The young woman started to walk off. I grabbed her by the shoulder. She glared at me.
“I don’t want anything to do with this. That all the info I can give you. Let go of me please.”
I let the young woman slip away into the produce section and felt my entire body radiate with the heat of fear. I scanned the store for the sight of Phil. Nothing. Just overweight housewives stocking up on unhealthy food in the middle of a weekday.
I forgot about the whiskey, the Hungry Mans and the sugarless Coke. I went straight for the Employees Only area and hustled through the stock area, ignoring the confused looks of a couple of stock boys and ducked out the back door of the place.
A sweltering summer day high noon greeted me at the back of the store. I looked deep into the thick woods behind a little employee parking lot. It seemed a lot safer than retreating back to my car and risking Phil seeing me walk through a wide open parking lot.
The woods were comfortable to me. It was far from the first time I had hid in the cover of the trees. I grew up running through the woods of Tennessee with my older brothers and neighborhood friends.
I couldn’t stay in those woods forever though. I needed somewhere to regroup. I knew a spot. A little roadside motel on the edge of town. I had enough cash in my wallet to hold it down for the weekend and figure out my next move. I could sneak up on the place through the forest and hole up.