A. M. Yeager
Slick with sticky blood, my fingers could barely grasp the steering wheel. My eyes, cloudy with tears failed to focus on the red glow of the traffic lights. My foot shook against the brake pedal and the car jutted forward, almost into the intersection.
Come on, I muttered. Turn green. Just turn green.
The bleeding had slowed, but it had been enough. I tried to hold my breath, to calm my heart, but it was a drum inside my chest. The light flickered to green and I sped down the street.
I gotta say, Peter. This isn’t workin’ out.
I shot through another intersection, ignoring the stop sign. At three in the morning, no one was on the streets, not that I cared. No, I would have if I hit someone. I would have cared.
But you know, Peter? It might work out. It might if you do just one small thing for me.
I knew there was going to be a cop car up ahead. I had driven this route many times for work, early in the morning, tossing newspapers out the window onto lawns. I don’t know why I didn’t slow down. I should have slowed down. Why didn’t I just slow down?
You want it, Peter. Don’t you? This job?
The flashing blue and red lights still caught me off guard. I slowed the car down and pulled over to the side of the road. Still shaking like a leaf, I rolled down the window.
You don’t want to be a paper boy the rest of your life, do you?
“Do you have any idea how fast you were go-?”
The police woman’s voice trailed off when she peered inside the car. I could see her gaping, her mouth hanging open. She scanned me and looked at the passenger’s seat and towards the back before saying anything.
“You need help?” She didn’t even ask for my license or registration.
“Hospital,” I managed to get out. “He needs to go to the hospital.”
I knew he appeared dead. He was pale, gray in color, his blue eyes glazed over in shock, and his blonde hair matted with blood.
Just do it. For me.
“Follow me,” she said. “Next time call an ambulance.”
The police woman disappeared into her cruiser. She sounded her sirens and headed to the hospital. I trailed after her wondering why she didn’t ask what happened.
Why didn’t she ask?
I’m dying anyway.
He was dying, that’s why. He might already be dead. I couldn’t hear him breathing. Had he stopped breathing?
Pull the trigger, Peter. Just do it and you’ll have my job.
Of course, I wanted the job. Who wouldn’t want to be head of an entire newspaper? Think of all the money. My tiny studio would be forgotten while I dined with the other bigwig journalism CEOS.
We’re friends, Peter. Right? Do this for me, but do it for you.
But I didn’t do it for him. I did it for me and botched it, and now he was suffering worse than before with a bullet hole and a tumor in his brain.
I’d go to jail. I knew I would. I would have anyway. Was this his plan all along? Maybe he found out. Did he find out about me and his sister? Was this his way of getting back?
Someone ran a red light. I felt the impact hit my body and push me all the way across to the passenger’s seat where he sat. I was sure he felt nothing, but me, I felt it. Guilt, pain, and all.
Copyright A. M. Yeager 2020