When your life’s at stake, you can’t afford to lie.
August 23, 2013
A VG Serial: Borrowed to the Bone
They were several miles away from the Meatloaf bar before the full impact of what had just happened smacked Willy hard. His hands began to shake. He wanted out of the car, but Hoyle had it moving along at the speed limit. “My car is back there at the construction site. If you’ll take me back there, I’ll get out of your way.”
Hoyle looked away from the road long enough to smile at Willy. “That wouldn’t be polite, would it? I kept my part of the bargain, now you need to keep yours. I got word from Clark that you could take me to my property. Your note said the same. Then there’s the matter of getting rid of that body back there.”
Willy thought about it for a minute, went over Clark’s note in his head. Didn’t figure he had a choice. “We’ll need something bigger than your trunk to haul it. Course, your trunk is already full. Maybe a pickup or a van or something.”
“You’ll see when we get there.”
Hoyle reached down to the hump in the floorboard and came back with a phone. Willy had never seen a car phone before. Hoyle dialed a number and made arrangements to pick up a van. They pulled into a used car lot just out of the Dallas city limits. A white plumber’s van was parked outside the locked gate—Ace Plumbing professionally painted in black letters on both sides. Hoyle pointed to it. “Keys are in it. Get in it and I’ll follow you.”
Willy’s brain was partially functional again. “Listen, Hoyle, where we’re going is where my mother and stepfather live. We go up there this time of night, he’s likely to shoot both of us.”
“Hell, it’s barely dark. Can’t you just explain that we’re picking up something that belongs to you? Is the stuff in their house?”
“No, it’s hidden in some feed sacks in his barn about two hundred yards from the house. He don’t know it’s there and is likely to be mad as hell when he finds out.”
“Any way we can get in there and load it up without them even seeing us?”
“It’s possible, I guess, but you don’t know Buck Blanton. My guess is he’s killed more than one man.”
“I’ll try to stay on his good side. If he catches us, maybe I can buy him off.”
Willy stopped a mile or so from the house and stepped out of the van as Hoyle pulled alongside. The wind had gotten up and Willy had to put his head almost in the window for Hoyle to hear. “Let’s leave your car here. Maybe we can sneak in with just the van.”
“Good idea.” Hoyle stepped out with a flashlight in his hand.
Willy cut the lights on the van and eased past the house and parked behind the barn. So far, so good. His confidence began to build. They might just get away with it. Willy opened the feed room door and Hoyle shined his light on the feed sacks. “You mean the art is inside those sacks?”
Willy nodded. “All wrapped in blankets. Clark said the feed was better than packing material, just heavier.”
“Sounds just like him. An ingenious idea. Is there something in all the sacks? Looks like too many.”
Willy felt a little twinge of pride. “I know which ones.”
Hoyle pulled a knife from his pocket and moved to cut one open.
“Guess I wadn’t thinking. We won’t need that van if you aim to take each piece out.”
Hoyle mashed on several sacks that Willy pointed to until he was satisfied that something besides feed was inside. “On second thought, let’s just load ‘em up like they are. The sacks are a good way to transport these babies all the way to where they’re going.”
When half the sacks had been loaded into the van, Hoyle stopped and faced Willy in the dark. “You do realize that these sacks had better have the bronzes inside. We do know where to find you.”
“They’re in there all right. I’ll just be glad to get rid of ‘em.”
Willy pushed the last sack into the van. When he closed one door, he saw Buck’s boots.
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.