Blood dripped from the bikers’ nose as he stepped over his busted motorcycle. “So why’d ya do it, Jonesy? Who said you were invited here anyway after you let that hooker get away with my money?” Red spittle dripped onto the road and his hateful glare penetrated deeper into Jonesy.
“Look... I... I’m sorry, man. I didn’t mean it. Honest, Smithers.”
Smithers smeared the blood across his face with the back of one of his calloused hands and slipped the other into his pocket. “HA! Nobody rides his machine into another ‘accidently’ and gets away with it that easily. Who do ya think you are?”
Jonesy backed away, stumbling over his own mangled motorcycle laying on the pavement. He gripped his arm that twisted awkwardly at the elbow. “Jez man, it was an accident. Put the gun away.”
“Not on your life, you son of a b…”
“NO!” The street echoed with the blast and Jonesy hit the ground. He lay with his legs and his right arm splayed. His limp arm was no longer there.
“Joshua Jones, come on, man. Snap out of it. Hey, I’m your brother. Me and Maria, we’ll help you through this.”
“Yeah... Well. I may not wanna snap out of it, so quit naggin’ will ya.”
Joshua stood in front of the mirror and stared at the place where his arm once was. “Not even the preacher part of you can help me now, bro, but thanks for the offer.” He put on his jacket and shoved the hollow sleeve into the waistband of his jeans and turned away.
“So... where will you go?” Maria whispered.
“Maybe I’ll head east... see Arizona.”
“Aw man, there’s nothing there but dirt. Come on home with us, bro.”
Joshua shook his brother’s hand and left the hospital room in silence.
“We’ll be praying, bro.”
“Yeah, whatever. See ya.”
“Hey you. Snap out of it. This is as far as the bus goes. You getting off or you plan to stare out that dirty window for the rest of the day?”
Joshua looked up to see the sweaty faced bus driver. “Sorry, man. Where’s the nearest hotel?”
“None around here—you know anyone in these parts?”
“Look, if you need a place to stay, there’s always my brother’s place. He’s the local preacher... has a spare room.”
Jonesy’s mouth dropped opened. “You’ve got to be kidding, man. Your brother’s a preacher too? Ha...” He shook his head slowly. “Man, I just can’t get away from preachers.” Throwing his back pack over his shoulder, Joshua followed the driver off the bus. His lungs rebelled against the stifling heat. “Thanks, but maybe I’ll just keep going.”
“Where? There’s nothing for hundreds of miles. The heat will kill you. There’s another bus tomorrow.”
Jonesy just nodded his thanks and headed for a nearby cafe.
“Hey there, dreamer. Snap out of it. Your coffee’s gone cold.”
This time, Joshua grinned. “What else is on the menu?” he asked the pretty young waitress dressed in pink.
“Chef makes a mean burger,” she grinned back. “Actually, he’s also my dad... and local preacher.”
Joshua’s smile disappeared and jerked his head toward the kitchen. He sat staring as if in a trance.
The girl's eyes followed Joshua’s gaze. “What? Did I say something wrong?”
Joshua snapped to attention and sat upright. “No actually, I’d like to speak to the chef, if he’s not busy.”
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