Jack was back to being his old self after his recovery. He was again getting drunk and instigating the occasional bar fight. His cronies, and Bruno, knew time was the only factor before he sought revenge on the perpetrator who inflicted the wounds to his body. Not to mention the embarrassment bestowed upon his pride. Jack considered the latter the more serious of the two.
However, Jack had a problem with that particular night. After tying on a real bender, he had no idea who had ‘served him up on a plate’. He did have his suspicions though, but nothing definite.
After the questioning of a rigger and his wife the police concluded, the couple were free of involvement with the stabbing and beating, as each had vouched for the other. They were at home on the night of the attack.
“How’d you get the injuries to your face?” the police officer asked the rigger’s wife.
“I fell … in the shower.”
“Did you go to hospital?”
“Why not?” asked the same officer. The question he directed to her, but he was staring at her husband.
“None of your business,” she snarled.
Either, she needs a drink, or she’s afraid of her husband, the officer thought, at witnessing her tremoring hands.
“We haven’t finished with this case, but if you have anything to add you can reach me at the station.”
No reply was forthcoming.
From the officer’s perspective, if Jack went around banging other men’s women he would eventually pay the price.
Bruno always maintained his silence during Jack’s beatings, no matter their severity. He thought it better for Jack not to have any satisfaction from knowing the pain he was suffering. On many, an occasion the police tried to convince him to lay charges, but he refused. Knowing of the punishment he had metered out to Bruno, sympathy for Jack would be nigh on impossible from the police. To show their contempt for him they were willing to overlook the serious assault, so solving the case was never going to be urgent.
While Bruno was giving ample thought to leaving Jack, the trailer, and their miserable existence, the discovery of self-harming allowed him to escape reality. As a form of punishment, was to misconstrue it. To him, it was a drug. His present way of living had become almost intolerable, and with Jack the reason for his intended plight, the thought of escaping was becoming more plausible as days passed. Even though he knew Jack would consider it an insult, he thought it a worthy change. Although desperate, Bruno could sense guilt. He thought of himself as the catalyst for Jack’s possible incarceration in one of Texas’s jails.
Violence and drinking is all that Jack knows. Who will keep him in line? he thought.
Although, his planned escape appeared simple, one obstacle needed overcoming.
Stan Bobek was living somewhere in Boston, so Bruno thought, and the only person capable of helping him find his uncle was Roy’s wife. Being the pay mistress for the oilrig, Bruno suspected she would have Stan’s forwarding address. Where else would she send his last check, he thought.
He had secretly accrued money in preparation for his new journey, to ensure his financial freedom. Although, he was astute enough to know it was only going to be temporary. Almost everything was ready for his escape, his truck, clothes, and cash, but not his uncle’s address.
I hope Mrs. Sanders will give me the information.
When Bruno came to collect his pay, and re-assuring himself no riggers were within earshot, he asked,
“Mrs. Sanders, do you have my Uncle Stan’s new address? I need to contact him.”
“I don’t have it. Anyway, what do you want with him? He’s no good!”
Not wanting to speak of his predicament, he replied, “I just need his address.”
She had become hardened over the years by having to deal with tough drunken men whose only thoughts were; whom their next fuck was going to be, where their next meal or drink was coming from, and only when their pockets were empty would they worry about how to survive until the next payday? That was their universe.
Mrs. Sanders was wise enough to realise he may be planning something that included Jack, and if he was, she wanted no part in it.
She liked her life the way it was.
Over the coming week, she changed her mind about helping Bruno, even though she knew Stan to be a drunk. Because of Jack’s violence, she thought it appropriate to help Bruno. She felt she had some penance to pay for past sins, so she considered it a good gesture.
When the time and conditions were appropriate, she asked, “Why do you want the address?”
Bruno suspected by not telling her, the address would remain her secret. “If I stay here any longer, somethin’s goin’ to give. Either Jack will kill me, or, I’ll end up fuckin’ killin’ him. My Uncle Stan’s the only family I’ve got, so I’m hopin’ he’ll help me get away from here.”
She hesitated, then said, “I have one condition before I release the address, but you must promise you’ll stick to it.”
“Okay.” Bruno knew he would do almost anything to escape.
“On the night or day you’re planning to leave, then, and only then, will I hand over what you’re asking for. Do you agree?”
“You’ve got a deal. I’ll come by your house tomorrow mornin’, early, before Jack wakes up. I’ll keep on drivin’.” Bruno felt ecstatic. Like a wood yoke, a great burden raised from his shoulders.
The anticipation of leaving the trailer, and Jack, caused Bruno a sleepless night. Before the sun had a chance to signal its early glow he walked to his truck, and thrown into its rear was an old army bag containing his meagre belongings.
The thought of Jack trying to seek him out crossed his mind, but he let it pass. Instinct told him to look back toward the trailer as he drove down the dusty road, to the main highway, but he steadfastly refused and held his forward gaze.
His life had a new direction.