By ANDREW FLYNN, Storyteller
“I’m about to crank this off and get ready for bed,” Martha said. “Do you want to keep it on at all, Honey?”
Dale and his wife of 29 years sat comfortably in their respective recliners. Both of them appeared to be through for the evening.
“Yes, Dear, I’ll watch it for a few more minutes and then I’ll come to bed,” Dale acknowledged.
Dale was stretched out in his microfiber Barcalounger. He had the face of a man in his mid-50s, except there were furrows in his brow. He had been trying to keep busy the whole day without arousing the least bit of suspicion from his bride. Lots of housework got done, the yard was well maintained…their fine Midwestern house never looked so good. And it was only Tuesday.
“All right then, I’ll see you in a bit,” Martha said, and she went over to Dale’s chair and gave him a warm kiss on the forehead. It was the kind of loving smooch that only a woman of her many years could give an adored husband who had spent his day hard at work, primping their small estate and being a good man.
Dale decided to click off the television with a quick, direct aim and firing tap of his power button. Then he carefully set the remote control down on the table. Too carefully, in fact. Whether conscious or otherwise, it was laid at a perfect right angle to the sides of the table. He looked at it after the guided placement, then he nudged it on the glass-top ever so slightly, demanding it to be parallel with the straight edge. Dale had achieved his goal, and left the living room where he and his wife had spent the evening watching history unfold on their 42-inch LG flat-panel.
Martha was a sight to behold as she brushed her silky silver hair while seated at her beauty mirror. She was three years Dale’s junior, but that was in age only. Someone like her could have been easily mistaken for an attractive woman in her early 40s. It was always a point of pride from Dale that Martha retained her looks. Marriages usually cause people to show wear and tear a much more rapid rate, but there was nothing more than good, wholesome living in a small Midwestern city that yielded the reflection in Martha’s mirror.
“Do you think he’ll be a good president, Dear?” Martha asked her husband.
Dale sidled up to his wife after washing his hands of the day, and lovingly placed his calloused hands lightly on her shoulders.
“I don’t know, Martha. I don’t think anyone does. But he sure does have the microphone now. And it seems like he has a good start.”
“The speech was so uplifting, and he looked so handsome with his family all there in Grant Park, dressed in red and black like they were.”
“It’s something I never thought we’d see in this country. With all the differences people have.”
“But he got elected.”
“I’m sure glad it’s over with. That election seemed like it lasted fifteen years.”
“What’d the guy start campaigning, like two years ago?”
“Something like that, over in Springfield there. I’m wiped, let’s go get under the covers.”
“You go right ahead, I’ll be right there after I wash my face.”
Dale was careful not to wake his wife. He silently thanked his stars that she was a heavy sleeper. Nonetheless, he weaseled out of their marital bed ever so quietly as he began his escape. His goal was to parlay a seemingly innocent, middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom into a permanent exit.
Plans were already made. Dale looked at his watch. 3:52 AM. Just enough time to make a liquid deposit at the porcelain bank. His ride wouldn’t be arriving until just after 4:00 AM.
Shortly after his final bathroom stop in his own house, Dale walked into the kitchen. Standing on the linoleum for the last time, he froze a minute to take in the essence of his house. All the knick-knacks on the wall, the pictures on the refrigerator, the times that he and his family had experienced together in this kitchen and this house. And soon it would all be just a memory between his ears.
Now, of course, this was all past the point of no return for Dale. Everything was underway, and had been for a few months now. Still, that didn’t stop him from taking in the last moments that he would have in his own domicile with as much pleasure and nostalgia as possible.
Now in the laundry room, Dale got very close to the dry wall just to the right of the family dryer. He tapped the wall in a few strategic place, and it gave way to a small hole. In this hole was a medium-sized duffel bag, filled about three-quarters way with the only items that he would actually take away from the last three decades of life from where he was now.
After removing the duffel and quickly confirming its contents, Dale made sure the dry wall was back to its prior form, with no hole or even the slightest gap visible to the naked eye. And not more than a minute after he fixed the it all back into place, Dale exited out the sliding glass door of his back yard.
It was awfully mild for an early November morning in Blue Springs. The climate seemed to aide Dale in his escape in the sense that he didn’t have to rub his hands together before he scaled his neighbor’s block fence. It was only six feet in height, but entirely necessary to do so in order to get to his planned rendezvous point for his ride. Just like that, Dale was soon on his neighborhood sidewalk.
The corner was up ahead about 200 yards. The big house to Dale left obstructed much of the street that was perpendicular to the one he was walking on. But when his ride appeared, it was sudden even though it was expected.
The driver of the long, black Lincoln limousine shifted into park right at the stop sign. But it would only be for a moment. With no hesitation, Dale walked up to the impressive limo and opened the car door nearest to him. He didn’t even look inside or around, he just got in.
Inside the limo, an older man in a fine Italian suit sat in the bench seat across from Dale, who had gotten comfortable in a hurry. Ignoring the amenities around him, Dale addressed his new counterpart.
“I sure hope you know what you’re doing, Snares.”
The older man just looked like back at Dale in the darkness, holding his rock glass, half-full of Whiskey Neat.
“Of course I do, Kravitz. Otherwise I wouldn’t have picked you.”