Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Are you leaving tonight?" her father asked. "Yes," she replied.

Tears welled up in his eyes. "You're going to go after the ones who did this to you, right? You're going to leave the others alone?"

"Yes," she told him. At the time, she meant it. In way over her head. How had she uncovered so much in such a short time?

It only took about ten minutes to load her suitcase and computers into the Nissan. She had driven her daughter's car, made a decision a few days earlier to take that one since there was no gps tracker in it. They would not expect her to do that. She had also taken her daughter's fifteen dollar cell phone and left her own two serviced cell phones at home. These were also being traced - and her conversations recorded.

Her daughter had wrecked a few times, so the car had some dents. The front bumper was crooked, and the sunroof... she had broken into the sunroof once when she locked her keys in the car. The glass had been replaced, but the motor didn't work. Twice, driving to her father's she had to stop to check the oil. Added water to the radiator the second time.

Packed and ready. "Can I have another pack of cigarettes?" she asked her stepmother. "Of course, baby, but are you sure you want to drive all that way tonight? Don't you want to go in the morning?"

"No, I have to leave now. I love you," she said.

"I love you, too, baby. Be careful. And call me when you get there."

"I will. I love you, Dad."

"I love you, too, girl. Remember, you can always use that key," he said.

"Thanks. I've got to go."

She walked to the car. As she ducked her head to get in the driver's seat, she looked up. He had already turned and closed the door. His words from that afternoon were still at the front of her mind.

"You know I had to send in one of my employees for counseling. I didn't want to, but I had to. He said some things that he shouldn't have said."

"Maybe he will learn not to say those things," she had commented, feeling slightly unnerved at the tears in her father's eyes. She knew that he was trying to tell her something that he was not at liberty to say. His job had a lot of secrets.

An hour later, she finally realized what he meant. Damn, she thought. How can he let anything happen to me? He knows I've been framed, set up. He said people would owe me apologies. He knows these things.

He knows I've had a lot of trouble with my meds, with sleeping, with the fuckers blackmailing me. God!

She burst into tears. The pack of Virginia Slims was there on the passenger seat. And the lighter with the flag and the GI's that she had picked up on her way to the beach. She took one out and lit it, and she started trying to think of how to not be caught - or killed.

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