Hurricane preview – Geo Dell – Crime Fiction

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“It’s bad luck to skip school on a Monday,” Amy Knowles said to her best friend Deidre Blevins.

“I know,” Deidre said, “But I hate it. I just can’t be there. I can’t deal with those Goddamn Nuns today. You don’t have to come if you don’t want to, Aim… I didn’t even tell Jimmy.”

“I know that. Obviously I want to go… I mean,” Amy fell silent.

“What,” Deidre asked?

“We’re friends,” Amy said. “It’s been me and you way before Jimmy or Mike came along… It’s just that, sometimes we get too far away from that.” Her face colored.

Deidre nodded. “We do… So, where do you and I go today… With no car… No way to get nowhere. I hate being on foot… It’s just about all I keep Jimmy around for. That and the pot,” Deidre said.

“Really,” Amy asked?

She thought about it. “I could think of something better… For right now he’s okay. I like him well enough.”

Amy wondered what the something better might be. Deidre had colored a little when she said it. She didn’t ask though. It was good enough just being together. She didn’t want to complicate it with feelings.

“I smell rubber burning,” Deidre said and smiled. “A penny for your thoughts: That’s what my dad always says to me.”

“They’re worth more than a penny,” Amy said as they reached the parking lot. She slipped her hand through Deidre’s arm. “Lead on,” She said.

Deidre was surprised by the arm, but pleasantly surprised. She liked the feel of it, she decided. She looked up at the sky then back down at the parking lot. “We could hitch out to your place or we could walk around downtown.”

“We could get picked up by some psycho too,” Amy said.

“Never have,” Deidre countered.

“Okay, but if some psycho picks us up and kills us I am going to be so pissed at you,” Amy said. She tried a little smile on her face. Deidre answered it with one of her own.

“Never happen,” Deidre said as they started across the parking lot.

“I’d probably follow you anywhere,” Amy said softly. So softly that Deidre was not sure she had even heard her.

“Yeah; I wish that were true,” Deidre said every bit as softly.

Amy looked up at her. She had heard the words, but she was looking away. She was about to speak when Jimmy’s voice interrupted her. She looked up and there he was. His blonde hair hanging in his eyes, head half out the window of his truck. When no one answered he spoke again.

“I said, I thought you was staying at school today?” He said again looking a Deidre.

“Well, you said you might be here, so Amy and I thought we would try,” Deidre said quickly and smiled.

Amy nodded and smiled.

The car behind Jimmy’s truck blew its horn and Jimmy twisted around and glared back at the driver. He popped up his middle finger and showed it to the driver and then looked back at Deidre. “So, where we gonna go? I didn’t make no plans and I ain’t got no money,” Jimmy said.

Deidre had about forty dollars on her, two tens in her pocket and the rest in her sneaker. She pulled out the two tens. “This will get us a little way, right,” She asked?

Jimmy took the two tens and slipped them in his pocket. “We can go out to Mike’s,” he looked at Amy. “He’s working on the Nissan today… I can help him… We can hang out… We have enough for beer now and gas to get there too.” Jimmy said.

The car behind him tapped its horn once more. Jimmy levered open the door jumped out and started to turn back to the car but Deidre caught his arm.

“Baby, you’ll get us in trouble. We’ll get caught,” she said as she pulled him away.

The guy in the car rolled his window up quickly. Jimmy smiled at him, flipped him off again and then turned back to Deidre and Amy. “Lucky for that little fuck,” he said. “Come on.” He held the driver’s door open as first Amy and then Deidre crawled across to the passenger’s side and then turned and looked back at the car. The young guy behind the wheel refused to look back. Jimmy flipped him off again and then climbed back into his truck.


“What does it look like,” Bob Travers asked? He was at his own desk but he called up a view of the latest National Weather Service radar on his monitor.

Rebecca Monet leaned closer to the monitor, her breasts brushing against his shoulder as she did. “It could be the big one. It’s building fast and they are already predicting a path that will bring it right to us,” She told him. “I want to be the one that gets it if it does. I mean, I know I’ll have it at first but if it goes big I want to keep it instead of it going to Bethany,” she said in a low voice, nearly a whisper.

Bethany Jacobs was the anchor woman for Channel Eight News. She sat next to Bob during the newscasts. He had his pick of the big stories and left the rest to Bethany.

“Becca, you know I can’t do that,” Bob said in an equally low voice.

“Bullshit,” she said sweetly and smiled. “I know what your contract says. You schedule. You appoint. It’s your call.” Her breasts pressed more firmly against his shoulder. “Come on, Bob. I’m good. I can do it. You know I can,” Rebecca pleaded. Her hand came up and rested lightly on his upper arm. Her perfume was subtle but intoxicating.

“Bethany will go ballistic,” Bob whispered.

“So what,” Rebecca said.

“We have a …. A sort of,” Bob started.

“I know. It’s not like it’s a secret.” Her hand stroked his bicep. “I would do anything you want, Bob,” she said. The weight of her breasts against his shoulder suddenly seemed to increase tenfold. “I mean anything,” she said leaning closer and whispering in his ear. Her lips brushed his ear.

“Are we talking about the same thing,” Bob asked, his voice low. His eyes scanned the room looking to make sure no one was watching or eavesdropping.

“I’ve got a few minutes… I’m sure your dressing room is empty. Let me show you what I’m talking about. I think we’re on the same page,” Rebecca whispered. And this time her lips not only brushed against his ear they seemed planted there.

“I… I can’t right now,” Bob said.

“Can’t stand up,” she asked with a musical little laugh.

“Something like that,” Bob agreed.

“I’ll meet you there… I’ll let myself in,” She asked?

Bob nodded. The weight of her breasts were instantly gone, but the sound of her voice and the scent of her perfume were in his head. ‘Boy was Bethany going to be pissed off,’ he thought. But Tad Edwards, the station manager, had already dropped hints to him about seeing Rebecca work more, and a few other hints about how he thought Bethany was not aging well, meaning to Tad she was past her prime at twenty-seven and he thought it was time for a fresh face. A younger face. Rebecca was all of twenty, and she was… He made himself stop thinking about her. He had to, or else, he told himself, he’d never be able to get up.

‘Man oh Man was Bethany ever going to be pissed off,’ he told himself again.


Paul lay in Jane’s bed. He had left early this morning on the pretext of having to go over the paper work for the yearend audit, and that was partly true, but the real truth was that they had been getting less and less time together and he had simply needed to be with her.

“We have got to go,” Jane said from beside him.

“I know,” Paul told her. Her body was pressed to his own, one of his arms holding her to him. He didn’t let go. She felt so good. She reached over and bit his chest softly.

“Ow,” Paul said… “Okay… Oh all right… Maybe tonight? I could say I’m working late.”

“I can’t… You know I’ve got classes… Tomorrow?” She countered.

He smiled “That will work.” His hand slipped down and rubbed across her buttocks, squeezing gently and then, reluctantly, he let her go.

She held him a second longer and then kissed him before she rolled away. “I love you,” she said.

“I love you to,” he said automatically. “I’ll go first?” He headed for the shower and a few minutes later he was merging into traffic on I 65 and heading towards the Airport Road exit.

He and Janey had been an item for about a year. Paul Blevins didn’t really think about it as cheating on his wife Peggy any longer. He was pretty sure she was pursuing her own interests anyway. It just was.

He didn’t think too hard about the love aspect of the relationship either. Sure, he told her he loved her, and he did. She had a perfect body, and he loved it. And her attitude was great, he loved that too. And she was completely devoted to him; how could he not love that? But, the other kind of love: The kind that made you cry; made your heart ache? No. He had loved Peggy like that at one time. He loved his daughter Deidre like that. She could probably get anything at all out of him. But she didn’t abuse it. She was a pretty good kid most of the time. Not out running around getting involved in all the bad stuff that kids her age got involved in. He had no real concerns or worries about her. All of his real love. The kind that could hurt him anyway was reserved for her. She had never abused it and Paul didn’t think she ever would; or could for that matter.

He and Peggy had fallen apart a few years before and there seemed to be no way to fix it. Janey was pushing lately for them to be together. Her little boy, Lincoln, who was just two years old, already thought of Paul as his father. And Paul supposed that eventually he and Janey would probably be together.

Deidre had about six months of school left and then she would be off to college. Local if he had his way, New York if Peggy’s father had his way. And there was not too much that Peggy’s father did not get his way on. Money did talk and he had a lot of it.

Either way there was no reason to stay after Deidre was gone. There would be nothing there. It would feel too weird sleeping in the same bed, keeping up the charade. For what? For who? They really only kept up the pretense now for Deidre’s sake. If she was gone, what would be the point?

There would be no point, he told himself. Janey would most likely get her way… Sooner rather than later.

The radio played low as he drove and he listened as he watched traffic. Nothing much new. A tropical depression building off the coast of Africa. A big One. One that bore watching the weatherman said. Maybe it would be something, Paul thought, but he doubted it. They almost always slipped off and shot up the coast, or veered off and hit Louisiana or Texas. Most likely this one would too.

He came to a near dead stop in a long line of cars making their way onto Airport Road. Janey would be along in another thirty minutes or so. With Peggy’s fathers money it wasn’t a good idea to make themselves an easy target. On the surface Peggy might not seem to care, but Paul suspected she had to be thinking about the future too. Six months from now was the future. Or the end of their future. Six months from now, divorce most likely, and he didn’t mean to make it easy for her. So they were careful. Never leaving at the same times. Not being seen together.

The only reason he had stuck it out these last few years was Deidre. He wanted no custody dispute that she would be dragged into. No loss of seeing her. Peggy and her father’s money could make him look bad. Take her away. That would kill him, and he knew it. She knew how much it would hurt him, which is exactly why she would do it. For Spite. For payback. Women were like that. Women whose fathers had deep pockets were even more like that, he thought. He had no doubt that had he pulled the plug a few years ago she would have made sure he never saw Deidre again until she was old enough to make her own decisions: By then Peggy may have poisoned her mind completely.

He could do without Peggy, Jane too, but not Deidre. So here he was, day after day. Six months to go and it would all be over. He inched forward through the traffic trying to clear his mind as he went.

The audit. Now there was a sobering thought. Janey really was helping with the audit. He had bought her in. It was a mess. There were real problems there. Problems that would take Janey to fix if he could convince her to do it for him. She was helping. Going through the mounds of paperwork. She was smart, she would see it. He would let it be her idea. He hoped it would be her idea. He pushed the thoughts away.

The line of cars suddenly poured onto Airport Road and he sped up just making it out and merging into the middle lane at the expense of a blaring horn and a pissed off driver of a beverage delivery truck who had not wanted to let him in. He made the left lane finally, signaled at the light and cut across the feeder road and then into the restaurant parking lot.

A few cars, and for the second time in as many weeks a moving van was parked in the lot. Companies did that all the time, but he could not remember if there was a moving company nearby with that name. Peggy was what he was thinking of. Peggy and her father’s deep pockets. Her father’s money that could hire a private detective to follow him. To poke around. Six months, he reminded himself as he parked, got out and walked to the restaurant. She could do as she pleased with daddy’s money after that.

He whistled as he walked to the door, unlocked it and stepped inside the restaurant.


Dave Plasko shot the ball under his knee and across to Steve Minor. They had tried letting Darren Reed, who was part of their little group, play but he was too slow mentally to keep up. It confused him and then it panicked him, and once he was panicked he might do anything: Best to let him watch from the sidelines as he was now.

Steve caught the ball, faked left then walked himself to the right, put the ball up and it kissed the rim as it went through.

“That’s it. You dude’s are done,” Dave said.

“Another one?” Light said. “One more?”

“Got to work, Light,” Dave said. “Outside clearance. Can’t fuck that up. We’ll play when I’m back this afternoon.”

“Now, how is it you three white boys got that all sewn up,” Light asked?

“Hmm… We’re white? … It’s Alabama? How the fuck should I know. This is your fucked up state not mine, Light. You know we ain’t on that shit.” Dave told him.

Light bounced the ball across the small basketball court that was just off the main prison yard, and into the Recreation box on the other side.

“Yeah. If you could only play that fuckin’ good all the time…” Dave joked.

“I do, New York. You motherfuckers just cheat too goddamn much,” Light laughed.

The yard gate opened and Jack Johnson, an overweight correction officer stepped in and looked around the yard. “What the fuck, Plasko,” he asked when his eyes fell on him. “You and your girlfriends ready to go to work or not? I ain’t got all goddamned day you know.”

“Later,” Plasko told Light. They touched fists. “On our way, Mister Johnson,” he called out. He looked to Darren and Steve and the three of them headed across the rec yard to the gate.

Peggy Blevins walked up to the young woman who was looking over the computers on display. She was the top seller at Data Terminal, or at least she had been every month for the last eight months in a row.

“Can I help,” She asked the young woman.

The girl smiled. Petite. Asian. Probably a student, Peggy thought. On a budget. Needing far less than what she would want. Her nearly black hair was set off by her narrow, dark framed glasses which served to make her appear much more intelligent than she probably was. Maybe, Peggy conceded. She sized her up. The seller in her already calculating.

“I need something for school… A laptop… I’m on a budget though,” The young woman told her.

She was older than she looked, Peggy decided, early twenties. And she was actually quite beautiful when she smiled. Peggy had thought Asian but now she wasn’t so sure. Maybe Native American… Maybe mixed race… Maybe African too. Beautiful. Her observations were straight forward. She observed people. It made her a great sales associate.

“What do you want to do with it,” Peggy asked? “I mean, what will you need to do with it? I can get you a really good deal on last years model… Probably throw in some software upgrades too,” Peggy told her.

The woman looked at her watch. “Sorry,” she said. “I have to be at work soon. I’m taking accounting and that is what I would be using it for,” she told her.

“Spreadsheets… Databases… Like that,” Peggy asked?

“Exactly,” the woman agreed.

“Like Lotus Suite,” Peggy asked?

“Never tried it… Is it like Office or Access,” The woman asked?

“Better. Databases.. Spreadsheets… Word processing… All work together… In one environment. It’s nice. I have a lap top last years model, but it’s also a return. It has Lotus on it already and the full version too. I can give it to you for nearly fifty percent off,” Peggy said.

“Really? How can you do that,” The woman asked.

“We write them off,” Peggy said in a near whisper. “They could care less what we get after that point as long as it moves… Does it sound good….?” She phrased it so the young woman would give her her name and she held out her hand.

“Jane,” the young woman said. “Jane green.” Her eyes fixed on Peggy’s and held them.

Peggy really looked at her. She knew the name and the young woman had to know who she was. “I’m Peggy,” she said stupidly. “Peggy Blevins.”

“I know,” Jane said.

“Do you really want the laptop,” Peggy asked? “I really can get you a good deal on it.”

“I really do,” Jane said.

“How did you find me… He didn’t…” She started.

“No… Of course not,” Jane said. “He would be so pissed to know I am here… I… I just wanted to talk to you,” She said.

“I can take a break,” Peggy said.

“Let’s take care of the computer then I’ll buy you coffee,” Jane asked.?

“Sure,” Peggy said. “You didn’t seem surprised that I knew your name.” She said.

“There isn’t much place to hide to watch my place. The guy gave himself away a few times. Once I realized he was watching my place I knew what it had to be… I don’t want trouble… Or… Or to argue… I just wanted to talk to you,” Jane Green said.

Peggy nodded and tried to get a smile back on her face. “Come on, Jane. Let’s get this taken care of.”

They both walked away toward the back of the store.


Deidre sat and sipped at a cold beer with Amy on the wobbly metal steps that rested against the side of Mike’s trailer. The sun was out and hot. Fall or not it seemed like summer had something left to say.

Out on the red dirt that passed for Mike’s front yard, Jimmy and Mike worked on Mike’s Nissan. Alternator and brakes. Every week it was something different. Deidre and Amy were both reluctant to ride in the car because it couldn’t seem to run more than one day at a time without something breaking down.

Mike was a mechanic and he had bought the car for next to nothing after it had broken down outside of the garage he worked at and the owner had decided to leave it and let it get towed away.

“I can’t really sell it to you,” The guy had told Mike. “It’s got a little lien on it. You know.”

Mike nodded. “Is it on the title you got, Man?” Mike had asked.

“Well, no, but I gave them a different VIN so it wouldn’t show up,” the guy confided. He leaned close and whispered. Paranoid, Mike had told them all while telling the story. Like he thought that there were cops hiding in the scraggly bushes that fronted the garage.

“Then what’s the problem?” Mike had asked.

“I’d take two hundred for her,” The guy had said, pulling the clean Title out of the glove box.

“I got seventy five,” Mike offered. “Hey… You was gonna get it towed anyway.”

“Yeah… But, you know,” The guy said and smiled.

“Yeah,” Mike agreed. He had placed his hand on his wallet waiting to lift it from the chain where it dangled against his leg and pay the guy. He took it away now as he nodded. “I know. Guess it gets towed.” He agreed. He had turned and walked back inside the office leaving the guy standing by the car where it sat. He could just take the car when the guy left. He had friends that worked in junk yards. He would simply cal one of them and get a junk title. Or he could apply for a lost title through the state. Either way he would end up with the car.

He had been under an old Ford truck putting shocks on it when the guy had wandered back in.

“Hey, Man,” he said to Mike. He stayed a respectable distance from the truck where Mike was working. “Hey, I was only kidding. Seventy five will do okay.” He smiled and pulled the title from his shirt pocket. “I already signed it, Man. Just put your name in there… I’ll write you a receipt,” he finished.

“Yeah,” Mike asked? “Well, you better make it for fifty ’cause you pissed me off on that deal… I was trying to do you a favor. You want fifty I’ll give you fifty.”

The guy started to open his mouth and then closed it. “Hey, Man, you got paper? A pen? We’ll do this and I’ll catch the bus.”

Amy knew the story by heart. Mike told it to anyone who would listen. And really, she thought it was good thing it only cost fifty bucks for the car because since then it had cost seven or eight hundred dollars in parts. And that was with Mike’s parts discount and he and Jimmy doing the work. To her way of thinking the car was an absolute piece of shit.

The week before, only the second time that Amy had ever driven it, it had broken down right in front of Deidre’s house and they had been stuck until Jimmy had come with Mike and they had towed it back to Mike’s house. That had made Deidre’s mom tell them that if they needed to go somewhere at night she didn’t want them in that car. A few minutes later she had added that they could use her car so it had turned out all right.

“A penny for your thoughts,” Deidre asked again.

“I told you… My thoughts are worth a whole lot more than that penny you keep offering,” Amy said.

“Yeah, but I gave up all my money,” she lowered her voice and leaned closer, “Except my shoe stash,” she winked, leaned away and finished her statement, “To Jimmy,” she said in her normal voice. “I don’t even have  a penny.”

“Yeah,” Amy said. “Okay… I was thinking about you… I was thinking…”

“Hey, Baby, bring me a beer, would you,” Mike asked?

“Hey… Yeah.. Me too,” Jimmy added.

Deidre was looking at her. She smiled. “I guess I better get them their beers,” Amy told her.

Deidre nodded, but she couldn’t get the answer out of her head… ‘You… I was thinking of you,’ Amy had said. Deidre wondered if that meant she had been thinking of her the same way she thought of her. Her face flushed. She took a deep drink from the slowly warming beer and then cleared her throat, staring at the ground. When she looked back up Jimmy was staring at her.

“A penny for your thoughts,” He said.

“Funny… You got all my money, Jimmy,” Deidre told him.

“Well… I could loan you the penny, I guess,” he told her. He smiled. He really was a good looking guy. Half the girls at school wanted him to go out with him. And he didn’t even go to school there. He just hung out with a lot of the guys that did go there. That was how she had met him.

“My mind is blank,” She told him. She certainly couldn’t tell him about Amy.

“Okay,” he said. “Now ask me.” He smiled and then continued. “Now ask me what’s on my mind.”

“Okay, Jimmy… What’s on your mind,” she asked?

“Okay… Okay. What’s on my mind is, Mike says he and Amy are doing it, and you and me been together longer and we’re not doing it. Oh, I told them we are. I don’t want to look like a loser… But, anyways… I’m just wondering why that is,” Jimmy asked. He wore a serious look on his face, Deidre noticed, as though this really was a question he had put a great deal of thought into. Probably he had, Deidre told herself and almost laughed. She caught herself. He would never understand it. And he really did want to get to the bottom of it, she was sure.

That nearly caused her to laugh again. He caught the smile that fled across her lips.

“Hey… It’s a serious thing. I’m having a hard time with this,” Jimmy whined.

Poor choice of words, Deidre thought. But he probably was having a hard time with it. Probably did want to get to the bottom of it… Her bottom… That caused her to sober up. She slapped his hands away several times a day when they were together. She did let him touch her. After the first time he had taken it for granted. You could not open any door with him or he was in it. And touching was a lot more than she wanted and a lot less than he wanted.

“I know it’s a serious thing to you,” Deidre told him. What he had just said about Amy had sunk in. It was hard news to hear. She hoped it wasn’t true, but with Amy’s home situation she had flat out told Deidre she was looking for a way out. And Deidre really couldn’t blame her. She hadn’t come right out and admitted it but Deidre was certain her Stepfather was doing something to her. She just couldn’t figure out a way to ask her. And now this.

“I’m not Amy, Jimmy. I’m me,” Deidre said.

“Yeah, but you’re a girl just like she is… You guys are best friends… I mean.. Well, how come she is and you’re not?”

Deidre looked over at Mike who had instigated the whole thing and seemed to be listening and enjoying it. They didn’t really get along. He had put his hands on her ass one night when she had been on the way to his bathroom and nearly bumped into him coming out. She had slapped his hands away and then he had put them on her breasts. That had got his face slapped and not lightly either. He had raised his hands and Deidre had told him to go ahead. She’d just let Jimmy know what he had done and a bruise on face would just be the icing on the cake.

Mike had backed off but the war had been on since then.

She got up and hugged Jimmy. Pressing her body against him. He liked that. “Asshole,” she mouthed to Mike.

“Cunt,” he mouthed back. He made a circle with his thumb and index finger and then poked his other finger through it

“I’ll do it soon,” She whispered in Jimmy’s ear. “Ain’t I worth waiting for?”

“How soon, Dee Dee, ’cause it’s been awhile since they been doing it,” Jimmy said.

“Two weeks,” she whispered.

“One week,” Jimmy said. “I need it. You drive me crazy.”

“Two weeks and I’ll do the other,” She whispered.

“When,” Jimmy asked?

She looked over at Mike whose mean little eyes glared back at her.

“Right now, I guess,” Deidre said reluctantly.

“Yeah?” Jimmy asked breathlessly.

“Yeah,” she said. If Amy hadn’t given in to Mike she might have made Jimmy wait a lot longer for any sex at all.

“Come on,” Jimmy said huskily.

She stopped him. “Don’t you tell anybody about the things we do. I mean it, Jimmy,” she whispered.

“I won’t,” Jimmy agreed.

“You said you do… You said you tell them we do anyway… And, Mike does…You said so… He must have told you or you wouldn’t have come to me.”

“Well, I ain’t Mike,” Jimmy said. He took her hand. “Coming,” he asked?

She nodded.

They met Amy coming out with the beer. Jimmy took his from her.

Amy raised her eyebrows at Deidre as if to ask what was up, but it was clear when she said nothing and followed Jimmy into the trailer and shut the door. Then she heard the click of the deadbolt as Jimmy ran it home. She looked over at Mike who was smiling.

“You did that?” Amy asked him.

“Hey, I’m getting it… You’re puttin’ out. My buddy should be getting’ it too.” Mike said reasonably.

“You’re an asshole sometimes, Mike.”

“Yeah? … Come here,” Mike told her.

Amy walked over to where he was and handed him the beer she had gone to get for him.

“You watch your mouth, Aim,” he said. He grabbed her wrist and twisted it. “Okay,” he asked?

She cried out even though she had expected it and told herself she wouldn’t. “Okay,” she said. I’m sorry.” Mike could be exactly like her stepfather and sometimes he scared her just as badly. Tears sprang to her eyes, perched on her lids, waiting to fall. Hell, he scared her all the time she admitted to herself.

“Come here and do something for me,” Mike said.

“”We’re outside… People will see,” Amy said as his hands went to her shoulders and pushed her down.

“Who… There’s nobody here, and they’ll be gone for awhile.” He pushed harder on her shoulders. Increasing the pressure on her collar bones until it started to become painful.

“Stop hurting me,” Amy said. “Please!”

“Then do it,” Mike told her.

“Okay.. Okay,” Amy said. “I will.”


Jack Johnson sauntered over to where the three of them were working at the side of the highway painting a long section of guardrail.

“Plasko,” he said.

Dave balanced his paint brush on the top of his can and then walked over.

“You been around. You know how this works. I’m going to slip in out of this heat … Take a little shade over yonder at Dell’s,” he pointed to a bar that featured exotic dancers across the road.

“Go ahead,” Dave said. “We ain’t going nowhere. The three of us only got a couple of years left,” he said.

“That’s why I hired you. What you gonna run for with so little time to do. Hell, boy, you are a hardened con. A couple years ain’t shit to you. Skid bid, as they say,” Jack Johnson said.

“That is the way it is,” Dave agreed.

“I’ll get y’all a couple a boxes a Top from the commissary when we get back… That cool,” Johnson asked?

“Cool for me and Steve, but Darren, he don’t smoke. A candy bar will be fine for him.” Dave said.

“We got a deal? And you don’t run your mouths to none of those black boys you been playing ball with. They can’t keep their mouths shut,” Johnson said.

“We got a deal,” Dave agreed.

“Good,” Johnson said. “I’m gonna get my old ass out of this heat,” he said. He crossed the road and went into Dells, and Dave walked over and went back to work.

“What do you figure to do,” Steve asked?

“I figure to paint this guardrail,” Dave told him.

“While that old bastard is over there in the air conditioning drinking beer and fuckin’ around with all the young stuff that’s been going in and out of there all mornin’,” Steve asked?

“Yep,” Dave agreed. “You need to work on your patience. You don’t have much.”

Steve stayed silent a minute. “But I thought we got this job so we could skate. Before those goddamn warrants catch up to all of us from New York and we can’t can’t get no outside clearance,” he said.

“And we will,” Dave agreed. “This is the beginning of our second week on the job. He’s just trusted us enough to make a deal. A box of top each for you and me, a candy bar for Darren. That lets him hang out in there and get his drink on, and yeah, maybe some young stuff too. It don’t matter to us.  Tonight when he pays us? We’re good. That seals that deal.  Put’s him at ease. We’re both dirty then. He ain’t gonna worry about us no more after that. Tomorrow we’ll take off, that’s soon enough,” Dave said.

“You serious,” Steve asked?

“Yeah. I am. I said what I said. It’s the only a reason I’m out here in this heat bustin’ my balls. So, pay attention today.  Keep your eyes open. So we know which way to go tomorrow… Like, did you notice how that kid over there to the used car lot is spending most of his time at Dell’s too?  Leaves that car office wide open. Walk right in, get a set of keys off their board and all like it was nothin’,” Dave said. “That’s what you should be doing. Paying attention. Tomorrow will be the day.” He looked up. Darren had wandered over and listened as they had talked.

“I’m really gonna get a candy bar tonight,” he asked?

“Yeah. You are,” Dave said.

“Did you tell him Snickers,” Darren asked? “’Cause it’s all I like.”

“No,” Dave admitted. “But I will tell him on the way back.”

Darren nodded and then walked back over and began painting again.

“You really gonna bring that retard with us,” Steve asked?

Dave looked at him. “Sometimes I like his company a whole lot more than yours,” Dave told him. “What you got to say to that, smart ass,” Dave asked?

Steve turned away and began painting again. “I didn’t mean nothing by it,” Steve said. “He’s just a little slow.”

“I see you can be too, Steve, like right now,” Dave said.

“I get you. I get you. I’ll leave off it,” Steve said.

Dave nodded, picked up his own paintbrush and went back to work.


There was a small park outside of the The Data Terminal. They took their coffees outside to a concrete table near a half dozen skinny trees that might provide some shade in another ten or twenty years.

Peggy sipped at her coffee and looked at Jane Green again.

She really was beautiful. She had seen a few telephoto lens type pictures of her, but looking at them and the actual woman, she would had never made the connection. Jane looked up and caught her looking.

“I appreciate the deal on the computer,” Jane said. “The one I have is so shot.”

Peggy nodded. “I just hope you didn’t buy it just so you could talk to me.”

“Well. I needed the machine. I wanted to talk to you, the two things seem to work together,” Jane said. She took a deep breath. “I know this is crazy. Paul would be so pissed off if he knew I was here.”

“I think you’re right on that count,” Peggy said.

“Yeah… Well… Anyway, I’m not going to lay a bunch of crap on you. I just wanted you to know I didn’t set out to try to take him away from you. I didn’t even realize that he had a family at first,” Jane said.

“He didn’t tell you,” Peggy asked?

Jane shook her head. “But I didn’t ask either. He doesn’t even  wear a ring. Who would now… By the time I did know it was too late.” Jane said.

“Is the little boy… Is he Paul’s? Is that what you mean by too late.” Peggy asked?

“No… My first relationship… It was a bad idea. He was gone before Lincoln was even born. I know… Seems I don’t pick them well. He’s never been back. He’s never seen him… I met Paul and had already fallen in love with him before Lincoln was a year old… I know I shouldn’t say that to you, but it’s true.” Jane said.

“It’s okay. It’s not like I haven’t known. That’s why I got the private detective. Apparently not such a good or very private detective. But he came highly recommended… You must realize we’ll divorce,” Peggy said.

Jane nodded. “Yeah. I know, but does it have to be nasty.” She asked?

Patty looked at her wide eyes. “I don’t know what he’s told you. I’m not geared toward nasty. I really don’t care about the grounds. I just want it to be over. I mean, it’s gone on for so long that it really is all over. Has been for awhile… I think we’re still together for Deidre… It’s just the official part that has to happen. And I want to protect myself in case he tries to say something about me,” she colored a little.

“What could he say,” Jane asked? “That you have moved on too?”

Peggy’s eyes lifted to Jane’s own, but she said nothing.

“I wont let him be mean. But I don’t think he wants to be either. We just want to be together…  I’m pregnant,” Jane said.

“Does Paul know,” Peggy asked?

“No,” Jane admitted. “I have to find a way to tell him.”

“Well, you better. One thing I do know for sure, Paul doesn’t like surprises.” Peggy said.

They both fell silent for a few moments.

“I have to go to work,” Jane said at last.  “…  I’m sorry.”

Peggy flapped one hand. “You know I hated you before I met you. I guess I’m sorry for that. It’s not anything you did. It’s been over for a long time… Before you… I’m not a Bitch. If he treats me decent when the time comes I’ll be decent,” she said.

Jane looked at her. “You won’t tell him,” Jane asked?

“About you coming to see me? About the baby? … No, but you should tell him, Jane,” she told her. “I have to get back to work too,” she said. She stood.

“Thanks again for the deal on the computer,” Jane said. She stood awkwardly for a second and then turned and walked away. The laptop in a bag in one hand.

Peggy walked back into the store and Marshall Worthington, the store manager met her at the door.

“Oh, there you are, Peggy,” he said. His eyes all over her breasts as usual. “Who was that lovely creature I saw you with? Made a sale?” He asked?

“Yes, I did,” Peggy said. “Just a the woman…” She looked around and then lowered her voice. “A cop I think. Needed the laptop for surveillance on creeps, you know… Perverts…” she lied.

“Oh,” Marshall said. “I see.” He turned and walked away quickly.

Peggy smiled. She hated that old pervert. He was afraid of cops, probably because he really was a pervert. Everybody that worked in the store thought he was. And there were rumors too. Never anything substantiated, but still.

She looked out at the sales floor and saw two possibles. She slipped her computer terminal smock on over her blouse and walked across the sales floor to the first one, a young guy, checking out gaming machines.

“Hi,” she said with her best smile, “Can I help you?” …


Mexico. The morning starts out like any other for the residents of Watertown, but later in the morning a violent chase ending in a crash began a series of events that would put two young kids on the run from the Law, criminal underworld, and with only each other to depend on. #CrimeFiction 

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