"Let's cruise Soldier"
I flung open the passenger door to my 79 charger. He looked over his shoulder and got in,
ducking to the right the way the home boys did on a night of cruising
"Um, hit the five south".
I looked at him in the passenger side mirror and realized he wasn't the same as I had seen him before. He always had a funny look to him but I never really paid much attention to it. This time it was different though. His soul was absent. He caught me looking, turned and looked right through me as though he could read my half ass'd thoughts.
I was only 18. I had just graduated boot camp. I had a Semper Fi tattoo and a cocky attitude to prove it. I was so excited for the journey ahead of me. I was off to see the world and Camp Pendelton was my first stop. San Diego was so different from El Paso but I could still get a good taco. That's where I met Trigger a few weeks before. He was a nice guy, a little off but always nice. He never really shared much about himself but he asked a lot of questions. Not tonight though, he was very quiet and methodical.
I kept getting a sense that I ignored. It was deep in my stomach. I almost had my finger on it when Trigger demanded "Get off here!" I took a swift right hand exit at California street and headed west.
We pulled over at the tracks.
He showed up in a hoodie smelling of bonfire smoke with a hint of a strange smell to it, almost like oil. He had the same distant look in his eyes. He was nervous. Not as friendly as Trigger but I didn't think much of his ways with me. They spoke in a slang that resulted in a gun pointed at my head by hoodie boy.
"What the fuck?!"
I don't know what came over me? I didn't seem to care that I was staring down the barrel of a sawed off shotgun. I moved and I moved fast. I was out of the car and around the other side before the tweeker even knew what happened. He might have been in a better position had he kept his eye on me once he threatened me. I learned that in combat training. He was too busy looking over his shoulders. I had him pinned to the ground, now with his own gun digging into the back of his head. Trigger stepped out of the car slowly, reached for his own weapon and smiled.
"We don't want any trouble here soldier"
The sirens in the distance sent Trigger running. Hoodie boy started to squirm, I let him up and he took off running down the tracks. I wanted to run too but my legs and arms went limp. I looked down at my Metallica shirt and I was covered in blood from what I thought was because of the struggle. I dropped to my knees to take a breath. I closed my eyes and as if it were only seconds later, I opened my eyes to the bubble gum machines of the local police in front of me and helicopter lights above.
I am not entirely sure what really happened to the family in the house 3 blocks away. They found me dazed, covered in their blood holding the weapon that took their lives. All 3 of them including a little kid.
I never heard from Trigger again but I heard his name a lot in the first months of my life in prison.