Barry is swept up in something he’ll live to regret.
|Word count 1335
You’re nothing but a heap of crap! “Barry kicked the tyres viciously several times. His old Ford didn’t respond to the tirade. Steam continued to billow from the over-heated radiator. He kicked the car a few more times before he slid down on to the side of the road.
“Can things get any worse?” He screamed out in frustration, but there was no one to hear him on that lonely stretch.
His anger dissipated, and it left him feeling exhausted by his life. Tears of self pity dripped from the end of his nose, his head bowed on to his knees. He sat on the road for over an hour staring into thin air, as if the answer to all his problems would materialise. Although he knew Karen would wonder what had happened to him, he couldn’t call as there was no reception this far out. Thinking of Karen made his heart sink. When she heard he’d failed yet again to get the job, he knew she’d start her nagging. Even when he went to get a beer from the fridge, she’d start moaning. “We can’t afford beer, Barry, look on the bloody fridge door at the overdue power bill.”
“Shit, how much longer?” He groaned, squinting into the setting sun. The road seemed to shimmer in the heat. Still no sign of any traffic, and he was thinking he’d be there all night. He lit up a cigarette. Another thing that Karen moaned about.
“Christ, can’t a man have any pleasures?” Anger was building up in him again.
He heard the car before he saw it, and Barry jumped up into the middle of the road, waving his arms. A red sports car skidded to a halt. The driver, a young, good-looking guy, opened the electric window and stuck his head out.
“What’s the problem, pal?”
“Bloody car’s stuffed mate, can you give me a lift to town?”
The driver nodded and leaned over to open the passenger door. Barry lowered himself into the low slung, black leather seat of the Porsche.
“Nice set of wheels mate, y’ must have a good job eh?” He glanced at the driver, taking in his expensive clothes.
“I deal in supply and demand mate. Name’s Jim.”
“I’m Barry, thanks for the lift. Been there ages, few folks use this road since the bypass went in.”
As they drove on, Barry told Jim about his string of bad luck, his job loss, his nagging wife and money problems. The car purred along at eighty miles an hour. The soft leather felt cool on Barry’s overheated body.
“You in to cars then, Jim?”
“Love em mate, this is just one of mine. I’ve got a few.”
“Lucky you. You’re not married then?”
Jim gave a grin, “Nah, that’s not for me, love em and leave em, that’s my motto.” He laughed, showing perfect teeth. Jim looked over at Barry and said, “Mate, look I would love to help you, you seem a genuine type. I’m into the spare parts game, I sometimes need a hand with a deal, you up for it?”
“God, yeah mate. I’m your man, just call me, eh?” I’ll give you my number when you drop me off.”
Later that evening, he related his good fortune to Karen. He told her about the rich guy who’d picked him up and offered him a job in the classic car business, spare parts division.
He received a phone call from Jim the following week. Barry was desperate by then, his car was going to cost a fortune to get back on the road and no good news on the job front. Karen was getting on his nerves and he’d even contemplated just taking off. But he had no wheels.
“That you, Barry?” A voice over the telephone asked.
“Jim, mate, been hoping you’d call, you got any work for me?”
“Yes, that’s why I’m calling. Any chance of you coming to the city for a few days?”
“Love to but I still haven’t got my car fixed, so won’t be able to get there.”
“No problem, I’ll send a driver to get you. You can stay at mine while you’re up here.” A few days away from Karen and the kids appealed to Barry even more than the prospect of some cash.
“We’ve a parts shipment coming in. I need someone with a bit of muscle. You up for it?”
“I am, you won’t regret it, Jim, thanks for the opportunity, I appreciate it. Do you need me to bring anything? My tools?”
“No, we’ve got everything we need here. You’ll see our set up when you get here.”
“That’s great then, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Barry hung up, thrilled to think he’d be making a bit of cash he didn’t have to declare to the taxman, or even to Karen come to that. He grinned as he put his phone back in his pocket.
A car horn beeped outside his house at eight o’clock the next morning as arranged. Slipping into the passenger seat, Barry glanced at the driver. He looked Asian, though whether Chinese or Japanese, he couldn’t say. They all looked the same to him. Whatever he was, he wasn’t the chatty type, so they travelled in silence to their destination.
Jim’s house was in an upmarket area of the city. A housekeeper showed Barry to his room. He whistled in appreciation at the large bedroom and luxurious bathroom. Sitting on the king-sized bed, he gave a little bounce before lying back, thinking that maybe his luck had changed at last.
After a delicious dinner, Jim took him to see his car collection in the underground garage.
“Oh, mate!” Barry stared at the sleek vehicles displayed under spotlights in the vast space.
“Nice, eh?”Jim stroked a red Lamborghini as he passed.
“What I’d give for your life, Jim, you’ve got it made.” Barry shook his head in wonder. Jim smiled, slapping Barry’s back.
“Let’s see how the next few days go, maybe you could be part of the action, hey? Let’s go and get a nightcap, we’ve a big day tomorrow.”
The next morning Barry opened his eyes and stared up at the white ceiling. At first he couldn’t remember where he was, the room was swimming, so he closed his eyes. He tried to sit up after a minute, but soon realised he couldn’t move.
“Don’t worry Barry, just relax.” Jim’s face hovered above him, his white teeth dazzling as his smile widened. “I’ll explain the situation. Now I told you I was in the spare parts business, didn’t I? But what I didn’t say, that it’s human body parts.” he shook his head as if regretting the oversight. “Now, perhaps it’ll be a relief to know that your health is tip-top. I had you assessed while you ‘slept’, and your wonderful liver is going to a worthy recipient. It fetched forty thousand dollars.” Jim smiled. Barry stared up at the crazed eyes gleaming in the bright light. ”Your kidneys are pristine,” Jim continued, “they’re worth twenty thousand each. But your terrific ticker is fetching a cool hundred grand. How about that, eh?” Barry opened his mouth, but made no sound. “Yes, your heart’s going into a wealthy, but dying, Chinese fella,” Jim, paused, “Oh, don’t look like that! Those big brown eyes will soon give the gift of sight to a couple of blind girls. That must make you feel better. No?” Barry was sure he must be having a nightmare and would wake up soon. What was in those drinks last night?
“Pity there’s no call for arms or legs yet, but they’ll go into the furnace and heat the water.” Jim was still speaking in this terrible dream. “Waste not, want not, that’s what I always say.”
Before Barry could close his eyes against the bizarre reality of this scene, he saw a figure dressed in scrubs approaching him with a needle.
“I guess my luck hasn’t changed after all.”