Just a Matter of Time Ch. 02bymagmaman©
Dan lay in bed unable to sleep. He was worried.
He listened to the soft peaceful snores coming from Jeanie as she lay by his side. After 40 long years he had come home, and found himself walking nearly instantly into the life he had before.
Nothing had changed, yet everything had changed. The woman he had loved but lost was now his again. Even forty long years had not killed that, the thought of her had always remained in the deepest recesses of his mind.
He lay there with every single nerve ending alert, worried.
If the class self proclaimed keeper of where everyone was, and what they were doing could find him so easily, he knew that they could also.
From their point of view, they owned him. From their point of view, he was there to do a job when it was required of him. If he didn't do what he was supposed to do, there was only one possible alternative.
Powerful people, the type that supported everything from Judges to politics, dealing in product flow that was below the radar did not like loose ends.
Anything less than his doing exactly what was expected of him was considered a betrayal.
Dan was now a loose end.
He remembered that day he drove into a lower rent section of Chicago. He had very little in the way of resources left, and had managed to land a job as a clerk at the flop house he rented.
The job was easy, bleary eyed men with well worn women on their arms came in and paid the ten dollar fee to rent the rooms. Very few ever stayed for more than an hour or two.
The beat cop came by for his envelope once each week, regular as clockwork. Dan had no idea at all what was in the envelope but he had his suspicions.
One did not ask questions.
Then one day he was asked to deliver a package, pick up a bag and return. Hell, they paid him fifty dollars to do it, not bad for a couple of hours. That developed into a regular thing, one day after a year or so he was asked to come in for a meeting.
The old man in the back room filled with cigar smoke had spoken to him quietly. Dan had nodded, now his job was to handle all of the other men that delivered and picked up.
Five hundred dollars each and every week was pretty amazing money, he no longer had to deal with the drunks and steady stream of hookers and bums. He soon found and rented a fairly nice apartment, his life became comfortable.
It was over a year later when one of his couriers came up short, claiming the bag had been stolen.
The old man just looked at him when he told him what had happened.
"Your deal, you take care of it." He said flatly.
Dan by then knew exactly what the old man meant. He had just two options, deal with the situation or be dealt with.
He wasn't asked if he wanted to do it, they just told him to.
That was something he was completely sure of.
"Santos will come to see you." The old man said, waving his arm. There was no point in any response, Dan went back to his room and waited.
He had dozed off, when he woke up the man sat there in a chair waiting. He sat up quickly. The Hispanic man was very young, he looked to be barely twenty. Dan knew he was older than that, the look was deceptive. Scruffy and unkempt, his build was slight, he did not look anything at all like the man Dan knew he was.
There were very few words, Santos spoke quietly. Dan was shown how the pistol worked, how to destroy any evidence. He was looking at the pistol, when he looked up the man was gone.
The old man looked up at him when Dan walked into the back room a few days later.
"Done." He said.
The old man never changed expression, he just waved his arm. Dan left, went back to handling his job. He didn't have any more troubles after that with any of his men.
When he was given the entire South section a few years later, his pay jumped to two thousand each and every week. He changed his name to Damon, Damon Ringer. He really had no idea why, he just liked the sound of that.
By then there was a solid string of females, Damon was always fussy and just took the very best. He never went back for seconds, after one of them early on got a little bit clingy.
So clingy that to sort out that problem he sent her over to a guy he knew. She went because he told her to. The man put her right to work, Dan never saw her again.
Some things were just the way they were.
Then he was called in and given an address, a photo. The photo was of a woman, that surprised him. There were unwritten rules that just were not to be broken, it seemed, and she had broken one of them. Once again, he was not asked.
"Done." He told the old man. That was the last time he saw the old man, he died the next day and his son now sat behind the desk in the back room.
Dan didn't argue when he was told he now had a different job. The documents they obtained for him were all in the name of Damon Ringer. He flew out that evening.
Dan no longer existed.
Forty years is a very long time, Damon never spent more than two nights in any one place at a time. He was always on the move. Once each month or so he flew in, rented a car and drove to the private mailbox he kept.
Most of the time there was nothing, just envelopes addressed to "occupant." Once in a while there would be a plain brown envelope, just a name, location and a photo. Damon never knew why, and he never asked.
It was just the job.
Then came the invitation. He hesitated, then thought why not?
Dan woke up to find Jeanie sitting on the edge of the bed, smiling at him. She was naked, she was always naked when in bed with him. He reached for her, just as she now knew he would.
He knew he could live like this forever. If only he had stayed and weathered the storm of publicity, the snide looks he got from nearly everyone, his life would have been completely different.
There is no way to take some things back.
Dan actually began to relax when nearly two months went by after the brief conversation with Marge and nothing happened. He spent a long time looking with suspicion at any vehicles he saw that were not the usual dirty and beaten up older pickups the town was full of.
He began to relax, enjoy his life and his new ready made family. He saw his daughter Danielle several times each week, met his grandson Tim, and his daughter's husband Ron. They seemed to be very happy.
The day he told them he had bought a house and wanted them to live there and take care of his investment got him quite a few questions. He passed those off by explaining that he had sold some overseas investments, and wanted his capital closer to hand and working for him.
He put the home in his daughter's name, the owner was quite happy with cash, and said nothing at all about the documents that showed the purchase price to be far less than he was handed.
The home was fancy, he knew his daughter and son in law would be comfortable there. The old trailer home was rented out. When Danielle asked him about paying rent, he told her to forget it.
By then she had figured out that he had assets somewhere, the new Ford pickup he handed them the keys to showed that fairly clearly. The dealership he had driven nearly 600 miles to, to purchase the vehicle was also quite happy with cash. A truck arrived one morning and unloaded and left, simple as that.
Life was good, relaxed. He had Jeanie, their home together which was not fancy at all. Other than the things he did for his daughter, Dan kept a low profile.
Dan woke with a start, it was quiet. Too quiet. He listened carefully, heard nothing. Slipping out of bed, he looked over at Jeanie, she lay there sleeping.
Dan stepped quietly down the hallway, just as he got to the living room he sensed something. He moved, felt the blade slash his side. Turning he managed to grab the arm that held the blade, then grasping the blade with his other hand he forced it away from himself.
He went down onto his side, causing a loud crash as the coffee table collapsed. He hung onto the man's arm for dear life. The blade was held downwards, in the manner a pro would use. Dan lost his grip on the man's arm, he got a glimpse of his face in the glow from the night light. The man jerked the blade back slashing his hand in the process, raised it.
It was Santos, he had seen the man just once before, but there was no doubt this was a much older version of him.
Dan knew he was going to die. His hands came up to try and protect himself, when the man folded forward and fell on top of him.
Jeanie stood there naked holding the remains of a heavy lamp. There was a look of terror on her face. Dan shoved Santos off of him, reached down and took the blade. He cut the cord off of the lamp, used it to tie his hands, not being the least bit gentle.
"Danny, what is going on?" Jeanie said, finally able to speak. She looked down at his hand, blood was pouring from it.
"I will tell you later, go pack." He told her as he headed for the kitchen to find a towel.
"Go PACK!" He ordered. She looked at him in shock, but turned and went into the other room.
Dan dragged Santos out to the car, opened the trunk and rolled his slight body in. Then he stood there for a moment panting.
Luck. Just plain luck, Santos was one of those that never failed. Just like Damon never failed.
Dan got into the car, drove down by the river. He opened the trunk, dragged Santos out, letting him flop onto the ground. Santos was awake.
"You tried to kill me." Dan said.
"It's the job." Santos said flatly. He was pulling at the cords holding his hands, having no effect.
"Jeanie too?" He asked.
Santos didn't answer.
Then he looked up at Dan and knew.
Dan nodded, took the blade and cut his throat. He slid the body into the river, pushing it as far out as he could. The tide was slack, he knew it would turn and begin to run out soon. He could only hope, he had no time.
Back at the house, he grabbed the bags that Jeanie had packed, threw them into the car.
"Get in." He told her.
"What in the hell is going on, Danny?" She demanded. Her face was as white as a sheet.
She got in.
He drove silently for nearly a hundred miles, Jeanie sat there and cried softly. Finding a wayside, he pulled in and parked.
It took him nearly an hour to explain. She sat there in complete shock as he told her all of it.
"Oh, God! What are we going to do?"
"They will kill you too now. I am sorry, I never should have gotten you into this, but now there is just one way out."
"I want to go home."
"You can't go home, I am sorry, honey. It's my fault. You...we..can never go home again."
Jeanie just stared at him.
He picked up the cell phone, dialed the number from memory. He knew this day would probably come.
"FBI. How may I direct your call?" A woman's voice answered.
The men arrived in less than 24 hours. No one in the little town ever found out. One day Dan, Jeanie, Danielle and her family were there, the next day they were all gone.
There were a lot of stories, no one knew anything at all. The family that moved into the fancy new home were very happy, having purchased the place at auction for back taxes.
There were some brief stories of some big time arrests in the newspapers, most not even noticed by the folks in Seaport since they were worlds away.
There was a long investigation into the blood found in the modest home, with no results at all. They did find the small rental car, but it was burned beyond any recognition. All of the other vehicles were just there.
One local story was about a body found down by the docks. They published a sketch of what the man looked like, but he was never identified.
That created another buzz because the local police found the broken lamp, realized the cord that held the body's hands came from that.
Finally everything came to a dead end.
"Bunch of goddamn drug dealers!" The Sheriff muttered to himself, closing the file and putting it away.
Life goes on, things get forgotten.
Darin Long stood on the deck of the seaside home with his wife Jennifer. The retired mechanical engineer and his wife seemed to be fairly well off. Members of the local church group, they donated time for little league, but other than that they kept pretty much to themselves.
They were often seen walking along the beach early in the mornings, holding hands like newlyweds, nice to see something like that for a couple that had obviously been married for decades.
"I love it here, Jen." Darin leaned down to kiss his wife as they walked down the steps and out onto the beach.
"Yes, it is nice, honey." She leaned in closer to him.
"Watching the Sun come up over the ocean, it's like everything begins again this way." He said, thinking of the many times he had watched the Sun set back home.
She nodded, it was like something that had happened to someone else.
They turned to walk back towards the house, the old man stepping carefully, the limp he had obvious. The older lady reached out to support his arm.
The man that lay up on the hillside watched as the silver haired older man leaned down to kiss the woman. The rising Sunlight reflected from his hair.
It was perfect. It had only taken him a few days to sort out their habits. He had briefly wondered why, but then forgot about that.
It was just the job.
The dot of the scope settled on the reflection, he squeezed off the shot. There was almost no sound.
The woman began screaming, the man squeezed off the second shot. He got up and took the rifle apart quickly, placed it in the case. Then he walked calmly to his little white rental car. He sighed, he really didn't like this much.
But it was just the job.