Jay picked up his cell and answered cautiously not knowing if Sam had spilled the beans on his journey and if trouble was upon him.
“What’s up Sam?”
“Jay I’m going to text you a link, I didn’t just want to send it without calling you first.” The horror crept into Jay’s soul and he began to fear the feel of his flesh on the touchscreen of the phone.
“What is it Sam?”
“Take a second and pull over Jay and then don’t hang up, just put me on speaker then check it.”
Jay pulled over to the side of interstate 40 West and put the Bronco into park. He slowly pressed the button to put the call into speaker phone and then switched to the home screen, touched the texting app and waited as Sam’s texts came up on the screen. There was a link to news story from CNN and Jay could see that part of the link contained the words Ransom and Arizona. When the page opened, Jay’s body went cold and he instantly could feel his heart pounding at an alarming pace. His eyes scanned the article and fed the horrible details of three cases in the Lake Havasu area over the past two years directly into his mind. They called the perpetrator the Ransom Murderer because in each such case he had told the parents of kidnapped teenage girls he would return them if they paid a ransom that they could not afford because each one of the family’s had been of modest means. On the first two such cases when the families could not pay the ransom, the kidnapper had hung up the phone and sent a postcard to the victim’s parents weeks later with the whereabouts of the remains. The third victim, the parents had the money on time but the kidnapper somehow knew that the police where involved and had supplied the ransom prompting the killer to remove the girl’s tongue while the family listened in horror, that girl’s body was found only one month ago. The killer’s pace was escalating.
Jay sat perfectly still, he had become a statue in the front seat, frozen in terror at the thought that no matter if he collected the remainder of the money or not he was going to have to kill the son of a bitch to get Grace back.
“Jay, are you alright?” Sam seemed to be waking Jay from a nightmare.
“No Sam, I am on a desert planet away from alright.” He paused and let the violent unstoppable hatred accumulate in his soul.
“I will end this piece of shit Sam; I am ready, willing and able to do so and no one will fucking stop me.”
“Just keep your wits about you and don’t do anything without making sure you’ve covered all the bases first. Look, listen and learn boy, I know you can do that.”
“Love ya Sam.” Jay’s voice cracked on a bit when he said the words.
“I love you to boy.” Sam began to break down and he hung the phone up before Jay could hear him do so.
Jay pulled a cigarette out of the bag and calmly lit it and then opened the driver side door and made his way to the front of the Bronco. He unzipped his pants and began to piss on the side of the highway, cigarette clinched in his teeth as cars blasted by at excessive speeds. There was no other way to end this but to put a bullet in this asshole’s head, and by God that was exactly what he was going to do. He climbed back up into the truck took a swig from his drink and then put the ear buds back into his ears, started the beast back up and reentered the interstate.
Riding in a ridiculous land beast drinking a potent mixture of pure insane adrenaline and screaming along with the aggressive metal that emanated from his ear buds Jay Branch was entering a very strange place deep inside his head. He had somehow muscled through the darkness in his life and been able to brush it off and keep going time and time again. He had often credited his ADHD and the fact that too many years of heavy drinking had successfully killed the short term memory needed to stay pissed long enough to be an angry person. That and every time he started down the path of a maniac that would routinely throw guitars and destroy property in his heyday, first Beth and then his little Beth, Jr. would be there to put him right back in his place. But now with the glorious V8 muscle flexing under the hood and the liquor taking over the majority rule in his blood stream Jay was
finding the bullied little fat kid’s horrible homicidal side that the world had been spared because of the love of three magical women, Beth, Grace and his mother. All that he had left was Grace and to make sure that he didn’t lose her he would destroy anything and anyone that got in his way.
The next track began on his radio station and Jay would find the words that would rip the final seal from the demon within. Pantera’s song “Five Minutes Alone” started and the familiar groove that Jay had known for many years growled ferociously in his ears followed by the lyrics that fit the situation all too well sending thoughts and emotions echoing like booming thunder into his very soul and he began to shred his own vocal chords in unison.
You waged your war of nerves
But you can’t crush the kingdom
Can’t be what your idols are
Can’t leave the scar
You cry for compensation
I ask you please just give us…
Five minutes alone
Just give me
Five minutes alone
He found the screaming cathartic and freeing but not in some hippy bullshit way that may help him to better feel his emotions, but in a primal way that only helped him to feel anger more efficiently. Yes this was the point of no return and it was completely necessary for the mild mannered pizza cook to become the kind of man who could not find a Zen-like peace and let things roll off his back. He needed vengeance and glorious anger to rip through the evil that had once again struck out against him. Too many times he had let the horrible things that people did slide by without retribution and now the final nail had been hammered into the coffin of his patience.
He pressed on screaming at the top of his lungs, taking big ridiculous pulls from the straw that was firmly planted in the large oversized cup from the convenience store full of demon water and occasionally lighting a Camel and inhaling in what felt like one giant breath of dead air. The heat had become unbearable and not only did the Bronco have no air conditioning it also had only the one window that would roll down so the wind that was coming in off the highway was hot and would just sort of circle Jay and create a heat tornado of dirt and stink that encircled him like the stench that would hang in the air around a rotting piece of meat. He half expected to see flies dying on his arm from heat exhaustion and the pure unadulterated odor that he now possessed.