I flinched and suddenly felt very hot as a wave of nausea rolled over me. The taste of bile rose in my throat. “My God! I’ve got to get out of here!” I screamed to myself.
Boozer took another long swig from the whiskey bottle. “The old guy still alive?”
“Yeah. Barely. I checked when I tied up the kid.”
“Offering to give me a ride is the last mistake he’ll ever make.”
“I wish you hadn’t hit him so hard,” Bozo sighed.
“Whiskey bottle was handy. Besides, I was the one who sat on the piece of broken glass. My ass still hurts.”
Bozo complained, “He might die before we get to our buyer in Tijuana.”
“We’ll be there in a few hours. Maybe his organs will be fresh enough even if he dies.”
“Maybe. Either way, we’re gonna be rich when we sell the truck, cargo, and body parts!”
My mind raced. Did I hear them say “broken glass?” Maybe some shards fell on the floor back here or in the space between the seats in the front. I let my taped hands fall and brushed my fingers along the floor. Inch by inch, I felt around in the dark.
Several minutes later, I was rewarded by a stabbing pain in my middle finger. I bit my lip to keep from making any noise and picked up a piece of glass about an inch wide and two-and-a-half inches long. One end was rounded and smooth. It must have been part of the mouth of the bottle. The other end was sharp and pointed. A smile broke out as I realized how useful this shard could be.
I laid it next to me and felt around for my jacket pocket. Wrong pocket. Damn! I found my handkerchief in the other pocket and pulled it out. I laid the handkerchief on the glass, folding it over the rounded edge. I held the cloth in my right hand and was about to cut the duct tape on my wrists when Boozer blurted, “I think I see a cop.”
Bozo looked out his side mirror, stared for a moment, and said, “Yeah. Highway Patrol.”
“I’m not speeding. We should be okay.”
They continued to look at their mirrors.
I’d hoped to have time to cut myself free before making my move, but having a cop so close might be my best chance. Maybe my only chance. No time to think. Now or never! I leaned forward and jammed the point of the shard as hard and far as I could into Bozo’s neck and yanked it toward me with all my strength, trying to make as big a gash as I could. The shard flew out of my hand as Bozo screamed and tried to grab both his neck and me. I pulled out of reach just in time.
Startled, Boozer almost lost control of the truck, weaving into other lanes as he fought to steady and slow it down.
Bozo fought to stop the blood gushing from his neck with his left hand while trying to undo his seat belt with his right. He got out of his seatbelt, pulled out his handkerchief and jammed it into his wound. Then he turned to face me. I didn’t have to see his eyes to know death was in them.
I flung my jacket over the seat onto Boozer’s head letting it fall over his face. I pulled the jacket as hard as I could with both hands, using my body weight as I fell back onto the bed. Boozer panicked and let go of the steering wheel as he tried to pull off the impromptu blindfold. The rig swayed wildly.
I tried to kick Bozo away with my bound feet and struggled to keep from losing my grip on the jacket. Bozo got a hand on the toe of one of my shoes. Just as he began to pull me toward him, Boozer panicked and locked up the brakes.
I lost my grip on my jacket when I slammed into the back of the driver’s seat, and Bozo lost his grip on me. He fell backwards, headfirst into the windshield. The glass cracked, but held. Stunned, Bozo clambered toward me, a trickle of blood from his head joining the much larger stream from his neck.
The truck crashed into a large gully, and the impact drove Bozo back into and through the shattering windshield. He landed in a heap and didn’t move.
Boozer was stunned and, from the sound he made when his torso slammed into the steering wheel, he might have busted some ribs. He threw off my jacket and roared like a wounded carnivore, “I’ll break your neck, you little runt!”
When he turned to get me, he noticed the flashing emergency lights from the patrol cruiser. He jumped out of the passenger side of the truck and ran into a darkened field.
It was then I remembered being a little boy and, whenever I saw 18-wheelers, I’d extend my elbow with my fist in the air and pump it up and down so the truckers would blow their air horns. I reached over the door side of the driver’s seat and pulled the air horn cord, making it blow until the patrolman gently pried it from my trembling hands.