This is the ninth installment of my short story Test Drive. If you would like to read the first 8 installments please click on Test Drive in the right hand column.

**********   TEST DRIVE   **********

The silence hanging heavily in the car made it hard for Margo to fill her lungs. Perhaps it was the sight of the brick building receding in the side mirror or the hills of Canada looming in front of her, but something made her dizzy with inescapable despair.

“Margo, I’m sorry that frightened you. But we’ve come so far, I couldn’t let you talk to the Border Patrol and ruin our plans. This did seem to do the trick. I promised not to hurt you and I meant it.”  Peter held a screwdriver in Margo’s face.

She realized it was the handle that had been pressed into her ribs and not another gun.

“What the fuck?” John shot Peter a scathing look over his shoulder.

“Oh, don’t blow your wad, dear brother. No harm, no foul. We all agreed getting through the border would be the toughest part. I could see Margo getting antsy and just helped her through it. It’s all down hill from here.”

John narrowed his eyes at Margo. Obviously, he considered her the most difficult part of whatever they were doing.

“Damn, this thing itches,” Peter said. “I’m glad to get rid of it.”  Margo turned to see Peter ripping off the baseball cap along with the scraggy hair. He picked at the goatee on his chin.

“You idiot! You fucking idiot! What are you doing?” John kept turning around, the car bumping off the shoulder before he turned back and brought it under control. He shoved Margo’s face, forcing her to look forward. “Don’t look at him. Keep your eyes forward.” Spittle flew from his mouth with the words. “Stop! You asshole. What the fuck, man?”

“For Chrissake, brother. Breathe. The damn thing was only for the border patrol. I think Margo’s cool.” He reached forward and laid a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “When this is over, I have a feeling she won’t say a word.”

Cold panic slithered down her chest and coiled in her belly. Now she could identify them. Hope sank as Peter pulled his hand from her shoulder.

“We’ve got everything covered Paul, just chill,” Brent said, settling back into the seat.

“It’s John. You idiot! You fucking idiot! If I weren’t driving…”

“Oh, but you are big brother. That was the deal, I was only the wing man, remember?  The front guy. But it seems to me I’ve done all the work. Everyone at the furniture store can identify me, what’s one more, especially when she’s as classy as Margo?” He leaned forward between the seats. “And by the way, my name is Brent, nice to meet you again.”

Margo didn’t want to look at him, but he captured her chin and pulled it so their noses were only inches apart. Chestnut curls framed a clean shaven face with a square jaw. The deep blue eyes scanned her face and she couldn’t help but return his mischievous smile with a trembling one of her own. In another life, at another time, she might find his boyish charm appealing. But having no idea what they intended for her, this moment wasn’t about anything more than having this man care about her enough to keep her safe.  

“Oh, what the fuck are you doing?” Paul pushed Brent to the backseat and broke the tenuous connection.

“Brent, you’re a fucking idiot!” His fist thumped the steering wheel emphasizing every word. “This whole thing is unraveling. First this bitch decides to go on a joy ride with us and now you’ve opened you’re fucking mouth. What the hell’s next Brent, a fucking four way split? I’m sure you know who will love that.” Paul gave up on the disguise and pulled the Fedora off, slamming it and the gray wig on the console between them. “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. It wasn’t supposed to go down like this. A whole fucking year, and for what? A fucking bitch who couldn’t mind her own business. I say we get rid of her now.” Paul’s hand went for the gun just as Margo grabbed the steering wheel.

Copyright Kara Dunn 2008

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