“Why aren’t you using your blinker!?”
“We’re in a fucking car chase what the hell are you talking about?”
“I don’t want us to crash. Maybe if the other cars knew where we were going they could avoid us!” Summer says, raising her voice, even more, this time.
“Summer, I don’t think you understand the gravity of our situation right now,” Boston responds, sliding the car around a sharp bend in the road at the same time. The screech of the tires echoing over their conversation. “We can’t show the people chasing us where we are going. That will ruin any chance we have of escaping!”
“There has to be a better way though right? I don’t like that we’re putting innocent people in danger. Maybe we can go on foot instead.” Summer insists they find a different way to escape, she is getting very worried at this point. Boston continues throwing the car around corner after corner, nearly missing light poles and fire hydrants lining the sidewalks. The two continue arguing with each other as they attempt to outrun their pursuers.
“Boston! There’s no one behind us. I think we lost them!” Summer yells excitedly, looking into the side view mirror only to see the San Francisco skyline fading in the distance, with no other cars in sight.
“Oh my god Summer, I can’t believe we’re actually doing this. I know I said we could but I don’t know if I actually believed myself until now. This is incredible! Get some rest now, you’ve earned it.” The setting sun blinds the two as they settle in for a long drive through the night. Summer squirms and shifts to get comfortable in the passenger seat of their small Nissan to get some rest, while Boston raises his can of sugary energy drink to his lips, only to realize it has all spilled on the floor beneath him.
The morning arrives slowly. After chasing the infinite feeling of the night sky all night, the sun reminds Boston and Summer of their reality. There is no end where they can float off into space and have no worries. The high of their escape has worn off, and they realize that they must face what they’ve done. It is useless to them to avoid the situation they are in. Boston and Summer are no strangers to thrilling adventures. The two of them have been on the run for years. Leaving family and friends, pets, homes, and sometimes names behind. Adapting to a life of constant change was necessary for the pair.
“Gas is low, we should pull into the next station,” Boston says. The first words spoken since the night before. Boston slows the car down and turns into the gas station. The station is one of those that is hard to tell if it is actually open or not. With no activity happening outside, the one car parked to the side of the building is the only sign of human life in the area. Boston parks the car next to the single pump the store has, before getting out to go pay inside. The dry Nevada air catches him off-guard and reminds him just how far they’ve traveled the past night. The sand and gravel crunch under the weight of his boots as he slowly walks over into the store. As he opens the door, Boston looks around to see an older gentleman crouched over the register, the welcoming bell that rings, when he steps into the shop, causes the man to jump up out of his chair. He looks around frantically before his eyes settle on Boston.
“Welcome, sir, what can I do you for this mornin’?” The man asks excitedly. He seems to have snapped out of a trance with the arrival of a customer. “If you’re hungry we got some fresh pastries in our pantry over to your left, coffee machine has been out of order for weeks so don’t even bother with that old piece of junk,” he laughs. The older man smiles as if he just told the funniest joke he’s ever heard.
“I’m just here for some gas actually, thank you anyways. Never been one to drink coffee anyways,” Boston replies, hoping to end the conversation and get on his way. It seems the store clerk has other ideas.
“Sure, I can help you with that no problem,” he says. “What brings you in here so early, anyways?” he asks—the one question Boston didn’t want to hear.
“Oh just getting a head start on a long road trip this morning. Early bird and all that right?” Boston laughs. “Anyways, thanks for the help, but I’ve got to be on my way now, don’t want to keep the wife waiting too long you know,” Boston says, finally thinking his time in the station is over until he hears the sound of the television above the register.
The clerk has the news turned on and is now watching the screen like a hawk because of what is being reported. He turns the volume up so he can hear what the woman on the screen is saying, yet he is more focused on the picture of Boston and Summer plastered right next to her. Boston’s heart begins to pound in his chest like your head does when you have a migraine. He wipes the small bead of sweat that has formed off of his forehead before taking a deep breath to compose himself. The clerk doesn’t seem to have put it all together yet. But Boston doesn’t have much time before he does. Boston steps slowly away from the register and begins to make his way toward the exit, trying to make himself as small and as quiet as possible. As he turns away from the TV, he barely makes out what the reporter says over the sound of his own heartbeat.
“The two suspects, one Boston Lantern and his assumed partner Summer Glassport are still at large following a destructive car chase through the city late last night. The pair was last seen heading out of the city in a small, silver sedan with license plate number 7LHD738. Authorities are asking anyone with information on the whereabouts of the two to report it immediately and are thankful for your cooperation.” Boston, hearing this quickens his pace for the door, just as he thinks he will get out, he is stopped in his tracks once again.
“Hey!” he hears called from behind him. Boston turns around partially, to acknowledge the store clerk. “What did you say your name was again?” The store clerk asks.
“I don’t believe I did,” Boston replies, knowing if he were to this whole situation would implode on itself.
“Well then what is it? Just like getting to know my customers is all, you could probably tell I don’t get many.” The clerk says in response.
Boston can see right through his bullshit, but before he has the chance to get himself out of this situation, Summer comes barreling through the door, almost ripping it off its hinges.
“Boston!” she yells. “We have to go. Now!”
Without hesitation, Boston runs to the door and to Summer. They leave the store and head to the car that was just advertised all over the news with their faces shining right next to it.
“Boston they were talking about us on the radio. They were saying our names! How do they know our names Boston? We did everything right!” Summer exclaims as the two climb into the car. Boston revs the engine and peels out of the parking lot, creating a cloud of dust behind them. Covering the small store they just left.
“I don’t know Summer, I don’t know how they know us, but it’s too late to do anything about it. We just need to keep moving. I know a place we can stay a few hours East of here. All we can do now is hope no one reports us,” Boston responds, trying to be calm in this catastrophic situation he has found himself in.
“Ok, we need a real plan Boston. We keep running and hiding and running and hiding and it feels like we are in a never-ending loop. I can’t keep living like this. It’s exhausting. I think you and I both know where we have to go.”
“No, Summer, no you no I can’t do that. I haven’t spoken to him in years and he doesn’t want to see me.”
“You don’t know that! You said it yourself, you two haven’t spoken in ages, what if things are different this time?” Summer says, insistent on convincing Boston to listen to her.
“It is never different. That is the problem. Ever since I was young things have always been the same with him. He was never there for my mom and I when I was younger, and it’s been the same ever since I’ve grown older. Now he just views me as some good-for-nothing criminal,” Boston replies, clearly becoming very frustrated with where this conversation is heading. His rocky relationship with his father gnaws away at him every day. The two drive in silence for a while. Summer realized she hit a nerve with Boston and needs to leave him with his thoughts for a while.
An hour or so passes by before Boston speaks.
“Fine.” He mumbles.
“What was that?” Summer asks. “I don’t know what you said can you speak clearer?”
“I said FINE,” Boston replies angrily.
“Fine, what?” Summer asks, confused.
“FINE, WE CAN GO TO MY FATHER,” Boston says, yelling now. “Okay!?”
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry! But that is great, Boston, this will be good for all of us.” Summer cautiously replies. “I know you can do this.”
Boston looks towards his keychain, dangling over his right leg as he continues to drive. On it, a note with his father’s address. ADD SOME BACKSTORY HERE He has had it for a while now. He keeps it with his keys as a constant reminder of his past. Not willing to let go and get rid of it, or put it in his phone permanently. He is trapped in between. Now, with Summer’s help, he has found the courage to make the trip he has avoided for so long. No longer running from his past, Boston has decided it is time for this meeting to happen.
The two of them continue to drive for a short while longer, out in the barren desert now, there is not much human activity besides themselves. Suddenly they hear, “the destination is on your left,” the artificial voice of their GPS knocks them both out of their trance. They have arrived. Boston turns his left blinker on and prepares himself for the moment ahead of him.
“Boston, do you want me to go in with you?” Summer asks.
“Yes.” Is all that Boston can say.
Boston turns into the driveway of 401 Sierra Street to see a small ranch-style home. It looks older, if this really is his father’s house, Boston is not surprised. There are boxes and various knick-knacks that lay scattered around the porch and steps leading up to the front door. The lawn is patchy and dehydrated, although the blistering Nevada sun may be more to blame for that rather than its caretaker. Nonetheless, it is clear to Boston that his father cares for this house just as much, or as little, as he did his mother and himself. The three steps up to the front door are mountainous for Boston. He freezes at the top. Staring at the door that he wishes would never open, he lifts his hand and knocks as hard as his mind will let him.
“James? Is that you?”
“I go by Boston now.”
“Oh ok. Boston. How are you? What are you doing here?” Boston’s father asks
“Really? That’s all you have to say to me!? No apology? No ‘I’m Sorry?’ I think that’s the least I deserve.” Boston says, wasting no time attacking his father. Years of pent-up anger and contemptment releasing all at once.
“I am sorry, my son. I know you’re mad and I understand. You have every right to be pissed off at me. There is nothing I can say that will make you feel better. But can I at least try anyway?” Boston’s father says, asking his son for a second chance.
“Oh sure Dad, I am so very interested in what you have to say to me. What could POSSIBLY be the explanation for you leaving mom and I? Walking out and leaving us without any reason. Huh? I don’t get it.” Boston is fuming now, his fists clenched as he is trying his hardest to not lose his composure any more than he already has.
“Boston, please, just listen to me this once. I will never ask for anything ever again. But I can give you my explanation and you may do whatever you want to afterward,” his father says, his eyes beginning to water. “I love you, I always have. I never wanted to leave you and your mother. But, I had to. I did it to protect the both of you. You were better off without me. I have realized I could never be the father I wanted to be for you.”
“Why? Why couldn’t you? I don’t understand,” Boston says, his anger turning to despair.
“I don’t expect you to understand, but I was scared, I was scared of being a father, sared of the responsibility and commitment. I started drinking. When your mother was pregnant, when you were born and she was taking care of you. I wasn’t there. Not mentally at least. I had a problem, a real problem that required time and a lot of help. But, your mother didn’t want me around you. She was doing everything on her own, I was only a burden. So, I left. I was in a dark place for a while. A place I don’t wish to revisit. But I got help, I’ve been sober for 5 years now. I am able to look myself in the mirror and be proud of who I am. But not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could’ve done things differently. I will always regret what I did to you. And I don’t expect you to understand, let alone forgive me.”
The two of them stare at each other. Boston stumbles down into the seat, his mind spinning. He looks down at his hand which is now clenching his keychain. Turning it over to look at the bottle opener it holds, maybe he and his father have more in common than he thought. The stress and pain of a life on the run has sent him down a similar path. Only now he is realizing where that path could be leading him.
“Dad,” Boston says.
“Yes, son?” his father asks, ready to assist his son with anything. Wanting to prove his worth.
“I came here for your help. Summer and I are in trouble, and now it might be worse than I thought,” Boston admits. “We are on the run, from the police, our names our blown, they know what car we are driving, I didn’t know where else to go. So, here we are.” Boston lays his whole situation out for his father. Admitting to his current life on the run, moving cities constantly and breaking the laws on multiple occasions. Explaining his most recent adventure driving and sliding out of San Francisco following a failed robbery.
His father’s eyes fall to the floor. It is clear he is having a hard time processing all the information Boston just dropped on him. The room is completely silent, it’s as if someone just died and everyone is too shocked to move or make a sound. His father shifts in his seat. Boston is tense, but he has nothing to lose coming to his father. It’s not as if he needs his father’s approval, that time has passed years ago.
“How can I help?” Boston’s father says suddenly. Bringing the life back into the room.
Before Boston has a chance to respond, his father rises to his feet, walks over to him, and embraces him in a long-awaited hug.