His world was already in ruin, and now it had started to crumble. Borrowed to the Bone.
May 31, 2013
A VG Serial: Borrowed to the Bone
Trez stopped the almost new ’85 Buick Riviera maroon convertible on his sloping driveway, leaned back and took in the night air. He could scarcely make out the stars due to city lights, but he liked to pretend he could. He could see the full moon. It was a perfect fall night for driving around in a convertible or just sitting in one in your driveway.
He was sober for a change and could not believe he felt as good as he did. He attributed it to the night air and the convertible and wondered why he had not bought himself one before. It had been easy as pie to come into this fine car.
A buddy had owned the car and could not make the payments. Trez’s credit was a little shaky, so he took his buddy’s payment book and the duplicate title showing GMAC as the lien holder and began making payments. As soon as he paid it off, it would be his. GMAC would never realize that they had loaned money to a man with a poor credit history.
Sleepily, he thought of his brothers—Ben Tom with his two kids, working night and day to keep his head above water and to please his wife and a whole community of rednecks. And Willy, almost destitute from trying to support two wild kids who seemed destined for prison and a wife who was a sure bet for the nuthouse. Not to mention the high crime area where Willy and his family lived and the wetbacks that populated his yard.
And then there was him, Trez, sitting pretty in the driveway of his middle class home in an almost new convertible without a care in the world. He had a stash of weed in his pantry and plenty of beer in the fridge. Where had his brothers gone wrong?
He had enjoyed the car a week before it rained. Of course, downpour would be a more accurate description of the five inches of rain that fell in two hours. Trez slept peacefully through it. The next morning, he opened the door to the convertible and water spilled out, ran down the driveway and into the street.
Trez stood, hands on hips, watching the water run. It looked like enough water to fill a small swimming pool. The upholstery and carpet, of course, were soaked and permanently damaged. Trez could put up with a little fading, but he sniffed the seat to see if mildew had already set in. The sky was still cloudy and the air moist.
He could have put up the top, but what was the point of having a convertible if you kept the rag top up? And it looked so cool sitting in the driveway, like the weather gods would never defy Trez Lawless or his Riviera. And his buddy had told him that the top sometimes malfunctioned. He had not wanted to find out how bad the problem was.
Now, the exposed and soaked Buick didn’t seem so cool. He looked at the antique garage he had never used. Using it seemed better than putting up the top. A tape measure confirmed that the convertible could just squeeze inside. There would be no room to open any door, but he could easily climb over the seat and trunk to exit. Another practical benefit of owning a convertible.
He opened all the doors to the car, left it in the driveway to dry out, found the key to the old garage and opened the side door. He pushed aside and climbed over junk to reach the big front doors. They creaked and protested, but he finally dragged them back.
An hour later, he had two piles of junk on the sidewalk and a “free” sign painted. Someone had already picked up the old washing machine he had pushed down the driveway and several boxes of used clothing and linens.
As he pulled the old dryer out of its cobwebbed hole, he felt something move inside. He opened it and found a bronze, one of the treasures Willy had hidden there without telling him. He ran to the driveway and began rummaging through the boxes that had not been picked up. Nothing but old clothes. He looked down the street and wondered what might have been in the washing machine that had already left. His hands shook as he gradually found the rest of Willy’s stash.
It was mid-afternoon as he stepped out of the convertible, his pants and shirt wet from the soaked seats. He shivered a little from the cool, wet ride as he waded through the Mexicans that still puddled outside Willy’s house. Colleen answered the knock on Willy’s door.
“What do you want?” She put a little emphasis on you to let Trez know that he was not welcome. Colleen had been listening more than once when Trez he had brought up the issue of her sanity to Willy.
Trez detested dealing with his sister-in-law, thought she belonged in a mental institution. “Willy here?”
The words were barely out before Willy lightly shoved Colleen aside and stood looking at his brother though the screen door.
Trez pointed his thumb in the general direction of the Mexicans peering into his convertible. “We need to talk.”
Willy grimaced when he looked at the people who continuously populated his lot without his permission. “Let me run them wetbacks off and we can drag up some chairs and talk out here.”
He started for his pickup and the shotgun he kept in the gun rack.
Trez held up both hands. “Don’t stir ‘em up. They likely to take it out on my car. Where can we get a beer around here?”
Willy noted the trembling in his brother’s hands. “There’s a little place called Fat Boy’s a few blocks over. Cold beer and barbecue.”
Trez refused to leave his convertible there, sure that his treasure would be halfway to Mexico before he returned. So they sat on wet seats for the ten minutes it took to get to the bar. They stepped out in the parking lot, their backs and seats soaked.
Fat Boy’s, like Willy’s house, was a small unpainted shack that bordered Highway 175, a main thoroughfare. It was dark and smoky from cigarettes and the cooking pit. All six tables were occupied, so Willy and Trez took seats on a long plank bench that bellied up to a splintered pine bar. Neither had an appetite, so they ordered beers that Trez paid for.
Trez downed two before his hands stopped trembling. Willy was losing his patience. “What the hell’s wrong with you?”
“When we lived with Uncle Clark, I used to sneak into his room when nobody was there and take a look at what he stole the night before. Most of the time, it was just boring stuff that I wondered why he had bothered to take. But a couple of times, I saw some really shiny shit that impressed me.”
Willy took a deep breath. “Okay, so you saw some really shiny stuff. You were a little kid with less of a brain than a new-born piss ant. What of it?”
“Bullshit. I may not have understood art work that looked like it was made out of gold, but some of the jewelry I saw had to be expensive.”
Willy signaled for another beer. “So what? Where’s this going? I got better things to do than to listen to your baby memories.”
Trez turned to face his brother. “Well, okay smartass, I found some of that stuff in my garage today.”
Chapters of the serial are published on Friday.
You can learn more about Borrowed to the Bone and other titles by Jim H. Ainsworth on his Amazon Author Page.