“Does it help?” I don’t mean to have the sarcastic tone in my voice but given the situation, I can’t help it. She looks up at me like I’m an idiot, as if this whole thing is my fault or something.
“Of course it helps. You should try it some time.” I decide not to continue the topic. Prayer to me has always seemed like something for people who never outgrew having imaginary friends. And in the two-year history of our relationship, I’ve tried to ignore Lisa’s religious proclivities.
“You think the cops are here yet?” I ask. She doesn’t answer. We’ve probably been in here for twenty minutes now, but it feels like it’s been an hour. It’s getting seriously cold. Walk-in freezers are not meant for human habitation, but the guy with the gun who put us in here didn’t seem to care. If I don’t do something, we are going to die in here.
I hit the door so hard I almost fall down. It doesn’t move even a little. And now my knuckles on my left hand are bloody. I kick at the door. I scream. Lisa just huddles in the corner with her hands folded as if some great big white hand is going to come down and open the door for us. Her calm is getting to me.
“How can you just sit there?”
“I have faith in the Lord,” she says, like everything is just fine.
“Lisa, have you ever noticed that the Lord lets people get killed in robberies all the time?”
“That’s not the Lord.”
“Ah, so when it works out, that’s the Lord and when it doesn’t, it’s Satan. Nice. Can I ask you something?”
“Is this God’s will?”
“Is my visiting you as you’re closing the Dairy Freeze and us getting tossed in the walk-in freezer God’s will? Because if it is, then I think your faith in God is misplaced and if it isn’t, then why the hell did it happen?”
“It’s all God’s will.”
“Well, if you’re right, I’d like to have some words with God about that.”
“At this rate, I won’t have to. You figure we’ll freeze or suffocate first?”
I stop talking. So does she. When I think about it, if this is it, I’d rather not die arguing with my girlfriend. I sit next to her and grab her hands. They’re colder than mine. I wrack my brain for a way out of here. I think for the hundredth time that I really should have bought that cell phone last week, but I just had to keep hunting for the ultimate rate plan. Lot of good that’s done me.
I look at Lisa. Every time I take a moment to just look at her I forget all the problems we have. She’s beautiful in the sort of way that makes most guys afraid to talk to her. She’s not the girl next door. She’s the girl next door’s hot friend. She has no money, a pessimistic boyfriend and a crappy job, yet more often than not she’s smiling. What she sees in me I do not know and do not want to ask for fear she will realize how silly it is that she’s with me. Maybe it’s the comfort of her religion. Maybe she’s just a light in a dark world. One thing I know: She doesn’t deserve to die in a freezer.
I get up and start to inspect the freezer. The door is big and solid. I don’t have the tools to get it off of its hinges. There aren’t any emergency buttons that I can find and there’s no other exit. I look over at Lisa. She’s not moving. I walk over to her.
What happens next happens so fast that it doesn’t seem real. The whole place shakes and we fall to the ground. The next thing I know, there’s a hole where there used to be a wall. I can see the parking lot outside. I can see my piece-of-shit Datsun. As we get to our feet, I begin to think maybe there is something to this whole God thing. It’s then that I see the truck. It went through the wall of the freezer right into the Blizzard machine. The entire front end is smashed and covered in brick and frozen dairy treats. The windshield is shattered. It must have hit this place at eighty. As Lisa and I walk out of the hole in the building, the door to the truck opens. The guy stumbles out holding a beer bottle and wiping blood off his head. He takes a look at his surroundings and says, “Jesus. Are you guys okay?” Before I can say anything, I hear sirens and suddenly the guy bolts as if he’s not even hurt. As he disappears into the night, I hear Lisa mumble a quick prayer.
Lisa says the Lord saved us that night. She says her prayers were answered in the form of a drunken angel in a truck. I don’t know if I agree with her but I don’t argue it. Her world is a brighter place than mine and I like that.
Jack Cameron has been writing his entire life and writing well for a third of that. He maintains the website TacomaStories.com, where he writes about every homicide that happens in the city. He’s the author of an infamous manual on bad behavior called Ruin Your Life. His next novel is about professional liars.