” The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children. ” - William Shakespeare
“ It was always supposed to be the last job. You can never walk away from your past...
It is a dark and sullen night with a breeze that could chill to the bone and trees bristling their skeletal remains.
A car races between the trees, illuminating a quick path ahead of it with dim headlights. The diver is indistinguishable because of the grimy windshield that looks as though it had never been cleaned.
It is a red sports car long past its time. However, that meant little to the mechanic and reconditioned thief, Mike.
He had been working on the car for years. It was his late father's, so he saw no reason to get rid of the car. Even when it buried him in debt. Debt so countless, he had to get back into the game to settle.
Now he was stuck here, forced to settle. By now, he was doubtful he would get away. With the police hot on his trail and his lungs on fire. It did not help he was a chronic smoker like his father.
As he sped away in his car, he took a draw from one of his father’s last cigarettes he lit shortly before. He removed it from his lips, making a popping sound as the smoke arose from them.
His brow perspired as he sped down the open road. His leather jacket felt more like a furnace to his boiling chest.
He looks into the rearview mirror to see nothing coming his way
You're paranoid. There is no way they caught up with you by now. You're too fast... Just like dad.
He looks into the review mirror as he takes another draw. Once more, nothing is following him but the curving road behind him. He lets out the smoke, and it covers the mirror momentarily as he envisions the past.
He imagines himself running up to his father with his long-sleeved leather jacket and a toy car, as he worked on a life-sized one.
He presented to the car to his father's approval. He ignores him momentarily as he wrenches away at some part.
Seconds after, he turns and smiles so brightly it blinds Mike, who turns from the glaring sun that reveals itself as his father turns his head. Maybe that is what he looked like now... Or at least so had he hoped.
He always wanted to be his father. He turned up too much like him and was about to suffer the same fate.
They locked his father up in prison for years before he was born. Locked up for grand theft auto, alleged assault, even public intoxication more times than not.
When Mike was born, it was as if he drifted around and did a full 180. Mike cannot stop thinking about all the times he took him out to do donuts, to his mother’s dismay. Getting lost in the clouds of smoke made him forget life for longer than he wanted to. Then and now as he took another drag from the cigarette.
After the cloud dissipates, he looks into the mirror once more to see a quite unfamiliar sight.
Unlike before, a multitude of squad cars follow him down the winding road. He panics and wheezes. He whips his head back but turns as soon as he hears a blaring shrill.
He turns to gawk at a car approaching him.
What the hell is he doing on the wrong side of the road?
He blinks once, then sees it is in fact himself that is on the wrong side. He swerves to the ride as hard as he can, pulling the e-brake at his side.
Clouds similar to the ones that encompassed him as a kid arise and before he knows it, it is all over.
He wakes in a sweat worse than after any nightmare of his dad. He wears a pair of dog tags, chilling his shirtless torso. He is in great shape and stayed true to the workout plan his father set for him from a young age.
He tosses the sheets off of him and does morning pushups. Step one of his father‘s get fit the quick scheme.
See, he loved his mother, but there was something about his father. Some mysterious attribute that away drew him to him. Maybe it's that very trait that drew my mother to him. They say girls like guys who are mysterious.
However, when I found out the truth about him, I ran away from home with my girlfriend. Who I guess also found me mysterious if I was to guess why she liked me.
I was not very likable. Just a shy, quiet kid, who stood tall in the back leering over the class. Too lost in his self-righteous doctrine to have any friends.
Maybe that’s how his father was in high school, but even that was hard to believe. It seemed as if his father had friends on every block. Yet another thing he admired and envied him for.
He himself did not have a single friend to his name. Only people that got him in trouble.
The first of which is his true love and former girlfriend Renee, who left him after she heard about the last job.
Mike always had a feeling she was just waiting for the day. She had a good enough excuse to leave him. In fact, he questioned why she stayed with a nicotine-addicted alcoholic such as him for as long as she did.
I mean, not much else was admirable besides his job from the factory, so he knew for a fact she was not in it for the money.
Then why did she stay with me?
A question he ponders as he does his push-ups.
I mean, sure, I got the body every girl dreams their boyfriend had, but other than that, I don’t. There is much going for me.
He breathes heavily and pushes out a breath as he pushes into his hundredth push-up.
Who needs mediation when you got working out? I mean, it makes the most eligible bachelor and helps not only your inner self or some shit.
Mike was always skeptical of such beliefs. His parents raised him as a devout Catholic.
He planned to stay that way until the Lord lay him to sleep.
This is evidenced through his silver crucifix hanging from his neck, now decorated with a bead of sweat that might as well have been from Christ himself.
Mike sacrificed everything for that damn car. His relationships. His true love. His life…
Just when he had nothing else to give to that damned machine, he hears his cheap flip phone buzz, distracting him from his push-ups. He tilts his head up, pouring out sweat as some drips from his bleached hair.
The bleach, looking amateurish and more yellow than blonde. He never had the money to get it re-done, so he stuck with the Simpson's hair.
He raises his legs up in some sort of yoga motion between his arms before he rises to his feet.
He swipes his hair back as he reaches out for the phone. Once it is in his wide palm, he flips it open and raises it to his ear.
“ Hey man, sorry to bother you so early in the morning. “
He was not joking. It was so early the morning sun only left the world in a blue that shone through his paper-thin blinds.
“ Anyways, you looking for a quick buck? ”
“ Nah man, I promised Renee I was done with that life. ”
“ Well, Renee’s not here anymore. “
Without missing a beat, I reply.
He sighs and I can feel his dismal frown from across the line.
“ Too soon, I know.... Look man, I'm just trying to help you. I know you are still fixing up Dad's old Mustang and I know for a fact Renee ain't paying no more. “
I lean on the nightstand for support as I catch my breath, which sounds more like a sigh to my brother.
“ Yeah, what about it? “
“Look man, I got a great deal this time, I promise. This Mexican dude offered me a job to steal some used cars from some local American dealership... Not the first time we screwed over their folks. Remember the Alamo, am I right?”
I can't help but chuckle at the offensive remark. Something my brother was never at a shortage of.
“ Anyway, he's willing to pay us a pretty penny that he somehow can rub together to steal 'em back.”
Yet another thing that came habitually to my brother. Combining popular phrases until they would not even make sense to a linguist.
“ So, you interested? “
This time I do sigh. A deep sigh as I hesitantly reply.
“ Yeah... I’m in. ”
“ Good, I knew you would not let me down. Meet me at the car shop at the intersection of first and second... Dad’s shop.
This time I do sigh as I hang up the phone.
Memories of last night come flooding in and force me to grab hold of my aching head. I remember hangovers, but nothing like this. It is as if it was some sort of caveat from the big man upstairs.
Nevertheless... I gather my things and get ready for the “ last job.... ”