The Exile: Episode 57

At the end of the alley, Cazonetti popped his head out and checked the street.

“All clear,” he announced. “Let’s get out of here.”

We headed down the street at a good clip and didn’t stop until we were several blocks from the hotel. The sirens and alarms were now just a distant shout on the horizon.

When we came upon an old brick wall, I stopped and leaned against it to rest and catch my breath. While Cazonetti sat down and watched the street, I took a moment to close my eyes and calm down. The adrenaline surge finally subsided, and I could feel my heartbeat slow. A few deep breaths and I felt better. What I would do for a hot shower and a good night’s sleep. Slowly I opened my eyes and looked around. In the silence, the all too familiar paranoia returned.

My eyes darted back and forth, watching every person who passed by. A young woman walking her dog. An elderly couple holding hands. Any of them could be working for the people who had dogged my heels, determined to kill me.

Cazonetti stood up and stretched, letting out a big yawn. He scratched his belly then tucked in his shirt, and I noticed he seemed thinner than usual. When he glanced over at me, he looked concerned.

“You okay there, speedy?” he asked.

“Any one of these people could be working for the agency,” I pointed out.

“What agency?” Cazonetti asked. “The one trying to kill you?”

I ignored the question and wished he would lower his voice.

“You don’t know what I’ve been through. Noting every person I see, every car I pass. I’ve been running so long. I’m worn out and no closer to the answer for why.”

He smiled and patted me on the shoulder.

“Relax, hopalong. They’re all against you.”

I turned my gaze from the people on the street to Cazonetti.

“What do you mean?”

Cazonetti shoved his hands in his pockets and leaned back against the wall.

“Well look at them. They may not be working for the agency directly, but man is by nature selfish and self-serving. Every man and woman out there would turn on you for a price or to save their own neck.”

“I disagree. Not everyone’s like that,” I said.

Cazonetti took a deep breath and said, “Yea, man, they are and I’ll prove it.”

“Okay. You’re out in the car. Doesn’t matter where. How many times have you been driving, seen a guy trying to pull out into traffic, and not let him in because you figured someone behind you would do it?”

“Well. . .,” I began.

“Now why didn’t you help him? Was it because you didn’t want him to get in front of you? Were you worried he’d make you late? Whatever your reason, you didn’t stop and let him pull out. It’s the way of the world, man. People don’t look out for each other because they’re too busy focusing on themselves, what they want. Like I said, selfish. Self-serving. Human nature.”

When he turned toward the wall, his face lit up.

“Well if this isn’t a coincidence. Turn around,” he told me as he pointed at the wall.

When my eyes followed his finger, I saw written across the side of the old wall in faded black paint the words—

“The Calypso Club.”

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Published in: on January 18, 2015 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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