The effect of beer on a girls mind and bladder.
Something was off. Beside the smell of stale air that pumped through the car, Sal caught a whiff of lilac. He looked down at the long since cooled coffee, but that couldn't be the source. He glanced up at the rearview mirror and directly into a pair of eyes looking back at him. Then there was a click.
"Keep driving." She said.
Sal gave her another glance and obliged. She was in her late forties by the look of it. Well maintained and tactfully dressed. A red pea coat with matching red lips that snarled at him from the back seat. She gripped a pistol in her five hundred dollar leather gloved hands. Her eyes, like ice, brought a frosted Sal's flesh.
"Mrs. Kern," Sal began trying to sound amicable, "is there something that I can help you with?"
"Shut the fuck up and keep going," she hissed.
Sal felt the cold press of metal on the back of his skull.
He kept driving towards the power plant. If he could make it there, he might be able to get out of this mess. With that piece nestled up against his head, he wouldn't be doing much from the car. Sal was under the impression that if he so much as sneezed, Mrs. Kern would put a slug in him.
They made it across the canal street bridge and were turning left on industrial before she said another word to him.
"You have something that I want."
"Ma'am, I will happily give it to you, just let me pull over." Sal offered. He slowed the car, but quickly rethought it when Mrs. Kern dug the muzzle into his head further.
"No, you're going to go through with it, like nothing is wrong." She commanded.
This was a red flag if Sal had ever seen one.
Sal kept on, they were nearly there anyway.
He turned off of industrial and into the power plant's sprawling complex on the edge of the canal. His instructions were to meet his client on the water's edge, by the runoff chambers. Somehow, Sal no longer feared being gunned down unseen in the night. There would at least be one witness, either way.
The runoff chambers roared over the sound of the car's engine. Thousands of gallons of water were dumped by the minute into the frigid waters below. Sal pulled his car along their spewing plumes and up beside the lone, black limo that waited for him.
He snapped a look behind him, Mrs. Kern had removed the pistol. She lay flat on the back seat now, out of sight. The pistol was still cocked, and draped across her chest aimed towards the limo.
Sal took the camera from his pocket. He popped out the memory card from inside of it and slipped the camera between the seats. Then, with a deep breath, he opened the door.
The limo door opened and two imposing men in suits stepped out. Before the door closed all the way, Sal caught a glimpse of the politician in the back. He acted the fool and focused on the body guard that addressed him.
"Yeah, right here." Sal said.
The man snatched the memory card out of his hand and knocked on the limo's window. It rolled down just enough to slip the card into and shut again. The seconds ticked by and Sal stood there shivering under the thundering sounds of gushing water in the frozen night.
The window rolled down again, this time a little farther. An envelope was pushed out for one of the men to grab. It passed from the limo, to the guard, to Sal, who inspected it briefly. A stack of crispy hundreds.
Sal nodded, and returned to his car. He cringed when he opened his car door. There was a fifty/fifty shot that he'd get blasted with gunfire from behind. He only heard the limo start up. With a sigh of momentary relief he sat behind the wheel and closed the door.
"Why does your husband want highly provocative photographs of your daughter?" Sal asked.
"You tell me, you work for him." She said as she sat upright in the back seat again.
"I don't work for him."
She padded the front seat for the cash and held up the stack of bills, saying, "No? What in the fuck do you call this, you slimy dick? And what did you make my baby girl do?"
She didn't know.