He pulled into Germantown, Tennessee a little after one in the afternoon and stopped at the first giant truck stop off the highway to refill the tank and to refill his caffeine supply. He had a delicious meal of 3 bites of a pre-made submarine sandwich and more Rockstar and vodka before walking into a Wells Fargo location to empty Grace’s college fund. Before walking in he first went to the ATM and double checked the balance and saw that he had $17,452.00 in the account. He then walked inside, wrote a check for $17,352.00 made out to cash and handed it to the teller. The account had no name specific to a college fund. It was just a high interest checking account that Jay had had since he opened it in some strange local bank over 20 years ago. They had kept the rate the same and that is why he kept it open with $100.00 in it, that and the fact he planned on figuring out how to refill it as soon as possible. Surprisingly, the teller didn’t even seem fazed by the large check amount and simply asked if he wanted all large bills. He smiled and said yes that would be fine, after all he had a Crown Royal bag full of crumpled up fives, tens and twenties that Sam had given him. He was going to have to sit down and actually count it at some time. The teller explained it would be one minute and then disappeared to a room off to the side of where the tellers stood. When she returned, she simply smiled at him and handed him a grey zip up bag with 17 stacks of 100 dollar bills, 3 solo hundreds, a 50 and 2 single dollars.
“Will there be anything else today sir?” the words sounded like they were on a TV in the distance, like they didn’t belong in this reality. Jay just stood there staring at the bag full of money in the middle of a bank branch in Tennessee. He felt like he was floating in outer space and he imagined he was wearing one of those space suits for doing a spacewalk and that little meteors were bouncing off of him one by one.
“Sir, are you okay?” The teller looked worried. How long had he been standing there just staring into space? “Been saving for a bass boat, guess I can go get it now.” The strange alien words not only had no business coming out of Jay’s mouth, because he wasn’t now and never would buy a bass boat but also because they came out in someone else’s voice. The voice was that of a strange excitable fat redneck boy that was beaten out of Jay over 30 years ago. In fact most people who met Jay Branch could tell no evidence of a southern accent whatsoever. He smiled at the teller, turned and did a happy little walk out of the bank that was his way of saying all was well with the world. He then went out to the old Volvo shut the door drove the car around to the back of the little strip mall and calmly lost his mind. It felt like someone was pouring water from a pitcher through his skull, the tears were big and just ridiculous. He had never remembered crying like this, not even when Beth had died. This was something else, this was the schoolyard bullies of the world taking from Jay Branch everything he cared about and now he could give no more. The tears seemed to dry instantly and the madness, the cold soulless madness crept in, Jay opened the door and walked to the trunk and opened the Crown Royal bag and held the gun in his hand, it was loaded and it felt good against the skin of his palm. The only guns he had ever fired were a 22 rifle and a Mossburg 500 pump shotgun, for some reason this felt more like death. He was going to have to be able to handle it, load it and reload it quickly if needed. He sat back inside the car pulled out his cell phone and began to Google with the info he had all about the gun. Looking at everything and getting lucky because the only handgun name he knew was Glock and he had figured out it was a Glock 19. Also, inside the small box were two clips or did they call them magazines. He found the release on the side and ejected the clip that was inside the gun and then he jammed one of the other clips inside the gun and heard it go click. He did this 3 more times to make sure that it felt comfortable. He looked down at his cell phone and double checked his map before returning the gun to the backpack in the trunk. He topped off his energy drink, buckled in and started the car. He had about a solid days’ worth of driving left so he wasted no time returning to the highway.