Curbside Fiction: The Absent Passenger


This is an ongoing CC serial.  The last installment can be found here.

Louis Broderick was seething mad.  To make matters worse he was in no position to do anything about it.


After their disposing of trouble in Topeka, he and Uriah had completed their journey to Wichita in Uriah’s ever-faithful Dodge Royal Monaco, as The Organization had a safe haven in a non-descript building downtown.  Finding and worming his way into the confines of the haven had been easy.  Way too easy it turned out.

Sitting there tied to the chair in the humid and dimly lit basement of the safe house, Louis could feel some of his remaining teeth starting to loosen from the pummeling.  Despite being worried about what had happened to Uriah upon their journey to safety being grossly hijacked, Louis had to chuckle to himself.  He figured he hadn’t wasted a trip to the dentist only to have this happen and prompting all dental corrections to start over.

Louis knew he needed to keep some optimism about him and not focus on his rage if he was going to overcome this predicament.

Sitting there thinking a while longer, the tall gentleman who had loosened some of Louis’s remaining teeth reappeared in the room.  Louis wanted to crack a smile when he realized what it was about the guy’s appearance that was so off-kilter.  Judging from his facial expression, Louis opined the guy must suffer from chronic constipation.  In his mind, Louis had began calling him Connie.

“Louis, don’t make this any harder on yourself…”.  Connie’s words soon turned into a droning blah, blah, blah to Louis.

While Louis really wanted to tell Connie to go screw himself, he knew he needed to drag this out some.  Why that was Louis did not know, he just knew it to be true.


As Connie was about to take a swing at Louis, the door opened.  In walked the younger, bushy bearded guy Louis had seen in the parking lot wiping the bug guts off his immaculate eighteen year old 1971 Plymouth Road Runner.  It all made sense now….Bushy must have alerted Connie of their arrival.  What further made sense for reasons incomprehensible to Louis was this younger guy looked like he had been chronically subjected to the gastrointestinal distress of Connie.  Louis couldn’t help but view Connie and Bushy as a twisted counterpoint to Batman and Robin.

Louis knew he had better get serious as his situation was pretty dire.  He still had no clue about Uriah’s whereabouts but was confident Bushy had an idea.  It was Bushy that had shown Uriah were the washroom was at…


The shock of the blow across his face brought Louis back to reality.  Connie had cold-cocked him on his left jaw.

“Louis, you better answer me when I ask a question!  How did you encounter your father?  Don’t bullshit me as it’ll only make things worse for you.”

Louis’s rage was started to win his internal battle, but he knew he had to prolong this interrogation.

“Kiss my ass you sack of shit.  I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.  I’ve never met my father.”

“Louis, your father Uriah was with you when you arrived.  Don’t lie about not knowing who he is.  How did you meet him?”

This block of information hit Louis harder than any of Connie’s various punches.  “What are you talking about?  I told you I’ve never met my father.  For someone who claims to know who my father is I figured you’d be smart enough to figure out I grew up in an orphanage and foster care, you sorry bag of…”


“Shut up!  Let me tell you something as it appears you truly don’t know.  Uriah is your father.  He worked for The Organization long ago; how do you think we knew to track you down while you were toting around the hookers in the RV?  It was evident quite early in your life you possess many of the same talents your father does, but don’t always display the same high level of judgement; that video of you is a prime example.

“We determined we had to test you.  That’s why things went the way they did with your very special passenger on your first outing in Kansas City – you were brilliant.  You never have figured out the connection, have you?”

Louis sat silent, his face serious while ingesting this information.  Connie was too intense in his presentation and did not notice Louis fidgeting his feet.

“Louis, you were a great asset to The Organization…”

“Wait a minute, dude.  What the hell do you mean by ‘were'”?

Connie had a flash of regret on his face that was gone as quickly as it appeared.


“Louis, you have done nothing but good for us.  Your assignments in Cordoba and Monte Carlo helped more governments than you’ll ever realize; your ability to paralyze the Luxembourg Mafia’s infiltration of the music industry in Nashville was ingenious.  Your talent in explaining things to juries and grand juries is unparalleled as you paint such a vivid picture of events.  Your talents are immense, but you have now been subjected to a lengthy period with a rogue former associate of The Organization.  We cannot allow such a taint to continue.”

Louis looked at Connie.

“Okay, stud, so what exactly does this mean?  You going to eradicate me?”

Connie walked toward Louis and hovered over him.  “Yes, it does.”

Louis looked up smugly at Connie.  “Well, if you say so..”

As Louis said this, he swung his now untethered legs upward, kicking Connie in the groin with a deafening crunch.  As Connie fell on his back onto the floor in howling and unadulterated agony, Louis hopped out of his chair, his legs free, but his hands still tied.  Squatting down with his right knee on Connie’s sternum, Louis swung his conjoined fists back and forth like a well-muscled pendulum, hitting Connie again and again across the face and skull until he finally lost consciousness.

When Louis finished, there were two bloody teeth on the floor.  Seeing this, Louis felt like the score had been somewhat settled.

Standing up, Louis was able to loosen the ropes binding his hands using the inward corner of a bare concrete wall.  Louis knew he needed to vacate the premises post haste.  He had to leave but didn’t want to leave Uriah – whoever or whatever Uriah may or may not be to him.  But Louis also knew if push came to shove, he had to worry about himself and screw everyone else.  That was the business he was in.


Making his way to the door of the room, Louis carefully opened it.  Silently walking down the hallway he found the steps.  His concern with trouble escalating with each passing step, Louis made his way toward the exit nearest the parking lot.  Standing by the open door looking at and admiring his Plymouth Road Runner was Bushy.

Louis had an unimpeded path to Bushy.  Knowing he had only one option, Louis took as quiet a deep breath as he could muster and proceeded.  His hands still hurt but he had to plod forward.

Silently walking up behind Bushy, Louis quickly, confidently, and silently reached around Bushy’s head, grabbed his beard at the chin with his left hand and yanked him around.  As Bushy saw Louis, he was greeted with a barrage of fist.  As Louis suspected would be the case, Bushy was too distracted in trying to get Louis to release his beard so he could escape rather than actually fight back.

When Louis saw the third broken tooth of the day, he paused in his punching bag routine but pulled harder on Bushy’s chin as he asked:  “Where’s he at?”


Crying from sheer humiliation, Bushy pointed to the Road Runner.  Louis was livid.


Accompanied by sniffles, Louis heard “in the backseat”.

Dragging Bushy toward the Plymouth by his rapidly thinning facial hair, Louis looked inside.  Looking quite drugged, Uriah was comatose in the backseat, a puddle of drool on the collar of his shirt.

“What did you give him?”

Started to bawl like a baby, Bushy was able to emit a “not enough to kill him” which was good enough for Louis.  Seeing the keys in the ignition of the Plymouth, Louis drug Bushy back into the building.  Taking him into the washroom, Louis took Bushy’s belt off.  Pushing him on the floor near the stool and facing the wall, Louis put the belt around Bushy’s neck and wrapped it around the base of the flush tank, buckling it on the side opposite, well out of Bushy’s reach.  Louis figured any tugging would simply choke the guy and he could cool off until somebody found him.  Plus he would be near a toilet if he needed it.


Quickly walking back outside, Louis fired up the Road Runner with the reassuring melody of a Chrysler starter motor, its 383 cubic inch V8 ready for whatever faced it.  As Uriah groaned, Louis went down Douglas Street toward US 400 for unknown destinations west.

As Louis got to the western edge of Wichita, Uriah gained enough wherewithal to mutter, “Louis, I’m so sorry…”

To be continued…