It’s a sweet ride. It really is. OK, it needs a paint job, but my 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger is something special. My cousin Chris is keeping it until I can come back for it. He’s allowed to drive it once in a while to keep it running, but God help him if anything happens to it.
I got the car from an online ad I saw. The owner was moving and couldn’t take it along. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted it. Within a few days, we came to a deal about the price and I took it home. That’s when everything started – that night.
The first thing I wanted to do was take my friends for a ride. I mean, wouldn’t you? And the guys wanted to see the car. So I picked them up and we drove around for a little bit. It’s kind of a small town, and there’s not much to do, so after a while, we decided to stop at the 7-Eleven and get some beer. That was Sonny’s idea. He loves his Coors. Then we ended up behind the mall – the one they closed last year. They’re supposed to be opening it up as some sort of movie-and-restaurants place, but it hasn’t happened yet. Anyway, we were back there, sitting in the car, drinking Coors and telling dirty jokes when Paul saw a pickup truck pull up. It wasn’t anybody we knew, and we know most everybody around here.
Two guys got out of the truck and lit cigarettes. ‘Why are you staring at them?’ Big Matt asked.
‘I’m not staring,’ I snapped. ‘It’s just I don’t know them, that’s all.’
‘Maybe it’s none of your business, asshole,’ Big Matt gave me a push. Then we both laughed.
The two guys talked for a few minutes, and then they noticed us. One of them walked towards us, and all four of us got out of the car. Four against two ought to be OK. Then he put his hands up to show he didn’t have a gun or anything.
‘Nice ride,’ he said when he got closer.
‘Yeah, thanks,’ I said.
‘You want to make a hundred bucks?’ Paul stepped a little closer when he heard that. Paul’s always on the lookout to make a few.
‘Doing what?’ I asked.
‘Me and my friend’ – he gestured towards the pickup – ‘are supposed to be making a delivery tonight. You make it for us, you get the money.’
I’m not stupid. I knew what he probably meant. So did the other guys. Big Matt didn’t look happy about it, but Sonny and Paul halfway nodded.
‘Delivery to where?’ I figured we should find out at least that much.
‘To a party. I’ll give you the address. After you drop it off, you can stay. Have some fun.’ That cheered Big Matt up a little. He likes the girls.
‘Why can’t you take it yourself?’ Paul tried to smack my arm to shut me up, but I ignored him.
‘Just some people there we don’t need to see.’
‘And we want to see them?’
‘They won’t bother you. They don’t know you. You go there, you give the package to a guy called Trey. I’ll let him know you’re coming. You get your money from him when you give him the package.’
I wasn’t sure about the whole thing, but the other guys were up for it. There aren’t that many good parties around here. I finally nodded. A few minutes later we had the package and were on our way to the party. The guy we talked to – he said his name was Rick – told me what Trey looked like, and what he’d do to us if we didn’t get the package to him. Yeah, OK, call me an idiot if you want, but a hundred bucks is a hundred bucks.
We pulled up to the house where the party was. We could hear the music blasting, and there were people walking in and out of the house. Some were hanging out on the lawn, too. We got out of the car and a few people looked up as we got closer.
‘You know if Trey’s here?’ I asked the group at the door. One of the girls pointed behind her. ‘He’s inside. Kitchen, I think.’ I nodded and we went in. She was right. Trey was in the kitchen, leaning against the door and talking to some other people. I didn’t know exactly what to say, but Sonny did.
‘Rick gave us something to give to you.’
Trey nodded. ‘Let’s talk,’ he pointed down the hall, and I followed him to an almost-empty bedroom. Big Matt, Paul, and Sonny stayed behind, to try to meet some women. But I wasn’t worried. I knew they’d keep an eye on me, and if I wasn’t back in five minutes, they’d follow.
When we got to the bedroom, Trey turned towards me. He pulled some twenties out of his pocket and held them out. I reached into my jacket pocket for the package, but a noise behind me stopped me cold. I slowly turned around. There was a guy standing at the door, blocking my way out.
‘Who are you?’ he barked. ‘You ain’t Rick.’
‘Guess not.’ I tried to push my way past him, but he grabbed my arm. Then he looked at Trey. ‘The deal was you got Rick to come here. Not some kid. What the hell?’
‘I didn’t know,’ Trey insisted. ‘This was all Rick.’ I knew he was lying, but I didn’t care why. If it bought me a little time, that was all I needed. All of a sudden, the other guy jerked backwards, and I saw Big Matt grabbing him from behind. ‘Run!’ he yelled. And I did. Big Matt pushed the guy to the floor, and we all went down the hall and out the door. I heard the gunshots go off as we ran. If we got caught, we were dead. We made it to the car, though. My sweet Swinger was waiting for us, and we drove off as fast as we could, with the money and the package.
So now Chris is taking care of the car. I’m waiting until it’s safe, and then I’ll come get her. Who’d ever give up a sweet ride like that?