Altayra Ponder is a writer of various genres including fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and suspense. Currently, Altayra is attending Full Sail University as an online student for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Altayra hopes to one day pursue a career as a Game Writer and Script Writer as she continues to improve upon her skills. In her spare time, Altayra enjoys role-playing in a campaign of Dungeons & Dragons, watching Anime and dreaming up complicated fantasy worlds to write about. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Linkedin.com/in/altayra-ponder-68226b01a6
You Were Here
Inside Lachlan’s Roadhouse, Lady set the bottle of scotch down on the table and watched the old-timer reach for the glass. He tossed the alcohol back in a single gulp. "Pour me another, would ya, sweetheart?" "You sure you should be drinking?" Lady asked. The old-timer gave her a glance, and Lady poured him another shot. "You ever do somethin' stupid out of love? Or because you were desperate?" Lady looked at the old-timer in surprise. He was a short, frail-looking man in a wheelchair who seemed well into his seventies or eighties and smelled of stale air and rain. His hair and eyebrows had long since turned white, but what hair was on his head was thin and sparse compared to the lush and wild nature of his eyebrows. The old-timer wore a brown, leather bomber over a faded plaid shirt, and the gray, tweed flat cap he'd been wearing when he came into Lachlan's Roadhouse, was now placed upon the table. "Haven't we all done something like that at one point or another?" The old-timer gave a grunt. "I ain't asking you about everyone else - just you." He set the glass on the table and scooted it in her direction with a single spotted finger. "Refill - and make it more than last time." Lady hesitated but poured him another glass. He tossed it back, fixing her with his watery, blue gaze. "Well?" he said. "I've done a few stupid things in my life, yeah," she said. "Out of desperation or out of love?" "Both, I guess." Lady watched him, chewing at the inside of her cheek. "Did something happen? Something you want to talk about, hon?" "A lot happened," said the old-timer. "Too much that I can't take back. I'm at the end of my rope now and it's been one hell of a climb." He breathed in through his nose. "But when I go, I wanna go clean, clear. You ever hear about that robbery at the Isabella Steward Gardener Museum? Probably too young - Christ - I don't even think you were born yet." "I was two," said Lady. "Eh?" "I was two-years-old when the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum was robbed. They still talk about it on the news, on the anniversary of the day it happened. They arrested a man, but it wasn't for the robbery," said Lady. "He was some mobster-guy from Connecticut. They still have a reward out for information, you know." "Yeah, the man they arrested that was me," said the old-timer.
Lady's jaw dropped. "You're Robert Gentile?" The old-timer cracked a smile. "The one and only," he said. "And I'll tell you something else, that was one of the biggest heists I'd ever been part of. I know I said I was done with pullin' jobs, but May, she was sick, you see? She had a blood disease, and we needed the money for treatments. Figures something like that would happen right when I try to make right with the world. A man like me. It was God's way of punishing me for all the wrong I've done." "You shouldn't say things like that," said Lady. "Why not? It's the truth. Serves me right. I've been two-timin' people all my life: lying, cheating, and thieving. I was born into it, see? Wasn't taught to know any better," said Robert. "Why are you telling me this?" asked Lady. "You don't even know me. Aren't you worried I might call and turn you in?" "If I was worried about it, I wouldn't be telling you," said Robert. "They can't get me for anything anyways. There's no evidence connecting me with the heist except what I tell you. I won't tell you the part I played in it. Pour me another, would you?" Lady didn't hesitate. "But . . . what are you doing here?" she asked. "Sight-seeing'," said Robert. "The museum," Lady guessed. "You're not thinking about robbing it again, are you?" She jumped when Robert let out a sudden howl of laughter and shook his head. "No. Just came for sentimental reasons if you understand me," he said. "That museum-heist ruined my life, but it also changed me. Figured I ought to see it one last time before I kick the can." "What happened to May?" Lady asked. "Was she your wife?" "Soon-to-be," said Robert. "But time wasn't on our side. May died while I was serving time. I didn't get a chance to be with her before she passed." He looked over at Lady. "I've said all I'm gonna say. I'm clear now. Won't be long before I'm with her again." With that, he reached for his flat cap and placed it on his head and wheeled himself back from the table, turning his chair for the door of the Roadhouse. "You're leaving?" asked Lady. "I've stayed longer than I planned," said Robert. Lady followed him over to the door. "What about the roads?" "Ah, we'll be fine. Besides, I don't think my driver's gonna wait on me any longer. Could you get the door?" Lady stared at Robert. He stared back. "Why me?" she asked. Robert fixed her with his watery, blue-eyed gaze. "You were here," he said and disappeared out into the rain.