COME EASY, GO EASY: Chapter 11 – The End

For the next three days I hung between life and death. I knew it, and I didn’t care.
I wouldn’t have lasted a day if it hadn’t been for Roy. He scarcely left my side, and when I developed a fever, he sat over me with an ice bag and kept right by me until the fever broke.

There was a time, when the fever was at its height, that, as I lay burning and in pain, I suddenly saw Carl Jenson in the room.

He had the same bewildered expression on his face that I had seen when he had caught me
before the open safe. I tried to speak to him, but the words didn’t come.

After a while, he went away. I didn’t see him again. That was when I nearly died.

Later, Roy told me he had given me up, then the fever broke and I began to get better.
It wasn’t until the seventh day that I was able to talk about Eddy and the Mexican.

“They cleared out the till,” Roy told me, “and they took the gas money and most of the food.”

I wondered about the safe. I wondered if Eddy had found it and had opened it, but I didn’t
mention it to Roy.

“It seems to me you’re going to pull out of this now,” he went on. He looked thin and tired, and there were dark smudges under his eyes that told of loss of sleep. “It was a near thing. You are lucky.”

“You saved my life, Roy,” I said. “Well, that makes the score even. Thanks.”
“What did you expect me to do—let you croak?” He grinned. “It’s been pretty rugged, keeping the place going and nursing you, but now I reckon I can catch up on some sleep.”

I had been out of action for eight days and nights. During that time, Lola hadn’t been near me. I wondered if she had made any headway with Roy during that time.
“How are you and Lola making out?” I asked.
He shrugged.

“I scarcely see her. I’ve been too busy looking after you.” It was too glib, he didn’t look at me. I knew he was lying.

“I’ve warned you, Roy. She’s dangerous.”
“She isn’t cutting any ice with me, and she never will,” he said. There was a long pause while we looked at each other. Then abruptly he asked, “What really happened to Jenson?”

I wouldn’t have told him unless I was sure she had made an impression on him. I was desperate enough to try to scare him off her by telling him the truth.

“She murdered him, and I was fool enough to bury him.”
I saw his eyes go suddenly blank the way they always went when he heard something he didn’t want to hear.

“She murdered her first husband too,” I went on. “She’s a killer, Roy, so watch out.”
“Do you realise what you are saying?” he asked, leaning forward, his face tight and hard.

“I know what I’m saying: I’m warning you.”
He stood up.

“I don’t want to hear any more of this. Can’t you see it puts me on a spot?”
“You’ve got to be warned, Roy. You don’t know her the way I know her.”

He moved to the door.
“I guess I’d better get back to work. I’ll be in again. You take it easy.”

Without looking at me, he went away. Well, he knew now. He would be on his guard. She wouldn’t fool him as easily as she had fooled Jenson and me.

But I didn’t know I was already too late with my warning. I found that out the following night. Roy had moved his bed into the sitting-room to give me more room.

He had told me if I wanted anything to call him, but if it wasn’t urgent he would be glad to get some sleep. That was understandable. I said I would be all right and for him not to worry about me.

Since I had told him about Jenson’s death, I knew it wasn’t the same between us, and I knew it could never be the same with us again. It was in the atmosphere rather than in his attitude. He had always been poker-faced, and now he was even more so.

Neither of us mentioned Lola. From time to time I saw her from the window, moving from the lunch room to the bungalow. She continued to keep away from me.
It was on the following night that I realised my warning had come too late.

Around midnight, Roy shut up the lunch room and turned off the light. I had seen Lola go to the bungalow a few minutes after eleven o’clock. The lights were out in the bungalow by the time Roy came into the cabin.
He opened my bedroom door silently and stood there, listening.

I had turned off my light some time ago. I made no sound
“Are you awake, Chet?”
His whisper was so soft I scarcely heard it
I stayed motionless, not saying anything. Then I heard the door shut softly.

I waited, hoping that what I knew was going to happen wouldn’t happen, but of course it did.

For a few tense minutes I lay looking out of the window, then I saw Roy come out of the
shadows. He walked quickly across to the bungalow, paused to look back at the cabin, then he opened the front door and went in.

I might have known he couldn’t have resisted her for those eight days and nights when she
could have worked on him uninterrupted.

I didn’t blame him. I knew her technique. I had been kidding myself all along that Roy was
indifferent to women, and Roy had been kidding himself too.
I felt helpless and pretty bad: jealousy didn’t come into it, but fear did.

Once she had her claws in Roy, she would persuade him to open the safe. Then she would
murder him. I was sure of that.

I had warned her he wouldn’t let her have the money once he got his hands on it. She would murder him, and then she would murder me. She would then hide the money and send for the fat sheriff. How she would explain what I was doing in pyjamas with a bullet wound in my chest I couldn’t imagine, but she had had eight days to dream up a story and I was pretty sure, by now, she had one ready. I had given Roy a description of Eddy and the fat Mexican.

He had certainly passed the descriptions on to Lola. She might even claim that these two had murdered Roy and me while she was in Wentworth There were any number of angles shebcould use.

I lay there, enduring the nagging pain in my chest, while I watched the bungalow and schemed.

It was a little after two o’clock when I saw him come out. He closed the front door, then walked over to the cabin. He came in silently.

I reached for the light switch, and as he eased open my door I turned on the light.
He stood, startled, in the doorway, staring at me. He had on a singlet, a pair of trousers, and his
feet were bare.
“I didn’t mean to wake you,” he said. “I just looked in to see if you were okay.”
“Come in. I want to talk to you.”
His eyes shifted.
“It’s after two. I want to get some sleep.”
“I want to talk to you.”

He came in and sat down, away from me, and lit a cigarette.
“What’s on your mind?”
“She’s thrown a hook into you, hasn’t she?”

He blew a cloud of smoke that half screened his face, then he said, his voice harsh, “You’re
pretty sick, Chet. You don’t want to work yourself up. Suppose we talk about this tomorrow?

You need your sleep—so do I.”
“I may be sick, but if you don’t watch out, you’re going to be a d@mn sight more than sick— you’re going to be dead.

You didn’t answer my question.”
“No woman will ever hook me,” he said, his face now deadpan.
“Are you trying to kid me or yourself?”

He didn’t like that
“Okay, if you must know, I took what she threw at me, but there are no strings to it—I’ll take
care of that.”

“Did she ask you to open the safe?”
His eyes narrowed.
“Safe? What safe?”
“Jenson’s safe.”

He ran his fingers through his hair as he stared at me.
“What about Jenson’s safe?”
“Did she ask you to open it?”
I saw by the puzzled expression on his face that she hadn’t. I began to breathe more freely. At least, this time, I wasn’t going to be too late to warn him.

“She’s never mentioned a safe.”
“She will, and she will ask you to open it.”
He made an exasperated movement with his hands.

“What the h*ell is this about? What are you getting at?”
“There’s something in that safe she wants,” I said, “and when she wants something as badly as
she wants this thing in the safe she will stop at nothing to get it, and I mean nothing. She shot her husband to get it.

She tried to blackmail me into getting it, and now you arrive. Someone else who can open the safe, and she’s starting to soften you up so if you open it she can take you by surprise and murder you.

It sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? It isn’t! She’ll murder you as she murdered her first husband, as she murdered Jenson and very nearly murdered me. I’m telling
you—don’t open that safe!”

By now the effort of talking had taken so much out of me I was sweating, and the pain in my chest was making me short of breath. I watched him in despair, for there was no change of expression, just the dead-pan look, and the eyes that had gone a shade darker.
“You sound cr@zy in the head,” he said. “What is it she wants so badly?”

I wasn’t going to tell him it was over a hundred thousand dollars in hard cash. I wasn’t that much of a fool.

“I told you the cops suspected she had murdered her first husband,” I said. “She did murder him. Before he married her, Jenson made her sign a confession and it is in the safe. I’ve seen it.

Until the safe is openand she can destroy the confssion, she’s jail bait, andhe knows it.”
He rubbed the back of his neck, frowning.

“Are you dreaming all this or is it true?”
“She shot Jenson and she would have shot me only I got the safe door shut before she could
pull the trigger. She knew I was the only one here who could open the safe and that saved my life.

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