Aaron wrapped both hands around the ice cold bottle in front of him and gazed out from the deck at the blazing blue sky. He had no particular love of summer, hot weather always made him uncomfortable.
He looked at his watch and then up at the front door in time to see his best friend Andy come walking in. Andy spotted him right away and sat down opposite him. “Hi Aaron. How you doin’ today?” Andy tried to keep his voice even. Aaron had been having a rough time of it for quite a while now.
Aaron looked up and smiled. “It’s all going to be fine, Andy”, he said with a hint of serenity in his voice Andy hadn’t heard in…well, in longer than he could remember. Aaron seemed to have gone from bad break to bad break, and for the life of him Andy couldn’t see why these things should happen to such a great guy. He really hadn’t done anything to bring any of it on him as far as Andy could see, and he knew Aaron’s life well. His wife had left him for another man a couple of years ago and took the kids off across the water to a new life. Aaron hadn’t seem them but a few times since, and Andy knew how much he loved his kids.
He took a sip of beer and looked at Aaron who was looking out over the bay with no expression. Damn. All the pain he’d been through. Andy felt bad for him. His business had started to fail last year, what with equipment needing replacing, and more competition, and now the recession. To cap it all off, he’d been having back pain, and the doctor had done a biopsy and Andy hadn’t had the heart to ask what the verdict on that had been. That was a week ago. Now, here they sat, and alarm bells were sounding in the back of Andy’s mind. Something wasn’t right.
Suddenly Aaron turned and spoke. “I’m so glad you could make it today, Andy”. “It’s good to see you.” He smiled, but seemed to be looking right through Andy. “So, Aaron, i’ve been meaning to ask you about that biop -“, Aaron cut him off with a wave of his hand. “It’s all good, Andy. Just like I said. It’s all going to be ok.” He darted a glance at his friend. “Things have a way of working out.”
“Well i’m glad to hear that”, Andy said, hoping he didn’t sound dubious. He had noticed Aaron kept looking at his watch. “Look, i’m really glad you came, but I have to run. Got some stuff to take care of, you know?”, Aaron stood up abruptly. “Well hell”, Andy said, “Are you sure you have to run off right away?” “Yeah, i’m afraid so.” Aaron reached out for his friends hand and shook it firmly. “Thanks for always being there for me. I mean it.” Aaron turned and walked briskly to the door. Andy sat there looking nonplussed and shook his head.
As Aaron got behind the wheel a fire truck roared by heading south, followed closely by another. He looked at his watch again. That would be the house. Right on schedule. The explosives he’d so carefully placed at the factory would go next, in a few minutes time. The employees were all long gone for the day and the cleaning crew wouldn’t be in for a couple of hours yet. Well, they wouldn’t be in at all, he thought grimly. It was going to be a rough night for the fire department. He felt bad about that.
He looked down at the seat next to him where the plane ticket lay. He reached over to the glove compartment and took out the .45 and layed it down next to ticket. Decisions, decisions. Why not let fate have it’s way, he thought. It certainly had up to now. He sighed and reached into his pocket for a coin. Heads or tails. Did it really matter? He flipped the coin and caught in on the back of his hand, covering it with the other. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, opened them and uncovered the coin. He sighed once more and reached down to the seat.
[The photo above is of a huge Bouganvilla not far from our house that makes it’s showy appearance every summer. I’ve driven by if for five summers now, and finally decided to get out today and take some photos. I took some in regular and some in infrared and then decided to splice one of each together to see what would happen. It inspired this story. Hope you enjoyed it.]