Richard drained the last drop of whiskey as he drove down the interstate at 100 miles per hour. It burned his chest and he grunted, before tossing the bottle out of the window.
“That’s good,” he said.
Behind him the glass shattered and he rolled up his window to drown the sound of the sirens. Unsatisfied, he turned up the radio. Richard looked at his rear-view mirror and smiled. Dozens of police cars trailed him and their flashing lights annoyed him, but at least they were silent. He changed the station and left it on an old Led Zeppelin song. He didn’t know the name of it, but the guitar sounded bad-ass.
His surroundings were a blur, but he didn’t know if that was because of the liquor or how fast he was driving. Regardless, he had no idea where he was going. He didn’t really care either. Most people in his situation would be on their way to Mexico he figured, but Richard had seen enough television to know sooner or later his car would be spinning, giving up clouds of smoke as cops surrounded him and beat him like a cheap whore. That moment would come eventually, but until then Richard was content with relaxing in his ’86 Camaro and listening to this bad-ass guitar—anything to take his mind off what had happened recently.
Richard reclined his seat and took to driving with one hand. The persistent bastards still followed him closely and the cars he approached quickly fled to the shoulder. He glanced up and saw a helicopter shadowing him as well. He ducked to get a better view and waved at it before relaxing back into his seat. Ironically, he was more comfortable now then since anytime he could remember. Nothing outside of his car mattered and he felt like he was nestled in his own home. He patted his pants and then looked to the passenger seat.
“Shit! Where are my cigarettes?”
He searched with his free hand and finally found them in the glove box.
He lit the cigarette and now was truly more comfortable than he had ever been.
Richard continued to drive, and he didn’t know how long he had been doing so, when he heard a large boom and his car bounced. And here we go, he realized. The police had flattened his tires and soon he’d be driving on rims.
“Sorry pal,” he told his car as he patted the dashboard, “but I can’t stop.”
I should have gone home, he thought to himself. For most of the day he had been at a bar by himself, drinking and smoking, trying to forget about Julian. He was leaving to get into his car and go home when a fat man started pushing his buttons. Richard couldn’t even remember what the man said, but whatever it was it pissed him off. Still, he tried to stay calm and just get home, where he’d probably just smoke a joint and whine like a bitch about Julian, but still that’s what he should have done. Instead, somewhere in between the process of leaving the bar to crawling into his bed, he planted a knife into the belly of the fat man. And now, because he didn’t just ignore the man and drive off, he found himself in this position—fleeing from the police in a car with flattened tires, adding countless other offenses to his charge of murder.
“No,” he shouted as he punched and shattered his rear-view mirror, “no, it’s Julian’s fault!”
If she had just said yes he wouldn’t be here. If she had just said yes he’d be making love to her right now, planning a wedding and a honeymoon to some romantic beach he couldn’t care less about. But, she said no. She said no after everything he had done for her. He had given Julian all he could and had made countless sacrifices, but she had still said no. He rolled down the window, reached into his pocket, and pulled out the ring box. Richard took the ring out and spun it in his fingers. Red and blue lights gleamed from the diamond. He chuckled and tossed the ring out of the window. How much overtime had he worked at his shitty job at the office for that ring? How could she have said no?
His car was reeling now, flattened tires grinding into the highway. His speed had slowed considerably and he was sure the low-speed chase was a comical scene. Richard had never been to prison and he imagined how it would be like. He'd sit in his cell with no letters to write and nothing to which to look forward. He'd probably be missing teeth from beating the shit out of the first guy that tried to rape him too. How long would he serve for this? He was fairly certain his lawyer would be able to make the murder second degree, but coupled with the charges he was currently accumulating Richard was sure he'd be serving a lengthy sentence, at least twenty-five years he supposed. If that turned out to be the case he'd get out and be fifty-five years old and his life would practically be over. He shook his head and smiled at his situation as sparks began to fly from his camaro's rims. His time was coming to a close and the chase would end. He lit another cigarette and sighed, picturing Julian's face. Despite how much she had hurt him, he couldn't stop himself from loving her. He imagined smelling her long, auburn hair and feeling her smooth breasts. He imagined the yelp she always made when he squeezed her and nibbled her neck. He loved when he'd come home for work she'd always be waiting for him to tell him how much she loved him. But, it was all obviously a lie. Some fault of his that he wasn't aware of prohibited her from loving him as much as he loved her. He'd give anything for her and was willing to when he had proposed. He remembered the look on her face while he was on his knee looking up into her eyes. It was a look of pity, as if she was embarrassed for him, like it was a joke. That's all he was, a joke. Richard deserved to be in prison and now believed he wanted to be in prison. He'd no longer make himself into a fool or be stepped on at work. He'd love the fact he'd never have to step into his tiny cubicle again, where he could hear the old and obnoxious woman in the adjacent cubicle giving her annoying giggling and gossiping over the phone all day. Yeah, he thought to himself, it's not all bad.
Richard decided to pull over and hand himself to the police, but before he did so his phone rang. He glanced at the clock and saw that it was three in the morning. No one had any business to call him at this hour; hell, they had no business to ever call him. He ignored it, but the phone continued to ring inexorably so he snatched it from his pocket. The screen read Julian. He instantly thought of throwing the phone out of the window, but decided against it. This could very well be the last chance he'd get to talk with Julian, the only person he had ever truly loved. Richard rolled up the window, turned off the radio, and answered the phone.
“Hello?” said Julian.
“Richard, please, I really need to talk.”
“Go ahead.” Richard looked at his mirror and saw a police car was nearly on his bumper.
“Richard,” she cried, taking breaths in between her sobs, “I love you. Please, I made a mistake, I just needed to time to think! Yes, Richard. Yes! I'll marry you!”
Richard was speechless. He brought the phone down from his ear and stared blankly ahead. Was he dreaming? From the phone he could still hear her crying. He had entered an ethereal state. He didn't know what to think, feel, or say. But, from no where, he burst into laughter and slammed his breaks. The police skirted away to avoid collisions and Richard opened the car door, grabbing his gun from the floor. He stood in the middle of the road as police swarmed from their cars.
“I love you Juilan.”
“Drop the gun!” a cop screamed as he and his fellow officers pointed their firearms at Richard.
Richard flailed his arms and jumped crazily, overcome with joy.
“She said yes, you fucks! She said yes!” Richard yelled in between laughter.
“Drop the gun now! Put it down!”
“Did you hear that?! She said yes! Yes!”
From her phone, Julian could hardly manage to hear anything. It was so loud it was inaudible. She could only hear “yes” being shouted, as well as “now”, or “down.”
“Honey, I can't hear you, what's going on?”
Richard didn't respond, but the shouting and noise continued. She wiped away more of her bleeding massacre and looked at a mirror. She was a total mess. She'd been weeping for the past hours, utterly confused and feeling hopeless. She loved Richard so much and she didn't know why she hadn't accepted his proposal. She had just choked up and found herself speechless at the moment. It was what she wanted and she'd imagined herself Richard's bride many times before, but it had come so soon and all of a sudden that she was overwhelmed. She'd thought as she cried and realized she made a mistake. Julian now hoped Richard would forgive her and marry her. She hoped that he loved her as much as she loved him.
On the phone she heard loud bangs, dozens of them and more shouting. She had no idea what Richard was doing. The bangs sounded similar to gunshots.