20: Tyler

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20. Tyler

After sitting in the booth for a good hour, we finally head back to my truck. We just talked. It felt like we were only there for a few minutes. For some reason it's easy to talk to Franny. She doesn't make things complicated. What you see is what you get. No bullshit or problems or secrets.

I like that about her. It makes knowing and spending time with her something enjoyable, simple. And I've always been one for simplicity.

When we're inside my truck, I flick the radio on, not paying attention to the music that comes out. Franny sits beside me and fiddles with the little curtains, her fingers running over the floral patterns.

"So, what do I have to do?" she asks.

"My boss always goes upstairs to the bar for an hour before the first fight starts. It's nearly five now and he won't have to be down until at least six. The first fight is at seven."

"Okay, so all I have to do is watch out?" she asks.

I nod. "You can't get inside because you're underage. I can because I fight in there. They let me in without question. But Brad, the bartender, knows you're around." I catch the look she gives me. "Don't worry, he's a good guy."

"So where am I going to be?"

"Here," I say. "You're not doing anything exciting. I just need someone I trust out here when I get out."

"You don't trust Brad?"

I think for a moment. "He's a good guy and we have the same enemy . . . but that doesn't mean I trust him."

She nods her head. "Okay, so I just have to wait here the whole time."

"I'll only be about fifteen to twenty minutes," I say. "You won't even notice I'm gone."

She looks over at me as I drive. "What are you going to do?"

"Something stupid," I sigh. "Something so stupid that it might actually be smart."

"You going to elaborate or is this conversation always going to be a riddle with us?" she asks.

I take a deep breath. "Okay, well, you already know that I'm trying to get out of the fighting and the one thing linking me to it is a bunch of files. Records and dates of fights with my name and information all over it. If the cops got it then I would be in jail with the rest of them. So . . . all I need to do is get rid of the files . . . for good."

I pull out my school backpack from the backseat and place it on the seat between us.

"I'm going to bring back my files," I say. "Then I'm going to destroy them."

She looks hesitant. "How?"

"Haven't figured that out yet," I admit.

"You do realize that's illegal, too," she says. "To destroy his files."

I look at her. "But where's the proof?"

"Um, a bunch of missing files," she splutters.

"That don't have my name on it," I say. "Files are gone; I'm gone. No links, no matches and no connection. Just a big hole where I would have been."

It's silent for a moment but I can still feel her staring at me.

"Have you planned this out?" she asks.

I shrug. "Not really."

"That's reassuring," she mutters. "What if you leave fingerprints?"

"This isn't going to turn into a crime scene investigation." I roll my eyes. "But if you're so worried then there's a pair of gloves in the bottom of the glove compartment."

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