No matter who confessed or what anybody else did, his wife was still dead. Blood Land.
May 16, 2013
A VG Serial: Blood Land
Chapter 11 – 3
The old Suburban bounced and rattled its way down the washed out road to Ty McIntyre’s place.
“With a slug,” Hanson said, “and Ty’s testimony, we should be able to get a warrant for Rory’s property.”
Pruett grunted. He didn’t like where this thing was headed. Ty had already confessed, or at least had tried to plead guilty. And now he said he remembered doing it. No matter what they found, Bethy was still dead.
He wanted a drink.
They arrived at Ty’s house. A few stray cats scattered, but there were no other signs of life. The ranch house was more of a cabin, with dilapidated, uneven logs and large, incongruous patches of mud holding the thing together.
“Ty said he was sitting here, in this recliner,” Pruett said. “And that the shooter came from behind, over there.”
He pointed to a back hallway. Hanson went down the short corridor and called out: “There’s a back entrance. In the laundry.”
Pruett quickly figured the bullet’s trajectory and looked over to the void, peeling wall. There were no pictures or other ornaments to distract the eye, so the hole stood out amongst the curling paint, bug smears, and tobacco grime.
The sheriff used his buck knife to cut a square access hole and pointed to his toolbox.
“Hand me that flashlight,” he said to Hanson.
It took him a few minutes, but Pruett found the crushed slug—its widened butt protruding from the rotting wood behind the drywall. He carefully dug it from the pliable wood and deposited it in an evidence bag.
“Let’s go hassle a judge.”
* * *
Bridger Butler signed the search warrant for the Rory McIntyre ranch in the small office of the Wagon Wheel Inn, where he was lodged.
“A bit irregular for the sitting judge to issue a warrant regarding his own case,” said Butler. “But this is Wyoming. You aren’t going to get another judge to do one over the phone, now are you?”
Pruett called in all of his deputies. “We’re looking for Rory’s .32,” Pruett said. “Plus any pairs of tan work gloves we see. Ty said Rory was wearing them.”
They took the Suburban, since it could carry the lot of them. Hanson came, too, against the sheriff’s better sense.
“What the hell you and the cavalry doin’ here,” Rory said when he answered the door. “It’s supper time.”
“Warrant to search the premises,” Pruett told him and handed him the paper.
The deputies did not wait to be invited in, pushing past the old rancher.
“Ma’am,” said Canter to Honey McIntyre, who was standing next to a small Lucite table with a nice pork chop dinner getting cold in the middle of it.
“You want to save us some time, Rory? Tell us where you keep your Colt .32?” Pruett said.
“It’s in the holster, hanging on the bed post. Where it always is. You fuckin’ need me to draw you a map?”
“Got it,” said Mel Munney a few moments later.
“Where you keep your work gloves?” the sheriff said.
“Christ Jesus,” Rory said. “What the hell is this about, Pruett?”
“Where are they, Rory?”
“Where you think my gloves is? Outside, with the tractor. I was fixin’ fence. You seen it with your own eyes.”
Pruett motioned to Baptiste. “You got more than one pair, Rory?”
“No I don’t. I wear through one, I get another. What else?”
“You need to come with us,” Pruett said. “There are questions need answering.”
“What questions?” Rory said, low and cold.
“Let’s go,” Pruett said.
* * *
Rory sat in the station break room, drinking lukewarm coffee, then Pruett sat came in and told him what they knew.
“Never went to Ty’s place,” Rory said. “Haven’t been out there in two, maybe three years.”
“Your gloves have powder residue on them, Rory. Means you were wearing them when you shot your pistol, just like Ty remembers.”
“Ha, that’ll be the day. That drunk don’t remember where his own pecker’s at most the time.”
“You want to explain the residue?”
“I’ve shot that gun a hundred times with my gloves on. Gets cold around here, ‘case you ain’t noticed.”
“What were you shooting at most recently?” Pruett said.
“You get any?”
“You’re a bad shot. I mean, missed the sage hens, Ty’s still alive. Poor shot, I guess is the correct vernacular.”
Pruett slid his chair closer to the table and leaned in. “I want to talk about your coat and hat again,” the sheriff said.
“First it’s gloves. Now it’s my hat. You want I should show you my undergarments, too?”
“I just can’t see Bethy going for your coat when her own was right there,” Pruett said. “And the hat? No way.”
“I told you how it went down.”
“Well that’s not how Honey remembers it.”
Rory looked cockeyed for the first time during the interview. “What did that woman tell you?”
“She says you jumped right up and offered ‘em to her.”
“So what? So I don’t remember every fuckin’ detail.”
Something in Rory’s countenance changed then, when Honey was mentioned. He looked both befuddled and downright fearful.
“Maybe you figured it was Ty. Maybe you figured you didn’t want to get your own ass shot off. Maybe you figured if he thought he shot you, he wouldn’t keep comin’ like a loaded freight train.”
Rory seemed to be considering this. Then his face went blank. “You chargin’ me with something, Wyatt Earp?”
“Not yet,” Pruett said, backing away from the table again. “Zach Canter is driving the gun down to the FBI crime lab in Rock Springs as we speak. We’ll have the results back in a day or two. Don’t stray far from town.”
Chapters of the serial are published Monday through Saturday.
You can learn more about R. S. Guthrie’s novels on his Amazon Author’s Page.