Friday, 13 February 2015



By morning they had crawled out of the park, exiting further west on Bloor Street.  The road was completely empty as it would usually be at predawn.  The two of them moved up a side street between old two-story apartments on the north side of the street.  After turning and going up a few curvy roads they would find the next east-west street and just beyond that was the Junction.

 "So Richard," Marty said once they reached an old church at the top of a great slope.  The road forked up ahead, both ways going northward. "Is that like your superpower?"

"What?" Richard asked, pointing to the left path. "This takes us nearer our street.  No point making us walk more and be out in the open."

Marty nodded. "Is your superpower freaking out and grabbing hard heavy to hand to people?"

"No," he said quietly, looking away.

Marty knew he shouldn't say anything more.  He had wanted to break the tension. "What the hell do I do now?" he repeatedly asked himself.  He thought of Jimmy and wanted to go back.  Richard had argued with him about that, but Marty had no intention of reconsidering.  He had to know what had happened to him.

"Are we walking into a trap?" he asked Richard, picturing a S.W.A.T. team bursting in on them the moment they got to the kitchen.

"I guess it's because of the Falklands," the older man answered instead, his voice shivering slightly. "That's it.  That's why I do it.  Nigel."

"Nigel?" Marty inquired, just barely remembering Richard having called him that once.  It was when he had given him the brick.

"He was in my company," the Englishman explained. "We were shelled real bad that night.  I heard him scream over the bombs and I rushed out to get him the medkit.  I wanted to get the medkit to him so I could help him.  I wanted to..."

Marty brought a hand to his forehead to shield his eyes from the first direct sunrays of the morning.  Between each old house on the west side huge bursts of light and heat hit the sides of their faces.  Up ahead was Dundas Street West, the heart of the Junction.

"After we find out about Jimmy we leave," Marty said. "I won't touch him."

"We should just leave," Richard replied, wiping his cheeks with both hands. "There's no reason to stay.  Someone else will come looking around, even if Jimmy didn't rat us out.  He's a liability to have around anymore."

"What then?  Should we drop a rock on his head?"

Richard's hands balled into fists.  Marty knew he had hit an exposed nerve.  "Okay, okay," the young man said, raising his left hand as if to block. "Never mind I said that.  Forget it.  Let's just check him, then go."

"Go where?" the older man asked. "Where are we going to go where no one can find us?"

"If Jimmy doesn't talk, if he just takes his money and goes and doesn't tell anyone.  He can implicate himself if he goes to the police.  He robbed..." Marty looked about, and then lowered his tone. "He robbed Franco's place with me and Spades.  He's fucked if he goes to the cops.  He'll just have to deal with it."

Richard shook his head, glancing about the sidewalk.  Some people were in the bus shelter up ahead of them, the early morning commuters.  Marty envied them for a few seconds.  They were going to work.  If they worked then they had homes. 

No matter what he did with the money, it would be a very perilous path for both of them going forward.  They left behind them one confirmed death, two unconfirmed ones, and a ransacked pent-house.  He wondered if the names Marty Goldman and Richard Brewer were safe ones to have.

As they passed under the shade of an old oak, a police cruiser strolled by on the road to their right, sputtering up slush as it bounced slightly on the inequalities of the snow underneath.  Without a thought or word between them they lowered their heads, staring at their feet and the salt on the sidewalk.  Marty anxiously stepped over each crack, seeing the cruiser turn around in his mind's eye.  He raised his head and saw that the car was headed for the Junction instead.  It turned left once it reached Dundas.

"They're already there," Richard muttered.

"We don't know that," Marty protested, knowing instantly that it was in vain.

A second vehicle shot down Dundas, an ambulance, it's sirens strangely silent.  Richard laughed dryly. "They'll get a body on the stretcher, but not a live one," he said."Marty, we're not going back.  Come, we're going right, up towards the Junction Triangle.   I got an idea."

He wanted to argue, to insist they get a closer look first, but his instincts kicked in.  Those emergency vehicles were headed to their former house.  Going back would be walking into custody.  This was their chance to cut their losses and run.  Richard led him eastward, crossing Keele Street.  They slipped through alleyways rather than the roads when they could, walking quickly and quietly.  In the distance, maybe back at Dundas, they could hear sirens now. They sped up their pace, now headed north, crossing a Dundas Street that was beginning it's first spasms of rush hour. 

"Is there anything back in the house that you have that has your name and former address on it?" Richard asked as they turned into an old industrial street off from the main roads.  The place looked like it was once a center of a community five or six decades before.  Here the buildings were brick, signs of crumbling marking their corners, and old rusted fences strung out around abandoned lots that were now reclaimed by tall grasses and weeds.  Marty knew this place.  They were near the tracks.

"I threw out my paystubs ages ago," Marty replied. "There is just some clothes there and a few books.  And, uh, my work uniform...ah man.  My uniform!"

Richard nodded. "They'll figure it out eventually," he said. "And that'll tie you to the robbery maybe, especially if Jimmy talks."

"If he's alive," Marty agreed, wondering if Ivan's friends would have done him in.  Marty knew he would know someday, probably someday soon too.  He would either hear of it when he was in jail, or find out about it by reading a newspaper if he stayed free. 

Marty Goldman sighed.  He thought over the past few months.  It was a shorter time than it had seemed.  He was back in the kitchen, standing and waiting for Ivan to show him the grimy coffee maker that first day.  Marty came home then, seeing Richard in the kitchen boiling some soup on the stove.  He saw Jordan and Nicky next, his other room-mates, both of whom he regretted not knowing better.

They came to a crossing spot, the metal wall that covered the tracks from the rest of the city parted here.  There was a train blocking their way.  It was stopped.  Marty looked left, seeing it stretch all the way down his sight, probably ending closer to Jane or Runnymere, even further west than the Junction.  To the right it was the same, no end in sight.  This was one of those super long freight trains, the ones that take a full ten minutes to pass by. 

Richard paused for a second when they came to the train, and then kept going alongside it.  Marty followed him up to the side of the nearest freight, a huge rectangular one with two levels.  The walls were grated, with little diamond shaped holes every few inches. 

"What are we doing?" Marty asked as Richard crawled up onto the side of the freight and peered into one of these holes.

"Well, we're not riding in this one," he said. "Too many pigs."  He jumped down and pointed to the next one down.

"We're going to ride the rails?" Marty asked, feeling completely mixed about the idea.  It could be a potential getaway.  No one would be checking them here and it takes them off the roads and out of the city. "Are we hobos now?" he asked himself. "Hobos with millions of dollars?"

"This one!" his friend called over to him.  He had already climbed up onto the ledge at the end of the next freight.  Marty joined him, crawling up on the small space between the trailers. 

The train jolted.  Marty grabbed Richard, the older man lunging forward to grab the handle of the door of the trailer in front of them.

"It'll start up again soon," Richard said, tugging at the lock to open the big metal door. "Ah shit, this won't open."

"I'm pretty sure all the trailers are secure," Marty replied. "They wouldn't leave them without locking them up.  Let's do something else.  If we just hang on for a bit we can jump off when we're clear of the city, or at least on the other side.  We can go to Oshawa if it's going east."

"It'll be all over the news soon," Richard replied. "That is, if they have us as suspects already.  That might take a few days."

"Fake I.D.'s," said Marty.


"That's what we'll do.  Get haircuts and fake I.D.'s right away.  We just need to find connections.  First stay at some grimy motel off the freeway, and then we go to seedy bars and ask around, carefully of course, but then we get fake I.D.'s, change our looks, get new clothes and be off."

"And then what?"

"We'll figure that out as we get there," Marty answered.

"I guess so," Richard said, nodding. "I'm freezing though.  Let's see if we can get inside one of these."  He jumped off and moved further down the train.  Marty went after him again, kicking up pebbles as he caught up to him.

"I'll miss Tony the most," Marty said as he returned to his side.  Richard was too busy gazing over the freights as they passed them to answer.  The train made another few noises.  It sounded like the engine was panting sporadically, trying to move the massive weight that was in it's charge.

"There," Richard said, pointing at a cylindrical silver freight. 

There was no door, just a four foot tall, three feet wide doorway.  They got closer and saw that the lower half of the space in the doorway was blocked by a big box.  Marty pushed on the box, trying to move it out of the way, but it was immobile, wedged perfectly into place by another box the same height and size up ahead.  He stuck his whole head in next, just resting his chin on the top of the box.  Up ahead it was dark, but he could feel free air in the space there. 

"Can you fit in?" Richard asked as Marty pulled his head back out.

He nodded. "Both of us can.  I just don't know what's ahead, if there is enough space or if we can just crawl in and lay down on our stomachs for the journey."

"Only one way to find out."

Marty went in first, pulling himself forward by his fingers that he fit in the creases between the boxes.  He went forward a few feet before he felt the space beneath him open up.  Richard pushed at his feet from behind, demanding to know what was ahead.

"Wait," he called back, pulling himself over the edge and falling onto a cold metal floor.  In the dark he slowly stood up, unsure of when his head would hit the ceiling. "It's fine!" he shouted. "I can stand here!"

"Move over!" Richard cried back, bringing himself next down the row of box tops and onto the floor by Marty's feet. 

The place, though cramped between rows of larger boxes, went back another six feet or so, enough space for both of them to stand, sit, and even lie down with one of their feet in one of their faces.  And despite a breeze coming in from the half-covered entrance it was much warmer than outside.  Marty flicked on his cellphone, realizing in that moment that it would be best to dispose of it as soon as possible.  He would throw it out the doorway, letting it fly onto the tracks to get crushed under the train.

"There's enough space," Marty noted aloud as he looked up at the ceiling, using his phone as a flashlight. "I got to throw this phone out soon though.  You got anything we can use for light?"

Richard reached into his pant pocket and pulled out a lighter.  Marty smiled, sitting down at the far end, placing the open cell on his knee. He pulled out something small and smooth from the bag, feeling a wide open grin coming on as he felt his fingers over the plastic bills as well.

"What you got there?" Richard asked.

Marty pulled out the ivory pipe.  He had put something in it earlier.  Now seemed like any time to smoke it.  Richard handed him his lighter when Marty reached his hand out and made the flicking motion.  After he took in a long inhale he handed it to Richard.

"Why not?" Richard sighed.  The smell of marijuana overwhelmed them.  If they got caught with the smell on them that would be the least of their worries. "Marty, I just realized something."

Marty took the pipe back when Richard had had his puffs. "Yeah?" he asked, lighting the plant bits up again.

"My usb, it's gone."

Marty breathed in.

"I had my whole novel on it," Richard went on, rubbing his eyes, likely covering tears. "Somewhere, whether on the bike ride, when we were running in the woods, or when I fell over...at some point it flung out of my pocket.  Almost a year, and all those drugs to finish it.  Now, it's gone.  All the words, all the chapters, all the people, all gone.  Dayne dead again, just like Nigel and nothing I can do."

Marty breathed out. "Do you remember e-mailing it to me?"

At first Richard stared at him.  Slowly a look of relief crept onto his face. "Oh...yes, how could I forget that?  That was an unfinished version though, I still have to write a chapter again, the last one, but that's nothing.  Maybe I will write more, add more scenes and change the ending a bit, or keep it going for a few more chapters?"

"Thank God you remembered," Marty laughed, feeling the numbness of the weed take over.  He stretched out his tired legs in front of him.  After that whole ordeal he needed the rest.  He had earned it.  Now he was going away, going far from that house, leaving everything about it behind him forever.

"You always had my back," Richard said.

Marty nodded, handing over the pipe. "Where is this train going then, east or west?"

"I don't remember.  Could be either."


Richard shrugged. "Or northwest to Winnipeg."

"Nah, I'll go to Montreal," replied Marty.

"Anywhere but Toronto is good right now.  Let's just go, start fresh.  We got this one fighting chance to keep going."

Marty agreed, closing his eyes, letting the soft rumble of the train overwhelm his tired body and mind.  He fell into a blissful sleep.  In his mind the house from the Junction faded further from him; grasslands, hills, lakes and rivers passing underneath him.  Everything was behind him.  The only things he wanted to think of were the things before him.

THE END . . . ?

No comments:

Post a Comment