Here is Part Seven of the Short Story Thursday series. Enjoy!
Maine State Police Office Jim Phillips hung up the phone and sighed heavily. Even with the phone resting on its cradle he could still hear the uncharacteristically tense and angry voice of Samuel Bennett, as if it still hung in the air like cigarette smoke. He rubbed the back of his neck and replayed the conversation in his mind.
“I understand he was out of the state before you could coordinate his retrieval, Jim, but you can’t afford to drop the ball this time. To continue with the sports metaphor, you’ve run out of strikes,” Bennett had said. It was unlike Bennett to show any emotion, but tonight he spoke angrily through his teeth.
Without waiting for a response, Bennett continued. “I’ve instructed Adam Marshall to drive up to the shipping facility where I normally conduct my more sensitive business transactions, telling him that we need to talk about the situation we‘re in. I’ve procured some… collateral… to ensure that he shows up.”
“What do you mean, ‘collateral’? What have you done, Sam?”
“Let’s just say that we’ve taken custody of someone that he doesn’t wish to bury just yet.” Bennett seemed almost pleased with himself at this, and Jim’s stomach took a downward plunge. “She was quite a menace until Silas managed to quiet her down.”
“How many people are you going to kill to keep yourself out of jail? You can’t keep this up forever!” Jim said, trying to keep his voice down.
“That does not concern you!” Bennett roared. “I’ll do what I need to maintain my freedom, including the elimination of anyone who stands in my way. Just keep that in mind, Officer Philips, if you want to live to see your pension.”
Jim Phillips dropped back in his chair, listening quietly to Bennett’s instructions. As Adam Marshall drove through the Auburn toll plaza, Jim would arrest him on a bogus drug charge. Once in handcuffs and in the back of his cruiser, he would take him to the shabby shipping facility Bennett used. He would then hand him over to Bennett where Adam Marshall’s fate would be decided.
He had been working for Bennett for a number of years, when the money Bennett waved in front of him seemed too good to pass up. He stole or tainted evidence, feigned paperwork, and sometimes tracked down witnesses for Bennett’s henchmen. He always told himself that each job was going to be his last, yet he always found himself doing Bennett‘s dirty work.
Jim pushed back his chair and stood up. Bennett’s voice made his blood run cold in his veins, chilling him. He had reached his breaking point with Bennett, and at once he knew that he could not go through with Bennett’s orders. He paced the floor of his small office, contemplating his options.
He stopped mid stride, and grabbed his keys. An idea came to mind, one that just might work.
Jim ran out to his cruiser, and hoped that he had enough time.