"Where can I take you?" the cabbie asked him as soon as he slammed the door shut.
"Ah, yes, I'd like to go to Pier 15," he told the cabbie.
The cabbie started nodding, but then he stopped when he realized that it was the next state over. He turned around to stare. "Look kid, that ain't gonna happen. That's a good forty-five minutes away. And I ain't in the mood to lose half of my fares today, just because some kid has the delusion that he'll make it to Pier 15 in a taxi cab."
Realizing that he probably should have led with it, he pulled out a wad of cash that Elmer had given him before he left and waved it at the cabbie.
"First of all, stop calling me a kid, I’m 25 years old. Second, you aren’t going to lose half of your fares… I did my research before stepping into this cab; this is more than your typical fare. Now, are we going? Or should I find a different cabbie, it shouldn’t be too hard.” In response, the cabbie turned around and started driving.
“Please step on it! Time is of the essence. It’s a matter of life and death!” And the cabbie did. Instead of it taking forty-five minutes, they made it in thirty.
Before stepping out of the cab, he asked, “Do you mind sticking around for a bit? I’ll need a ride back.”
Turning to look at him the cabbie replied, “I’ll stick around for fifteen minutes, and then I have to do something.”
As he walks towards Pier 15, he puts his ear piece in. “Elmer, are you there?” he asks. Five seconds later, a voice rings through the ear piece, “Aye, aye. Are you there already?”
“Yes. The cabbie was very motivated, pretty certain that he broke each and every speed limit.” He said as he knelt down on the pier to get the map out of his bag. He had buried it at the very bottom because he’d been terrified that someone would walk up behind him and snatch it. Then there would be no way to save Anabella.
“Have you pulled the map out, Lee?” Elmer asked him.
“Yeah, the map shows everything that’s here, even the concrete circle. This is where it’s at.” He was certain that the map was clear. This is where he would find it.
“I have to swim out there, so I’ll be off the comms for a couple minutes.” He told Elmer as he kicked his shoes off and tucked a flashlight into his belt loop.
“Okay, I’ve got a drone monitoring your progress, since I can’t physically back you up. You have to be careful; I still think this is a trap. ” As Elmer spoke, he could hear the frustration in his friend’s voice. About a week ago, he was shot in the leg. Since then, he was removed from patrolling and missions. This was slowly driving him crazy.
“Of course this is a trap. Why else would we have been e-mailed this map not two minutes after Annabella had been poisoned? But I have to do it anyway,” He said right before he took the ear piece out. Taking a deep breath to steel himself for the cold water, he reluctantly swam out to the giant concrete circle.
When he reached the circle, he was all business. He climbed the side, pulled out the flashlight and looked down. There was dark, green water all the way up the circle. Even with the flashlight, he couldn’t see the bottom. He sighed. This confirmed it. There was no way this wasn’t a trap. But still, he took a deep breath and jumped in the circle.
The water in the circle was cold, colder than he’d expected. Why hadn’t he thought to bring his scuba suit? From the map he had known the antidote was in the water somewhere, yet he chose not to bring the suit. It would have protected him better from the cold, not to mention all the germs and the -- stop it! He chastised himself. He had to focus on finding the antidote for Annabella. So taking a giant gulp of air, he dived in.
As he reached the bottom, it was starting to get hard to breathe. Using the flashlight to inspect the floor and the walls, he saw a brick, sticking out slightly, with five tally marks. The same pattern was on the corner of the map. Sticking the flashlight in his pocket, he pulls on the brick and it pops right out. The brick was hollow. Inside it was a box. He grabs the box and kicks up to the surface.
Bursting out of the water, he momentarily caught his breath. Then he climbed over the side of the circle and swam back to the pier with the box tucked under his arm. He pulled himself, box in tow, back onto the pier and stuck his ear piece back in.
“I’m back, Elmer,” he said as he opens the box. In the box was a vile full of liquid with a light blue tint.
“You almost had me worried, Lee. Did you find it?” And as he was about to reply, he heard the hammer of a gun cock behind him.
“I truly hope you didn’t think you were home free, kid.” said a familiar voice. He turned around to find the cabbie holding a gun to his face.
“Now that I have your attention, I’d like that box back. Once you give me the box we’re gonna go for a ride.”
“Why?” Lee asked in attempt to buy more time so he could switch out the vile with something else.
“It’s a simple matter of needing help from the three of you "little world savers", ” he rolled his eyes before he continued. “Yes, yes, a very unimaginative plot my employer hashed out, I know. But, it’s his thing; I’m just the hired hand.” The cabbie replied with a shrug.
“You happen to know a lot for just being his lackey,” He said, needing a couple extra seconds.
“Well, what can I say, I’m a charming lackey. Now enough chit chat, give me the box.”
Time’s up, he thought to himself as he handed over the box. The cabbie smiled as he took the box from him.
“Wasn’t so hard now, was it, kid? I want you to --" The cabbie’s voice cut into a yelp as the box electrocuted him.
And with the distraction doing its job, Lee sprinted over to the abandoned taxi cab and slammed the driver's door shut. Luckily, the cabbie left the engine running so after quickly adjusting the seat, he put the pedal to the metal and took off. He had a friend to save, he thought with a smile.