THE OLD MAP - BJ BOURG
Originally published in April 2006 by Flashing in the Gutters
Jared Snell stepped off the Greyhound at Fifth and Main and stood amazed at his surroundings. “Is this really Locksville?” he asked a young boy who whisked by on a skateboard.
The boy, no more than fourteen, skid to a stop and stomped one end of his board. The other end flipped up violently. With one deft motion, he caught the end of the board and pushed it against his leg. He hiked up his baggy shorts and brushed his orange bangs from his eyes. “Granddad, this is 2006,” he said. “You’d better chunk that Elvis Presley suit and get with the times.”
Jared opened his mouth to reply, but the punk jumped into the air, landed on his board, and wheeled away. Jared shook his head and pulled the yellowed piece of stationary from his coat pocket. He studied it not from necessity, but from force of habit. The map looked the same as it had when he drew it twenty years ago and that image was burned into his brain. He glanced at the street sign. This is it. He followed Fifth Street to the corner and headed east on St. Charles Street. When he reached the Dead End sign he smiled. The old gas station was in ruins, but it was absolutely Peggy’s Service Station. He could smell the money now-all $500,000 of it. Knowing that the loot was securely buried under the Locksville Church of Christ is what kept him alive all those years. No one would mess with the Lord’s house. He smiled at the irony of God safeguarding his sinful profit.
Jared made his way to the back of the service station and into the wooded area. The woods weren’t as dense as he’d remembered. “But, then again,” he said out loud, “I didn’t have much time to sight-see with those cop dogs on my ass.” He trudged on and a smile spread across his pale face when the trees faded and the clearing came into view. He was only a few hundred yards away from his retirement stash. Most people work their entire lives to retire to a nickel and dime social security check, but not him. This was one time when a life of crime would pay off. Sure, he’d had to pull fifteen of twenty years in the slammer for not telling where the money was hidden, but it was worth it now.
Anticipation got the best of him and he broke into a stumbling run. He crashed through the last clump of bushes and just stared. “What the-?”
Jared slowly sank to his knees. The map that had been his Bible, his sole reason for living, slipped from his fingers and danced away in the breeze. The detective’s voice from twenty years ago rang loud in his ears. “Tell us where the money is and the prosecutor will let you plead to two years. You won’t get a better deal for robbery.”
Jared had spat on the floor and told the detective to shove it.
“Sucks, don’t it?”
Jared jumped to his feet and spun around. The hair was now white and there were more wrinkles, but he recognized Detective Patterson. “What are you doing here?”
Patterson smiled that wicked smile of his. “I hope you don't think they let you out five years early for good behavior. Nope. I’m ready to retire and I needed you to lead me to the money so I could go in peace.”
“You got me out?”
Patterson nodded and stared at the Super Wal-Mart that squatted on the property previously owned by the Locksville Church of Christ. “So, it’s buried under that?”
“Fifty-seven feet due east of this very spot.” Jared hung his head. “What now?”
Patterson slapped his back. “It looks like you did fifteen for nothing.”
BIO: BJ Bourg lives in southeast Louisiana with his beautiful wife and two wonderful children. For more information, please visit his website at BJ Bourg.