The two of you sit watching the news. There’s a photo of you on the screen.
“I can change it.”
You want to hear them say it. You want to hear them say that your life is in danger, that you aren’t a hero, or a villain. You want to hear them say that you’re just a living thing trying to stay alive.
“They keep calling me an informant. A rat.”
“They have to tell the story the way they know people want to hear it.”
He puts his hand on yours. You fall into his chest and cry. Then you’re kissing, crying into his mouth. Your blouse is on the floor. He’s carrying you to the bed. Will this be the last time?
“Why don’t they assign girl Feds to watch girls in safe houses?” you ask, after.
“They do sometimes. They send the Feds that the Feds running the case trust.”
You consider asking if he does this with every female witness, but you know he doesn’t. From the very first time, you knew this was as alien to him as it was to you.
“Could you protect me. Outside?”
“For a year. A few years. Then it’d be luck.”
You consider your options. Take down the entire organization, then go live somewhere in the middle of nowhere, with nothing, without him. Or.
“I choose you.”
“I love you. We have to move now.”
In an instant his clothes are back on and he’s got a bag packed already. He’s got wads of cash in a money belt around his waist. He’s spraying the house with gasoline so it looks like the two of you were firebombed. It’ll be days before they realize you weren’t there.
“You’re really going to throw away the bust of the decade for me?”
“Let’s not make a federal case about it.”
You both laugh because that was a joke since he’s a federal agent. You’re in the car now, a block away. Back at the house the match hits the gasoline. The rear-view mirror turns orange. You just left the witness protection program.
Happy You Just Left The Witness Protection Program Day!