kari shouts.
Tony jerks Kari to his side and doesn’t answer her question. He opens the oven and turns on the gas. He goes back into the bedroom, picks up an already packed bag, and leaves Drew on the floor, but not before kicking him in the stomach a few more times.
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