“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.
October 30, 2014