He looked around the room one last time.
The pictures on the wall of his kids had faded along with eyesight.
He doubted there would be enough left of the body for whoever came along to distinguish it from his own. Long ago, he had known it would end like this. Trouble had nipped at his heels for years.
In the navy, he’d stood next to an officer on deck who’d been killed a few feet away from him. Another time, he’d hurt someone in a bar fight, but left the scene unidentified. There were other drunken memories of fights of both the fist and knife variety.
He hefted the one bag over his shoulder, liking the weight of the money. For years he’d squirreled away twenty dollar bills then hundreds. They were packed tightly away in duffels.
Years of weight training had kept him strong of body. Years of planning had left his mind in fine shape. As darkness fell, he draped the body into his chair and rested his hand on the keyboards of his computer.
The body had been the difficult part, but every system had a hole in it. The fake ID he’d gotten in TN. The used car from someone only interested in the highball offer of cash that came their way.
White sands of Florida awaited. The bungalow had long ago been put into the hands of a holding company. All that remained was setting the fire and a one mile hike while it burned.
Friends had told him for years not to store the toilet paper and paper towels so close to the gas water heater. What a tragedy that the worst had finally happened.
Everything he wore was new so there was nothing out of place for the family to notice. The cats would have to fend for themselves. If he let them out, it would be out of place. He made sure to leave a door partly ajar as sometimes happened on accident when an old man lived alone.
The smell of smoke filled his nostrils as the paper towel rolls caught. With satisfaction, he saw the wood of the storage closet was catching only and moved quickly to make sure that he wasn’t an accidental casualty after all.
Burn, baby, burn!
Trouble had found him and it was time for him to lose it.
It was a quarter of a mile to the cut through for the power lines. A pair of eyes watched him leave and followed closely, stopping only at the sound of the gas main going up at the house she had followed him to an hour earlier.
She was trouble and after thirty years, she wasn’t about to let him slip away.
Her car was close by so she drove the roads that he could access from the cut through.
The old man was loading the money into the back. He turned to get his second bag and as he leaned forward, she shoved him in and shut the lid of the trunk. As she drove away, she could barely hear the pounding from the trunk over the wail of the firetrucks. A friend would have to pick up her car.
This was going to be fun.
Payback was hell.