Sunday, February 05, 2012

Sunday Morning Breakfast Serial/Boone Carter

Who in the Hell is Boone Carter?

There were no marks on the truck when I walked up to it.  Apparently Trey had made it the few blocks from the apartment to the job site without incident.   Oh happy days.  I was climbing into the cab when Joe stopped yelling at the delivery truck driver and started heading my way, but Darlene's shout from the top step of the trailer stopped him halfway across the yard.  He gave me a hard glare, I gave him a cheery wave in response.  Petty?  Childish?  Hell yeah.  But it put a smile on my face even bigger than the healthy stack of Benjamins in my pocket.

I drove back to the apartment.  I wanted to put most of the money away.  One of the fastest ways to blow through cash is to keep it in your pocket.  It's just too easy to see something you've been wanting and think "what the hell."  Whereas, if you have to go home and get the money, or get it out of the bank, you may think twice about whether or not you really want it that bad.  Trey says I'm tightfisted.  Sometimes.  But when you've actually gone hungry you like having a bit of a safety net.

I parked the truck in my usual spot on the corner, next to the big old flowerbed filled with roses.  I ducked automatically when I walked past the front of the truck.  Mrs. Cunningham installed the security light a little low on the fence and I have to be careful not to bean myself on the noggin when I go past it.   Since she's about four foot nothing, even standing on her little four-step stool she couldn't reach high enough to keep it out of my way.  I would've put it up for her, but she didn't ask.   And hey, other than it being a little low, she did a great job.  The thing works like a champ too.  Lights up the whole yard bright as day. 

As I unlocked the front door I heard her querulous voice raised loud enough to be heard over the blaring television.  "Mr. Carter?  Is that you?  What're you doing home this time of day?  You didn't go and get yourself fired from that job did you?"  She didn't come to the door, didn't need to.  She had the old parlor door that was now the door to her living room wide open.  I could see her perched on the edge of her old floral couch sucking on a cigarette as she watched "The Price is Right."

"No ma'am.  Boss just has me working a special project today.  I needed to get something from the house."

"All right then.  You just make sure you don't lose that job.  I expect my rent money first of the month.  No excuses!"

"No ma'am."  I agreed.  I've never been late with the rent, never made any excuses.  But it didn't matter.  Someone, some time, had, and everyone since has had to pay for it.  I walked pass the open door up the stairs and let myself into the apartment.  Closing and locking the door behind me I went into my bedroom. 

It was the work of a moment to pull a phillips screwdriver from the drawer of the battered nightstand next to the bed I used it to take off the ornate metal grill of the heat vent from the old furnace.  There, hidden right where I left it, was one of those small fire and waterproof cash boxes I'd picked up at the office supply store.  Not the best hiding place in the world, but better than nothing.  And I'd both screwed and glued it down, so a thief would have to work at getting it loose.  I didn't think that Trey knew about the safe.  We have a standing agreement about not going into each other's bedrooms.  Still, I'm careful.  I trust him, don't think he'd steal from me.  But why tempt him?

The box opened easily with a turn of the right key from the ring in my pocket.  There was already a fair amount of money in there.  Added to what I had in my pocket I had enough that I could make a good downpayment on a new truck and buy a big screen tv.  But then my insurance would go up, and I'd have to pay for cable.  And Trey's brothers would be parking their asses on the couch every weekend wanting to watch the game.  Nah.  Better to have the cash.  That way if it was Jacob I'd have enough cash to pick up stakes and move. 

Only I didn't want to.

Damn it anyway!  I liked my life here.  I glanced around the bedroom.  This place wasn't much, but I liked it:  the turret windows gave a great view of most of the neighborhood.  The wood floors were easy to keep clean.  Mrs. Cunningham was a nosy old bat, but she took good care of the place.

Maybe it wasn't Jacob.  Or maybe he'd left the Children of Abraham.  Maybe the whole group had broken apart when Abe got sent up the river.

Lot of maybes there.  Any one of them could be true.

But I didn't think so.

Only one way to find out.  I retrieved the battered old phone book from my bookshelves and sat on the edge of the bed.  Time to start investigating.

1 comment:

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