Fifty thousand dollars, more or less. Green and gray, and full of lovely possibilities. No one would know if I took it. No one would know my noble sacrifice if I didn’t.
Fifty thousand dollars. Give or take. And I was about to take it when I heard the chatter and bang of an old car with a sad muffler as it rolled into Davis’ driveway. By the time it stuttered to a stop and I heard the door slam shut, I had shoved the money back into its box, and the box back into its hiding place. There was a dirty window high in the south wall of the garage. Standing on tiptoe, I could just see out. The car was a Trans-Am, about as ancient as my Pinto and not half as well maintained. The driver was a lean, hard boy of fifteen or sixteen in faded jeans and a ball cap that said, “WEED WORKS WONDERS”. Advertising the company business, I suppose. It didn’t seem wise, but Garberville is a narco-redneck town and probably nobody thought anything about it.
I knew he would find the broken window in the kitchen. I was planning to lay low until he started investigating the inside of the house, then split. Instead, he headed straight for the garage.
It didn’t take long to decide where to hide. There wasn’t all that much choice. I slid in behind the BMW, and reached for the .44. It was a reflex. I caught myself, and left it where it was.
I heard him come in while I hid behind the car, hunched over and keeping my feet behind a tire. The door closed behind him and his sneakers made little noise on the concrete. I could hear the partition being pulled back, and the metallic scrape as he pulled out the ammunition box.
He was taking my money! I almost stood up and challenged him, before I came to my senses.
Finally the garage door closed again, the old car coughed to life, and the boy roared back into the street and off toward the center of town. I straightened up and went to the partition. The ammo can was gone, but a similar one had been put in its place. Inside was an envelope, and in the envelope were pictures Harvey Jacks would have been proud of. They showed an aging, white haired man having sex with a girl who looked to be about thirteen. Whether it was love or rape would probably not matter to the girl. She was sprawled back, semiconscious. What she had been smoking was anyone’s guess, but it had been potent.
I had seen the man before. I couldn’t place him, but I knew that I should be able to.
I took the pictures. Three blocks of skulking through alleys, then I walked back to the motel. It was a hot afternoon and I needed a shower. And food. And time to think. more tomorrow