The less his mama knew, the safer she would be. Nobody was safe. Borrowed to the Bone.
July 5, 2013
A VG Serial: Borrowed to the Bone
Willy had argued with Colleen most of the night about his brother and uncle staying in their yard overnight. The fight was still going on as he stepped out in the yard the next morning. He hurled one last threat and demanded that she go back inside just as Clark emerged from behind Willy’s shop building. How did he know where I hid the jewelry?
Boiling with rage and fear, Willy walked toward him. “What are you doing snooping around here? You never let us snoop around your place; I expect the same courtesy from you.”
Clark’s expression showed mild curiosity toward Willy’s rage. “Wasn’t snooping. Just taking a leak. You sound like a man with something to hide.”
“I sound like a man trying to protect his family from the hell you caused. Now, let’s get this stuff hidden. You said you knew where to go with it.”
“We’ll need to take your pickup.”
“What for? The less connection I have to this mess, the better I like it. Don’t want nobody taking my plate number down. As I recall, that’s what landed you in prison. Why can’t we use your car?”
Clark pulled several tattered quilts from the trunk of his car and put them behind the seat of Willy’s truck. “Because my car won’t haul enough feed. We’re going to a feed store in Seagoville.”
Trez walked up, scratching his head and combing his thick hair with his fingers. “We going to see Mother?”
They pulled away from the feed store with several sacks of corn, hog feed, and bran and headed back toward Dallas. Trez looked back in the direction of his mother’s house. “Thought we were going to see Mother.”
Clark was impatient now, ready to get on with the business at hand. “Just hold your horses.”
Clark had told them what they were going to do with the sacks of feed. Willy looked back at the sacks. “Why didn’t you just get bran? Or just corn?”
“Cause we need sacks threaded with twine that we can open and close. We got all they had.”
At Trez’s house, they made enough room to back the pickup into the garage and close the door. Willy crawled out the window. There was no room to maneuver on either side, but Clark stood inside the bed while Trez and Willy handed him the artwork one piece at a time.
Clark poured a little corn or bran out of each feed sack into the pickup bed, wrapped each bronze with a portion of quilt, stuffed it to the middle of the sack, and poured as much feed as possible back into the sack. One piece of art to one feed sack.
Trez bit his nails between each maneuver and walked out the side door to see if anyone was watching after they finished with each piece. When the whole process took less than an hour, he felt a sense of calm replace his anxiety. It was an ingenious idea. The pieces were cushioned against damage and hidden where it seemed nobody would ever think of looking. Then he remembered they were in his garage.
“Don’t even think about leaving these sacks here.”
Clark stood and rubbed a sore back. “We’re taking them out to Buck and Irene’s place.”
Willy’s eyes widened. “No, we ain’t. You willing to put our mama, your own sister in danger?”
Trez agreed. “And that don’t even take into account that you’re putting hot stuff right under Buck’s nose. He’ll try to hock it sure as hell.”
“That’s why we got this particular mix of corn, bran and regular hog feed. It matches what he has in an old feed crib that he hasn’t used in years. The feed was there when he bought the place. It’s all bad and he can’t just throw it on the ground because it’s liable to kill whatever eats it.”
Clark paused to grin at his nephews. “Buck’s too lazy to carry it off, so we’ll just take the bad feed that’s in there now and replace it with these sacks.”
With the booty now attached to Buck instead of their mother, Trez and Willy exchanged winks. Even this part of the plan was smart. The treasure would be a long way from both of them, yet recoverable in case of a real financial emergency. The prospect that Buck might be killed by the Dixie Mafia was also not all that unpleasant. Then a thought came to Willy. “What about Mother?”
“She knows exactly what I’m doing. She just doesn’t know what’s in the sacks. The less she knows, the safer she’ll be.”
Irene stayed inside the house while they worked in the barn. They removed all the old feed sacks, except for one layer. They stacked the sacks containing the stolen loot on top of the bottom layer, then another layer of old feed on top. The old feed sacks full of spoiled feed were put into Willy’s pickup.
Back at the house, Irene hugged her sons hello and goodbye, then turned to her brother. “Remember what you promised me—that these boys won’t be connected to any of your shenanigans.”
Clark hugged her goodbye. “I promise.”
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.