It was a typical, southern California summer day – hot and miserable. A dry, warm breeze blew through the windows of my trusty Oldsmobile Delta, not really cooling me off as I sat there watching a cheap motel room. I quietly cursed the car for showing its age. The air conditioning had been broken since I bought the car four years ago, not long after I came to America.
I double checked the note scribbled on the back of the bounty report I’d been given. According to my source, this was indeed the correct hellhole to be staking out. I flipped the sheet over to the front and examined the photograph and details again.
Maxwell Clark. Blond hair, blue eyes. He stood six-foot-two and weighed in at roughly two hundred pounds. He was a bit of a tall, lanky fellow. I’d brought in bigger before. My bondsman had warned me not to get too cocky though. Maxwell had been in and out a few times and had a lot of priors with unusually violent assaults.
I glanced at the clock and found that it was just past 1:00pm. My guy said that Maxwell had a meeting at one o’clock, and was probably skipping town right after it. Either his meeting was late, or it had started early, which would mean kicking the door in on an unknown audience. I decided I could wait. At one point, while I was waiting, I felt a feeling of dread, like something was wrong. The feeling passed quickly though, and I resumed my watch.
After a few minutes, a car pulled into the motel parking lot and parked in front of what was supposed to be Maxwell’s room. The car was really strange though – it was a model older than even my car, but it was shiny new, like it had just been driven off the lot. Three men wearing suits and fedoras stepped out of the car. They looked like mob, and I was really glad to not have been in the room when they showed up. They approached the room I’d been watching and knocked on the door. A man that looked to be Clark from where I was sitting opened the door and let them in.
I sat in the car a few minutes longer, then got out and crossed the street to the motel. It was a small, single story dump with about a dozen rooms. I found a vending machine not far from Maxwell’s room and bought a soda. I leaned against the wall, lit a cigarette, and watched.
The curtains to Maxwell’s room were pulled shut. I peered at the nearby rooms and found that one of them had a camera peeking through the curtains. I’d probably walked right in front of it. Oh well.
Just as I was finishing my cigarette, two of the mobsters emerged from Maxwell’s room. They didn’t seem to pay me any attention, and they got in their car and drove off. That meant one was still inside with Maxwell, and would probably be leaving with him. This was likely to be my only shot. Two against one weren’t such horrible odds, I’d done worse. Maybe it’s a pride thing, or maybe I feel like I have something to prove as the “little girl bounty hunter”. Who knows, maybe I’ve even got a death wish.
As I polished off my soda, I pulled my collapsible baton off my belt loop and felt that little kick of adrenaline as I prepared myself for the coming brawl. I was debating between politely knocking on the door or kicking it in, when I noticed something strange. The window to Clark’s room appeared to be melting. I’m no physicist or anything, but last time I checked, windows don’t just melt. The little voice in the back of my head told me to get the hell out of there. I jogged back to my car and hopped in just as the hotel room exploded.
“ну лайно1 ,” I thought, “there goes my paycheck.”
I waited around the area to observe the aftermath. It took a few hours to get the mess cleaned up. I watched the fire department come and put out the flames, the police department take statements from anybody that looked like they were there when the explosion happened (I carefully dodged their attention), and finally, for the coroner to retrieve the remnants of my assignment. When he came out, he only had a single body bag – I wondered silently what happened to the other guy. After the dust settled, I called my bondsman to give him the news, and headed back towards Los Angeles.
- Well, shit. ↩︎