Monday, December 22, 2014

The Flight

Part Nine

James followed Martin with no problem whatsoever. That is, until Martin pulled to the side of the road and went into the woods. When Martin reappeared, he looked up at the circling plane, waited a moment then jumped into his truck.
Martin waited a few minutes before starting the engine. He kept glancing out his windshield and side window to note the plane’s passing. After observing it passing overhead three times, he started the engine, shifted into gear and made a u-turn.
“What the heck?” James said aloud.
“What’s wrong?” Dan immediately asked.
“He’s doubling back again,” James said a touch of puzzlement in his tone.
“You want me to head back?” Dan asked, easing his foot off the gas pedal to let the truck slow down.
“No,” James replied. “You get to Stafford Road. I’ll stay with him. I know he’s going to head your way again.”
“Gotcha,” was all Dan said and stepped on the gas pedal again.
Martin could hear the steady whine of the plane’s engine and knew it had to be James following him. He had sensed being followed earlier but dismissed it until he went into the woods and watched the plane circling. He was sure of it now and had to decide what to do. Moments later, he knew exactly what he had to do and stepped on the gas pedal and felt the old truck pick up speed.
James was making another pass when he spotted Martin’s truck take a turn that went against everything James had thought Martin would do. He watched in eagerness, trying to figure out what the old man was up to.
After watching the truck take different turns, James began thinking that maybe Martin had thought he had been going in the wrong direction and was now trying to find his way again. Not once, did James anticipate Martin’s next move.
When Martin reached the main road, instead of going right leading to Tiverton and home, Martin swung the truck left heading back to Little Compton.
Confused by the move, James scratched his head and said,  “What are you up to old man?”
Dan’s voice came through the headset. “What’s he doing?”
“He’s heading back to Little Compton.”
“Why would he do that?” Dan asked, his voice reflecting the same confused puzzlement as James.
“Beats the hell out of me,” James said, attempting to recalculate Martin’s intentions. “Damn,” he cursed seconds later.
“What happened?”
“He’s heading for my mother’s house,” James practically shouted back.
“I’m on my way,” Dan replied and swung the truck around as soon as he could.
James pushed the throttle, knowing that even with the increased speed he wouldn’t make it to the house before Martin. He cursed himself for having underestimated the old man. He surmised it must have been when Martin had gone into the woods and emerged that he had been made. James knew he should have formed a wider circle to keep from being so obvious. He shook his head, letting go of the regrets and turned his attention back to the moment. He had to be completely focused so as not to make another mistake.
James watched with a sickening feeling in his stomach as Martin’s truck sped into his mother’s driveway. As he passed overhead, James spotted Martin running toward the house carrying the gun and cursed himself for having been so arrogantly confident thinking he had the old man figured out.
The plane hadn’t completely stopped rolling when James climbed from the cockpit onto the wing and jumped to the ground. He rolled a couple times and was up and making a mad dash for the house, hoping he would be in time to save his mother.
Nearing the house, James found shelter behind the hedges and made his way to the front of the house, guessing that it would be the last place Martin would expect him to enter. He edged his way to the front door, took a deep breath and slowly opened it. He listened a moment then pushed the door open enough to slip inside the house.
Martin was nowhere to be seen. James listened for voices but didn’t hear any and wondered if while he was landing the plan if Martin had killed his mother and then committed suicide. The gruesome thought made him shiver. In spite of wanting to dash from room to room, James cautiously and stealthily made his way toward the kitchen in the back of the house. Not seeing anyone, he moved inside the room to look out the back window, thinking Martin may have escaped that way.
James looked out window, scanning the perimeter for signs of a fleeing Martin, but didn’t spot him at all. He turned and flinched at the sight of Martin holding the gun at him chest high. At the same time he felt frightened, James marveled at the way Martin was able to move about so quietly.
“Where’s my mother?” James asked, finding his voice again.
Martin sneered at him. “So you weren’t looking for me, huh?”
“I wasn’t until I saw you here.”
“You’re a liar,” Martin said, the venom in his voice spewing danger.
“Look I know how……..”
“You don’t know anything,” Martin spat. “You’re just like your old man. You can’t be trusted.”
“And you can by coming back here with a gun?” James challenged. “Now where’s my mother?”
Martin knew that as long as he kept his mouth shut, he would stay alive. “You’ll know when I’m ready to let you know,” was all he offered.
James took a step forward.
Martin held the gun up firmly, his finger moving to the trigger. “Don’t be too hasty. I’ll kill you if I have to. Now step back.”
James did as he was told not wanting to risk calling Martin’s bluff. He took a step back and leaned against the counter. “You got no way out of here, you know.”
Martin stared at him for a long moment, realizing that what James had said was true. Sure there were roads he could take to get out of the area but he would be easily caught. The only thing he could do would be to tie James up in the hopes of having enough time to flee the area.
Dan parked his truck at the beginning of the driveway and made his way towards the house, not knowing what was going on inside. Noticing the front door still ajar, he made his way slowly into the house. Hearing the muffled voices coming from the kitchen, he slowly inched his way, trying to assess what was going on. When he was close enough, he peeked into the room and saw Martin holding the gun on James.
Just then, Martin noticed James’ eyes widen and before he could move to see the cause, he was grabbed from behind.
Dan lunged at Martin and wrestled the gun from his hands. He knocked Martin to the floor.
James was by his side in a flash. “Where’s my mother?” he demanded.
“I’m right here,” a soft voice came from behind them.
James turned to see his mother standing in the doorway holding a bag. “What’s going on?” she asked without knowing Martin was on the floor.
James and Dan turned sideways to allow Delia Bell a chance to see Martin’s sprawled body.
She dropped the bag on the floor, tomatoes and other vegetables spilling out. “What have you done to him?” she said, pushing both James and Dan aside so she could get to Martin.
“What have we done to him?” James replied. “He came here to kill you, that’s what he’s done.”
She stood up and looked up into James’ bewildered eyes. “He did no such thing you damn fool.”
“He had a gun,” Dan offered, holding the gun out so she could see.
“Well he doesn’t have it now, does he?”
She turned back to James. “Are you going to be like your father?”
Still stunned by her reaction, James stood with his mouth open. Finally he said, “He stole the money from Dad and I……”
“You what?” she questioned. “You went after him taking up where your father left off?”
“No, it wasn’t like that,” James defended himself. “I’m not my father.”
“Then help him off the floor,” she commanded and watched as the two men lifted Martin to his feet.
“I’m so sorry Martin,” she apologized.
James and Dan looked at each other as though they had both been shot.
“All of you, sit down at the table and behave,” she said and proceeded to pick up the vegetables from the floor.
 The three men sheepishly made their way to the dining room table and sat down, none of them saying a word, but all looking like misbehaved school kids who were now being admonished.
When Delia had the coffee and pastry set on the table, she sat down. “Now tell me what’s going on.”
James told her everything from his emergency landing right up to the moment she came into the room.
Delia listened attentively and when he finished she said, “Martin never stole any money. Money was stolen. Yes. But it wasn’t Martin who stole it. I did.”
“You?” James started to protest, but she waved him off.
“Yes, I stole it because I was sick and tired of the way your father bullied and abused me. Everything was about money with him and it was the only way I knew I could hurt him. The night Martin and I were to run away, your father came home and almost caught us. That money was to help us start a new life. Instead, because I couldn’t get away after that, I sent the money to Martin to live on. But because your father was so brutal, Martin couldn’t get any good respectable jobs and the money ran out fast. Your father started to become suspicious of me and I had to stop sending money.  After that, I lost touch with Martin and thought I’d never see him again.”
James looked at Martin and shook his head realizing how wrong he had been. He now understood why Martin had acted as he had. He stuck his hand out. “I’m sorry.”
Martin shook his hand, a tear trickling down his cheeks. “Is it really over?” he asked looking from one face to another.
Delia got up and went over and embraced him, tears streaming from her own eyes. “It’s over Martin. It’s really over.”

   The End
    Chelle Munroe©
    October 30, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Flight

Part Eight

Martin caught sight of James running towards him and jammed his foot on the accelerator. The truck jumped forward sending gravel and dirt shooting out the back. His heart was beating fast and hard. The last thing he expected was to see James bounding toward him. He checked his rear-view mirror and felt a little relief when he didn’t see James’ figure. He had to think fast and plan on getting away from the area as fast as he could without drawing attention.
James didn’t waste time chasing Martin. He dashed into the house and seeing the startled look on his mother’s face, he knew she was all right. He spun around and ran out the door, his mother’s voice calling after him. James ran to the garage and jumped into his jeep. He immediately called Dan.
“Meet me at the field,” was all he commanded and sped out the driveway.
When he reached the field where he kept his other plane, he spotted Dan waiting for him. “Help me get her ready for take-off”, he yelled from the jeep.
Dan didn’t question and immediately hurried to release the cables holding the plane to the ground stakes. James unhooked the other side and was climbing in the plane when he noticed Dan staring at him.
“That……sob was at my mother’s house. I’m going to find out where he is.”
Dan held his hand up. “What good’s it going to do you?”
James waved him off. “What are you talking about?”
“You need someone on the ground. You spot him from the sky you let me know and I can track him from the ground. He won’t be expecting you to be in the sky or me coming for him.”
“Will take too long,” James objected.
“What are you going to do if you do find him? You going to ask him to wait while you find a parking space for the plane?”
James swore under his breath. In his anger he hadn’t thought about the plane once he found Martin. He glanced down at Dan. “Okay. I’ll circle till I locate him and let you know where he is.”
“Now you’re talking,” Dan replied and headed for his truck.
James started the plane, checked all his instruments and then taxied to the small runway in the field behind the barn made into a hangar. A moment later, he lifted into the sky and headed in the direction he last saw Martin going. He knew Martin would try to use every skill he had to evade being spotted. James hoped Martin wouldn’t expect to be seen from the sky. Fifteen minutes later, he spotted Martin’s green truck traveling on the back roads through Little Compton heading for Westport, Massachusetts; the complete opposite direction from Connecticut.
James put his headset on and turned on the Bluetooth on the phone. Within seconds, he was in touch with Dan. “He’s headed toward Westport, moving toward East Road.”
“Gotcha,” Dan answered. “I’m on my way. Do you think he’ll stay on that route?”
“My guess,” James said into the mouthpiece, “is that he’ll try to get to the highway. He’s got to be familiar with all the roads around here so I don’t expect him to stay in a straight line.”
After five minutes, James spoke up. “That sly little bugger.”
“What’s he doing,” Dan’s voice piped through the earpiece.
“He made a u-turn and is heading back to you.”
“I’m on East Road now just past the Equestrian Farm, so how much distance between us?” Dan asked.
“You’re about three……hold on……he’s turning again. I know what he’s doing. Good move.”
“What’s a good move? Where is he?” Dan said, frustrated James wasn’t filling him in.
“I know where he’s going,” James responded.
“Would it be too much to fill me in so I know where I’m going?” Dan pressed.
“Sorry,” James apologized; a little more relaxed now that he felt he knew what Martin was doing. “He’s zigzagging heading for Crandall Road”
“Crandall Road?” Dan questioned. “Why go there?”
“He’s going to head straight out to Stafford Road and then onto the highway and back to Connecticut,” James answered with strength and confidence in his voice. “Don’t bother following him now. I want you to head for the Stafford Road Junction. I’ll stay with him from up here.”
Hearing the conviction in James’ voice, Dan simply said, “Done.”
  Chelle Munroe©
  October 30, 2014


Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Flight

Part Seven

When James finished, Dan smiled. “So the old guy’s been hiding out ever since then?  What do you think he’ll do?”
James looked out the side window, and then turned to Dan. “He’ll probably rabbit like he did before. He knows I’ll be coming back for the plane so he won’t go back to the house.”
“You gonna go looking for him?”
“What for? That was my father’s way of doing things, not mine.”
When they reached home, James said, “Do me a favor and drop me off at my Uncle’s house so I can give him the money for the phone before he decides to vig me?”
Dan laughed. “Your uncle’s going to charge you interest?”
James chuckled. “Yeah, he threatened to vig me if I didn’t pay for the phone bill right away.”
Dan laughed again. “I know it’s not your lifestyle, but you have to admit, your family had some colorful characters in it.”
James looked at him. “Colorful is not a word I would use to describe them. You’re lucky you didn’t have to grow up with that crap.”
The tone of James’ voice let Dan know to let the subject drop. “You want me to wait for you?”
“No, I’m going to stop in at my Mother’s house and then I’ll walk home.”
“That’s over two miles.”
“I need to get it out.”
Dan dropped James off at his uncle’s house. “If you change your mind call me.”
James rang the doorbell and waited. Two minutes later, his uncle opened the door.
Uncle Charles stared at him. “Whatta ya doing here? You told me you were in Colorado.”
“I was in Connecticut,” James corrected him. “Don’t you remember?”
“You think I don’t remember? You think I’m stupid? Connecticut, Colorado, I know the difference you know. You think I don’t? You think I’m stupid?”
“Uncle Charles, I don’t think you’re stupid. I know you know the difference. I came to give you the money for the phone bill for the collect call I made to you earlier.”
Uncle Charles nodded. “Yeah I remember that call. I’m not stupid. What were you doing in Colorado anyway?”
James opened his mouth to correct him, thought better of it and said, “I had business to take care of.”
“I thought you didn’t want anything to do with the family business?” Uncle Charles asked at the same time scanning the yard to be sure they were alone.
“It was personal business, not family,” James said hoping that would put an end to the questioning.
“Smart answer,” Uncle Charles replied. “I like that.” He pointed a finger at James. “You’re gonna do good for the family. I know when someone’s got what it takes. I’m not stupid you know.”
James removed a twenty dollar bill from his wallet and handed it to Uncle Charles.
“What’s this?  You giving me a payoff?” Uncles Charles said without taking the money. I’m not stupid you know? I know what a payoff is. You settin’ me up James? I know what a set up is. I’m not stupid you know.”
James shoved the money into Uncle Charles’ hand. “It’s not a payoff. It’s for the damn phone bill for the call I made this morning.”
In a quick movement that caught James by surprise, Uncle Charles gave him a swat on the side of the head. “Get smart with me and I’ll take you downstairs and teach you a lesson. You think I can’t do it? You think I’m stupid? Try me.”
James just shook his and turned to leave. Then looking back at Uncle Charles he said, “I’m going to see my mother and then I’m going home.”
Uncle Charles looked at the money in his hand. “This better cover the call from Colorado cuz if it’s not, I’ll vig you for trying to stiff me. I’m not stupid you know.”
“It’s enough,” James called over his shoulder and kept walking.
Just as James rounded a curve in the road, he spotted Martin’s truck coming from his mother’s driveway and started running.

  Chelle Munroe©
  October 30, 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Flight

Part Six

He cussed himself for having been so careless. Why he ever thought Martin would just stay there was totally stupid.  James gave the operator the number and listened while she explained to his uncle that it was a collect call and waited. He looked around for Martin knowing he should go looking for him. Just then, his uncle’s gruff voice came through the earpiece.

“Uncle Charles it’s James and…..”
“I know who the hell it is. The operator just told me. You think I’m stupid?”
“No. No I don’t think you’re stupid, I just said it that’s all. I need a favor.”
“What is it? You need money?”
“No, I don’t need any money.”
“Then why the hell you calling collect? I’m not stupid. I’m old, but I’m not stupid.”
“I’m at a pay phone and ran out of change.”
“A pay phone!” Uncle Charles interrupted. “They don’t have pay phones anymore. You think I’m stupid? Where’s your celibate phone or whatever the hell you call it?”
“It’s a cell phone,” James heard himself yelling back. He lowered his voice. “Please, just listen a moment. I need you to go to Dan’s house and tell him to come pick me up. I’m in….” he paused realizing he didn’t know where he was. “Hold on a moment Uncle Charles.”
“Don’t take all damn day.  I’m paying for this call. You think I forgot? You think I’m stupid?”
James spotted a woman coming out of the small convenience store. “Excuse me,” he asked politely. “Could you tell me the name of this town? I broke down and I’m trying to get my family to come pick me up.” He pointed to the receiver in his hand as proof.
“You’re in Collett,” she answered. Then seeing the puzzled look on his face, continued saying, “Collett, Connecticut.”
James smiled. “Thank you I appreciate your help.”
He turned his attention back to the phone. “Uncles Charles it’s Collett, Connecticut.” Not getting any response, James spoke much louder into the receiver. “Uncle Charles, are you listening to me?”
James heard a snort and then his Uncle said, “Who is it?”
“Uncle Charles it’s James. Tell Dan to come get me in Collett, Connecticut. Can you remember that or you want me to wait till you get a paper and pencil?”
“Don’t get smart with me James or I’ll clip you up side the head when I see you. I know what you said. You think I’m stupid?”
“Could you please repeat the name for me?” James asked, his voice softer to calm his uncle down before the conversation got totally lost.”
“What do I gotta repeat it for? This is costing me money. You think I forgot? You think I’m stupid?”
James had all he could do to keep his temper. He remained silent.
“It’s Collett, Connecticut. I know where that is you know. You think I don’t know? You think I’m stupid?”
Out of respect for his uncle, James remained silent, all the while thinking to himself that he was the stupid one for having called his uncle in the first place. As soon as he was calm enough, he said, “Thank you Uncle Charles. I appreciate you doing this for me and I’ll give you the money for the phone bill when I get home.”
“You better give it to me. And don’t make me wait for it either or I’ll have a good mind to vig you for it.”
James hung up the phone and walked back to the truck. The gun was where he had left it but the keys were not in the ignition. Another mistake he’d made. He shook his head and closed the door. His stomach gurgled in protest. He was hungry. Figuring he had time, he looked around and spotted a diner not too far from the truck and headed for it.
Almost two hours and three cups of coffee later, James glanced up in time to see Dan come walking into the diner.
“Kind of figured when I rolled into town and looked around that you’d be here,” Dan said cheerfully.
“You want something to eat or a coffee?” James offered before he stood up.
“I’m all set.”
James left some bills on the table and left the restaurant. Looking to his left, James noticed the green truck was gone. “So the old guy doubled back,” he said softly.
“What’s that?” Dan asked.
“I’ll fill you in on the way,” James replied and they got into Dan’s truck and headed for home.
  Chelle Munroe©
  October 30, 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Flight

Part Five

“My mother suffered because of you.”
“I’m telling you……”
“Telling me what?” James snarled. “Telling me you’re innocent? That you didn’t know anything about the money? I don’t want to hear it. Now I’m telling you how it’s going to be.”
Martin glared at him. There was nothing he could do while James held the gun pointed at him.  Inside, he was raging; not at James but at himself for having been so careless. He should have known better.
Martin shook his head and smiled. “You’re wondering how I made it all these years, aren’t you.”
“As a matter of fact I was trying to figure that out.”
“So you just automatically assumed I stole it.”
James nodded. “That’s right. You mentioned about going for groceries, which means you must have a car or truck or something. Where is it?”
Martin defiantly stared at him.
James waved the gun. “It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll just tie you up and go look for it myself. Up to you.”
The look in James’ eyes showed he meant business so Martin tilted his head toward the back of the shack. “It’s out back through the woods about twenty-five yards.”
James backed up toward the door. “Let’s go.”
Martin sighed and headed for the door.
Outside, James stepped far enough away to let Martin lead the way.
The truck was just about where Martin had claimed it would be and James quickly noticed how the green of the truck blended it with its surroundings, shielding it from passersby.
James watched Martin closely as they got into the truck, making sure to keep the gun pointed at but at a position where Martin couldn’t snatch it from his hands. He kept his finger on the trigger.
Martin was smart enough to know that to make a move for the gun would be a fool’s move. He’d stayed alive all these years and wasn’t about to get his head blown off acting stupidly.
“Where’s the nearest town?” James asked.
“Beddington, about five miles from here,” Martin answered calmly.
The men drove in silence as Martin steered the truck along the winding country road. When they reached Beddington, James spotted a public telephone. “They still have telephone booths here?”
Martin glanced at the booth ahead. “Yep,” was all he said.
“Does it work?”
Martin pulled over and parked the truck. “It did a couple weeks ago.”
James looked down at the gun, knowing he couldn’t take it outside. “C’mon, get out and go over by the phone where I can keep an eye on you.”
Without arguing, Martin eased himself from the truck and walked over to the telephone.
James left the gun in the truck and proceeded to the phone and dropped some change into it, then dialed a number. “Hello,” he said after a moment. “What’s that? No, operator I don’t have any more change. Well, can you put this through as a collect call? You can? Great. Yes, it’s from James, James Bell. Thank you operator.”
After a number of rings, James said, “Thank you. Oh, operator can you try one more number for me? Okay it’s ………hold on a moment please. I have to get the number from my wallet.”
James took his wallet out and searched for the small paper with his uncle’s number. They didn’t bother with each other too much but the old man had told James if he ever needed him to call. With the number in hand, James looked up and noticed Martin was gone.
   Chelle Munroe©
   October 30, 2014