'The Package' (Part Two)

'The Package' (Part Two)

A Story by Wez Hardyn
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A story of Loyalty, Betrayal and Nitromethane

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Chapter 5

  Heather was sobbing on his shoulder now. All Cole kept saying was: ‘200 grand, 200 grand’
‘I had to do it Cole, I knew Vinny wouldn't have me killed, especially when he agreed for you to drive me - but his bosses won’t allow a witness to live. If they don’t get me on the road, then as soon as I get on the boat to Columbia they’ll kill me, I know it Cole. And then there’s the baby, I need the money to bring the kid up decently. You see why I stole the $200,000 don’t you Cole? You’ll still help me, won’t you?’
Cole started to laugh: ‘First you break my heart and now you’re gonna get me killed - you’re poison woman, you know that?’
‘The baby should have been yours, I know that now. Forgive me Cole, we can go to Mexico or get another boat to Chile or somewhere’
‘They don’t have much drag racing down there, do they?’ he said absent mindedly.
‘For God’s sake Cole, grow up. This is our chance to be together’
‘One thing’s for sure, Vinny will kill me if he finds out I went along with your betrayal - and I can’t say I’d blame him much’
‘So you’ll help me?’
‘What if I take the money back?’
‘They’ll still kill me because of what I saw at the club. Vinny’s not the power he used to be in the mob anymore - they’ll insist that I’m liquidated’
‘Well we can’t let them make a shake outta you, can we?’ he said smiling.
‘You have a plan?’ she said quietly, relieved by his smile.
‘Not yet, but we’ll keep heading west on the minor roads, like I said, nothing can keep pace with the Dodge when it’s angry’

A day later they pulled up at a diner just outside of Nashville. Cole was still numbed by the situation he found himself in, but he found that driving like a bat outta hell across country roads was great therapy. 
‘Don’t you have some more appropriate music, considering where we are?’ she complained.
‘What’s wrong with James Brown?’
‘We need to keep a low profile, Cole, and the Godfather of Soul is a lot of things but he ain’t that’
The ’Payback’ song stopped along with the engine as they parked up. 
‘All that cross country drivin’ has given me a hell of an appetite, hope they’ve got pie’
‘Every diner in America’s got pie, Cole’
‘I guess’ he said as they took their seats in a booth.
Cole was into his second helping when a young voice interrupted them:
‘Nice ride mister, is it a 440?’
Cole looked up to see a kid in his early twenties wearing a leather jacket.
‘426 - I only drive hemis’ said Cole.
‘Cool - that’s a rare combination, man. Torqueflite or manual? What’s it do in the quarter?’
‘Four on the floor, low tens - high nines on a good day. You a racer?’
‘My brother is - he’s got a Boss 429 Mustang’
‘That’s rarer than my ride kid, you parked outside?’
‘Yessir, right alongside yours’
Cole smiled, he knew what was coming next.
‘How much and where?
‘$500? - there’s a little track down the road a piece’
Cole turned to Heather: ‘OK if I go earn some easy money?’
‘You’re going racing?’ she said, surprised.
‘Only take an hour or so - right kid?’
‘Sure, like I say the track’s not far, and there’s a meeting going down’
‘You see honey, the pride of Mopar must be defended against the local cowboys here’
‘OK Cole, I’ll get a room at the motel, but try not to get yourself killed or arrested’ she sighed.

Chapter 6

  Cole drove with the younger McCandless brother in the passenger seat - ‘in case he couldn’t keep up with the Mustang and got lost’. He wondered what young Luke would say or do if he knew that there was $200,000 in the trunk. Heather had agreed it would be safer there than under a motel bed. The ‘Boss’ Mustang ahead was an impressive looking piece of Detroit steel and with the massive 429 squeezed under the hood ,if the guy could drive worth a damn, it would be a close race. He could see, through the corner of his eye, the kid was watching him closely.
‘Hey, I know you man, you’re the guy who drives the ‘Outlaw’ funny car outta Jersey - I seen you on the TV last weekend’
‘That’s me Luke, but can you keep it to yourself? The Lady ain’t my wife, if you know what I mean!’ said Cole in his best conspiratorial voice. 
‘Sure thing, I know what you big city boys are like’
Cole wasn’t sure if that was a joke or not so he shrugged saying: ‘ Racer’s union, right?’
‘You should’ve beat The Snake in the final’
‘Tell me about it - this track much further?’
‘Naw, we’re almost there’
They took a left down a dirt track road and emerged amongst a mass of race cars of every variety. To Cole it was like travelling back in time; front motored dragsters, Willy’s gassers, injected A fuel funny cars and fuel altereds! 
He parked up next to the ‘stang and after arranging the time for their race Cole went for a stroll around the pits. This was his natural environment - he enjoyed competing in NHRA ‘big shows’ but this is where real blue collar types raced at the weekend. He fell in love with a Camaro bodied A fuel funny car that was still running a chevy ‘rat’ big block motor. Predictably it was called ‘The Hemi Hunter’ and was painted in green metal flake. Deep in conversation he had forgotten his up-coming money race and had to hurry putting the slicks on, taking the mufflers off and removing the air filters. Luckily the locals rallied around and helped him - it was clear the McCandless brothers were neighbourhood heroes. It would be a shame to take their money! The cars were called to the starting line. Young Luke poured the water for his burnout while his opponent enjoyed the services of a ‘Daisy Duke’ look alike, complete with hot pants. If they were trying to distract him, they were succeeding - Cole was laughing with delight. The long burnouts were greeted with wild cheers as they reversed back. He’d half expected the start to be done with flags, but to his slight disappointment they had a ‘state of the art’ Christmas tree. Troy McCandless was giving Cole ‘the stare’, to which he usually responded with ‘the finger’, but being the guest of these neighbourly hillbillies he refrained. He even, politely, staged first. On the green they couldn’t be separated. They seemed to be glued together as the cars gathered momentum. Cole was shifting a little later than his opponent - which indicated Troy wasn’t quite as confident in the torque of his Ford big block. His final shift got the hemi up on it’s hind legs and roared through the traps at 115 mph. He beat the Mustang by a fender! 
On returning to the pits, Cole was again surprised by the applause. Getting out of the Challenger he was back slapped and hand shook - even getting a kiss from Daisy Duke. Troy McCandless approached - he made Cole, who was a big man, look like a lightweight. He wasn’t sure if he was going to get punched or hand shook. 
‘Shaw was a good race, pilgrim - you done this affor?’
‘A little’ said Cole, mightily relieved by the smile on his opponent’s face. 
‘Come and have some ‘shine with us’ said Troy handing over the $500.
‘Sorry, got a date with a Lady, tell you what, buy everyone a drink on me’ said Cole refusing the money.
‘We pay our debts around here mister’ said Troy with a little menace.
‘I’ll remember that if I ever need a favour - besides I’ve had so much fun I can’t take your money’
Every one seemed pleased by this and Troy reluctantly agreed. 
Cole was still smiling as he drove away to the sound of James Brown’s ‘Say it Loud, I’m Black and Proud’

Chapter 7

  Cole was whistling excerpts from his cassette collection when he entered the motel. 
‘I’m sorry sir, we have no Heather Watson staying here’ said the attendant.
He felt a cold hand grip his heart. Running over to the diner he knocked on the locked door. Eventually one of the staff immerged shouting through the door: ‘We’re closed - can’t you read?’
‘It’s important, if you don’t open up I’ll call the police‘ he lied. 
‘OK, OK, what’s the emergency - you need more pie?’ said the man remembering Cole from earlier. 
‘The woman I was with, did you see her leave?’
‘Sure did, hold on I think she gave me a message to give to you’
He went behind the counter: ‘Ah, here it is’ 
Cole read the slip of paper: ‘They arrived just after you left - they want you to come to the next bar travelling north. They say it’s called ‘The Cowboy’s Rest’. Bring the money’
Cole looked up at the waiter: ‘What did the men she left with look like?’
‘Heavy lookin’ dudes - one had his nose in plaster. I think his name was Charlie - no, Curly, that was it’

‘What makes you think he’ll come?’ asked Curly ‘I wouldn't if I was him’
‘That’s one of many differences between you and Cole - he’s a gentleman and would never leave a lady in the hands of someone like you’ replied Vinny ‘That right, Heather?’
She just turned and stared out of the window. 
‘If he’s such a gentleman why’d he run off with your woman and your money?’ asked Curly with some logic.
‘We have yet to ascertain the details of the situation my young friend. The lady here can be quite duplicitous and it’s possible she was using him - you know, quivering lips, tears and a very sad story etc’
‘Du - what?’ said Curly.
‘You just do like I say and don’t underestimate Cole this time, he’s very dangerous, specially when he’s cornered’ warned Vinny for the umpteenth time.
Suddenly they heard the growl of the hemi. 
‘OK, spread out and keep frosty’ ordered Vinny.
The four hoods scattered around the bar room. The rest of the clientele had all left quietly, feeling the tension in the air.
Cole walked in casually, like a man on holiday looking for a beer. 
‘Well, fancy seeing you here Vinny - not often you venture this far from the city’ 
‘Frisk him Curly, see if he still carries the .38 I gave him a lifetime ago’
Curly turned Cole to the bar roughly and searched his pockets.
‘He’s clean’
‘Well now, have you brought the money?’ asked Vinny politely.
‘What money?’
‘Look, Cole, I don’t know what she told you but she’s got $200 grand of my money and I want it back - that’s all. Then you can have her, if you want the two timing b***h!’
‘How do I know you won’t kill her after I hand you the dough?’
‘Guess you’ll just have to trust me - I’ve never struck a woman, let alone killed one’
‘I bet scum like Curly here could help you out with that’ said Cole looking at the increasingly agitated killer.
Curly struck Cole ferociously with the back of his hand. The other hoods converged on Cole as he rubbed the side of his face.
‘How would you like to see the ‘Lady’ here with a busted knee cap? We’ll keep breaking her bones until you get the money, smart mouth’ threatened Curly.
‘Now you boys ain't real neighbourly are you?’ said a deep voice with a southern accent.
‘Just put your guns on the bar there, nice and slow like, and we’ll have us a civilized conversation’
Troy McCandless stood just inside the back exit sporting a shotgun.

Chapter 8

  ‘Who the f**k are you?’ asked Vinny.
‘Just a concerned citizen’ answered Troy, making sure the guns were neatly placed along the counter. ‘We don’t like city types comin’ in here and gettin’ rowdy’
Cole chose one of the weapons and pointed it at Curly: ‘Sit yourself down boys’
‘Ah, I see the cavalry has arrived - racing buddy is he Cole?’ said Vinny.
‘Something like that. Now I think we can work this thing out with nobody gettin’ their bones broke, right Vinny?’
‘Sure Cole, long as I get my money’
Heather ran over to Cole and grasped his arm.
‘Now I couldn't figure out how you found us so easily, until I took a glimpse at the dash in your car on the way in’ continued Cole: 'You've got a tracking device on my car, right?’
There was silence.
‘Look I know a scanning screen when I see one, I watch James Bond movies. And I bet I know where you got it too - from a fed called Jeremiah!’
Vinny’s eye brows raised: ‘How in the hell do you know that Cole?’
‘Let’s just say I know you love gizmos and I heard he was in the market. Is it on my car?’
‘Well I suppose you’ll tear your Dodge apart until you find it ,so yeah, I had it put under your left rear wheel arch - works real good too’
‘You won’t be needing it anymore, I’ve got a deal for you. Meet me at Tulsa Raceway car park in two days time and you can have your money. It’ll give me time to get Heather here stashed away somewhere safe. What d’ya say Vinny?’
Vinny lit a cigar: ‘So I’ve got to trust you now, eh Cole?’
‘Have I ever gone back on my word?’
Vinny shook his head ‘No you never have - OK Cole we’ll do it your way, if it’s OK with your friend with the scatter gun’
‘Seems mighty civilised to me’ said Troy ‘But never come back to these parts again - or I might shoot me some city boys’
Curly cursed something under his breath.
‘You got something to say?’ asked Cole, advancing on Curly.
‘F**k you and your hillbilly inbred girl friend’
‘You need some anger management therapy Curly, perhaps this will help’
Cole hit him on the nose with the butt of his revolver.
‘See you in Tulsa Vinny’

‘What are you thinking, Cole. They’ll take the money, kill you and then come after me’ said a tearful Heather.
They were driving to Oklahoma at a leisurely pace.
‘And why didn’t you take the bug, or what ever it’s called, out of your wheel arch?’
‘Because, my dear, the feds are using it to track us just like Vinny’
‘But that’s another good reason for junking it, isn't it?’ 
‘I guessed that Jeremiah character sold or gave Vinny the bug and Vinny confirmed it - which is very good news for us’
‘You’re not making any sense Cole, why the hell is it good news?’
‘Because it means they are corrupt maverick feds and so we just have two of them to deal with instead of the whole damn US secret service’ explained Cole with a smile.
‘I still don’t get it’
‘Leaving the bug on means Jeremiah and his chum will be at Tulsa - so Vinny will have to deal with them as well as us’ 
Cole gave a thumbs up in the rear view mirror to the McCandless brothers following in the Mustang.
‘And the money Cole?’
‘We’ll see what happens, but I’ve got to take it if there’s an option to get out of this mess without anyone gettin’ killed’
He added, ruefully: ‘But that ain’t very likely’

© 2013 Wez Hardyn


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a nail-biting build-up of suspense. i didn't see mccandless coming into the picture. and just at the right time. excellent job. shows a 'thickening' of the plot. great job.

Posted 10 Years Ago



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Added on June 20, 2013
Last Updated on July 1, 2013
Tags: Crime, Gangster, Motor Racing

Author

Wez Hardyn
Wez Hardyn

Cambridge, United Kingdom



About
I've had some success publishing my essays on politics and I want to try my hand at fiction. Having already started my first novel I am very interested in what others are writing - especially novices .. more..

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