It was scary catching mama with a gun to her head.
January 3, 2014
A VG Serial: Borrowed to the Bone
Willy’s son Waylon was free on probation and able to attend his father’s funeral along with Colleen and Ruth Ann. Colleen wanted the funeral to take place in Pleasant Grove, but Ben Tom was paying the final expenses and vetoed that. Josiah Welch appeared during visitation at the funeral home to offer his condolences. Ben Tom hired him to officiate at the funeral.
Waylon, as retribution for Ben Tom not acceding to his mother’s wishes, took a few of Ben Tom’s tools back with him. Two months passed before Colleen called. “I ain’t got a way to get back and forth to the doctor.”
Ben Tom was surprised. “What’s wrong with Willy’s pickup? I put a new transmission in it.”
“Some yahoos came and took that truck before Willy’s body was cold. I figured you hocked it to get money for the transmission.
“What about the money from the sale of his tools and that old rent house he had?”
“I was behind on a few things. Willy left me in a terrible mess, and I can’t live on the crumbs you dole out.”
Ben Tom borrowed the money to buy a three-year-old sedan, had it inspected and insured, then delivered it to Colleen. He left her with four hundred in cash and the car. On the third day of each month, Colleen called and asked for another four hundred.
A year after Willy’s death, Waylon called Ben Tom, but not about the tools he had hocked. “Came home last night and Mama had Daddy’s .45 stuck up to her temple. She had already slashed one wrist. Bleeding like a stuck hog.”
“Is she dead?”
“I saved her. Took the gun away, put a tourniquet on her arm and hauled her ass to the hospital. I need two hundred bucks.”
“Two hundred? What for?”
“After I got her in the hospital, I was pretty upset and had a wreck on the way home.”
Ben Tom took a deep breath. “Suppose you were driving your mother’s car.”
“What else would I be driving? Anyway, I ran into this crazy bastard—it was his fault. I need the two hundred to get her car out of the pound.”
“How did her car get into the pound? Can you drive it?”
“I went down there and looked at it this morning. Pretty bunged up, but I think it will still move.”
“So why is it in the pound?”
“Look, Uncle Ben, I had to get away from that car. The guy who ran into me chased me and waved down a cop. I just pulled over, bailed out, and took off running. When I went back, the car was impounded.”
“So you were drunk.”
“I stopped and had a few beers to calm myself down. You try catching your mama with a gun to her head and bleeding from a split wrist. See how it makes you feel. You’ll be downing a few beers yourself.”
“First things first. How is Colleen? When can she come home?”
“As long as they believe my story that the cut was an accident, she can come home tomorrow. That’s why I need the two hundred, so I can go get her.”
“I’ll come up and get your mama. She in Baylor?”
“That’s where I took her. You don’t need to come up here, just wire me the two hundred and I’ll take care of it.”
“Sounds like the car may not be worth two hundred after the wreck. I need to look. I may decide to leave it there.”
“The car ain’t worth much, but she had her stash money in the console. You know, that money from you selling all of Daddy’s stuff. Hell, one of them attendants at the pound probably already found it.”
“Why would her money be in the console of the car?” Ben Tom was putting two and two together. Waylon had stashed his mother in a hospital, went home to get her money and was escaping in her car when he had the wreck.
“You know Mama is crazy. Said it was the safest place for it. If you’ll wire me the two hundred, I’ll get the car and see if I can find the gun, too.”
“The gun? Willy’s .45? Where is it?”
“You know I’m on probation. I can’t be caught with a gun. When the guy I hit started chasing me, I had to throw it out the window. Somebody else finds that gun, they’ll find Mama’s fingerprints all over it and they’ll lock her up in Timberlawn for trying to off herself. She may never get out.
Ben Tom rubbed his forehead, trying to ease the headache this conversation was bringing on. “Whoa. Back up. Why did you take the gun with you in the first place?”
“Just panicked, I guess. At first, I thought I might need proof that she was trying to commit suicide. Then I realized they could keep her locked up if they found out she tried that.”
Now it was coming together. Waylon had left his mother, returned home, taken her money and the .45 and left in her car for parts unknown. Now the gun was on the side of the road and the stash was probably gone.
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.