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Wrong Turn

Easy money rarely is.

And if you hop that downbound train enough times, there's a good chance you'll end up in the Gutter...

Wrong Turn by Tod Connor

They knew they had taken a wrong turn. He remembered that there was a MacDonalds on the corner and a 7-Eleven just across the street from it, but this corner was dark, not even a street lamp to illumine the sidewalk. He pulled the car over and turned off the engine.

“What do you think?” he asked.

“What do I think? I think were lost, that’s what I think.”

“No, I mean, should we call Anthony and tell him were going to be late, or should we just forget about it?” 

She was still angry that he hadn’t talked it over with her, that he decided to get mixed up with his old roommate in the first place. “Why the hell did you ever want to do this at all?” she asked him.

“For us. We need the money, right? Selling a little dope is an easy way to do it.”

She was looking out her window. “I cant see anything out there. It gives me the creeps.”

“It’s just because of the tinted windows.”

The sudden tap on the glass caused her to scream.

“Jesus, what’s wrong with you?”

“Somebody’s out there,” she whispered.

There was another tap, more insistent this time.

“Start the car, Mike. We need to get out of here.”

“What are you talking about? Open the window and ask where McKinley Avenue is, for chrissake.”

“Are you crazy?”

“Youre being ridiculous. He opened his door and got out, slamming it behind him.

“Mike!” she screamed.

As the minutes slowly ticked by she became more and more anxious. Thinking that leaving him stranded would serve him right, she felt for the keys in the ignition, but they were gone. She rolled down her window but no one was out there, the night black.

“Mike! Cmon, lets go, she said to no one.

By the time he finally got back in the car she was a mess. She couldnt help shaking and was sobbing uncontrollably.

She was so angry that she couldnt bear to look at him, her head cradled in her hands. “What the hell were you doing out there for so long? she said as the key quickly turned in the ignition. He didn’t even care she was crying. They drove on in silence.

It was then that she got a whiff, the unfamiliar scent of alcohol and cigarettes. “You stink. What were you doing out there?”

That’s when she looked up and saw him.

“Just shut up and you won’t get hurt,” the stranger said.

Tod Connor lives with his wife in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. He has published fiction, non-fiction and commercial music. His work has appeared in various publications, including Talon Magazine, Ohio Views, Raphael’s Village, Apropos Literary Journal, and Christianity Today.