Last Bus

Consider if you will the tale of Burkhart Ransem, a man with a wide circle of friends and a career that has him fast-tracked to wealth and success. Consider also the more modest aspirations of his best friend Jackson. In need of a job Burkhart has found an opportunity for his friend, a contract that will see Jackson set also upon a path to comfort and success. All that need happen is Jackson make the appointment and do his thing. That is the plan but nothing is ever exactly as it seems...

Burkhart 2.45am
Hey Jackson. When are you getting in?

Jackson
Bit slow. ETA around 7.

Burkhart
Enjoying the bus?

Jackson
Not really. Should've taken the red-eye yesterday.

Burkhart.
At least you get to enjoy the scenery. Yeh?

Jackson
Up yours. I've been on this death-trap for sixteen hours. Better be worth it.

Burkhart
Don't worry. Major cred if you get the contract. You'll owe me plenty.

Jackson
Yeh. Sure.

Burkhart
Try and get some sleep. Big day tomorrow.

Burkhart 3.00am
You awake?

Jackson
What is it?

Burkhart
Just got a weird call. Some guy says I'm gonna get what's coming to me.

Jackson
You'll need to be a bit more specific.

Burkhart
That's just it. I have no idea what the freak was talking about.

Jackson
So some random just dials you up and threatens you?

Burkhart
Exactly. Sounded motivated too.

Jackson
Did you call Five-O?

Burkhart
Yeh. Not much help there. They can't do anything yet.

Jackson
Really?

Burkhart
Apparently I haven't been threatened in any specific way yet. Too vague a threat.

Jackson
What are you going to do?

Burkhaart
Nothing yet. Lock my doors maybe.

Jackson
Probably nothing to worry about. I'll be there in four hours.

Burkhart
Sweet.

Burkhart 5.18am
Jackson?

Jackson
You're intent on not letting me sleep, aren't you?

Burkhart
Got another call.

Jackson
Shit. What was it this time?

Burkhart
Same thing. A few more expletives. A bit more forthright.

Jackson
Someone must be messing with you.

Burkhart
I wish. Seemed dead sure that I've got something to answer for.

Jackson
Any ideas?

Burkhart
Not a one. Starting to freak me out.

Jackson
You're not alone. You should ring the cops again.

Jackson
Got a whistle?

Burkhart
What?

Jackson
Do you have a whistle?

Burkhart
Yes. Why?

Jackson
Next time the dude rings blow it into the phone. Can be deafening.

Burkhart
And really piss the guy off?

Jackson
Maybe, but he'll think twice about hassling you over the phone.

Jackson
Worked wonders for Jen when that creep was giving her grief.

Burkhart
How is Jen?

Jackson
Doing OK. Been away for a week on business. I'll be seeing her Saturday.

Burkhart
A week? Where has she gone?

Jackson
India I think. Company needed her over there for a production issue. Should be back Saturday evening.

Burkhart
Cool. I'll see if I can find that whistle.

Jackson
Let me know if your special friend rings again.

Jackson 6.23am
Jesus dude, you'll never guess what just happened.

Burkhart
What?

Jackson
Stopped in Maryvale to pickup and this guy tried to get on the bus.

Burkhart
So?

Jackson
Tried to board packing a pistol strapped to his chest.

Burkhart
Crap. What happened?

Jackson
Five-O came and threw him down. He was screaming like all hell about staying on the bus.

Burkhart
Jesus. Did they take him away?

Jackson
Yeh. Hog-tied and yelling like it was a full moon.

Burkhart
You have all the fun.

Jackson
Certainly broke up a boring ride. See you in 2.

Jackson 6.48am
You're not going to believe this.

Burkhart
What?

Jackson
That guy's at the bus station.

Burkhart
Which guy?

Jackson
Pistol guy from the bus.

Burkhart
You're joking?

Jackson
I kid you not. Big as life and standing on the other side of the street.

Burkhart
What's he doing?

Jackson
At the moment he's looking straight at me. Doesn't know I see him though.

Burkhart
What are you going to do?

Jackson
See what he does.

Burkhart
Why? Call the cops.

Jackson
No point. Five-O dragged him away and yet here he is.

Burkhart
What will you do?

Jackson
Take a taxi. See if he follows. Could be I'm just paranoid.

Burkhart
Be careful.

Jackson
Copy that.

Jackson 7.17am
Got a taxi. Sure enough he's in one too.

Burkhart
Is he following you?

Jackson
Don't know yet. See the lights but he's keeping his distance.

Burkhart
Are you coming here?

Jackson
Not going to do that yet. Might see if I can lose him around the stadium.

Jackson
Hold on. His taxi is peeling off, making for downtown.

Burkhart
Are you sure?

Jackson
Yeh. Had any more calls?

Burkhart
No thankfully. Didn't need to use the whistle.

Jackson
LOL. See you in a few.

Jackson 7.46am
Burkhart. Look out your front window.

Burkhart
What am I looking for?

Jackson
There's someone standing on your front yard, near that old Willow.

Burkhart
I can't see anything.

Jackson
Look harder.

Burkhart
Shit. I see him. Looks pretty ragged. How'd you spot him?

Jackson
The taxi turned the corner and I saw him. I'm at the corner myself. Didn't want to spook him. Call the cops.

Burkhart
Already on it.

Jackson
They coming?

Burkhart
Be here in 5. Stay at the end of the street.

Jackson
No problem. This is way too weird.

Burkhart
Is he still out there?

Jackson
Sure is. Just waiting there.

Burkhart
Do you think he's waiting for you?

Jackson
No idea. Hold on. I hear the cops. I'll get out of the way.

Burkhart 7.51am
Have you seen anything like it? Those cops jumped on him like dogs on a meatloaf.

Jackson
Yeh. Can't beat the boys in blue. All clear?

Burkhart
Still got Detectives here. They'll need a statement.

Jackson
No problem. Tell me something. Where were you last Thursday lunch?

Burkhart
What?

Jackson
Think back. You went out for a meal didn't you?

Burkhart
Sure. But how could you know that?

Jackson
Did you get the package I sent?

Burkhart
Yes. Its in the hall. What's this all about?

Jackson
It'll all come clear. Seen Jen lately?

Burkhart
No. You said it yourself, she's been in India the last week.

Jackson
Yeh. I did didn't I.

Jackson
That's the thing you see. Had my doubts about her commitment to our relationship and tracked her phone.

Burkhart
Why would you do that?

Jackson
Because you haven't been wholly forthcoming have you.

Burkhart
What have you done?

Jackson
Apart from tracking your phone as well? Amazing what you can find out these days.

Jackson
Watched your phones meet at that little cafe near the Town Hall.

Jackson
Then watched them take a short repose at that motel on route 17. Two hours I think it was. What were you doing? Planning my birthday?

Burkhart
Look Jackson. It's not what it seems.

Jackson
You sure about that?

Burkhart.
OK. So we love each other. We were going to tell you tonight.

Jackson
So the contract was just a ploy to get me here?

Burkhart
Jen's here with me now. It was our intention to tell you straight away. We weren't going to keep anything from you.

Jackson
That's nice. You were my friend, Burkhart. Friends don't do that.

Burkhart
I know. I'm truly sorry Jackson but things just happen sometimes.

Burkhart
Where are you?

Jackson
Close enough.

Burkhart
What do you mean?

Jackson
Know why I took the bus rather than grab the red-eye.

Burkhart
No.

Jackson
Well its a bastard getting through Airport Security with a remote detonator in your carry on. Buses however, are dead easy.

Burkhart
But who was the guy they just arrested?

Jackson
Just some homeless dude I paid to stand on your lawn.

Burkhart
Why would you do that?

Jackson
Keep you and Jen inside. I've been here all night watching. Needed to keep you together.

Burkhart
Why would you need a detonator, Jackson?

Jackson
Think back Burkhart. What did I take as my undergraduate degree?

Burkhart
Chemical Engineering.

Jackson
Remember the parcel you got yesterday.

Burkhart
Oh, shit.

Jackson
Tell Jen she should have stayed at home.

THE END

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