Boosted (In The Fast Lane) (10 page)

 

 

FITEEN

The Crash

 

Brody awoke at six and was in position by seven. He had
found a nice spot to park his car a few blocks from the car wash. It was a
twenty-four hour grocery store with a high turnover of cars where his car
wasn’t likely to be noticed. He could probably leave it there all week if it
came to that. As a precaution he still removed any trace of himself from the
car. If the cops found the car they could still probably track him down. It
wasn’t the police he was worried about. He could handle the police.

From there he walked over to his lookout spot. He had found
an old single screen movie theater, abandoned for over a decade, that stood as
high as a three story building. It had become a ruin long before the days of
ubiquitous alarms and security cameras. With no one up yet that early on a
Saturday Brody was able to climb to the top with ease.

A ladder had been attached to the side of the building so
that some poor kid could adjust the floodlights on top for big opening nights
during the summer. The floodlights were still there, perched over the cracked
marquee, long ago burned out. They had become the home of birds, bugs, and dust
in succession. Now they became a shield for Brody’s activities and a source of
shade from the rising sun.

From this place he had a view of the road down from the
colonel’s mansion. There would be no need to follow him today. All he had to do
was watch for him to descend into the town for his weekly appointment. He had
brought a few supplies with him. A pair of binoculars, a mask, a pistol. A
couple bottles of water to sustain him if the day became long. A few cigarettes
to keep his nerves calm. He settled himself in and began his long vigil.

The stakeouts of the previous week had done him well. He
patiently waited as he had done every day before. The temptation to succumb to
boredom was always there, of course. But the singularity of his purpose managed
to sustain Brody’s focus. He hoped he would never have to do a job this
intensive again. Stealing cars was one thing. Stealing a specific car from an
Iranian warlord was another.

The hours dragged by as the sun rose to its pinnacle.
Brody’s shade disappeared. He began to sweat. His eyes stung. Shit, he thought.
Should have brought sunglasses. He began to think about the consequences if he
was wrong. If the car never came down the road. If the colonel’s line at the
car was the week before had just been a figure of speech. There would be a
number of problems. Sergei was foremost in his mind. He would not be happy.

So far Brody had been able to remain on his good side. But
he knew that if he came up empty there would be hell to pay. There were also
Sergei’s connections to consider. Even if Sergei himself didn’t seek reparation
for the slight, it was sure that his associates would. It was even possible
that the clients in Iran would find out exactly who it was that had let them
down. If these people thought stealing the colonel’s most prized possession was
a joke, Brody would hate to see them when they were feeling serious.

The sun now trekked further west. The day crawled along.
Brody tried to remember what time it was when the BMW made its trip the
previous week. He hadn’t paid attention, hadn’t bothered to make a note of it.
Stupid. He knew he should have been more diligent. Now he was trapped up on a
roof, spending what could be the last full day of his life baking in the
fucking sun. Now if he failed he’d not only be frustrated and tired, but he’d
be a big red burnt target for whoever wanted to punish him for it. And worst of
all, he’d run out of fucking cigarettes.

Just when he’d finally reached his boiling point, Brody
received a glimmer of hope in the form of a boxy European car coming down from
the mansions. Brody raised the binoculars to his eyes. Through his enhanced
vision he could see that it was in fact his old friend the colonel. By the look
of it he also seemed to be in the car alone. It was perfect. Exactly as Brody
had wanted it. Perfect, that is, until Brody spotted something else. Behind the
BMW was a black town car, the kind that he had often seen the bodyguards at the
mansion using. Holy shit. This was not what he needed. Not today.

Better get moving. It was now or never. He packed up his
things except for the gun, which he tucked into the back of his pants, and the
mask which he held in his hand. He descended the ladder quickly. Best lessen
the risk of someone accidentally peeking through their window and catching a
glimpse of him. He jumped off a few rungs from the bottom and landed unevenly
on the broken pavement below. He reprimanded himself quietly. It was another
stupid move. He wouldn’t be able to pull this off with a twisted ankle. He was
taking enough chances already without creating new ones as he went along.

He walked the block that separated him from the car wash, easily
beating the approaching cars. The BMW pulled into the entrance to the car wash
while the town car pulled around to the exit. Good. At the very least they had
left him a window of opportunity. He didn’t know why the tail car was there and
it didn’t much matter. He was still going to go for it. He hid around a corner
across the street while the BMW pulled onto the conveyor. He watched the
colonel get out, take his ticket from the attendant, and go inside. The car
inched forward through the mouth of the tunnel. He waited until it was fully
inside to make his move.

Brody put on the mask. He removed the gun from his back
pocket. It was now armed robbery. So be it. He breathed in and out quickly to
hype himself up, get the adrenaline flowing. Then he stepped out from around
the corner.

He jogged across the street and raised the gun. All the
sudden it seemed so far away. He was sure that he would be intercepted at any
moment.

“Hey!” The shout was directed at the attendant. When the
attendant turned his head Brody raised the gun. He brought the index finger of
his other hand up to his mouth in a shushing motion. He then waved the gun to
signal that the attendant should get on the ground. After the shock of having a
gun in his face began to wear off the attendant complied. Brody hurried past
him toward the mouth of the car wash. He tucked the gun into his pants. Now
came the fun part.

Brody ran into the inner working of the car wash along the
side of the conveyor. Almost instantly he was soaked with hot water. He closed
his eyes and pushed forward through the flaps that were covered in soap suds.
He was now passing by the window where the customers could see their cars
passing by. He reached his hands ahead until he found the back end of the BMW.
He made his way forward along the side of it blindly as best he could, running
his hands all over the door until he found the handle.

The car was entering the rinse face when Brody managed the
open the door. He was hit hard by the jets of water that pelted the car,
temporarily closing the door again. Brody fought through and opened the door
again. He climbed inside just as the car was reaching the drying phase.
Daylight was beginning to shine through at the terminus of the tunnel. He
closed the door to the car and got ready to move. He cleared his eyes, made
sure the keys were still in the ignition, and braced for what was the come
next. He had no idea what would be waiting for him on the other end. It was
possible that the colonel had seen him on the other side of the window. Brody
could only imagine the look of shock on his face if that was true.

The car came through the last of the drying flaps. As they
swiped over the windshield Brody began to see what lay on the other end. The
colonel had just come outside and was taking his place by the attendants. It
appeared that he hadn’t noticed him. It was also clear that the petrified
attendant out front hadn’t yet sounded the alarm. That was nice of him. The end
of the conveyor was in sound. The army of attendants stood ready, rags in hand,
to dry off the car. Not today, boys.

Brody turned on the ignition. The German engine’s roar
echoed through the tunnel. Before anyone outside knew what was going on, Brody
shifted the car into gear and stomped down on the gas pedal. The attendants
scattered in front of him. As he passed by the colonel, Brody saw out of the
corner of his eye the robbed man’s face contorting into a grotesque mask of
astonishment. He even thought that he saw him jumping up into the air.

Brody steered the car over the curb right behind the town
car and sped off down the road as fast as the almost thirty year old could take
him. In the rearview mirror he saw the colonel running to the car. Brody only
had a few seconds before they would be after him. He tore off the mask. If he
had made a clean getaway he would have taken the highway. Unfortunately, that
did not look like it was going to be the case. It would have to be the surface
streets. Hopefully he could evade them within the first few miles. The lack of
pickup on the car certainly added an extra degree of difficulty to that goal.

He snaked around turns slowing down slightly with each one.
He didn’t need a cop chasing him in addition to his other problems. Stashing
the car was now out of the question. They’d be too close behind and were
probably calling for backup already. He had to make the run. He just had to
hope it went as smoothly as possible. It did for the first sixty seconds or so.
He had good luck with the traffic lights and hadn’t yet run into an impediments.

He heard the town car before he saw it. It screeched around
a corner a block behind him. Fuck. They must have seen him as they were coming
down the street perpendicular to him. They gained on him quick and Brody was
forced to once again push the car to its limit. Still the town car gained. The
one fucking time I wish I was in a Ferrari, Brody thought to himself. The town
car was almost level to him now. He’d having to do something desperate.

Brody slammed on the brakes. The town car shot past him. He
jerked the wheel of the BMW and u-turned into the opposite lane, narrowly
avoiding a collision with an oncoming car. He then took an immediate right hand
turn and floored the gas pedal. He wasn’t sure if the colonel was willing to
damage his car with, say, bullet holes and he didn’t want to find out. He
couldn’t afford to let them get that close again.

They were around the corner a few seconds after him, before
he’d even had the opportunity to make another turn. Whoever the colonel had
hired to do the driving was earning his money today. Brody zigzagged through
the streets. Straight-aways weren’t going to be his friend. The little
jackrabbit of a BMW may not have been as fast, but it handled better than the
bulky town car. He could at least keep some separation by turning as much as
possible. He couldn’t go on like this forever though. Eventually he would have
to lose them or they would simply follow him all the way to the garage.

He knew he was going to have to do something drastic soon.
They couldn’t go on like this much longer without attracting police attention.
Obviously they were well over the speed limit and they had already run several
red lights as well. He began to go over the map of the routes he had scouted in
his head. He had largely abandoned them out of desperation at this point. He
navigated back to the nearest one so that he would at least have familiarity on
his side. Once he was back on course he didn’t have to think about the actual
driving. He was free to plot how to get the colonel off his tail.

The BMW raced along a wide boulevard, weaving in and out of
cars. Traffic was getting heavier. This was a benefit to him for the time being
but full-on gridlock would be deadly. At the next red light a wall of cars
awaited him. Brody shifted over to the far right lane, hopped over the
sidewalk, and made the right turn. Luckily, this brought him onto his secondary
surface street route (which was Plan C in the grand scheme of things). It
wasn’t long, however, before the town car was back on his tail and once again
gaining ground on him.

He wasn’t going to be able to lose them. That was becoming
clearer by the second. The BMW was too old and the town car driver was too
skilled. He would have to do it the hard way. So be it. He hadn’t wanted anyone
to get hurt. But better them than him. Using the gun probably wasn’t a good
idea, not against experienced opposition like this. It would have to be
something else. He needed them to crash.

The engine was getting dangerously close to the red.
Obviously a car like this wasn’t used to being pushed so hard. He would have to
make his move now. There was a one-way street up ahead. Perfect. Brody took an
abrupt left and went the wrong way down the one-way, dodging the stream of
oncoming cars. The town car followed and did the same. They made their way down
the block in reckless fashion, narrowly avoiding head-on collisions all along
the way. The next major intersection was coming up. There was no traffic light,
no way to tell what was coming. It was a blind leap of faith.

Brody reached the intersection without slowing down. He saw
on his left there was an oncoming tractor trailer. There was no way either one
of them would be able to stop in time. Brody gunned it. He eked past the
skidding truck and made it to the other side, where he still had to deal with
oncoming traffic. The town car disappeared behind the tractor trailer and for a
moment Brody thought he was home free. But then he saw the town car snaking its
way through the quickly escalating traffic pileup and following him once again.

Motherfucker. Brody couldn’t believe it. What was it going
to take to get rid of him? For the first time he lost his confidence. What if
he just wasn’t good enough to get himself out of this jam? He had always been
able to drive himself out of any problem. Today was no time for that streak to
end. He’d take this fucker, no matter what the cost.

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