COME EASY, GO EASY: Chapter 11 – The End

COME EASY — GO EASY

CHAPTER ELEVEN

I

It was while we were having breakfast that I told Roy about Ricks.
“You have got to watch out for him,” I said. “He’s always dropping in unexpectedly. He was in yesterday, and he needled me into socking him. It was a d@mn silly thing to do but I did it.

He talked of going to the police.”
Roy looked up sharply.
“The police? Why?”
“He caught Lola and me fooling around together. He doesn’t know Jenson has gone off with
some woman. He wants to find him and make trouble.”

Roy finished his coffee and lit a cigarette. We were eating alone. Lola hadn’t got up yet.
“Why doesn’t Lola tell him that Jenson isn’t coming back?”
“For one thing it isn’t his business,” I said. “For another, he wouldn’t believe it.”

“I can imagine that.” Roy shook his head. “It certainly foxes me that a guy could be so dumb as to leave a set-up like this and a wife who can cook as well as she can.”

“If he comes around when we’re not here, Roy, watch him. Don’t let him have a thing and
don’t tell him anything.”
“Will he talk to the cops?”
“No. Even if he does, they wouldn’t listen to him.” I stood up. “How about giving me a hand?

This place has to be cleaned every morning. I guess Lola’s taking advantage of the new hand.

She’s still in bed.”
While we set about cleaning the lunch room, did you manage to get away? They said in the
survived.”

I told him.
Roy said, “Tell me about Farnworth, Chet. How
papers you’re the first man who has got out and
He was so fascinated that he leaned on the broom handle, listening, and every now and then he
shook his head in wonderment.

“Gee! You’ve got guts!” he said when I had finished. “I’m damned if I would have risked those dogs.”

“You would have risked anything to have got away from that place,” I said. “I’m not going
back. I would rather be dead.”
Roy grimaced.

“You should be safe here. You’re a long way from Farnworth. Who would think of looking for you here?”
“That’s the way I figure it.”

Through the window I caught sight of Lola coming over from the bungalow. She was wearing
her halter and shorts. She had piled her red hair to the top of her head and had caught it back with a strip of green ribbon.

I felt a sudden stab of uneasiness at the sight of her. She hadn’t worn that get-up for weeks.

Now, when another male was on the scene, she had suddenly decided to show off her body. I
looked quickly at Roy, who was polishing the counter.

Lola came in, smiling. She made quite an entrance.
“Hello,” she said. “That’s what I like to see—my two slaves hard at work.”

I was watching Roy. He paused, looked up and stared at her. She was leaning against the door post, looking directly at him. I’ve never seen her look so provocatively sexy and attractive.

Roy’s expression didn’t change. He just stared indifferently at her, then went on polishing the
counter.
“Hello there,” he said. “Are we the only two who work around here?”

I saw her expression harden. This wasn’t the reception she had expected. She had anticipated that Roy would have reacted to this display of feminine charm. I relaxed, turning away so she
couldn’t see my smile of satisfaction. It was still the same Roy: women meant nothing to him.

She walked across to the kitchen door. There she paused to look at Roy again, but he had his back to her and he was whistling under his breath. She went into the kitchen and slammed the door.

Roy winked at me.
“Women … I don’t know,” he said. “They’re never satisfied.”

“It was my fault,” I said. “I told her you weren’t interested in women. She couldn’t believe it.
Maybe she will now.”

A truck pulled up by the gas pumps and the driver honked on his horn.
“I’ll take care of it,” Roy said, and he went out to the truck.

I went into the kitchen.
Lola looked sulky. She had put on her overall and was busy preparing chickens for the spit.

“Let’s go to the movies tonight, Chet,” she said. “Roy can look after the place. We can catch the midnight performance. We’ll be back here by three.”
I hesitated. I wasn’t sure if it was safe for us to be seen together in Wentworth.
“Maybe we’d better wait, Lola …”
She turned quickly, her expression hardening.
“Wait for what?”
“No one knows the story yet.

Sooner or later we’ll have to put out the rumour Jenson has
walked out of here, but until we do, maybe it would be safer for us not to be seen together.”
“I’m sick and tired of having my fun alone,” she said. “I want to go to the movies tonight and I want you to go with me.
“Well, okay, then we’ll go. It’ll be dark. The chances are no one will spot us.”

“But, Chet, it doesn’t matter if anyone does spot us,” she said impatiently “It’s our business— not theirs.”
“Have you forgotten he’s buried here? If the police came out here and started to dig . . .”

“If the moon was made of green cheese! Do you think I’m going to spend the rest of my days
being scared of the police?
“You can talk. You haven’t been in Farnworth.”

Then Roy came in.
“Chet and I are going to the movies tonight,” Lola said to him, “Can you manage alone? We’ll go after the dinner hour. It’ll just mean serving gas and some sandwiches,”
Roy glanced at me. He looked surprised.

“Why, sure I’ll manage fine.”
She turned away and began putting the chickens on the spit.
“If you have a minute, Chet,” Roy went on, “I’d be glad you would take a look at my car.

It’s missing on damn near every plug. I never was any good with cars.”
“I’ll fix it,” I said “It’s time you learned to fix a car. What’s going to happen if Lola and me go to the movies and you get a breakdown?”
He grinned.

“I’ll have a breakdown on my hands,” he said.
He went to the kitchen door ahead of me, and pushed it open, then he paused abruptly—so abruptly I nearly cannoned in him.
“Look who’s here!”
I looked beyond him through the lunch room window.

A car had just pulled up. There were two men in it: both wearing Stetson hats and dark suits.
One of them, big, fat with a belly, got out of the car, leaving the other at the wheel.

The sun glittered on the star he wore on his lapel. As he squeezed out of the car, his coat fell open. I saw the gun belt and the .45 in its holster.
“Cops!” Roy said sharply.

I felt a chill snake up my spine. I looked wildly at Lola.
It was a funny thing but in this moment of panic I turned to her, feeling she and no one else could save me.

“It’s the sheriff,” I said. “He’s coming in here!”
Lola picked up a cloth and wiped her hands.

“I’ll handle him,” she said. She was as calm and as unruffled as a bishop presiding at a tea party. “It’s all right, Chet.”

It was easy for her to be calm. She hadn’t to face Farnworth. The sight of that fat sheriff froze my blood.

Both Roy and I stood aside and we watched her walk into the lunch room. As the door swung to behind her, I heard her say, “Why, hello, Sheriff, you’re quite a stranger.”

I felt sweat on my face as I leaned against the wall, listening. Roy stood on the either side of the
door, also listening and watching me.

“Hello there, Mrs. Jenson, nice to see you again.” The sheriff had a booming voice that carried easily to us. “Is Mr. Jenson around? I wanted a word with him.”

“Why, no. Carl is away.”
Lola’s voice sounded casual. I imagined her facing the sheriff, her green eyes bland and her expression unruffled. It would take a lot more than a fat sheriff to rattle her, but he was certainly rattling me.

“Mr. Jenson—away?” His voice registered his startled surprise. “That’s an event, isn’t it? I’ve never known him to leave here before. Where can I find him?”
“I don’t know.” She managed to convey by the tone of her voice that she didn’t care either.

“He’s moving around—anyway, that’s what he told me. He is supposed to be either in Arizona or Colorado. Since he left, I haven’t heard a word from him.”

“Any idea when he’ll be back, Mrs. Jenson?”
A pause, then she said in a cold, flat voice, “I don’t think he is coming back.”
I heard the sheriff’s grunt of surprise.

“Not coming back? What do you mean?”
“He’s walked out on me.”
There was a long pause. I could imagine him staring at her and getting a blank stare in return. I looked across at Roy, who was listening with the same intenseness as I was. Our eyes met. He frowned, shaking his head.

The sheriff said, “Well, this is a surprise. What makes you say that, Mrs. Jenson?”
“It’s not the first time a husband has found someone else he likes better than his wife.” She managed now to get a waspish note in her voice.

“What business is it of yours anyway, Sheriff? If Carl likes to make a fool of himself over some woman, that’s my headache, not yours.”

I heard him shuffle his feet.
“That’s a fact, Mrs. Jenson, but I’m sorry to hear it. Some woman, huh?”
“Oh, I suppose it is as much my fault as his. I shouldn’t have married him. He was too old for
me. From the start we didn’t get along together. Well, at least he did the decent thing: he left me this place. I won’t starve. What did you want to see him about? Anything I can do?”

The sheriff cleared his throat noisily.
“I understand there’s a fella working here—Jack Patmore. Is that right?”

My heart began to thump violently. I looked quickly around the kitchen for a weapon. There was a meat cleaver lying on the table. I reached out and grabbed it. I wasn’t going back to Farnworth. If this fat sheriff imagined he could take me, he was in for a surprise.

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