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The Little Black Book

X, Y, Key

By Lynn JordanPublished 3 years ago 9 min read
Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

The car drove by way too fast, and the object thrown from the window landed on the sidewalk ahead of her.

Her instinct was to keep walking and pretend she did not notice. But...she was going to pass it, so she may as well see what it was.

It was a key. Picking it up, she observed that it had an unusual top, indicating that it came from a business rather than a residence. Where was it from? She remembered a loud argument coming from the car as it drove by. If people were fighting, and something was going to be thrown out of a car, why a key? Why not a phone or a wallet?

Something in her gut told her that she needed to get out of there. She stuck the key in her pocket and began speed-walking towards the coffee shop.

As she grabbed the door handle, she heard the squealing of car tires and knew it was the same car. She went in and sat down at a table where she could see down the block. The car sped up the street, came to a halt, and a large, intimidating man leaped out and began frantically scanning the sidewalk, looking between the cars, his hands open and shaking in front of him. She could not tell if he was angry or terrified. When she looked towards the car, a woman's eyes were peering over the passenger side door. The man turned and yelled at the woman, every muscle visibly straining under his shirt. The woman slunk from view, and the man continued his search, slowly moving up the block.

The man went over to the newsstand, near where she picked up the key. Did the guy at the newsstand see her do it? Did he notice where she went? She quickly took off her red scarf and matching knit hat and shoved them into her backpack. When she looked up, the man was making a beeline towards the coffee shop.

Slowly, she picked up her backpack and headed to the bathroom. As the door closed behind her, the shop door swung open. She gasped when she remembered this was a unisex restroom. Now what, genius?

She looked at herself in the mirror and was shocked at how calm she looked. Emboldened, she opened the bathroom door.

There he was.

“OH! I’m so sorry,” she said and tried to ease past him. He looked at her for a second, then down at her backpack, then went into the bathroom. She kept her panic in check as she rapidly strode towards the exit, out of the door, and hopped into a taxi. She blurted out an address. When the cab pulled away, she exhaled. She did not look back.

During the ride, she found out where the key came from. It was for a commuter locker in the city’s main train station. She reached into her pocket, rubbing the key between her fingers. She had a choice to make. The taxi let her out by a trash can, and, after a moment’s hesitation, she walked past it with the key still in her hand.

It was now rush hour, and she was counting on the crush of people to keep her from being noticed. Hopefully, the man looking for the key was not going to report it missing for as long as possible.

There was a security guard by the locker room entrance and a clerk behind an adjacent desk. Neither looked at her as she walked in. A quick look around the edge of the ceiling revealed a camera. She had a gaiter on that covered most of her face, and she had packed her long hair under the spare trucker cap she kept in her backpack. Number 123. What in the world could be in there?

A little black book. That’s it? she wondered to herself. She grabbed it with her gloved hands, stuffed it in her jacket pocket, and dipped into the sea of people. She was checking all directions so quickly it appeared her head was on a swivel. The escalator that led back up to the street faced the locker room, and she watched a man run up to the counter. It was the man looking for the key.

Locking herself into her apartment, she finally felt safe. She could not wait to get into this book, and her gloved hands grew damp as she opened it. It was full of hand-written notes, mostly in some kind of code. It did not take her long to decipher it, and her heart began to pump hard.

The neat, delicate handwriting masked the fact that the book belonged to a drug and gun runner. The “minions” of this kingpin were forbidden from using any cell phones or emails to discuss business, as it was all in this book. It was given to a minion to handle certain tasks within a specific amount of time and then passed to the next henchmen to do his part. They were not to discuss their assignments with anyone. Ominously written on the inside cover was the phrase, “you know what will happen if you fail me.”

It became clear that the man looking for the key needed the book, and now he had three problems. His female companion knew and threw out the one thing that could cost them their lives. He needed the key, as he had no other way to get the information needed. Lastly, the first part of his task was scheduled for tonight.

The fact that the man and his companion would be killed for this fiasco did not upset her. She was no quitter, and now that she has come this far, she was going to see this through. If she died for it, it would be just as well. She did not fear death, and she didn’t have much else going on in her life worth living anyway if this did not pan out. She had enough time to take a nap, assemble what she needed for the night, and be in position when the time came.

Her nondescript, late-model gray sedan had cranked right up. She did not drive it much since she lived in the city, and parking was tough. But for the first time, she didn’t care. She would not be back for a while.

At the designated time, she drove onto the parkway. As she got further outside of the city, there were fewer and fewer cars and more trees along the side of the road. The amount of lighting decreased significantly. She followed the instructions in the book to the “t”, inclusive of stopping at one particular point and removing her back license plate. Soon the target car was in sight, a maroon minivan, and she kept a good distance back. She barely flinched when the car burst into flames and lurched onto the shoulder of the highway.

She pulled over in the darkness, strangely numb to the fire and smoke coming from the minivan. Dressed in all black with gloves and rubber boots, she raced to the side door which was torn open from the blast. There were three men inside. Two were unconscious, the third, the driver, was alive and struggling to speak. He was not going to make it. A suitcase was wedged between him and the passenger. She yanked it free, ran to her car, and sped away just as the glowing headlights from another vehicle appeared behind her in the distance.

Now, the next part was going to be trickier. She could feel her heart pound and her ears ring as she drove the ten miles to the next exit. She got off, and pulled onto the first residential street she could find. She needed a spot that was not near an intersection or under a street light. It felt like an eternity, but she found one and hopped into the backseat with the suitcase. She had to get this done quickly.

She opened the suitcase, and it contained everything that the little black book said it would. There were stacks of banded money and an empty envelope. But the critical items were the trackers. One was sitting right on top of the money, but thanks to the book, she knew there were tiny tracking units attached to some of the money bands. She took the one unit, and broke it apart, disabling it. Now, she had to remove all of the money bands, which she did efficiently thanks to her background as a teller, cashier, and office clerk. There was a total of $500,000. She sifted through each stack to make sure there were no other possible trackers, and then drove off, desperately looking for a place to ditch the tracking units and the suitcase. Now, she was in a full-on sweat.

The large, black SUV drove slowly past the police car, the fire truck, and the ambulance. The passengers were listening to the pinging of the tracker which had stopped by the time they reached the accident scene. If the suitcase was still there the cops have it, but stopping a tracker would not be a priority for them. The man who made the explosive was a pro at making sure the only collateral damage was human, so this would be a first. “Put on the backup trackers,“ the leader of the group commanded from the backseat. A secondary unit was turned on, and a signal came through about 12 miles away. “GO!” The driver slammed on the gas.

She pulled into the Walmart parking lot, having already ditched the tracking units and suitcase in a dumpster. The cash was stashed in a black garbage bag, and she needed something more discreet. To her horror, she noticed one of the small trackers had stuck to the front of her hoodie.

She flushed the tracker down the restroom toilet and purchased a generic black rolling suitcase. She then got back on the parkway, stopping after a few minutes to dump the money into the suitcase and change into jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers. She put the other clothing into the garbage bag where the money had been.

The pinging stopped at the Walmart, and the SUV crept through the parking lot looking for anything out of the ordinary. Three of the passengers then went into the store looking for anyone who might be a candidate. After about an hour, the men returned to the SUV empty-handed and dour. The fourth person, the leader in the backseat, frowned and huffed with disgust. The idiot that lost the key would be the patsy for this theft of a frenemy’s cargo. He and his bitch had already been disposed of and pictures were taken of their demise to show goodwill. Whoever got away with this was either a pro or an amateur with balls. That money would have come in handy, but half a million dollars was something this group would easily recoup in other ways. The leader put a cigarette between well-glossed lips, demurely crossed long stockinged legs which ended in a pair of heels costing thousands of dollars. This had never happened before. The last safeguard, the last tracker to which only this woman had the transmitter, was the key itself. It was found in a trash can by the train station, stuck in the little black book.

Short Story

About the Creator

Lynn Jordan

Gen X writer of published music reviews now putting my fiction, non-fiction & the occasional poem out there. Every piece I write, regardless of genre, is a challenge accepted, and crafted with care and love. Sit a spell & enjoy!

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