It was almost too easy, he thought. I disappear, assumed dead; Kathleen stays behind to sort out the paper work, sheds a tear or two; and then skips the border to join me with the proceeds of my life insurance.
Frank was lying on the single bed in the cheap motel where he’d been camped out for 2 weeks. His Spanish was good enough to order beer and the little food he could afford, so he was content. He fixed his gaze on the watermark on the ceiling. The damp, mouldy atmosphere wasn’t helping him to recover from the cold he’d had since the icy swim across the lake. The only regret he now had was giving up his boat to stage the accident. It had been his pride and joy, that is, his pride and joy second only to Kathleen. He smiled when he thought of her. They had met in LA where she was an aspiring actress and he was a bartender and part-time crook. She’d told him that he reminded her of her father but didn’t elaborate on what that meant. Was he a criminal? Did I look like him? He was never sure, but it didn’t matter.
Ever since they’d met, there wasn’t a day they had spent apart, until now. She had been close to breaking it in Hollywood, with an offer of a small part in a film by one of the major studios, when he’d asked her to marry him and convinced her to move to Pine Creek, where he’d grown up. He knew that since she was giving up her acting career to make the move with him, he needed to make up for the kind of lifestyle she had walked away from. He figured that he’d have to either move to more lucrative crimes or go legit and get a great paying job. The former was not possible as she’d agreed to marry him on the condition that he go clean, while the latter was not even worth entertaining- his only skills were breaking and entering, mixing a mean cocktail and car detailing, most times cars he’d acquired in unconventional ways. He had convinced her that faking his death wasn’t really a crime but a chance for a new beginning, a clean slate. His exact words had been “Our only chance at the goodlife, baby.”
His deep, chesty cough made him half sit up in the bed to avoid the phlegm choking him. He shivered, a reminder to pull the blanket back over him. Between the hot sweats and the shivers, he’d been taking the blanket off and pulling it back over himself constantly. He smiled the gentle smile that Kathleen loved, at the thought of how she’d be taking care of him if she were there. She’d wipe his brow and cover it in sweet little kisses, telling him how much she loved him. He missed her. He knew the plan was going to take a while to execute, but he was growing nervous by the day. There was no way Kathleen could contact him, he’d just told her to leave a message for him at El Laberinto, a bar in the centre of town, when she arrived. It had taken some convincing to get Kathleen to go ahead with the plans. He knew that ultimately what won her over was that she’d go wherever he went. There was no Kathleen without Frank and vice a versa. If there was one thing Frank was sure of, it was that.
He raised his head up once more to cough and felt woozy, having to lie back down straight away. He noticed the watermark that he’d gotten pretty familiar with start to get blurry. He couldn’t go to a doctor- he didn’t want to risk revealing his identity and he hadn’t yet established contacts to get fake ID for him and Kathleen. His greatest weakness, and the reason he never graduated from being just a small time crook was that he took his time to do things and was partial to enjoying life and leaving the finer details till later.
The blur moved from the watermark to the whole ceiling and he lost his train of thought as the room blackened.
Draw from a previous story you’ve written. This time, shake things up and shine the limelight on one of your secondary characters (prompt from The Daily Post writing challenge on sidekicks/partner’s in crime). Based on this previously published story.