I had a little bit of time yesterday, so I was able to bang out a story from the first of the Song Lyric Story suggestions. I could probably break this up into two parts, but I decided it would be better to make this into one long post rather than two short ones. The lyrics for this story come from the song L.A. Woman by The Doors and was suggested by Wakizashi33.
P.S. If there’s anyone from L.A. reading this, and you notice some inaccuracies in my descriptions of anything, please note that I’ve never been to L.A. and I’m just guessing. I looked up the name of a motel on Google and picked the first one I saw that was close to the airport and had the word “motel” in the name. Everything else I tried to keep as vague as possible to avoid any inaccuracies.
“Are you a lucky little lady in the city of light / Or just another lost angel, city of night. Motel money murder madness / Let’s change the mood from glad to sadness.”
She peeked out through the curtains to the parking lot below. The second story room she now occupied wasn’t what she wanted. She requested a room on the ground floor, but the desk clerk of the Patio Motel insisted that none of them were available. It was tempting to go to a different hotel for the night. Despite what she wanted, there was no such thing as a perfect place. She also didn’t want to go much further away from the airport than she already had. According to her internet search, it was a twenty minute car ride from the motel to LAX and she wasn’t willing to push it much more than that. So, the Patio Motel was where she stayed.
None of the cars in the lot were different than they were when she looked outside fifteen minutes ago. A bitter chuckle escaped her lips. Twelve hours ago, she thought she was the luckiest woman in all of Los Angeles. Now she was running for her life, hiding in a hotel until her flight left in the morning. The saddest part of it, in her mind at least, is that she didn’t even know who she was running from. She’d never seen either of the men before they started chasing her.
It all started that morning, on her way to work. On her way out the door, she grabbed her full trash bag to drop it into the can outside. When she opened the lid, she caught a bright red canvas bag sitting in the bottom before she put the trash on top of it. Setting the garbage down, she pulled the canvas bag out and inspected it. She’d never seen it before. It was in pretty good condition, so why had someone thrown it away? Why did they throw it away in her can? And why was it so heavy?
Even at their heaviest, none of her purses had ever weighed this much. She guessed that it had to weigh at least fifty pounds. When she opened it, she saw why. It was money. A lot of money. Nothing but stacks and stacks of hundred dollar bills. Easily a million dollars, she thought. Maybe even two million. It was hard for her to be sure. The only time she’d ever seen that much money all at once was in movies.
Her first thought was conflicted. Did she take the money for herself or should she call the police? Her head was screaming at her to do the latter. It told her that no good would come of this. That’s when her heart interjected, saying that a lot of good could come from it. With that much money, she could help her sister pay for her chemotherapy. She could finally afford to get her father into the assisted living facility that he needed to be in. Both of them were being crushed by their medical bills. This money would make it all go away.
They both lived in Atlanta, where her aunt was taking care of them. As soon as her heart won the argument, she took her phone out and booked a flight for the following morning. After that, she called her boss and told him that something had come up and she needed to go out of town for a few days. He threatened to fire her if she didn’t come in. She said she’d be back next week. When she hung up, she smiled. She’d never set foot in that place again. Even if he didn’t fire her, she wasn’t going back. That was fine with her. She hated that job anyway.
Once she was off the phone, she walked back inside and moved the money from the red bag to something a little less conspicuous. There was a plain black backpack in her closet from her school days. It was a tight fight, but she was able to get all the money into the bag. Well, all except for the handful of bills she pulled out to use that day. She had a long day of shopping planned. The backpack got tossed into the trunk of her car so it couldn’t be seen through the windows. She put the key in the ignition and turned it. The engine roared to life.
A loud knock on her driver’s side window made her jump. There was a large white male in a black suit leaning down so that his face was level with hers. She looked over to the other window to see a similarly dressed Asian man at her passenger’s side window. Both of them sported short, close cropped hair like they have in the Army. They also both had one hand inside of their suit jackets. “Julia Parker,” the white man said loudly. “Get out of the car! Right now!”
What happened next was a blur to her. The car shifted into drive, though she didn’t remember doing it herself. Her foot jammed down on the gas. The back tires slid for just a split second before they found purchase and her car surged forward. A few seconds later, she heard the unmistakable sound of gunfire. It was followed immediately, almost instantaneously, by a thunk on the back of her car. They’re shooting at me, her panicked mind realized. Without thinking, she ran a stop sign and turned off her street, almost getting clipped by another car in the process.
For the next five hours, she drove mindlessly around the city. After what happened, she knew that she should go to the police. She also knew that if she did that, she wouldn’t get to keep the money that her sister and her dad sorely needed. All she had to do was make it to her flight. Once she was in a plane to Georgia, she would feel safe. So, she found the Patio Motel, checked in, and spent her time pacing back and forth. Well, the time she didn’t spend looking out the window, anyway.
Julia glanced at the backpack on the bed. Then she looked down at her car in the parking lot. She had backed it in so she could leave in a hurry if she saw those men again. Two bullet holes marred the trunk lid. They were so close together that they looked like eyes, staring at her. Judging her. Julia dropped her gaze to the floor and turned away from the window to resume her pacing.
The door came flying toward her.
In fright, Julia shrieked and dropped to the ground. It wasn’t until she hit the floor that she realized the door was still on its hinges. Despite all of the locks being engaged, someone had kicked it in. She wasn’t even a little surprised when she saw the large man who was at her driver’s side window. He strolled into the room like he didn’t have a care in the world. The Asian man followed in right behind, a large pistol in his hand. Without a word, the man fired.
Pain. Just pain. She didn’t know how else to describe it. Her stomach was nothing but an intense ball of agony. Julia looked down where it was coming from. Her hands had reflexively gone to the source. Blood seeped through her fingers at an alarming rate. She knew if she didn’t get help soon, she was going to bleed out.
“I’ve found a way to pay for both yours and dad’s medical bills,” the large man said.
Julia looked up at him and saw that he was holding her phone. He was reading a text message she had sent her sister an hour ago. Then he read her sister’s response, “How’d you manage to do that?”
The large man smiled before he read Julia’s answer, “I got really lucky.” Both men chuckled at that. The large man dropped her phone onto the bed and squatted down next to her. “Tell me, Julia,” he began, “do you still feel lucky?”
“I… I feel… cold.” She paused before asking, “Why are you doing this?”
The men laughed again. “You have two and a half million of our dollars,” the Asian man said. “Do you really need to ask why?”
“And before you ask how we found you,” the large man added, “there’s a small tracking device hidden in one of the money stacks. We’ve been waiting down the street for a few hours now. We were hoping you’d fall asleep before we did this.”
The Asian man fired again. More pain. This time from around her left shoulder. Blackness started creeping in around the edges of her vision. “I’ve got to admit, I like you,” the large man told her. “There’s not a lot of people who would have the guts to run from us. I’ll tell you what, just for that, I’ll go ahead and take care of those medical bills for you.”
Julia smiled as her vision continued to fade. The large man grabbed the backpack and the two men started walking toward the door. The Asian man turned to his partner. “Are you really going to do that?”
“Nah,” the large man laughed, “but what’s the harm in giving her some hope before she dies?”
Blackness engulfed all of her vision. For a brief second, she thought her family would be taken care of after she was gone. Even though she was dying, she was glad that she could do this for them. Now, after hearing the man’s declaration, that had changed to sadness and anger. Julia drifted off into death upset that those were the last emotions she’d ever feel.