The Train: Episode 36

Jonathan Carpenter sat back in the chair and slowly massaged his temples with the tips of his fingers, trying to sooth his nerves and lower his blood pressure. As the eldest of the Carpenter sons, it was his responsibility to keep the younger ones in line and make things easier on their father. The patriarch of the Carpenter family, Russell Carpenter gave the orders. The family business had been slowly progressing, but now that Tommy the youngest had been spotted in a hit and run that very morning, things were about to go south.

“That idiot brother of mine is always screwing up things,” Jonathan thought, grinding his teeth.

He had just got off the phone with his dad.

“Round up your brothers and bring them to the club. I want to discuss how to deal with Tommy’s accident,” Russell Carpenter had ordered.

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

At 5:55 p.m., Richard and Matthew Carpenter pulled into the club’s parking lot by Jonathan’s car.

When they opened the doors, they heard a loud, shrill whistle and looked up to see Jonathan leaning against the back wall of the club waving them over.

“Dad’s angry, isn’t he?” Richard asked, walking up to Jonathan.

“Can’t we just kill Tommy?” Matthew suggested. “Little brat’s always been a problem.”

“You know how Dad is. Tommy’s gonna’ pay for this somehow. Don’t worry about it. Dad’ll teach him a lesson,” Jonathan answered.

“Speaking of which,” Richard said, “where’s Dad?”

“Not here yet,” Jonathan replied.

“Wow! He must be furious,” Matthew said. “Dad’s never late.”

Jonathan checked his watch.

“Looks like Tommy’s late too.”

“Now there’s a surprise,” Richard said sarcastically.

“Did Dad tell you anything?” Matthew asked.

“Nope,” Jonathan said. “Just call everybody and meet here.”

“So we gotta’ lay low again because of Tommy and wait here, right?” Matthew asked.

For the Carpenter family, laying low meant giving the pink slip to all but seven trusted men and breaking off any shady deals till Dad gave the go ahead.

“You know how Dad is. He wants everybody together to see Tommy get taken down. It’s his way of reminding us who’s in charge. King of the hill,” Richard reminded them.

“Don’t let Dad hear you talk like that. He’s proud of your smarts, your Psych degree, but he hates it when you use that analyzing stuff on him,” Matthew warned.

“Yea. I’ll save it for Tommy. He hates it when I analyze him,” Richard quipped.

When Richard and Matthew started laughing, Jonathan barked,

“Knock it off! Bad enough Tommy hit some guy, but now we got witnesses. Dad’s furious! He’s already had Brewer talk to them.”

“There were witnesses?” Matthew asked surprised.

“Yes, witnesses. A chick, some old dude, and a little girl,” Jonathan explained. “And the cops were chasing Tommy.”

“So, no problem. We’ll take care of them,” Matthew suggested. “Poof! No more witnesses.”

“Not yet,” Richard cautioned. “We’ll wait till this cools off then arrange for them to leave town. That way when they don’t return, it’ll look like they stayed away longer than expected.”

“We’re not doing anything until Dad gives the order,” Jonathan said.

Tommy’s Blue 1970 Plymouth rumbled into the parking lot and pulled to a stop next to the other cars.

Jonathan rolled his eyes and ground his teeth as Tommy climbed out and sauntered over to them.

“Hey guys. What’s up?” Tommy greeted with a smile.

“Are you insane?” Matthew asked.

“What?” Tommy asked.

“You drove the Plymouth here? Cops are out looking for that car,” Jonathan said.

“Dad’s in a rage, man. Are you asking to be shot?” Richard scolded.

“Is he really mad?” Tommy asked.

“Of course he is, you idiot!” Jonathan barked. “Let me see. You were running from the cops, you ran over a guy, then you fled the scene leaving witnesses behind!”

“How mad is he?” Tommy asked.

“Couldn’t tell over the phone. Dad was using his quiet voice,” Jonathan said.

“Oh that’s never good,” Matthew said.

Just then another car pulled into the parking lot and stopped. As the Carpenter brothers watched, Ronald Brewer climbed out and walked over.

“What’s going on?” Brewer asked. “Mr. Carpenter called me and told me to meet him here.”

“This has got to be bad. Dad never has us meet together like this,” Matthew said.

“I’m telling you it’s a display of dominance,” Richard said. “He wants us to wait for him. Then when he shows up, he’s going to tie Tommy to the back of his car and drag him home for everyone to see.”

“Seriously?” Tommy asked nervously.

“Cut it out, Richard,” Jonathan objected. “You’re freaking him out. Dad’s just running late—”

Jonathan stopped when something hit his forehead then fell to the pavement.

“What in the world?” Matthew asked.

When Jonathan looked down, he saw a bloodied tooth lying at his feet.

As a shiver ran up his spine, he turned and looked up at the roof of the club. Someone was standing at the edge, feet together and hands tied behind. As Jonathan squinted to make out who it was, the figure suddenly tipped over and fell end over end, plummeting to the parking lot below.

Jonathan jumped out of the way just as the person slammed into the concrete with a wet crack.

“Is that?” Tommy asked.

Jonathan slowly came over and looked down at the body. Lying dead in a gathering pool of blood was. . .

“Dad?” Matthew asked weakly.

The hands and feet of Russell Carpenter’s broken body had been bound with duct tape. When Jonathan bent down and slowly turned him over, he saw a note taped to his chest. He pulled it free and passed it to Tommy then began checking his father’s vitals.

“He’s dead,” Jonathan said, looking up at the others.

A frightened pale Tommy stared stupidly at the note.

“What’s it say?” Jonathan asked.

Tommy slowly turned over the piece of paper and showed the note to the others.

Written in blood were the words:

YOU’RE NEXT!

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