Friday, September 16, 2016

One More Cup Of Coffee ... Part 5

One More Cup Of Coffee ... Part 5

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places, or actual events is purely coincidental.

The next morning, I phoned Wallace Ackley, my lawyer and financial consultant in New York. I explained to him that I was travelling to Arizona on an extended holiday, that I was alive and well, and did not wish to be bothered by anyone. He agreed to contact my family and instruct them call off the search for me. As a proviso, he asked only that I check in with him once a month to ensure that I was well and safe from harm. One crisis was averted, and still another crisis loomed.

I hurried down to the south garage, and pulled the tarp from my Volvo. I tried the door, and my luck seemed to be turning. The door was unlocked.

I stepped inside the car, and I reached beneath the dashboard for the ignition wires. I had not hot-wired a car since the somewhat unruly years of my teens, but I remembered enough to bypass the ignition system, and the car roared to life. I opened the garage doors and drove aimlessly in search of Lonnegan's Diner. The back roads outside Thomasville were a maze of gravel trails, all seemingly leading nowhere. I eventually stopped a farmhand driving a tractor along the edge of a cornfield and asked for directions.

By the time I reached the highway turnpike that led to the diner, the sun was already beginning to set. I parked between two transport trucks in the parking lot, carefully out of sight from the diner's main entrance, but with a view of any traffic that might enter or leave the lot.

At some point, I fell asleep in my car, only to be awakened by the hiss of the air brakes of the transport truck pulling out from its parking spot next to me. I bolted upright in the driver's seat, somewhat disoriented and angry. Night had fallen, and I was sure that I had missed the very thing that I had come to discover.

To my surprise, Maggie's dark blue Buick remained parked across from me. My good fortune seemed to be continuing. I watched and I waited.

After an hour or so, I saw Maggie walking from the diner toward her car. I ducked down in my seat and peered over the dash. What I saw next sent chills down my spine.

Out from a red pickup, a shadowy figure met Maggie as she walked to her car. I peered through the darkness as best as I could, but I was unable to make out the features of the man meeting my wife. Then, as the two converged under one of the parking lot's tall lampposts, I watched as Maggie counted out a number of indistinct bills of cash. In return, he handed her a brown paper bag. She opened it and pulled a dark object from the bag. That object caught the light just so, and I could tell it was a revolver.

I closed my eyes for a moment, afraid to believe what I was seeing. Then I heard laughter, a laugh I remembered all too well, and as the man turned into the light, I saw that it was Billy Bottenfield.

"Dead, my ass," I murmured to myself.

Once Maggie completed her business with Billy Bottenfield, I expected her to get in her car and begin the drive home. Instead, she simply opened her car door, placed her package inside, and then walked back into the diner.

I reached under the dash, got the Volvo running, and drove back to Pendleton as quickly as possible. I pulled into the south garage, stalled the engine, and threw the grey tarp back over my car.

As I entered the mansion, my mind was racing with a multitude of thoughts and conjectures, but one simple conclusion resurfaced again and again. Maggie had bought a gun for just one reason. She was going to murder me.

... To be continued ...




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