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The Fugitive

(You can listen to this piece on S3E10 of the podcast)


LaSalle didn’t need a handwriting expert to know who’d written the note slipped under the door of his shared apartment early on Friday morning before work. A folded note addressed to him that simply said,

“You can hide, but I’ll always seek.”

Within ten minutes of reading the note, LaSalle was looking over his shoulder at this cramped NYC apartment for the last time. He’d left his set of keys on the kitchen counter along with enough cash to pay next month’s rent so that his roommates wouldn’t be too peeved. They’d find another guy to rent the corner room soon enough.

LaSalle hustled down the three flights of stairs, heart-racing, right hand in his pocket where he kept a switchblade at the ready. He ran into the busybody matron in apartment 207 as he reached the final landing.

“You got a hot date after work tonight?” the middle-aged Puerto Rican lady asked, her Pomeranian in tow for their routine early morning walk.

“Something like that,” LaSalle said, tipping his baseball cap at her.

“Hot boy like you needs a sugar mama,” she said with a kissy face. “Come see me sometime.”

And even as he appeased her with a promise to stop by, he knew he’d never see her again. Indeed, he had a date today. An expiration date. Farewell to his time hiding out in NYC as a bearded security guard recluse. His old boss had found him. He had to get out and get out asap.

LaSalle trekked down the block, tossing his burner phone in a public trash near the corner of 127th Street and Lennox before jaywalking across the street and down the block until he made it to a bodega that sold calling cards and cheap phones. How many times had he done this? Played this game of cat and mouse? It’d taken his boss nearly a year this time, but like the man had said, he was always going to look for LaSalle. Because LaSalle held his secrets. Not that he’d snitch to the Feds. He’d left the smuggling behind for the straight and narrow, and intended to stay out of that life. But his momma had been right—once you go crooked, your life stays bent.

“Anything else?” the guy behind the counter asked, scanning LaSalle’s purchases.

“Yeah,” he said, taking a second look around the shop. “Let me get a pack of Newport Lights.” They calmed his nerves. Same brand his momma used to smoke. When she was still alive, she was the only thing he had before he got in too deep with the kingpins. Didn’t matter he was clearing six-figures a week after it was her who’d been home alone when the house got shot up. That’s when he tried to get out. Three years later, and he was still running.

LaSalle paid for his wares in cash then sped down the street to the train station. He’d light a cigarette once he made it down town. He’d need a new name, new identity, but his guy Deelo would handle that quickly enough. And a passport. LaSalle was leaving the country this time. How was Croatia this time of year? Or Mozambique? Did anyone go searching for people out in Mozambique?

LaSalle readjusted the duffle bag on his shoulder as he scanned his Metro card and entered the slowly filling station of early morning commuters. His right hand stayed in his pocket. His eyes scanned for idle passengers. He wondered whether he’d ever be safe. Or if he’d always be a fugitive.



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