Novels

Overlooked 6

February 26, 2016

Meadow Gold poppies

Still Missing

On one level, Arnold’s date had gone better than he had hoped; Sissy was very receptive to hugging, kissing and hot sex, his own skills put to the test. The rumors had been correct; Sissy had serious talent in the amore department with enthusiasm he had never experienced before. The inkling that she might become a permanent girlfriend was looking good, even if permanent became a short time, which is always possible when he remembered Crash Montes. Four radial tires and a set of Yamasoto dinner knives were hard to beat.

Settling down with one woman had not sunk in; she was everything he wanted and more, yet doubt and a change in lifestyle continued to bother him; women wanted things and changed the way you lived. Was that so terrible? Besides, the field of acceptable women was thinning, some getting married while others sought careers instead of husbands. He was no young buck; young women weren’t interested in him, Sissy being the exception.

Now that the date had come to an end, he was feeling pretty good, except for the Cajun food, which caused him to consume a half package of Tums before the rumblings in the stomach volcano ceased. For all the good sex, there continued to be the nagging problem of Lon; that was about to turn into terminal problem if Arnold didn’t find him soon. His shift at the prison would start in two hours, not much time to scout for Lon. He sped back to town prepared to ask more questions, hopeful to find a lead.

Arnold made his excuses about work, Sissy unbothered by his need to leave. In fact she left before him, scooping up her belongings along with the free soap at the motel. It wasn’t terrific soap but one never knows when hard times make it necessary to lower one’s standards.

 

“Yeah, I saw an old man yesterday by the cemetery,” said a little boy. “I thought he was dead cause he didn’t move and was really old. He looked sad, so I gave him a quarter.”

“Can you tell me where he went?” asked Arnold.

“Nah, he was asleep. I had to go home.”

Walking up and down the main street, Arnold asked everyone that might have been around the day before. A few said they had also seen a sleeping old man and gave him money, a pathetic sight by their accounts, torn dungarees and a threadbare shirt. One woman claimed the old man had a cap full of cash by late afternoon. She was afraid some thief might grab it and make off with it.

“Shit! Shit! Shit!” grumbled Arnold walking away. “The old bastard has money. He might just decide to take off, if he hasn’t already gone.”

First he had to consider; Lon was not very smart and probably scared. Arnold better make sure the old man hasn’t skipped out.

There was a quick inspection at the bus station to see whether Lon might have taken the bus somewhere. With money he could readily buy a bus ticket, no one the wiser.

“Old guy?” said Jimmy Heilsink, ticket clerk. “Lots of old people come here, Arnie. I don’t pay much attention to those oldie moldies. They all look the same to me, except Phil Needles, who had six fingers on one hand; that’s queer as hell, don’t you think?”

“Think hard; the guy I’m looking for is really old, Jimmy. Wearing worn out blue jeans and a plain colored shirt; looks kinda shabby and worn out.”

“What color shirt?”

“I don’t know,” replied Arnold. “He’s got a couple different colors, green and blue, I think.”

“Nah, no one like that Arnie. There was an old guy but he wore one of those ugly Hawaiian shirts, suspenders too; stupid, since we’re not even close to Hawaii. You ever been to Hawaii? Folks tell me it’s hot there, not like here, though.”

“No, I’ve never been to Hawaii; now think hard,” answered Arnold.

“I got off at five, so I don’t know if anyone came in after that. There aren’t any buses coming through after eight, so it’s unlikely.”

“You sure you didn’t see any old man in dungarees?”

“Yep, I’m sure. By the look of the ticket log, Chet didn’t sell any tickets; he’s pretty good about keepin’ track of those things. Why, I remember when Lyle used to work here; poor snook could hardly write, let alone keep track of stuff. Wouldn’t you think the bus company would know about that? Why’d they hire him in the first place?”

“I don’t care about Lyle,” snapped Arnold, his patience thinning.

“Well, the guy coulda’ snuck on the bus later; it happens,” said Jimmy, unwrapping a Hershey bar. “A lot of people get off the bus to piss at the station and get back on; drivers don’t pay much attention late at night. Ya know I think Hershey’s is better than that European chocolate. They don’t have anything over our man in America. Who buys European chocolate anyhow? Probably foreigners and uppity people who think they’re all continental and stuff.”

Jimmy was a champion at small talk, finding every possible thing to discuss except what Arnold wanted. Arnold struggled to keep his focus on the lost prisoner; his imagination was dancing with the idea of Sissy Jankovich being a regular woman in his life.

She was all-woman, her enthusiasm leaving him eager for more. God only knows how hard he worked to keep up with her demands that night. Other women paled in comparison; she made them all seem lifeless, almost dead. Fabulous sex, pretty as hell and young was exactly what he needed in his world of whining, complaining, obnoxious prisoners. He resolved to phone her later and see how she was doing, not wishing her ardor to cool. Women liked to be remembered and called after a date; it meant the man was interested enough to bother.

 

Coincidence

Velour seats made for a comfortable bed, the fuzziness like a stuffed animal if you imagined hard enough. The night sounds melted away, as Lon fell fast asleep in the back of the unlocked car. At times like this, being short had advantages; Lon was able to stretch out on the backseat without a problem, his feet touching the door handle on the other side. Cars had pretty big seats these days, comfortable too. He’d seen the ones called VW and couldn’t imagine how anyone could fit inside; you’d have to be a little kid.

Completely exhausted from a day of trying to get back inside prison, Lon wasn’t roused by the sound and movement of the car as the driver’s door opened. The person never looked in the back, pulling away without realizing their passenger in the back. Ten minutes later Lon detected a sweet smell from where he roosted, the kind of smell he did not experience in prison. It wasn’t unlike the perfume his female psychologist wore when she examined Lon several months before. She smelled good but was so skinny she could squeeze through the bars at the prison. Lon figured she had an eating disorder; he read that in a magazine in the prison library, though he didn’t understand the reasons.

 

This has to be a woman’s car, he thought. Not very smart leaving it unlocked. Somebody could have stolen it. I wouldn’t be so dumb to do that.

 

The car stopped at a corner, the woman reaching back to retrieve something on the floor. Lon peered out from under his blanket to meet her gaze. The woman wasn’t afraid, only surprised.

“Who the hell are you and why are you in my car?” she demanded.

Lon scooted up a bit with some effort, his joints stiff from sleeping on the seat.

“My name’s Lon Kirby, miss,” he began. “It got awful noisy in the motel so I came out and got in the car to sleep. I was really tired.”

The woman furrowed her brow, trying to make sense of what the old man was saying.

“Isn’t that a little odd? Why didn’t you go to the manager and complain?”

“It’s kind of a long story, miss. I ain’t exactly supposed to be around here; didn’t want to make no trouble.”

“Where are you supposed to be then?”

“The prison, miss. I was peeing and next thing I know everybody was gone. I got forgot about.”

“So are you on the run or what? You look a little old to be dangerous.”

“I ain’t dangerous even though I was convicted of murder.”

This caused the woman to pull back slightly.

“Murder?”

“I didn’t do it, but was there when it happened. They said I was an accomplice; they gave me a life sentence. I didn’t want Ryan to hurt nobody but he didn’t listen, honest; I didn’t know he was gonna kill the man.”

“Why didn’t you tell the police who killed the guy?”

Lon stared down at the blanket considering the question, afraid his reasoning would sound stupid. Several people over the years had called him dumb for his refusal to point out the killer who set him up.

“Uh, I’m no stool-pigeon,” he answered. “I didn’t want the girl to get in trouble, either; she didn’t have anything to do with it, only Ryan.”

“What girl?” continued Sissy more curious than disturbed by the man in the backseat. It wasn’t as if she was helpless, taking first place in her high school wrestling team, even beating a few boys. The wrestling coach suspected the boys let her beat them because she was a hot-stuff, a few illegal holds giving them a quiver of delight.

“Her name was Jody not Judy and she was very pretty. She let me have sex with her a few times; she was my first.” He stopped for a second contemplating an amendment. “Also my last.”

“So what are you planning to do, run? Sooner or later they’re going to come after you.”

“I thought about that a little. It would be nice to be free but I don’t know what I’d do. Everything is so expensive and I’m not sure I can find work; I never worked before, being so young when I went to prison. Mostly, I’d like to go back so no one gets mad at me; I’m gonna get out in five years. I just need to find Arnold’s phone number so I can call him. He’ll know what to do. He’s a good guard at the prison, never hits any of us; a lot of them aren’t so nice.”

“Arnold?” questioned Sissy, considering the chances it could be her Arnold. “Are there any other guards named Arnold?”

“Nah, he’s the only one,” answered Lon. “Why, do you know him?”

Sissy had to restrain from laughing; it wasn’t really a laughing matter when it came to an escapee sitting in the back of her car. Of all the losers she slept with, Arnold was the most promising. And now there was a distinct possibility he would lose his job, retirement and the ability to keep her in the manner she wished to get used to. The rest of the eligible bachelors were ugly, loser, lousy lovers and had no decent income. That was not the future Sissy Jankovich wanted in her life.

She could understand Lon’s decision about going back instead of running away. She wished she had left this seedy town ten years ago but fell in love with a local loser, Phillip Connelly who promptly became a drunk a year after they were together. That relationship cost her seven hundred dollars after he rammed her car into a tree. The car wasn’t worth much to begin with but it was paid for.

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2 Comments

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