Just Like Dillinger


Don’t ask. Don’t, because I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is that killing two junkies in a Tucson alley for the cash they had just gotten from cashing some paltry government check wasn’t worth the needle ride it might cost us. Jimmy and me must have been stupid. It was the kind of thing that always happened when we took a couple of downs mixed with a forty or two.

Now here we were, in a silver Lexus that was hotter than a Hooters waitress driving through the middle of Wyoming, two tatted up hoods with greasy hair and nerves all jangly from the speed that’s kept us going for the last twenty four hours. We stopped in Scottsdale and again in Santa Fe to switch plates that we stole from similar cars. But I ain’t seen a Lexus in the last 500 miles. Might as well of been riding camels down this interstate.

I stayed tucked between two semis that were hauling cattle in the slow lane. That’s about all that was out here, big rigs and the occasional cowboy in a pickup. That and troopers. They all blew by us in the fast lane. I couldn’t figure out why there were so many cops in the middle of nowhere. There’s a hotel in downtown Tucson where they once caught John Dillinger and a bunch of his gang. Every year they have a big festival to commemorate it. But what always blew me away is how he was Public Enemy #1, the most wanted man in the world and they drove all the way from Indiana to Tucson without getting caught. Made me think we had some kind of shot.

Jimmy says he has to piss; I tell him I ain’t stopping until I come to a town. If I pull to the side of the  road we’re just begging a cop to stop and issue us one way tickets to death row. I got no idea where we’re headed. Montana, maybe northern Idaho. Maybe we could find a place to get lost or join one of them white survival gangs. That’s still a lot of miles away.

I think about how I got here. I could blame my old man for never being around. Fuck that. I don’t like even thinking about the bastard. I could blame my mom for never reading to me but she was too busy working and trying to keep her family together. Besides, both my sisters turned out okay. One even got a two year degree from the community college in Tucson. I could blame Jimmy but a fuck up is all he’s ever been, the whole time I’ve known him and that’s been almost twenty years since the day he was the new kid in third grade and we got in a fight just to see which one of us was tougher. Or dumber, I think now. But if I want to be honest, I can only blame myself. Being a fuck up just seemed to require less effort than anything else. I became pretty damn good at it.

It’s getting to be twilight and I weigh the options, is it more of a risk driving at night? I’m getting edgy from the speed, going fucking nuts at 55 when I want to be going a hundred. My teeth are grinding and gnashing and I’m sweating like crazy.

Out of nowhere, there are blue lights and a siren behind us. I punch the accelerator and hit the fast lane. The freeway is nothing but a flat, straight ribbon as far as I can see. There are more cops behind us and in the distance I see what looks like a road block. I start to pull to the side of the road. Jimmy is screaming at me, telling me not to fucking stop. But one way or the other, they got us.

Two cars pull in front of us, two behind and one alongside. They all have their guns drawn. Jimmy reaches inside his leather jacket and I know he’s grabbing the nine. I also know the end ain’t coming by needle.

We’re going to go just like Dillinger.

~ fin ~


Bill Baber’s writing has appeared at Crime sites across the web and in print anthologies—most notably from Shotgun Honey, Gutter Books, Dead Guns Press, Down and Out Books and Authors on the Air Press—and has earned Derringer Award and Best of the Net nominations. A book of his poetry, Where the Wind Comes to Play, was published in 2011. He lives with his wife and a spoiled dog in Palm Desert, Ca.