About Henry Fellows (Chapter Four!)
On Killing and Innocence: The Chronicles of Henry Fellows
Chapter Four: Travelodge
Better than it sounds…
Two cars later. Four hours later. I’m in Austin now, feeling aimless. The airport seems like a good idea, but I decide to sit tight. That was Floyd’s advice. There’s a cheap motel on the north end of town, so I check in, use my fake ID and cash to rent the room, then fall on to the bed. Smell a year’s worth of sadness on the comforter, probably people running away from something, like me.
Wish I was like one of those losers, the people that make up an imaginary world that is coming after them. That, or they’re running for something just over the mean horizon. For most people, nobody’s coming and they’re not going anywhere. They don’t realize the horizon just stays the same, no matter where you run or how long you sit.
Hey, I get it. I used to live under the same delusions. I’m still seeking the pot of gold, despite what I tell myself. As far as running, in my case, afraid it’s a matter of necessity.
Trying to slip off into a nap, the phone rings. Figure it’s Floyd, has to be Floyd, so I answer without hesitation.
It’s not Floyd.
“Hank, you there?”
It’s a woman. The voice is familiar.
“How’d you get this number?”
“How you think?” Dammit Floyd. Too trusting. I silently curse and feel warmth for my old handler. The person who taught me that trust will get you killed and that trusting no one is just plain crazy. A man of contradictions, an impossible man. Always figured his obtuseness was a deliberate ploy to separate teacher from student. Whatever. Most of the time it was just annoying. I always felt like one of those neophytes in a martial arts movie, constantly chastised for asking a question, or asking the wrong question, or asking too many questions. Etc. You can imagine what I’m talking about. Just get to the point already, you know?
Still, part of me bends to his sagacity, the prudence that kept me alive more than once. “So Floyd gave you this number, I take it?”
“How else would I get it? Where are you now?”
My mouth opens but nothing wants to slip out. I give a little bit. “I’m back in Texas, Nina.” Nina’s my lawyer, or was. Don’t really know anymore. We started speaking intermittently a while ago, maybe five or six months. Before that she was left out. Didn’t want her reputation to be dragged further down. Finally reached out in a moment of weakness, at a point when talking to nobody was starting to turn me certifiable. But I never give her my number. Don’t want her in compromising situations. I hired her at the behest of my dad’s oldest friend and my closest mentor, Mr. Jensen. Made sense. She’s rated as top ten in the country, according to “get my rich ass out of prison” magazine. Of course I know what you’re thinking: If she’s so good, how come I’m on the lam, laying in a Travelodge on a comforter from twenty years ago? You saw the trial. She made sound arguments, but the preponderance of evidence against me was too much. I was a terrible client. She wanted to tell tales to counteract the prosecution’s lies, but I wasn’t into it. The jury could see. I was annoyed and scared, but to the twelve retards in the box, it came off as aloof and uncaring. Like my parents being dead wasn’t a big deal to me. Plus, a rich white guy can’t play many sympathy cards. We could’ve brought up my abusive father, but wait, I chopped him up. See what I’m getting at? Probably not. The jury certainly didn’t.