After a few hours, Fallon fell asleep and didn’t notice when David pulled over at a closed up gas station, parking the little K car by a phone booth at the edge of the lot.
“Keep watch,” he said as he shook Fallon awake. Grabbing the screwdriver and crowbar from the floor of the back seat, he made his way over to the payphone.
Fallon, wide awake now, didn’t breathe and her stomach clenched with fear as she swiveled her head from one direction to the other. It didn’t take long for David to remove the first screw bolting the payphone to its base and Fallon prodded herself to inhale and exhale as the second screw fell to the ground.
After much practice and a few close calls, David had managed to get the removal process down to less than 15 minutes. Sometimes the phone held hundreds of dollars, or two. They never knew until it was emptied and they were stuck with quarters to pay for everything. David began unscrewing the third and final screw.
“Fuck!” David began hacking at the last screw with the crowbar, the sound of metal on metal ringing through the still night. An outside light on the neighboring house flashed on. Fallon’s stomach turned to rock and before panic closed her throat she managed to shout.
“Hurry up! Someone is coming!”
David’s hacking intensified and the couple could hear dogs barking.
“Hey! What’s going on over there?” A man yelled from his porch. “I’m calling the cops!”
Fallon ducked down at the sound of his voice and suddenly David was in the car. As they drove back onto the highway, she saw the man run into his home, bathrobe belt fluttering behind him.
“Did he see me?!” David shouted as the car picked up speed. “Did he see my face?”
“I don’t know.” Fallon’s voice was barely audible. “Let’s stop for a while. We can probably make it to North Bay. My aunt lives there and she won’t mind if we drop in. She’ll even feed us! And you can rest.”
Fallon knew she sounded whiney but didn’t care. She had a feeling that their encounter with the man in the bathrobe was a warning. They had been lucky this time.
“Forget about your aunt! It’s just us, I told you. Besides, if she’s anything like the rest of your family she’ll hate me too.”
Fallon sulked as David pulled up in front of a small coffee shop outside North Bay.
“Wait here. There’s a bit of change left, go and get a muffin and a coffee or something. I’ve got to go make us some money or we won’t be making it through North Bay.” Fallon felt a deep tug from somewhere, her sense of panic increasing.
“What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to try another payphone I saw. Just stay here. When I come back, I’ll park across the street and flash the headlights at you. When you see me just come hop in the car and we’ll get going.”
“I’ll just stay with you! You need me for a look out anyway.” What if something happened to him? How would she find him again? Where would that leave her?
“I’m still worried about that guy getting my description. No point in both of us being on the cops’ radar. Just stay here, eat something—I won’t be long.” He placed a quick kiss on her forehead and the discussion was over.
Fallon slowly got out and made her way inside as David pulled the car away from the shop. Her sense of doom only seemed to grow with each moment. She couldn’t eat even if she wanted to, so she just ordered a coffee from the lady on duty. The woman seemed to be in her 50s and kept looking over at Fallon, probably wondering why such a young girl would be dropped at a coffee shop at one in the morning. She seemed to want to talk to her but Fallon kept her eyes down and took a table near the window, ready to run out the door when she got the signal.
After an hour and three refills, Fallon lit a cigarette outside. Her fears were raging unchecked now, certain that David had been arrested. Just as she lit her second cigarette, a shot fired out into the silence of the night.