COME EASY, GO EASY: Chapter 11 – The End

Roy, watching me, shook his head. He had lost colour. Maybe he could see from the expression on my face that I wasn’t going to be arrested without a fight. Maybe the sight of the sheriff’s gun scared him: it didn’t me. I would rather be shot than face Farnworth.

I heard Lola say, “Patmore? Why, yes. He works here. Carl hired him before he left. I have to have someone here to help out.”

“I understand that, Mrs. Jenson. I want to talk to him.”
“I’m not stopping you.” Her voice was very casual. “He’s somewhere around.”
Roy moved silently over to me.
“I can handle this,” he whispered. “Leave it to me.”

He crossed the kitchen to the back door, opened it and moved quickly and silently out into the hot sunshine.

Lola was saying, “He’s probably over the way in the repair shed. Why not see for yourself?”
“I guess I’ll do that, Mrs. Jenson.”

I heard the sheriff move to the door, then Lola said, “Did George Ricks tell you about Patmore, Sheriff?”
“That’s right … he did.”

“Did he complain that Patmore hit him?”
There was a pause, then the sheriff said awkwardly, “Why, yes.”

Lola went on, her voice hard, “Did he happen to tell you why Patmore hit him?”
“This Patmore seems a quarrelsome type. Ricks said . . .”

“He didn’t tell you that Patmore hit him because Ricks called me a wh0re?” The indignation in her voice sounded very sincere. “I would like to think, Sheriff, you would have hit Ricks if you
had heard him call me that.”
The sheriff cleared his throat.
“Why, yes. The fact is I had an idea he was shooting the breeze …”

I heard the screen door creak open, then Roy’s voice say, “Morning, Sheriff.”
A pause, then the sheriff said, “Is your name Jack Patmore?”
“That’s correct,” Roy said.
I leaned against the door, listening.

Roy was about my height, dark like me, and his moustache was clipped like mine. If Ricks had
given the sheriff a description of me, Roy could be mistaken for me.

The sheriff said in his heavy, booming voice, “George Ricks says you knocked him down
yesterday. That right?”
Lola was quick to cue Roy in.
“I was telling the Sheriff,” she said, “you hit Ricks because he called me a wh0re.”

“I certainly did,” Roy said. He sounded cheerful. “And I’ll tell you something else, Sheriff. If Ricks shows his snout here in the future, I’ll not only knock him down again, but I’ll kick his backside as well.”

There was a pause, then the sheriff said, “Where do you come from, Patmore?”
My heart began to thump again and my grip tightened on the handle of the meat cleaver.

Roy said, a jeering note in his voice, “Oakville, California. In case you don’t know, Sheriff, in my home town we don’t let rats like Ricks call women names. If you want my fingerprints just
tell me—you can have them.”

“Okay, fella, you don’t have to act smart.” The sheriff sounded annoyed. “It’s my job to know
who lives around in this district.”

“Carl met Patmore in his scrap deals,” Lola said quickly. “That’s why he hired him to work for him.”

There was a pause, then the sheriff said, “Well, all right. Take my tip, Patmore, don’t be quite so free with your fists in the future.”

“You tell Ricks to watch his dirty mouth and I’ll watch my fists,” Roy said. “How’s that?”
The sheriff said, after hesitation, “I’ll talk to him.”
“And while you’re talking to him,” Lola broke in, “Perhaps you’ll be good enough to tell him to keep away from here. He does nothing but pester me for money.”

“I can imagine, Mrs. Jenson. Your husband told me about him —if there ever was a scrounger
. .” Again the long pause, then he went on, “I’m sorry to hear you and Mr. Jenson …” He cleared his throat. “Well, I hope it will clear up.”

“That’s kind of you,” Lola said indifferently, “but you must worry about Carl nor me. Carl is happy, so am I.”

“I’m glad to hear it.” His voice sounded anything but glad. “We’ll miss Mr. Jenson. I would never have believed he would have walked out of here—he was born here.”

“It seems some women can make the nicest man act like a fool.” There was a waspish note in her voice again. “This place isn’t idea of paradise. I don’t plan to stay here longer than I can help.

When I’ve saved enough money I’m leaving. If Carl bothers to let me know where he is, I’ll
suggest he either comes back here or lets me sell the place. One thing I’m sure of—I’m not
spending rest of my days here.”
“Well, I can understand that, Mrs. Jenson. If your husband isn’t coming back, I can see you wouldn’t want to stay on here. It’s a lonely place for a woman.”

“Yes. Well, it’s been nice seeing you again, Sheriff.”
“I’m sorry I don’t have the time to come out here more often. It’s a long way out, but if you ever want any help, you have only to call me.”
“I’ll remember that—thanks.”

I heard him walk heavily to the door.
“So long, Patmore.”
“So long, Sheriff,” Roy said
I heard the door click, then the car start up and drive away.

I put the meat cleaver down on the table and wiped the sweat off my face.

Lola and Roy came in.
“That was pretty smart,” I said to Roy. “I thought I was in a jam that time.”

“I told you I could handle him,” Lola said impatiently. “You didn’t have to get so worked up.”
“I don’t know about that,” Roy put in. “I would have been worked up all right if I’d been Chet.”

“Oh, you men!” She started work on the chickens again. “You fuss about anything.”
Roy started towards the door, grinning at me.

“Thanks, Roy,” I said. “That was pretty smart.”
“As if I didn’t owe you something, pal,” he said, and went out.

There was a long pause while I watched Lola arranging chickens on the spit.

“This washes out tonight, Lola,” I said.
She turned quickly to stare at me, frowning.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m not going into Wentworth.”
“Why not?”
“Use your head, will you?” I said, getting angry with her. “Suppose we walk into the sheriff?

He thinks Roy is Patmore now. Who do we say I am?”
“Suppose we don’t walk into him?” she said.

“I’m not in the position to take chances, and you know it.”
“So what? Are you going to be scared from now on of ever going into Wentworth because you might just possibly run into that fat old fool?”
“If he gets an idea there is something wrong out here,” I said, trying to keep my voice down, “he’ll come out here and take a look around. He might even dig Jenson up. You wouldn’t be quite so calm if he did that, would you? After all, you shot him.”

“Did I? How does he prove that?”
I stared at her for a long moment, a little shocked and very uneasy.

“All right, let’s drop it,” I said. “We’re in this jam together, Lola. I can’t go to Wentworth tonight. I’m not taking any risks even if you want to.”

She turned her back on me, shrugging.
“All right, so you’re not going to Wentworth,” she said. “It’s not stopping me.”
I went over to her and put my arms around her, pulling her against me.
“Don’t be angry, sweetheart,” I said. “You’ve got to realise . . .”

She jerked free of me.
“I’m busy. Can’t you see? Haven’t you anything to do?”
“Okay, if that’s the way you feel about it.”
She looked over her shoulder at me. Her green eyes were suddenly as hard as stone.

“That is the way I feel about it, and you’d better move in with your boy friend. I want the bungalow to myself.”
“Now, look, Lola . . ”
“You heard what I said. You may not realise it but I own this place now. You two are such
buddies. Well, go sleep with him!”
The sudden hatred in her eyes chilled me.
“Well, if that’s the way you want it …”

“Oh, get out! I want a man in my bed, not a gutless insect. Go and talk to your boy friend!”
I went out, shutting the door behind me.

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