To read Ride to Somewhere Pt 1, click here.
I stopped cycling to check the message again.
Pkg to Tim @ 106 Clansman Ave Madley Heights. 2PM. Wait 4 inst abt nxt pjt.
The man who’d approached me at the pond asked me to memorise the message then destroy the phone, but I never intended to follow through with that instruction. Checking my watch, I calculated I had plenty of time. Over an hour at least. I dialled the mobile number I knew by heart and waited for Percy’s familiar voice to answer.
‘Christ, where are you calling from?’
‘I’m still near the meeting point. Got the address for delivery. You want it?’
‘What’s the message?’
I read it out loud.
‘No,’ Percy said. ‘You’ll deliver the package. There’ll be no backup. Wait for the next lot of instructions and make contact again.’
‘Right,’ I said. My voice was tight, strained, as I silently fumed.
‘Destroy the phone before you get there.’
‘Roger that.’ I hung up and immediately took the sim card from the phone and crushed it under my shoe. I then did the same with the phone itself and threw it into a wheelie bin, left stranded on the footpath.
I knew Clansman Ave, so I began peddling again. After about twenty minutes I arrived at the front of the house. It looked alarmingly like my childhood home. I shook away the memories crowding my mind; now was not the time for nostalgia. Before I could knock on the door, it opened. A man, scruffy hair, barefoot, topless, wearing track pants—with the elastic shot to shit and revealing that V-shaped muscle definition around the pelvis—frowned at me. My stomach grumbled. When was the last time I ate?
‘Tim?’ I asked. I kept my eyes focussed on his face, despite an overwhelming desire to stare at his torso and that bloody V.
He nodded. I presented the package. He motioned with his head for me to come inside. Tim patted me down, then took the package.
Last night. The last time I ate. Meatballs, pasta, wine.
Five minutes passed where I stood inside Tim’s home. The lounge was off to my left. I stepped inside. Bookshelves were filled with self-help guides, Dostoevksy’s Crime and Punishment, and a huge number of Tom Clancy novels, plus a few chicklit titles. Photos as well, showing a gorgeous blonde with huge tits, smiling brightly hugging a couple of kids. Chesterfield leather lounge, impeccable soft furnishings, luxuriously green indoor plants. Interesting. Nothing seemed to fit. Like Tim was a glitch, an aberration, that had twitched its way into a home of a wealthy, well-to-do family.
A feeling of incongruity swirled about, making me giddy. I leaned against the architrave for balance.
‘I asked you to wait here,’ Tim’s voice growled. I jumped. He was in the hall, near the door, holding an envelope. Expecting him to make a speech regarding the perils of a lone person going against the orders of a gangster, I stood with my hands on my hips. I hoped it was giving the impression of bravery. That I was ready for action. Instead, Tim simply let out a whoosh of air, thrust the envelope into my hands and said, ‘Your share. Leave now.’
With my payment in my sweaty palms, I walked back to my bike. My head spun with fear and I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. I heard the door close once I mounted it, stuffed the envelope in the back of my jeans and cycled in the direction of my home. I had to hurry. Phone Percy so he could get a team here, quick sticks. The incongruity of Tim and the house niggled at me. I couldn’t figure out why.
On the highway, this time pushing uphill towards the shopping centre, I felt again the rush of traffic shooting past me.
Next project! Tim was supposed to give further details. Why hadn’t he? Unless it was in the envelope. Too late to check now.
A truck’s air horn blared behind me. It sounded close. My heart thumped. I cycled harder. The bitumen rumbled as the truck drew nearer. My bike rattled and shook. The thought to peddle onto the footpath flew into my brain, simultaneously with the screech of horror from passers-by as the truck mowed me down.
An image of Percy smirking filled the blackness behind my eyes as the pain in my broken body faded to naught.