Sunshine poured through the open window, encapsulating everything in her surroundings with a light golden glow. She rolled over, groaning as her eyes opened to the beautiful day. In the distance, she could see the city had already awoken.
'Matt,' she poked her husband harder than she intended, 'Matt, wake up.'
She knew it was his day off but it was her morning to lie in. She also knew that at any moment her train of thought would be cut -
'Mommy!' the screams echoed through the house along with the gentle thud of four feet against the hardwood floors.
Matt rolled over, his eyes aglow with trickery. As far as the girls were aware their father was fast asleep and Mommy was the only adult capable of making them their favorite breakfast.
Little did Matt know, the joke was all on him. Other than the man lying in her bed, whose clothes hung in her closet, whose toothbrush sat by hers on the sink, Olive's beautiful daughters were the only people she would happily get out of bed for.
'Come on then you terrors, breakfast time! Mommy's gotta head to work at five.' she slipped on her robe as the tiny blonde angels began to jump up and down on the bed, waking their father who was too busy watching the woman he loved look her absolute best in the glimmering morning sunlight.
Olive Conrad was a young mum. A time-line of bizarre events and chilling coincidences led to the career criminal falling in love, starting a family and giving up the day job to become a full-time mom. Of course, those events would also lead to the events of that beautiful morning and the chance that changed her world.
Five years earlier, Olive stared blankly at the mess on the brand new flooring she'd just had fitted. Her office was a disaster site. She'd have rather had The Big One crumble the place to dust, at least then she could get the clean up on the insurance. Now she had to call in Ignacio to deal with the blood staining the wood.
'I can't believe this has happened again,' she lied. She knew it was going to happy again the moment Chapo walked through her door.
With his huge figure, square jaw and pristine suit, Chapo intimidated everyone in the office. Everyone except for Olive. Now, he stood staring at her with his dead eyes.
'Why do you bother bringing them in? I know who they are Chapo. I get it, I should ask your permission before I defend the lives of my employees from your stupid brother and his stupid, addicted, smackhead henchmen, right?' She spat, the venom filling the room with a haze of rage.
Chapo stood looking at his protege, wondering why it had to be a woman that made such an imprint on him. Why did it have to be a woman that could carry out the most brutal of acts? When men did this sort of thing he would laugh, he'd give them a bonus and send them on their way. When women did it, he suddenly became afraid. If the weaker sex can do unspeakable acts to the most dangerous men in the world, he worried that this women would one day do the same to him.
'We need to go south, we cant bury another body on American soil.' Chapo avoided Olive's eyeline as he circled the heap on the floor.
'And how do you expect four Latin American men to transport the body of a politician to Mexico without alerting any of the authorities? Every move we make is being watched.' Olive spoke slowly, knowing that Chapo would develop an insanely dangerous idea that would result in Olive ruining another pair of shoes.
She was right. Chapo began to pace as he thought, twisting his wedding ring like a nervous twitch.
'We can fly it there.' He said.
Olive jumped up and down on the spot, clapping her hands together and laughing.
'What's so funny?' Chapo asked, forever finding himself surprised by the reactions of his top employee.
'I bet myself you'd take ten minutes to come up with the most ridiculous, dangerous and downright retarded idea and I won, I get to buy myself a new handbag on your creditcard.' Olive's teeth glinted under the electric lights as she laughed.
And yet, the more she listened to Chapo's plan, the more she realised she might be able to get a new coat out of this business deal. You see, Chapo had just invested in an enormous property fifty kilometer out of Cancun. Though the home had already been built and furnished, the gates and electric fences hadn't been erected quite yet and there was a five kilometer-long straight road leading to the house. If they could acquire an aircraft, the road would be more than long enough, and the surrounding countryside empty enough to land the plane, dispose of the body and be home in time for Homeland without any passports being stamped.
'You find me a pilot, I am owed a favor and can get an aircraft by midnight. If it all goes well you can have one of lion pups. We'll pay him or her, obviously. Just ask them how much.' Chapo straightened his cufflinks as he spoke, preparing himself to leave the office.
Olive nodded, she knew a bar where most of the pilots in the city hung out. If she could get one of the transatlantic guys, she might get a few free flights out of the deal. Chapo left without saying goodbye, his trademark move, leaving Olive half-alone in her office.
'A lion pup though, I mean the extravagance of that man never fails to amaze me,' Olive said to Stephen. Stephen didn't reply because Stephen was about to be buried in the Mexican desert.
Later that evening, Olive walked into the bar on Sunset where all pilots drank free. Apparently the owner had a thing for air hostesses, which hit Olive's nose the moment she walked in. A sea of primary colours, thick lipstick and impeccable hair met her like a brick wall.
The bar was dark with music playing just loudly enough to muffle private conversations. At the bar, she found a seat and ordered a gin and tonic. The bar tender smiled a confusing grin.
'You're not a steward,' she smiled, 'and you don't look old enough to be a pilot.'
Olive smiled back. She's learned the hard way that even talking to bar tenders about what she was or was not, was a bad idea. Police always retrace your steps and Olive was a pro and silencing those steps before they could speak.
Then came that first coincidence.
Olive sipped her drink, taking in the room and it's occupants. Silver-haired men and women of every race lined the booth. There was not one other person in that room that was alone.
Then the London flight arrived.
He walked in tall, his uniform lightly crumpled from the ten hours he'd spent at 36,000 feet. Olive's jaw dislodged and hit the floor. It was fate.
'Matthew Lowe?' she asked, her accent suddenly reverting and startling the bar tender.
He looked around for a moment until he clocked her.
'Oh my God, Olive?' his eyes widened for a moment before excitement overcame him.
It had been at least five years since Matt had last seen Olive, their history dating back to their late teens where they'd met at university. There had been a connection from the off. Matt had felt it but held back, sensing the danger that lay behind Olive's enchanting exterior.
'You actually became a pilot?' There was no need for a catch up, that would come later.
Olive had forgotten about work. All that mattered to her was standing right in front of her. The moment Matt's gaze met hers, she was thrown back into her childhood. She was suddenly eighteen again and the world seemed so much bigger. In the last five years she'd moved to a new continent, started a successful business, moved her way up into the world of crime quickly and all too easily. She'd managed to make millions indulging her thirst for power whilst alienating her heritage and forgetting the love she once felt flowing through her veins.
'Of course I did,' Matt grinned as he sat next to her at the bar, the rest of his staff dispersing into the club, 'Did you become the environmental activist and political nightmare you always wanted to?'
Olive's blood ran cold. This wasn't the first time she'd bumped into someone from her past but Matt was harder to lie to. He knew Olive.
'I'm... actually I sold out. Got into big business. I make way too much money and I really do very little.' Olive laughed, knowing that he'd see straight through her like he'd always done.
'So why are you here? This bar really doesn't seem like your scene. I thought you'd be living it up in some mansion in the Hills?' He never stopped smiling, it was enchanting to Olive.
'I do have the mansion, just about to get new floors put it actually... again...' on the bar, Olive's phone began to violently vibrate as a call came in from El Chapo.
She didn't answer it. Matt looked at the called ID and back to Olive.
She didn't know for sure, but Olive could see in the way that Matt looked at her that he knew what she was, what she had become. He didn't say a word, he waited for her to say it.
'You wanna make a million dollars tonight? I can't offer you Euros, that would be extortionate.' She smiled as Matt's eyes widened.
Now, the second coincidence could be argued as just bad luck. You decide.
Chapo stood by the plane with Ignacio standing on his left and Kevin to his right.
'Boss, this is Matthew. He's going to be our pilot tonight.' Olive shook Chapo's hand and nodded to Ignacio.
In reply, Ignacio raised an eyebrow. Olive knew she was in trouble leaving the body for him to clean up but she would deal with that later.
'Hello Matthew, it's nice to meet you. Are you capable of flying a G6?' Chapo spoke slowly and clearly.
'Definitely. I've not flown one commercially before, is there any way I can get a recommendation after this so I can move out of flying the Atlantic route?' Matt asked, his innocent smile fading in the company.
Chapo laughed and indicated that Olive should explain. They boarded the flight and were into the air faster than Olive had expected.
Once they were cruising, Matt flicked the seat belt sign off. Ignacio instantly started smoking a cigar and Kevin began playing games on his phone.
Olive approached the cockpit and slowly opened the door.
'Hey, can I chat to you?' she asked as Matt turned around in surprise.
'I can't tell anyone I'm doing this, can I?' Matt asked.
'No,' Olive looked down, 'I'd probably have to kill you. It's fine though, you'd want me to do it over one of the other guys.'
'This aircraft belongs to the Governor.' Matt picked up a photograph of the state Governor with another man, who Olive assumed was the usual pilot.
Olive spent the next five hours explaining what was going on and that if Matt asked too many questions he'd end up dead. She also agreed to give him an extra million of her own savings because she'd lied to him.
In the end, Matt didn't take the money. It was his own fault, he argued. He'd agreed to do the job knowing full well that Olive wasn't in big business. He'd been keeping up-to-date with her social media feeds up until a year ago, where all trace of Olive was wiped from the internet. It was around the same time she'd been made Chapo's number two. The photographs of her with Latino businessmen, corrupt American politicians and celebrities disappeared and the horrors of her job became her primary function.
The awful part was that she knew how good she was at it. She'd fooled herself into thinking that Chapo and her colleagues were her family and any threat to them was worth her getting her hands dirty.
Now, she was stood in her beautiful kitchen with her two beautiful children as her beautiful husband slept through the morning. It hadn't been long after that first trip that Matt had been recruited. The job was easy and their love had evolved. It was only when Olive fell pregnant with the girls that Matt had insisted Chapo let her go back to logistics.
So when the LAPD asked the bar tender about a blonde woman with a fake American passport and even faker accent who had hired an English pilot to fly off-radar to Mexico to bury the body of respected Republican Stephen Horn, she told them that Olive and Matt had met there that night but it seemed unplanned. Stephen Horn was five points up when he disappeared, taking a huge lead over the current Governor.
It was also strange that the Governor's plane had to be refueled the next day and was paid for by one of the anonymous donor, despite it not leaving the airstrip. Then, the Governor's wife had done something stupid and reckless, landing Chapo in a federal cell.
If the time line been just a moment out of sync then Olive wouldn't have been the one with the Colt when Stephen began verbally abusing her and threatening her employees.
Had Chapo not filled the last of the foundations for his Bel Air home then Stephen would have been four feet in solid concrete instead of ten feet under a dusty lion cage.
If there had been a strong easterly wind, or a free runway so he wasn't circling for an hour, or any number of influencing factors then Matt might not have gone to the bar that night and Olive might not have been there.
All of the chances in a long, dangerous timeline flashed before Olive's eyes as sixteen heavily armed cartel-affiliated men surrounded her and her infant children in their home on that one beautiful morning.
Had one moment gone any differently then she'd be the one holding the gun.
(Based on this Story Jam)
Fruit from this Jam:
Time's Chaos. by Benjamin
The Frenchman by MichaelThompson
Americana Chance by
Modern Factory by Matt Drake
A wrinkle in Time by
Emilio by Richard
Personal time by lindalopez
Time Machine by Zita Barlai
All in the mind by Sam
When we were young by Kip Logan
Echoes of Darkness by James
we are Al ready time machines by David Pinto
song on repeat by H.L.W.
The Black Hole Walker by Kevin Cagle