‘Hello,’ Carla said as she flipped his phone open. The flip was yet another reminder that he needed her to move in with him where he could get an upgrade from a flip phone to something more fancy schmancy. Leo could sure use her extra money, she thought.
‘Hi, umm, hello. This is Tim at Mid Coastal Savings and Loan, I was calling for Leo?’
‘Hi Tim, this is Carla. I’m answering Leos phone. He’s not here right now’ she said back into the flip and at that moment, Carla knew inside of herself that something was wrong.
‘Well, this is odd but we were just calling to make sure he was ok. Typically Leo is the last one out and locks the doors and checks the safe. But today, all of a sudden nobody knows where he went. He just sort of disappeared and we’re confused. I had to leave early after I got sick at lunch so I don’t really know first hand what’s going on’
‘He was fine when I talked to him at lunch. We were going to meet up here tonight and discuss plans for a beach trip this summer. He didn’t mention anything about leaving early. ‘
‘I’ve asked around and everyone said that he seemed fine this morning. But after lunch he seemed to want to stay to himself more than usual they said. Normally, Leo is roaming around and doing his job very well. He doesn’t’ always talk to everyone but most security guards don’t talk to people. They seem focused. So him not really talking to anyone didn’t seem that out place but Carmella said that he seemed more withdrawn and to himself than usual after lunch. She said he seemed even a little bit nervous.’
‘That’s odd. I guess he just had something on his mind. I know that I’ve been giving him crap about moving in with him, maybe that was too much pressure. I’m sure he’ll be home soon and I’ll ask him if its anything that I did. Or, well, I don’t know, just feel him out and see what’s eating at him. But I’ll tell him to call you as soon as he walks through the door.
‘Please do Carla, we all like Leo here and want him to keep his job. But first, we just want to make sure that he’s safe. Thanks and tell him to call or text me the second you hear from him.’
‘Will do, thanks again’ Carla said and flipped Leo’s phone closed as she thought about the possibilities of what happened to him and stared at her pizza circulating in the buzzing microwave.
Driving along the Florida coastline, the palm trees flipped past him. Leo didn’t know exactly what the best approach to an escape was. He had never had any reason to ‘escape’ anything because Leo had led a pretty boring life. Married at 21, no kids, divorced at 28 and broke at 29, the highlight of his week was watching the dart games on Saturday nights at Stubby’s while he drank beer with Carla and smelled cheap cologne in the bar.
Leo suddenly realized that Leo was bored, near broke and looking for something more than just an escape with the contents of that lockbox. The lockbox had somehow played into his future, good or bad.
Now suddenly he was thrown into something that he wasn’t prepared to deal with. He had to think differently and do more planning. Because right now he was thinking like a seagull; just land on whatever pier post became vacant first.
If he drove faster he might get pulled over for a ticket and his car might get searched. Or if he drove too slowly, he’d never get where he was going..
IF he knew where he was going.
He just knew that he was driving a puke green 2004 Chevy Malibu without an air conditioner on it and with over 200K miles on it. And in the trunk was a dark wooden box that was locked. He had no idea of the value of the box or the contents of the box. But he knew that whatever it was, he had it now and he’s was running from someone somewhere to someplace to sit down and figure out exactly what he needed to do next.
The other thing that Leo knew was that the tall brunette with big dark sunglasses and long legs who drove a baby blue antique Jaguar and came back and forth to this lockbox was mesmerizing. Because she looked, walked and smelled like a mixed promise of fun, danger and a lot of money.
Leo also knew that he wanted to get to know this dangerously attractive and rich woman better.
Although he didn’t know it yet, very soon that was exactly what was about to happen.