Story: The Coyote
By: The Birch Twins
He closed his eyes against the dust as the bus drew away. Walking down the middle of the highway, he exchanged looks with a mangy looking coyote. Typical of her. She wouldn’t even feed the hungry locals, unless they did something for her first. He found the remains of a chocolate bar in his jacket and tossed it to the coyote, who approached it. The poor thing looked almost tame.
“Here you go, little fella”, he said looking at the little diner a short distance away, “us losers got to stick together, right?”
He watched the coyote eat, and walked towards the building. Set back from the highway, its fuel pump stood as a rusty relic to a bygone era. Yellowed paint peeled from the sides of the walls as the old diner struggled to remain erect. He ducked under the blinking neon sign that could barely manage to flash the word “open” and went inside.
“Red’s Roadstop” was as much of a relic inside as it was outside. He screwed his nose as the smell of cigarette smoke rose from the ashtrays on the tables. The counter-top was piled with dishes, and a small area had been cleared that was covered with white powder.
She had her back to him. The clink of liquor bottles drowned out what she said as she heard him enter. She was in tight jeans, and a Black Sabbath t-shirt. Her boots sat squarely on the counter top, discarded. Then she turned around, the blonde hair that had been at one time draped across his father, whipped in her face. She drew her hand to clear it from her eyes and instantly saw his pistol pointed at her chest.
He smiled as he saw her expression change. It was the look of an alley cat suddenly finding itself cornered by a big angry dog. It was the look of a nasty little bitch that, unless she thought hard, she was fucked.
“Hey, Jimmy,” she said, her eyes suddenly beaming and smiling a toothy smile, “how long’s it been? Let me get you a drink, sugar.”
“Move that hand, Lola, and I’ll do it right now,” he said, never moving the pistol, “I know you got a shotgun under there. Cops have been looking for you for over a year. No way you’re so dumb to not have a piece close by. You’re too smart for that.”
“You just know all my secrets, don’t you, sugarpie,” she said placing her fingers squarely on the counter, and never took her eyes off him, “your daddy tell you what a good fuck I was? You want a quick lick for your own?”
His hand quivered on the trigger, but if she knew she’d said too much, it didn’t show on her face.
“You killed him,” he snapped, “when that heart attack that you planned didn’t finish him, you did the job yourself. You held his head under that pillow. My fucking sweet gentle Dad.”
“Oh sugar,” she said, “Y’all didn’t even know him. All those years he spent sitting there watching that business, going to church and being a good guy. At night he’d close his eyes, tug himself good and hard, and dream of screwing nasty little bitches like me up the tailpipe. He just wanted some fun, sugar. I performed a service. Why the fuck shouldn’t I get paid? Why should he decide to kick me to the curb just because his goddamned pastor starts making him feel guilty?”
“That pastor is still in hospital after what you did. You’re a real piece of work.”
“You don’t know me, sweetheart,” she said suddenly glancing towards the door, “I was born on a goddamned street corner. Did you have to go steal credit cards to pay for your momma’s drug habit when you were ten years old? Cos I sure as fuck did.”
She glanced at the door again.
“What do you think it tells an twelve year old girl, when the cops tell her to stop lying when a three hundred pound guy pounds her ass in an alley and she bleeds for a week? Tells her that nobody gives a tiny rat’s ass about her.”
He stole a glance at the door, to see what she was looking at.
Just long enough for her to throw the bourbon bottle squarely at his head. His eyes closed as he felt a million tiny pin pricks rain down on him like acid. Then a pounding in his head as she hit him with the butt of the shotgun she had under the counter of the diner.
He buckled and went to his knees, dropping the pistol.
“You didn’t have to kill him…”
She prodded him with the butt of the shotgun.
“No,” she said stepping with bare feet gingerly in between the glass, “but we had a fight, so…I got tired of his whiny ass voice repeating all that bible bullshit he’d gotten off that Pastor.”
He watched her feet as she forgot about the glass on the floor.
Suddenly she was on the ground clutching her bleeding foot. He stood as fast as he could, his head swimming. Rolling to find the shotgun where it had dropped, the glass stabbed her in the arm and stomach, cutting her skin and making her awash with blood. He stumbled for the shotgun, ignoring her shouts as she struggled to stand. His hands finding the shotgun, he went towards her.
“So you’re just going to leave me helpless,” she said wriggling, her hands locked behind her back in handcuffs.
“Alley cats sometimes land on their feet,” he said, “and then sometimes they get fucked up by the neighbor’s dog.”
She struggled to move, but the empty cooler unit she was handcuffed to would not budge. Returning the pistol to his pocket, he kicked the shotgun out of her reach.
“Come on baby,” she said trying to hide the panic in her voice, “we can have so much fun.”
“I’m going to have fun, “he said, “I have my dad’s inheritance that you could have had. But you fucked up pretty good. So, right after I call the cops at the airport and tell them where to find my dad’s killer and the person who assaulted that Pastor, I’m probably going to tour Europe.”
“Come on sugar,” she said struggling furiously to no avail, “I can turn that money into more than double. I know tricks that you wouldn’t believe.”
“I’ll bet you do,” he said closing the diner’s blinds, “I’ll bet you do at that. But…providing I remember to call the cops, the only tricks you’ll be doing for a very long time will be in a prison cell. And if I forget to call the cops…well… maybe that coyote outside might come help you break free…if you’ve been nice to him?”
She wriggled furiously, to no avail. The steel cuffs gripped her wrists and held her firm.
“I’ll be a while getting to JFK,” he said opening the diner’s door, “couple days at least. Guess I should have left you a drink or something.”
He closed the door, throwing the closed sign. Waving to the coyote, he walked away down the deserted road.