Peter was driving at 60 miles.He could not concentrate on driving .He was hungry and hadn’t had anything to eat since the previous day afternoon It was extremely hot.The damn AC in the car was also not working.It was a highway in the barren land that snaked through with no trees on sight on either side..The sun was scorching the earth mercilessly.
A word about Peter would not be amiss.He did no particular work and had no scruples about how he earned his money.Whenever he drove, it was mostly in stolen car lifted from car parks where left carelessly with doors open.He regretted having chosen this vehicle without checking the airconditioning system.He was in a hurry to get away and had not had the leisure to check this.
He generally gave lifts to unsuspecting passengers in desolate areas or highways and rob them after getting friendly .He never harmed young women or old persons but just threw them out of the vehicle when he had taken their belongings.If they foolishly resisted or shouted he reluctantly killed them.He was merciless to strong men and derived thrill in surprising them with the knife. .He carried a sharp knife secured in the leg sheath.
He saw a little yonder a young man signalling for a lift.Peter smiled at his luck.The quarry seemed well dressed and had a bag around his shoulder.The man looked handsome with ripping muscles on his arms and biceps.Must be a wight lifter perhaps, Peter thought.He was never afraid of strong men as his strength lay in the element of surprise he ensured when he hurt them surely when they least expected..
“Can you give me a lift upto Alwar?” asked the youngman
“That is no problem for I am going beyond up to Jaipur.Get in here in the front seat”Peter said as he opened the door.”You have to put up with a hot drive as AC is not working in this wretched vehicle”
“Could you not check it before you started on this long drive in hot sun”he asked
“True, I should have but could not”
“Where do you live? What do you do for living? Were you waiting for a bus?”Peter asked
“I don’t live in any particular place and am always on the move.I don’t work as what I do for living cannot be called work” he said with a smile
“Sorry.I don’t understand you.What is it that you do to earn your money for your roti and dhal.I don’t think you have a family to support” said Peter
“I will tell you all.But I am very thirsty.You also seem to be, much more than me.Let us quench our thirst”said he as he gave him a bottle of coke that was threefourths full.
Peter was very thirsty but still said “You drink first and I will have the balance”
“No, you please have.You are doing me a great help by giving me a lift.You have been driving in the hot sun for hours.I can slake my thirst after you have had yours.” replied the young man with smile.
Peter did not stand on formality as his throat was parched.He drank almost half the conetents before he returned the bottle
“Have more.Finish the bottle”said the young man
“What about you?”asked Peter as he drank the balance quantity
“I will have water that I have in another bottle.That coke was especially meant for you” he said with a smirk in his face.
Peter knew immediately that he had thrown caution to winds and foolishly drank the coke.He was enraged at this deception and took out unseen his sharp knife from the leg.The young man when he was drinking the water was unaware of his belly being slit by the sharp razor like knife till the warm blood drenched his bare stomach.He looked down with horror to see the knife deep in his belly and the man’s hand drawing it across.
As he slumped in shock at the treachery, Peter said”I never tolerate dirty tricks. I suspected you when you said you work for your living doing what people would not call work”
The young man drowsy with cloudy eyes and blood smeared hands covering his bleeding stomach said “ Do remember that you would n’t live long to drive even a mile.The coke was poisoned, you wretch”
The patrol car a shortwhile later found a stolen car dashed against a culvert with two men dead, one of them with his belly ripped open and the other possibly drugged.