“Holy shit!” he yelled, “run run run, get out of the car!” He unbuckled his seatbelt as flames began to rise from the hood of the car. He leaped out of the car and watched as she tumbled out of the passenger side onto the gravel below. They quickly got up and sprinted as far away from the car as they could before the explosion knocked them to the ground.
“Jane,” she heard, “wake up, can you hear me? Come on, get up.” “Meph?” she asked. “Yeah, I’m here. Are you ok?” “I…” she looked around, saw the incinerated car, turned back to him with her eyes wide and asked, “Kitten?” “It’s better this way,” Meph said, putting his hand on her shoulder to prevent her from getting up. “She was dragging us down, you know that.” “But” “Babe, she didn’t know what was coming, I don’t think she was even awake after taking those sleeping pills…” “Still…” Jane’s voice trailed off.
“Still, what?” she thought to herself… they should have saved the hitchhiker they picked up 30 miles ago and who talked for 29 miles non-stop, most of it about the dead-beat boyfriend who loved her by leaving heart-shaped bruises all over her body and had left her to be with a Hooters waitress he met a week prior? The girl whose parents were so unenthusiastic about her impending arrival that they decided to name her after the pet they wanted instead of the baby they were getting? The girl who had $15 to her name, $5 of which she sank into lottery tickets at the first gas station in which they stopped (“what do I have to loose?” she told them as she flicked her bleached blond hair, “1/3 of everything you own,” Meph said as he watched her walk into the gas station convenience store)? Kitten.
Meph knew it was not a good idea to pick her up but Jane had always been a sucker for people in need. Kitten looked so sad standing at the edge of the road, nothing but corn and a black cloud of impending rain hovering in the horizon behind her, as if framing her in doom. Jane thought it was an omen, that if they didn’t pick her up, Kitten would be doomed. “It doesn’t work that way, Babe,” Meph had said. Of course, he was right. The doom was theirs from the moment they let Kitten into the 1980 Renault.
“We should go,” Meph said, helping Jane to her feet. “What about Kitten?” “There’s nothing we can do about her now.” “We should at least make sure she’s…” “Dead?” Meph raised his eyebrows. “Look at the car, Jane.” She did. “There’s nothing left.” He waited a moment. “You know,” he added, “this might work out for the best.” “What do you mean?” Jane asked. “The car has probably already been reported as missing and the cops will eventually put two and two together.” He waited. “They’ll eventually find the car… and Kitten inside it.” “What about the diamonds?” Meph took out the black velvet bag he had in his pocket. He emptied a shower of small diamonds into his hand. “We don’t need all of these”, he said.
A moment later, they were standing by the car looking in at Kitten’s charred body. Meph was right, she never knew what hit her. It was a horrible sight and the stench was unbearable. “Let’s just get this done,” Jane said plugging her nose. “Someone is bound to come by soon.” Meph grabbed a cluster of diamonds and tossed them into the back-seat of the car. The diamonds fell all over Kitten’s black body, they tumbled onto the black seat and feel onto the black floor. They looked quite stunning, glimmering in the light… like drops of hope in an otherwise bleak situation. “That should do it.” Meph placed the remaining diamonds back into the velvet bag and tucked it into his pocket. “Shall we?” he said as he held out his hand to Jane.
Twenty minutes later, they heard the sound of police cars and ambulances rushing past them. “Looks like they found the car,” Meph said with a mouth full of greasy diner burger. “Yup,” Jane watched the cars speed by before finishing off her own burger. “We should probably wrap it up, I think the bus leaves in 10 minutes.” “Do you have any cash on you?” Meph asked. Jane pulled out a $20 bill. “That’s the last of what I have.” “That’ll do,” said Meph as he placed it on top of their bill. “We’ll have plenty more soon enough.”
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