Sidekick | Part 17
“Where to, boss?” a grainy, animatronic voice spoke from behind the mask in the front seat. He laughed a bit, giving me a bit of a clue that he didn’t really intend to take me anywhere that I wanted to go. Honestly probably should have noticed this whole situation happening before I got in the car. Damn hawk made me all paranoid and I missed all of the warning signs.
“You know, it’s funny, I just realized I forgot something so if I could just scoot over you,” I said as I tried to raise myself up and over the person sitting in the seat to my right. He didn’t seem to react at first until the driver instructed him to.
“What are you doing? Put him back in his seat!” The driver shouted. While his voice still had the robotic sounding modification, it was clear when he raised his voice that it was just running through some sort of device–a phone or something more low-tech. No matter, his directions seemed to ring in the ear of his accomplice, who slammed me back into my seat. Both of my hands were then pinned to the seat by the bodies beside me. I couldn’t tell if the blackness they were draped in came more from their clothes or the lack of light, but there was no way to identify them like this. I presume, though, that they knew who I am. I don’t go around making my presence known, but people that tend to hang out in dark alleyways or, I don’t know, stage a modern day stage coach heist, generally know who I am. It’d also explain the extra guys. Three-on-one doesn’t really favor me, and technically it’s four-on-one if you count the guy outside the car on the hood. I’m not sure that I do because I have no idea what he’s doing and I’m not sure he does either.
“I hate sitting in the middle. Can I at ride shotgun?” I asked. I was only partially joking–I really do hate sitting in the middle seat. Of coures, I didn’t really expect to have my request granted.
“You’ll be riding with a shotgun to your head if you don’t shut the fuck up and do what we say. Now you can start by handing over your wallet.”
“I’d love to but, uh, your buddies are holding my hands back here. Which is very flattering but very restricting.”
“Tell ‘em where your wallet is and they’ll get it for you. No need for you to start making trouble for us.”
“Oh, am I inconveniencing you in your mugging of me? I’m sorry, I’d love to cooperate. My wallet is in my front left pants pocket,” I told him and then raised my hip a bit to make it easier to access. I’d be more than happy to give up my wallet to these guys–there’s nothing in it anyway. My ID was in my other pocket and I didn’t carry any cash on me because the Union usually has all kinds of food trucks parked outside it and if I had money I would buy food. All of the food. Fuck. I’m hungry. The thug to the left of me reaches into my pocket and grabs my wallet, examining it for a second as if to make sure it was actually a wallet.
“If I had the forethought to preload my pocket with wallet-shaped smoke bombs, I promise I wouldn’t have gotten captured by a bunch of assholes in ski masks. Just toss up to boss man there, would you?” I said, growing a bit impatient with this process.
Doing as I requested–a first in this situation–he handed my wallet up to the apparent leader of the mission. Upon having it in his hand, he immediately opened it and went to start rifling through it. Then he realized there was absolutely nothing in there.
“It’s empty!” He exclaimed, clearly irritated at his discovery.
“Yeah. You could have asked me and I’d have been happy to tell you that.”
“How exactly where you going to pay for the cab ride?” He inquired, almost genuinely.
“Are you taking the moral high ground with me right now? You know you just stole my wallet, right?”
“How were you going to pay, you motherfucker?” His curiosity disappeared that rage from earlier returned.
“Do you know know who I am?” I asked. “I mean, not to be arrogant. I just assumed you had an idea of who you were mugging.”
“You’re some college asshole that’s wasting our time, that’s who you are,” was his reply.
Great. I’m jumped, restrained, mugged, and interrogated by a bunch of bumbling idiots that don’t even know who I am. What if these were henchmen for a crime boss that actually had something against me? If these morons have me in this situation, what would happen with people that actually knew what they were doing?
“You guys are the worst criminals ever. Did you steal this taxi just to try to jack the pocket change of some broke ass college student? Was that your plan?”
“I…no. No. We own this cab service. It’s just that business isn’t very good ever since that green cab company moved in and started encroaching on our customers. So we got the hummers because we assumed they’d attract people that didn’t care about spending some extra cash and we mug the customers we do get. We end up with far more money and it’s way less gas.” He answered. Even through the voice modifier, there was a bit of earnestness in his statement.
“I don’t really think that’s a sustainable business model, man.”
“It’s been working so far, til some jackass like you ruins the system.”
“Well I apologize for wasting your time and would happily keep my mouth shut if I could just go home,” I bargained.
“Sure, go home. What do I care?” he said, then motioned his hand in a sort of looping pattern. This must have given some indication to his minions, because my hands were no longer clasped by their grip. I noticed one of them wiping his hands on his pants after releasing me.
“Sorry, my hands get clammy sometimes,” I offered to him apologetically.
“Eh, it’s cool,” he replied.
“Sweet, so uh, I’ll just have you drop me off at…” I was cut off.
“Drop you off? You can walk, kid. You’re not costing us more money tonight. Get the fuck outta here.”
“Well then,” I said with a tone that suggested I was a bit offended. Apparently I hadn’t made the parameters of the trade off clear. No matter. I slid out of the middle seat, stepping over the guy I had previously tried to bypass in my first attempt to leave. I stepped down from the raised door of the Hummer and onto the pavement. I took a step back before the window opened and my wallet was tossed at me, hitting me in the chest.
“Thanks…I guess,” I said. Then I heard the same voice that had been talking to me inside shout out, this time without being hidden behind the sound masking.
“Get the fuck in the car!” At that, I noticed the fourth character that had been on the hood of the vehicle the entire time. He kind of stammered and slid off the hood before fumbling with door handle and eventually getting into the front passenger seat. The window started to roll up as they drove away, but through it I could still hear the driver’s voice.
“What the fuck were you doing out there? What good do you think being on the hood does, huh? If there’s a goddamn footprint on there I swear…” the voice faded as the window closed and the Hummer disappeared around the corner.
So I guess walking back will have to do.