tagNon-EroticFreddie in the Dream

Freddie in the Dream


I didn't know which was worse, being an out of work writer like me, or being an over the hill, out of work movie star like Lois. Lois was her real name by the way. Her stage name was Marietta Miles. Some hack agent had given her the name when she arrived in the Dream. She had stopped going by it the second year after she stopped working in the flicks. She had gone back to Lois Nelson of Hastings Kansas. Why she didn't go home to her family was beyond me.

It was just as well for me, since she was my companion of sorts. We were not exactly lovers though we had slept together on occasion. Lois was actually more of a friend. Yes a friend who lived in the same apartment. That little postscript, came about after my last screenplay got turned down. I wound up on the edge of starvation. Lois was about ten yards behind me, so we decided to share a small apartment in the Dream.

The apartment wasn't even in Hollywood, or legally in L.A. It was located over a three car garage outside L.A. proper. There were so many little towns on the edge of L.A. that I was never sure exactly where it was located.

The apartment was like a railroad tunnel. Each of the three rooms was exactly the length and width of the car bay beneath it. The walls rested over the posts between the bays. The building was old enough to have been built solid.

I supposed, even then, that the rent was cheap because Lois had fallen from grace long before me. She had rented the place when it became evident that she was no longer a rising star, or any other kind of star. Lois was finished in the business, but in the Dream anything was possible. She could site you a dozen stars who had risen from the ashes.

I hated to wake her but I needed to crawl out of bed. I didn't have to crawl over her but I would wake her just the same. Lois was a very light sleeper. The need in me became so overwhelming that I had no choice. I slipped from the bed as gently as possible, then into the bathroom. I have no idea if the flushing toilet woke her, or my movements. It made no difference Lois was awake.

"You working this morning?" she asked it in a sleep induced mumble. Lois would not mumble at all an hour after waking. When fully awake, the years of acting lessons would give her the voice of a newscaster.

"No, I just had too much to drink last night. I always wake up early after I drink." The work she referred to could be the new screenplay, but most likely she was asking about my job as an airport limo driver.

"So, what time do you go in today?" She asked as she pulled me back into the bed with her. She didn't exactly have to overpower me either. I never knew exactly what she had in mind, but at forty‑four I was still young enough to enjoy morning sex.

"Two pm,". I said as I slipped my arm around her.

"Then lover you should go write, but not just yet."

She wiggled even closer to me. I didn't speak, I just lay there enjoying the feel of her. I waited too long, Lois fell back into a deep sleep. I gave a sigh then joined her.

When I awoke again, I barely had time to shower then dress. At least I don't have to decide what to wear, I thought. It was simple, the black slacks and a white shirt, with a black tie of course. It was the universal limo driver's uniform.

I was on the way out the door when Lois said, "Don't forget I have that party in Bel Aire tonight. I wont be home at all." That made her sound like a hooker. She might have been for all I knew. Her explanation was, that rich men like to have a star around their parties, and she liked to go where the food and drinks were free. Whatever she did it kept her off welfare and home to answer the phones.

Fortunately, since I had again forgotten to cover the seats in my Jap Jeep, it had not rained over night. The cloth top was ragged, the body was rusty, and the windshield was broken, but it ran like a dream, okay like a child's bad dream. Still, it got me most anywhere I wanted to go. That day it got me to the office of Airport Taxi. It was a descriptive name, though lacking in imagination.

Martin the more than slightly overweight dispatcher glanced at me as I entered. "Good thing you are on time Welch. The boss said, if you was late again I was to send you home."

"I still don't get it. He pays us on straight commission, then bitches if we are five minutes late."

"Come on Welch, you know those cars have to be running all the time. We have to have people standing around just in case somebody wants a pickup. We don't have no way to know how many are gonna want a ride."

"You got that company line down real good Martin. You didn't feel that way when you were driving."

"No, and I wouldn't feel this way if I was you either." He smiled as he picked up the Krispy Kreme donut. I noted that he didn't offer me one though there were at least a dozen of them. I hoped it was because I never ate sugar, not because, I was not part of the 'on the way out' list. A.T. was a lousy place to work but it beat not working at all.

"So, what you got for me Martin?" Nobody ever called him Marty. He just wasn't the type for it.

"Take 211 and go pick this guy up. He needs to be at the port by three."

"Okay, you got the fee figured?" I asked it even though I knew he had it figured and given to the customer. All I had to do was drive him to the port, take his money then deliver most of it back to Martin at the end of the night.

"Yes the fee is on the back of the ticket, and Welch before you hear it from the rumor mill, one of our guys got taken off last night." I looked at him with a curious look. My look said, go on. "He didn't get hurt but he lost the whole day. So be careful about picking up cruisers."

Picking up cruisers is how we made the most money. The incoming calls just weren't enough to give every driver a full night's work. Even picking up the passengers waiting on the curb didn't really do it either. Some nights they helped to fill a driver's almost empty trip ticket though.

"What is that three in the last month? Was it the same as the last guy?" I asked it because the first two robber's descriptions were close enough alike to have been the same man.

"It could be Welch, Just be careful."

"How the hell you gonna be careful out there?" I asked it as I went to the coffee lounge with my Delta cup. The cup was not named for the airline, but for the design. It was one of those small top, large bottom things, shaped like a space capsule. I could walk with it in my hand, as well as drive with it on the floor beside me.

Inside the small room I found another driver. That particular driver was a woman named Sherrie. "Hey Welch," she said in her West Texas drawl. Sherrie was famous for that drawl, and her late night adventures with the other drivers. She had been warned to limit it to the drivers. The passengers were not to be included in her amorous adventures. With her pay being so meager, I would not have been surprised to find that the only slightly attractive redhead was making deals on the side.

"Sherrie, what is this I hear about another ripoff last night?" I was filling my cup of coffee with a liquid reminiscent of the motor oil, taken from a taxi after four thousand miles.

"You need to work more Welch. David, the kid from up north got hit last night. The guy took his days receipts and got his dinner money too."

"What time did it happen? Must have been early if he still had his dinner money?"

"It was late. He got the kid's whole week's worth of dinner money."

"Damn shame, you know the company will file their insurance and keep all the money. The kid lost not only his night's pay but his own money too. Damn, I hate that." I said it as I walked to the unit 211.

All the A.T. units were mini vans. The company had finally gotten enough of them to replace the fleet of cars. Any driver could go on any call with them. There was a special mini bus, but it almost never left the yard. If there were too many people for one van the dispatcher sent two or even three on occasion.My three o'clock fare stiffed me on the tip. It happened way too much, I was of the opinion that it was because the fare was so expensive. People had a figure in mind and we got the difference between the fare and that figure as a tip. The problem was that the fares were so high there was no room left for a tip. You could add to that, the fact that most fares were in even numbers which made for lousy tips.

I saw the man who fit the description of the taxi bandit, but what could I do. If I ignored him, I would be in trouble. The airport authority did not go for that kind of behavior. Then again, I also needed the money. Getting stiffed on the first one was a sign of things to come. I had to change my luck or it would be a miserable night for me.

I resigned myself to the inevitable as I pulled to the curb. The man just looked wrong from the start. He was dressed in workman's clothes but carrying a briefcase. The briefcase was the same type as the robber carried his weapon in. The cops had decided that he was not from a flight, since almost all passengers with guns got stopped. The 'almost' made me want to avoid air travel.

"Hi there, need a lift?" I asked it through the open passenger's window.

"Yes please," he said.

"Where are your bags? I can load them up for you."

"I left Dallas in a hurry. All I got is this case."

"Okay, I need to put it in the back." He looked at me without saying a word and without handing over the case.

"I am sorry, you need to put my case in the back?" he asked.

"Yes sir, it is a new company rule. No luggage is allowed in the passenger compartment. It is an insurance thing." Insurance my ass, I thought. It was a brand new Freddie Welch rule.

"I don't think I want to have this that far away." He really did look good for the armed robbery gig. I gave some thought to calling the cops. Then figured, get him away from the case. If he was for real, it would be okay. If not, he wouldn't take my taxi, which was just fine with me. He gave it way too much thought before he decided.

"How much to Torrance?" I gave him a good look before I answered.

"Thirty‑three bucks," I replied. The trip was thirty on the books, but I figured my tip on top. I didn't think he was the kind to tip me anyway.

"It is too much, but okay. I would never pay that if my cousin isn't late again. I can't be bothered standing out on the curb." I didn't even pretend that I was interested. I was still concerned about being held up. The only thing that the man had going for him, as far as I was concerned, was that the sun was still up. Just barely, but I could make it to Torrance before it was dead dark. His accent bothered me some. I couldn't remember anyone mentioning an accent. Then again, like everybody else, I had been only half interested the first couple of times. The second time I was getting the info at least third hand. It might even have been filtered through more than three.

About half way into the ride, I began to worry about other things more than him being an armed robbery specialist. I began worrying about him stiffing me completely. His lack of luggage still bothered me. I was about two or three blocks from the address he gave me, when the cop pulled in behind me. Like everyone else, I hated cops till I needed one. I was very glad to see the car that day.

When I pulled to the curb, the cop walked up to my door slowly. It was a female. That was about the extent of my observation. You can tell little from the seat of a van. She looked grossly overweight but that could be the bullet proof vest she wore, I thought. I hit the switch to lower my window. I guess I should have locked the doors at the same time. The passenger waited until the cop was completely blocked by the van before he popped the door. He did what back home we would call a jack rabbit. He took off through the lawn between to houses. The cop was at a loss. She didn't know whether to follow him or to stay with me.

"He hasn't paid me dammit. Do you want me to chase him?" I asked it angrily. She pulled her pistol and pointed it at me.

"Get out of the car and do it slow," she demanded.

"Lady, I am here, he is in the wind with my thirty bucks." I was getting really pissed.

"You just stay put, I will call for backup. We will get him soon enough."

In a pig's ass, I thought. Instead of complaining I stood quietly trying to think. If he was the bandit they weren't going to catch him anyway. I figured, I would just keep his damn pistol. It would be easy. I knew just enough law to get in trouble, but one thing I knew was they couldn't open his bag, if I said it was mine. I didn't have to open it either. It worked out even better than I thought. After the cops had cleared me, I was able to open the rear door. I found that his attache case had slid under the rear seat during my drive through the L.A. traffic. It wasn't all that hard for them to overlook the hidden case. They had him in mind, not me. They figured like me that he was the bandit from the last two robberies. I was getting my jacket from the rear, when I pushed the bag even farther under the seat. The jacket I was supposed to have been wearing all along, I might add.

The blonde cop I discovered, once I had time to give her a second thought, was almost as tall as me. That put her, a hair under my hair, under six feet. The vest, I noted with some kind of kinky satisfaction, fit her much tighter at the top, than the bottom. I also noted that her hair was a bit stringy. It might not have been washed recently, but my guess was that she had done something to work up a sweat. Even if, that something wasn't chasing down my fare.

As I expected, they did not find my errant fare. I expected that he was inside one of the many apartments in the area. With that mild accent he could probably get away with telling them he didn't speak English. The blonde kept giving me a look that told me she wasn't quite ready to let me go. She had my drivers license, so I hung around till everyone left.

"You through with me?" I ask at the door to her patrol car.

"For now. Can I reach you at this number?" She was indicating the number I had given her. She somehow knew that it was the taxi number, but then she was a cop. It was plastered all over the door to the minivan. No wonder the LAPD took so much grief.

"Here, let me give you my home number too." I tried to take the clipboard with the report. Instead of releasing it, she gave me a business card.

"Put it on the back of that. Do you really write for the movies?" She was all smiles.

"Well I haven't for a while, but I still crank out screenplays. One day I will sell another one."

"What did you write? I mean, that I might have seen, I love movies?"

"Last thing that I sold to the movies that got made was Shrimper." I didn't expect she had seen it. When the independent film maker finished, it was a lower than 'B' film.

"Not sure I saw that one. So what are you working on now?" She seemed not at all concerned that I needed to be working.

"Give me a call and we will discuss it. I need to get back to work now."

"Oh, sorry. Okay, I will call you sometime, or you could call me." She scribbled a number on the back of her card, then slipped it to me.

I was parked in a church parking lot at least two miles away, before I felt comfortable enough to open the case. When I did, it took several minutes to breath. The case was filled with hundred dollar bills. I figured there were twenty‑two bundles of ten grand each. It was the most money I had ever seen. Hell, it was the most money anyone I knew had ever seen in cash.

Drug money, was the only thing that crossed my mind. If it was drug money, they were going to be looking for it just as soon as the cops were gone.

I had about as many thoughts running through my mind, as there were bills in the bag. I was trying to think while I sat listening to Martin trying to find me. "Are you there Welch?" he asked over and over. I was lost in a 220k fog. If I kept the money, i would have to run. I would have to sever every possible tie to the Dream. I had no family, so that part would be easy, or I could give the money to the cops.

Yeah right, I was gonna hand some cop 220k. Not only could I not explain why I had kept it, but he was likely to kill me so he could keep it himself. It took me twenty three minutes to come to a decision. The decision was to run like hell. I had written about cops and drug dealers, so I had a pretty good idea how much trouble I was in. I had about decided to turn in the van, tell Martin to kiss my ass, and not even go home.

The thought of home brought me back to Lois. I couldn't leave her to pay for my problems. I was headed to the office to dump the van when it struck home to me. Life on the run would eat the money up. I would not enjoy living in cheap hotels so as to avoid the drug dealers.

Since I was a movie writer I hatched a plot worthy of the Dream. It was all based on a few suppositions of human nature. The first was that the courier would not want to go to his boss without the money. It would probably mean his life, if he did. If that were the case, how hard would it be for him to find me. The answer was simple, not hard at all. Limo drivers were not all that well paid. Plus the company had their contractual agreement with the airport. If he called to say he left something in the cab, they would give him my name in a flash. Just to dump on me. They would probably even draw him a map to my place.

I figured he would be coming to my place and coming alone. If that were a fact, I could set up an ambush for him. I knew just how I would do it too. I just needed two plans. One nighttime, and one daylight plan was the answer. I fully expected the owner of the brief case to be on the deck waiting for me when I got home. I was tempted to call Lois, but I couldn't explain it over the phone. It was much too complicated.

"Martin, I got to go home early. I got kind of an emergency." I said it as I dropped the keys to the windstar on his desk.

"Come on Welch, I need you to work until you shift ends at two am."

"Sorry Martin, call in one of the standbys. I got to get home."

"You know I got to write you up for this?"

"I know Martin, you do what you have to do. I will see you tomorrow."

I figured that if I killed the owner of the case, it would all just go away. But only, if I did it quietly enough, so that I could dump the body. I schemed, all the way home. I parked the toy jeep in the drive as I checked for Lois's car. Lois's five year old Toyota was nowhere to be found. The money for her car came from a syndication deal on a TV series. One she had done years before. The show had been an almost ten year old doctor show. She had a feature part so she got a large check. Not large enough to pay for the car, but enough to put a sizable down payment on it. Since I didn't have Lois to contend with, I set about my distasteful chore. I walked around the corner of my deck, then found the softest spot on the hard wooden deck to perch. It was well after midnight, when I heard the steps on the stairs. I waited until I was sure he was trying to break in before I slipped quietly behind him. I flipped the knotted clothesline around his neck then pulled. It was a lot harder than I had expected, but it worked better than I thought.

The man did not make a sound. He merely slumped to the floor. I held his head up with the garotte or he would have slumped over. He had struggled but there was really nothing he could do. I had never killed anyone, nor had i ever imagined that I would do so. The garotte was especially gruesome, as it put me behind the man and in contact with him. I had learned how to do it for a screenplay I wrote about the French resistance. It was a favorite method of execution for them.

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