TG Browning

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By: TG Browning
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“He’s hung over, too.”

“Judas Priest. Okay, I get the picture. Stick tight. I’ll let you know what else we need.” Faintly, in the background, Doris the sound of a seven cylinder V8 with blown glasspacs and relaxed minutely. To herself she muttered, “Well, no wonder he’s in a rotten mood. He still hasn’t got enough money to get that Camaro fixed.” She just hoped that it wouldn’t tick Martha off too much. Martha could be mean.

Which brought her back to mean Mary. “Okay, Mary. Here’s what we got. You’re in there, about to blow the head off your no-good husband, in front of your two daughters. You want to do that, really? Not much of a mama, are we?”

Crack-pop, snap-pop. Now Doris’ squad car had a window out. “Lovely, Mary,” Doris muttered, wincing at the damage.

“Who’s a no-good …”

“Shut-up, Owen. You are. Now Mary, you can’t get out; Jimmy’s got the back covered and I’m not going anywhere. However, there’s a sale on and I’ve got shopping to do for the week and you’re making me miss it. What do you think I should do to resolve this mess?”

There was a pause and then a hopeful “Go away? How about that?”

“And miss seeing someone stitch Owen up with a needle and thread. Don’t be silly. Any other ideas?”

Another pause. Much longer than the first. “How about I just blow his head off and then come on out?”

“Jesus, Doris – will you watch what you’re saying, here? She’ll do it …”

“Hell, Owen, I might just hold you for her. Nah, can’t now that I think about it. Set a bad precedent. Scratch that idea, Mary.”

More silence. “Well, try this on for size,” Doris continued, looking up at the sky and idly watching the plume of smoke from the Georgia-Pacific mill waft its way east, almost directly above them. “How about you coming on out on your own?”

Beat, beat. Snap-pop. The back seat passenger side window starred on Doris’ squad car. “I’ll take that as a no, shall I?” Doris said. “Even if I let you knock him around some after you give me the gun? That’s about the best I can do?”

Doris waited; it was worth a shot, so to speak. “Not again,” howled Owen.

Shut up! Owen. It kept you breathing the last time. Seems to me a broke nose, a shiner and a couple of loose teeth are worth it.”

Silence again. From down the hill came the sound of Jerry Swann finally chugging up the hill, his Camaro belching a thin trail of smoke.

“Can’t do it,” Mary finally answered. “If I gotta spend more time in stir, I want to make it worth while.”

Doris figured she’d take that attitude. Glancing down the hill, Mort’s squad car came into view, rapidly overhauling the rust-mangled Camaro. “Well, think it over some, will you Mary? We got time. You just think it over.”

Mort passed Swann and slid to a stop behind Doris’ car. For once, he looked like he knew what he was doing – he kept low and joined her with a grimly expectant look. Seconds later, a burly man with three days growth of five o’clock shadow, wearing a red tank top t-shirt and cutoffs got out. He coughed deeply and spat, before taking a drag off a cigarette. He next reached in behind the front seat and pulled a large burlap sack free. The muscles on his arms and shoulders bunched with effort. Once he had the sack out of the car he grabbed it with both hands. Whatever it was, it was heavy.
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