Follow that Man
The downtown library faced an antique shop. Neither got too many customers, but there I was, waiting for the chick who called me. Said to park up front by the book drop off at 1 p.m. So where was she?
“Hi,” a girl no older than thirteen said. She opened the door to the cab.
“Where’s your mom?” I looked through the rearview mirror.
“It’s just me.” She snarled her lips and sat right in the middle.
“Oh, yeah? I’m not the tooth fairy kid. Scram. I’m waiting for a client.”
“I’m the one who called, you jerk.” She turned her attention to the library.
“Is that so? You have money to pay for this fare?”
The girl sighed and pulled out a $50 bill. “Is this enough?” She waved it in front of my eyes.
“Okay, girly, let’s say it is.”
She pulled out another $50 bill.
I turned the engine on to start the meter. “Where’s your house?”
“That’s not where I’m going.”
“Look, I’m not pressing the metal until you tell me what you’re doing. I’m not going to jail for this.”
“You see that Mexican restaurant across the street past the lamp post? In about five minutes, a man is going to come out of that restaurant, and I want you to follow him.”
“Follow some guy from that building?” I jolted my head back. “What for?”
“Listen, for $100 bucks, do you really care?”
“You’ve got some mouth, kid, but no tamales.”
“Okay, then. You’re going to follow that man because he owes me. He owes me big for hurting my sister.”
“In what way? Not that I believe you, let’s say I’m open to anything.”
“We’re wasting time, there he is!” She pointed past my nose. Her finger almost grazed it.
Sure enough, a man in a dark gray suit and tie stepped out of the restaurant. He pulled up his sunglasses and waltzed over to his car.
“Come on! Put the metal to the pedal!”
The man in the suit survived somehow. The girl wasn’t pleased. She vented and stomped her feet. Tears streamed out of her eyes. Inside the precinct, she was questioned along with me, but in separate rooms...
“So, there I was, driving behind some guy in a silver sedan. I didn’t know how we got there.”
“Well, that girly jumped out of the cab the minute I parked behind him. She ran toward the guy and stabbed him several times. It was unbelievable. She was like, eleven or something.”
“Do you know what the motive was?”
“All she kept repeating was that he would pay for what he did.” I looked up at the detective. The light from above hit me like a boxer’s punch.
The detective nodded to the officer by the door and they brought in the girl.
“Is this him?”
“Yeah. He raped my sister.
I bolted off my seat and opened my mouth when I spotted the guy in the dark gray suit drinking coffee. A wide smile smeared his face.
If you’re interested in the original draft and any comments, take a look at http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts/follow-that-man (see under July 16, 2012)
Two of my poems were published on the Fall-Winter issue of Sleet! You can check Featured Poet and Welcome at www.Sleetmagazine.com. You have to scroll down from the astronaut to the Poetry section. I’m the first one listed!