Jeff Tsuruoka’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: Redemption or Bust - Make It Rain
It rained all day.
Come evening it took a dinner break, started up again, and kept on raining through the night.
Things dried up by morning.
All of that water hitting land still warm from the summer sun birthed a fog thick enough to blanket everything in a fifty mile radius.
Santo drove more by feel than by sight but he kept his eyes focused in front of us when he wasn't throwing me more of the disapproving looks he'd been throwing my way since I asked him to drive me out to Bog Island.
“You remember what happened last time you saw her, right?” he asked me.
“Yeah. I remember.”
“She's not gonna shoot anyone, Santo. Not this time.”
“You sure about that?”
“She's fresh out of Reubens brothers.”
I was deep into the third week of my convalescence at the Sunshade Motel and by then I could walk on my own, kind of. Driving was still a few weeks off.
Marisa's note came in the mail late in the second week, a few familiar words, with two additions, written on the back of a picture postcard.
CABIN D. BOG ISLAND. FRIDAY 7AM. M.
Evangeline didn't want me to go.
I didn't want to go either but she and I both knew I was going to. This was the end. I needed to be there to see it.
Santo also didn't want me to go but he agreed to drive me out there. Evangeline didn't speak to either of us for the rest of the day and most of the next.
“Gonna want me to come out with you?” asked Santo.
We'd found our way through the fog to the edge of Bog Island. I had Santo stop about fifty yards out from the cabins so I could walk in alone. It was going to be a big test for the wounded leg. I used to be a fast healer. Wasn't so sure I still was.
“It's all right, Santo. You just hang back here. I'm not planning to spend the day out here.”
“You so sure she's not gonna shoot you, why'd you borrow that piece from me?”
He pointed at the .357 Magnum sitting in my shoulder rig where my Browning should have been. My gun was in an evidence locker at Nate's station house.
I couldn't come up with a retort for Santo worth the breath so I ignored him.
He dismissed me with a grunt and threw the El Camino into park.
Even the fog on Bog Island looked pretty.
It lounged atop the water, moving in wisps and plumes to reveal random snatches of wooded landscape around the lake.
I wished I had something to associate with the place other than a murdered woman and getting punched in the face.
The ground didn't slope much either way so the walking was easy. I followed the edge of a grey brick retaining wall around the lake toward the cabins and took my time about it.
“Hey there, Jake.”
Marisa stepped out of the fog. She had a long orange skirt on and still looked better in my t-shirt than I did. The blue paint on her toes matched the color of the ink in the tattoo.
If she was armed the concealment was very creative.
“How's the leg?”
“Seems to work. You hear us coming?”
“The El Camino's not the quietest car on the market.”
“This is your meeting. What do you want?”
“I'm leaving, Jake.”
“I was under the impression you already had. Even without Jed Reubens' money.”
“You cracked Jed's code.”
“Not me. I can't finish the acrostic in the Sunday paper. The sheriff's guy figured it out.”
She nodded again.
“Want to come up to the cabin, Jake?”
“I'm fine right here, Marisa.”
“Look. I'm sorry I shot you.”
“Yeah. Well, if it's any consolation Marko's bullet caused more problems than yours. Your shot was a through and through. Clean wound and you didn't hit anything important. His skipped off the ground. Dirty wound and it got infected.”
“I'm sorry anyway.”
“I got lucky. Sheriff Jones is still laid up. Marko really ripped him up. That all you wanted?”
I turned to leave.
“I knew you'd find me,” she said.
I stopped and turned back.
“I told you I'd help you out.”
“No, you didn't. You never got the chance.”
“It's the thought that counts.”
She laughed a little.
We lapsed into silence. I wouldn't call it a comfortable one.
She slipped the tattooed foot out of her sandal and flexed it against the hard surface of the path.
“You broke Jed's code, which means most of Jed's accounts have been seized by now.” She smiled at me. “Most of 'em. Even Vern didn't know about these.”
“That what he was out here looking for?”
“Gonna narc on me?” she asked.
“What for? Gonna shoot me again?”
Another silence. The last one.
“I think you've earned a little traveling money out of the Reubens clan.” I said.
A headache was gathering strength in the back of my head.
She started to ask another question. I saved her the trouble.
If she answered me I didn't hear it.
The walk back to Santo's car was harder than the walk out to the lake.
Jeff Tsuruoka is an author in search of a writing career. He has found a home in the Flash Fiction circuit and is grateful to the blog hosts that give him the opportunity to get his work out there. You can follow him on Twitter @JTsuruoka and be sure to keep tabs on his weekly contributions to Daily Picspiration.