Invasion of Privacy
“They paid me to do odd jobs for ’em, like beatin’ up people that owed ’em money. I never
really hurt no one real bad, just enough to scare ’em. Then there was this guy they wanted to
teach a lesson. He was a big shot in the government, like a mayor or somethin’. Well, I guess he
was causing a lot of trouble for ’em by movin’ in on their business. They said that beatin’ this
guy up wouldn’t work, ’cause he had a couple of bodyguards. Hey, is this gonna be in the
“It probably will, Ronnie,” I said. “Is that okay with you?”
“Yeah, what the hell, I always wanted to be famous. But I’m not gonna give you any names
or nothin’, ’cause these guys are crazy, you know? I’m not worried ’bout goin’ to prison. They
told me I’d be treated good since I worked for ’em. Do you ’member that time that you and me
and Larry Gilbret broke into school? What the hell were we thinkin’, all we got was a bunch of
pencils and staplers and shit. Man, that’s funny. You ever see Gilbret or Donnie anymore?”
I tried to tell him that he had me mistaken with someone else, but he just sat there staring at
the wall with a blank look on his face.
“Ronnie,” I said, “what did they want you to do to the big shot?”
I watched him as he struggled to come back from wherever he was and eventually he looked
at me and continued.
“He rode around in the backseat of a big limo like he was a king or somethin’. Can you
imagine livin’ like that? Someone drivin’ you around, doin’ whatever you told ’em to? Anyway,
they gave me a little box, said it was a smoke bomb. Told me to tape it to the bottom of his car.
They said that when it went off, it would scare the shit out of him. It would be a warning to quit
messin’ with ’em. I thought it was kinda funny, you know? I don’t know how they did it, but
they had a way of controllin’ when the thing would go off. I stood behind a tree and watched him
get in the car. I was laughing when they drove off, thinkin’ how funny it was gonna be. Then the
car exploded. I mean, it just blew up! You know, like in the movies? I was only a few yards
away and stuff went flying everywhere. I ran over to the car, but I couldn’t even get close to it. It
was on fire. It didn’t matter, though, there’s no way anybody lived through that. I don’t ’member
what happened after that. Sometimes I lose track of time.”
I didn’t tell Ronnie the police had found him sitting on the curb near the car, crying. They
said he was mumbling, “It’s only a smoke bomb.”
Ronnie never went to trial; he pleaded guilty and will spend the rest of his life in prison. He
never gave up the names of the people he was working for, even though he would’ve gotten a
lighter sentence. I’ve gone to see him a few times. He’s seems to be getting along fine. He still
has me confused with someone else and always wants to talk about the fun times we had
growing up together. I go along with it; it seems to make him happy.
Thanks for reading Invasion of Privacy and Other Short Stories. I hope you enjoyed it.
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