Resurrection 18Posted: November 7, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
Tobias “Tab” Carter had checked into room 14 of The Wayside on Monday. When he was on business he always stayed in similar: They take cash, they don’t ask for ID, and you can smoke in the room. He had signed the registration as “John Marcus.” It was his favorite alias, created from the first names of his first two “jobs.”
Tab was a big man: Six foot three and 250 pounds. His head was shaved in deference to his hairline that started retreating before thirty. He had a goatee which he meticulously dyed whenever he saw a hint of grey. He dressed sharp, almost always a blazer and a dress shirt, leather shoes. When you’re a big man, clothes are important.
He had managed to avoid prison because he never had a personal connection to any of his jobs, he was a contractor. When he was 19 he did six months in the Hamilton County Jail after breaking a guy’s jaw in a bar fight. Assault and battery, pleaded down to a misdemeanor. Other than that, he didn’t have any record – even a speeding ticket.
Tab was meticulous in everything he did. Everything in his life had a place and a well thought out purpose. He thrived on routines. Routines keep you out of prison. Routines save your life.
Even in this little shit-town, he got up at 5am every morning, made his bed, put on some coffee and the television news, did 200 burpees. He would then go into the bathroom, carefully assemble his toiletries on the vanity, then, as he used each, return them to their proper place in his bag. He would shave, shower and dress.
His one indulgence was cigarettes. Unless he was staking out a job, he smoked six filtered Camels a day. His first was with his coffee, usually reading the local paper if it was available. Today it was the Friday edition of the Corbin Times-Tribune, which Tab had paid the desk $5 a day to slide under his door.
“Sure thing, Mr. Marcus” the obese lady at the desk had said when he handed her the extra $5. “Cheetos money,” Tab thought to himself as he left.
This morning’s paper had the headline he was looking for: “Identity Mix Up Leads Family to Sorrow then Happiness.”
In broad strokes the paper laid out what had happened to Rev. J.W. Reeves. Now the police and KBI were looking to identify the body. Not much information.
Tab was sure they weren’t looking for him, and would have a tough time IDing the body. He had searched it thoroughly and was careful to only leave the wallet with the fake ID. No prints, no evidence. The ground was dry and grassy, so he was pretty sure there were no footprints from his size 14 shoes.
After his morning ritual, he exited the room, carefully placing a barely noticeable strip of paper in the jam as he closed the door. It was one of his routines. He went out to the well maintained but inconspicuous copper Buick Regal he used when working and got in. He left his Escalade at home in Cincy. He drove to the Huddle House across from The Wayside for more coffee, eggs and hash browns.
He walked into the restaurant, nodded at the waitress who greeted him, and gracefully folded his large body into a booth. Despite his size and age – he was 48 – he moved well.
Without being asked the waitress, “Victoria” from her badge, filled his coffee cup and asked if he knew what he wanted. He ordered and she shouted the order to the cook.
Victoria was irritating. A severely overweight woman missing one front tooth, she insisted on talking to him. Tab didn’t even look up at her as she spoke.
“My, you’re a big guy, ain’t ya?”
Tab didn’t answer.
“Can I warm up your coffee for ya?”
Tab pushed the cup in her direction without looking up or saying a word.
“You know, my daddy was a big guy, too. He was a professional wrestler. Kerry Von Erich. You’ve probably heard of him.”
“No,” replied Tab, not looking up, hoping she would take the hint. Damn, this girl was slow.
“Yup, I was born in Texas, that’s where we’s from, and I used to go watch him wrestle. ‘Course he killed himself in ’93. You probably heard about that. I think it was the steroids.”
Another customer at the counter motioned for Victoria, saving Tab from having to strangle her. He shovelled down his food, gulped the last of the coffee, threw a $10 on the table and exited.
He got into his car and, for the fourth time this week, headed for Silerville.
“Will the real John Reeves please stand up?” he asked himself as he pulled out of the lot.