Episode 24 – CONCLUSION

As Kathy and I reached the trailer door, we were surprised to see a police cruiser out front.

“Thank god!” Kathy cried.

We knew Karl was on our heels. “Hey!!!” The hair rose on my neck. Instantly, there was a deafening blast that spun me out the door.

“Taylor!” Kathy screamed as I fell.

I crashed face down in the mud. Everything went black…

I awakened to find a policeman crouched over me, gun drawn, firing at the trailer. “Stay down!” he cried pushing my head in the mud. A red stain was spreading out from my body. Oh fuck!Kathy was somewhere…sobbing.

“No way I’m giving up!” Karl screamed…gunfire…the policeman slumped on top of me. Blood poured down my face.

Karl laughed hysterically…continued firing. More bullets hit the limp body. Beneath, I pulled myself into a fetal position. Karl was still perched in the trailer door. “You’re next, Roachie!” He crowed.

“No, Karl!” Kathy screamed from somewhere behind me.

I prayed she was out of sight. “Stay down, Kathy!” I yelled.

But she continued to challenge him. “You’re a coward, Karl!”

He laughed. “Me? A coward? Bullshit!”

“Taylor’s no match for you!”

“He’s vermin! No way I’m getting stung again!”

“You’ve already paid him back! Why don’t you get away before the police arrive!”

“Shut up, Bitch. You know I can’t get far on this leg…thanks to Roach.”

“Stop, Karl!” Kathy shrieked.

A shot rang out…mud exploded by my head…he missed.

Karl cackled hysterically. “You see that, Roachie? Your girl just shat in her panties.”

I pushed the policeman’s arm away…peeked out. Karl was weakening…sliding down in the doorway, leg and shoe glistening with blood.

“Are you okay, Taylor?” Kathy cried.

“Sort of,” I gasped. Blinding pain pulsed through my arm and shoulder, but at least I could breathe and my heart was beating. “I’d be a lot better if this weight wasn’t on top of me.” I tried to push him off, but the pain was too intense.

Suddenly, Karl collapsed and the gun clattered to the floor. “I…I…can’t believe I’m stuck with you assholes,” he whispered.

Kathy rushed up to me sobbing…rolled the policeman off, and helped me stagger to my feet.

“Why did you do it, Karl?” I asked. “Why did you terrorize me and rob us?”

“What? You think you’re so special?”

“No. Are you crazy?”

“That’s what you’ve gotta expect.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You wanna become a man, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Then you gotta be tough and take it.” Karl’s eyelids were drooping…his head was leaning against the door frame. “My old man made me tough…tough as nails.”

“So, that’s why you fucked with me?”

“Yeah…you…deserve it.” He said slowly. “Nobody toughened you up…you’re just a fucking Roach…a marshmallow.”

I walked closer. “Did your father call you a roach?”

“Sometimes,” he whispered, “sometimes…before I got tough.”

Sirens wailed in the distance. Karl fell back and didn’t move…a pool of blood gathered beneath his feet. Kathy held me close…the pain was incredible, like my shoulder’d been skewered with a hot poker.”Oh, Taylor!” Kathy cried. “There’s such a big hole.”

Police cars pulled up and we were surrounded by uniforms. We explained what happened and they told us the first officer was sent to investigate the internet video.
“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” someone said sadly. They looked over Karl and me. Said ambulances were on the way…helped me to a police car. I could hardly speak…Kathy answered their questions…held my hand all the way to the hospital.

__________________________

Karl pulled through and was sent to prison for manslaughter…turned out to be eighteen instead of fourteen like everybody thought. No wonder he was a monster. They were going from state to state scamming everyone they could…his father ended up in jail too. No big surprise.

I’m a senior now, and Kathy and I are closer than ever. We love each other and plan to get married…even though everybody says were too young…but we’ve been through so much, it makes up for our age…and by the way, nobody calls me “Roach” anymore…except as a joke. I’m over six feet and don’t take shit from anybody…definitely look out for the little guys. They can’t help it if Mother Nature throws them a curve ball.

– THE END –