COME EASY, GO EASY: Chapter 11 – The End



“Sol …?”
The man in the white tie’s voice was an alert whisper.
I took two silent steps sideways that brought me to the back door. I was no gunman. The heavy .45 felt awkward in my hand, but it gave me a lot of comfort.

The light went out in the lunch room. I heard a board creak.
“You there, Sol?”
I put my hand on the door handle and gently eased the door open. I would stand a better chance, I told myself, in the open.

I heard Sol stir and then groan. He must have had a head like concrete. I had reckoned he would have remained out of action long enough for me to take care of Eddy, but it looked as if I would have to work fast or I would have the two of them after me.

The back door was open now. Only a couple of days before, I had oiled the hinges and it
opened silently.

I felt the hot air from the desert strike my face as I edged backwards, holding the .45 stiffly,
pointing at the kitchen door.

The bang and flash of a gun and the deadly zip of a slug that almost brushed my hair sent my
heart racing and brought sweat pouring down my face.
I jumped down the three steps and crouched in the darkness. That kind of shooting was a little too good.

I waited, listening, but hearing only the thud-thud-thud of my heart beats. I looked quickly up the white road, picked out by the moonlight, but there were no headlights coming. I was alone. If I was going to get out of this jam, I would have to rely on myself.

There was a big patch of moonlight flooding the gas pumps. Around the lunch room and the repair shed there was heavy darkness. The bungalow was also in darkness, but to get there, I would have to cross the patch of moonlight.
Moving step by step, keeping just by the wall of the lunch room, I edged backwards.

A soft voice called out of the darkness: “Hey, bright boy, drop the rod and come back here with your hands in the air. Come on! Drop the rod!”

That insinuating, confident voice nearly persuaded me to fire in its direction, but I just stopped in time. I realised the flash of my gun would pin point me. That was what he wanted. I would miss him, but I was pretty sure he wouldn’t miss me.

Crouching in the darkness, I remained motionless, straining my eyes in the direction of the
voice, but I couldn’t see him.
“Come on, bright boy,” the voice went on. “Drop the rod. You won’t get hurt if you come with your hands in the air. I just want your dough.

Come on.”
Was the voice closer? It seemed to me it was I was pretty scared. I knew if he caught sight of me, if he spotted where I was, he would kill me.

Very slowly, I eased myself to the ground. As I did so, my hand touched a stone. My fingers closed over it. I picked it up and tossed it into the darkness, away from me. It rattled against the
wall of the lunch room on the other side of the steps.

The bang of the gun sounded violently loud and the flash was blinding. A slug zipped over my head. If I hadn’t been flat on the ground, he would have nailed me. He hadn’t shot away from me: he had shot at me, and that showed if nothing else could, just how professional he was.

The flash came from the top of the steps, but from the sudden flurry of sound, I knew he had
jumped off the steps and was crouching behind them, facing me.

I began to edge backwards, expecting any moment to hear t bang from his gun and feel a slug rip into me.
Then I saw him.

Something white moved about fifteen yards from me. That could only be his white tie. For a professional gunman, he wasn’t too smart to wear a white tie: a target, even a sucker like me couldn’t very well miss.

Very cautiously, I lifted the gun and sighted it on that white blur. My finger began to take up the slack on the trigger, then a thought dropped into my mind. Suppose I killed him? What then?

In a moment of emergency like this, it’s surprising how fast the mind can work. If I killed him, I would have his body on my hands. What about the Mexican? What would I do with him? Suppose I had to kill him too?

I couldn’t call the police and report an attempted robbery nor tell them I had shot these two.
Roy couldn’t substitute for me again. The M.O. might be old fashioned, but not old fashioned enough not to know these two men had died while Roy and Lola were on their way back from Wentworth. The police would want to know who had killed them. If they found out I had killed them, there would be Farnworth waiting for me.

Hesitating, I lowered the gun. That was a mistake.
The slight movement must have caught Eddy’s eyes.
I felt a numbing blow in my chest as, at the same time, I heard the bang of his gun and saw the flash.
I didn’t feel any pain.

It was as if someone had turned off a switch inside me, cutting off my strength the way you cut
off an electric light.
I felt the hot sand against my face, and although I made an effort to keep a grip on the gun, it suddenly became impossibly heavy. I felt it slip away from me as a hard pointed shoe thudded
into my ribs.

That kick released a white hot pain inside my chest. I was suddenly going down into the
scorching mouth of a volcano. I tried to yell for help, but no sound came out of my throat, only a sudden rushing of hot blood that threatened to drown me.
The clock was spinning backwards.

I was running blindly down the stairs that led away from Henry Cooper’s luxury penthouse. I
was wrestling again with the doorman, then I was in the street, hearing the thud of feet as the cop chased me. I heard again the bang of his gun and the tearing, blinding pain in my chest.

Roy told me later he had found me lying by the kitchen door.
Both he and Lola had known something was wrong as there were no lights showing.

Roy had gone around, shouting for me. It took him some minutes to find me, and when he did, he thought I was dead.

Between them, Lola and he carried me into the cabin and got me on the bed. It was while Roy was cutting away my shirt that I came to.
I found him bending over me, his face white, his hands shaking.

I looked beyond him, and there was Lola standing behind him, as white and as tense as he was.
I felt pretty bad, and it was an effort even to shift my head.

“What happened?” Lola demanded, coming around Roy and bending over me. “Who did it?”
I tried to speak, but the words wouldn’t come.
Roy said, “Leave him alone. Let me fix him.”

I was drifting away again into darkness. I wondered if I was dying: the thought didn’t worry
me. It was with a sense of relief that as I lost consciousness, the pain went away. The sun was shining through the window when I became conscious again.

Roy was still there, sitting by the bed, watching me, but Lola had gone.
“How do you feel?” Roy asked, leaning forward.

The word was an effort to get out. I felt curiously weak, and there was an odd floating sensation inside me.

“Look, Chet,” Roy spoke slowly, pronouncing each word clearly as if he were talking to a
foreigner, “you’re pretty ill. I want to get a doctor to look at you, but Lola won’t let me. She said you wouldn’t want a doctor.”

“I don’t want one.”
“You’d better have a doctor, Chet.” His face was anxious. “You’re pretty bad. I’ve done what I can for you, but it’s not enough.”

Bad as I felt, my brain wasn’t paralysed. A doctor would have to report to the police when he
found I had been shot: then Farnworth.

Through the open window came the sound of the impatient honking of a horn.
Muttering, Roy got to his feet.
“These truckers are driving me nuts. I’ll be back.”
I closed my eyes and dozed off.

The sun had shifted to the back of the lunch room when a movement close to me brought me

Lola was bending over me.
“Who was it who shot you?”
“Two gunmen,” I said. She had to bend close to hear me. “I’ve never seen them before.”
“Did they open the safe?”

I looked at her. I scarcely recognised her. There was a scraped, bony look on her face that made her seem ten years older. I could see tiny sweat beads along her upper lip. Her face was chalk white.

“I don’t know.”
And lying there, feeling this odd floating sensation inside me, I didn’t care.
“Did they mention the safe?” Her voice was shaking.

“It’s shut. It doesn’t look as if they tampered with it.” I could see her bre@$ts under her overall rising and falling in her agitation. “I must know! Suppose they’ve taken the money! I must know
if it has gone!”

I thought of Eddy. He was a professional. If he had found the safe, he would have opened it.

Anyone with the slightest knowledge of safes could open that sardine can.
“They could have taken it,” I said.

This effort at talking was making me feel bad. I began to float away into darkness again.
“I must know! Tell me how to open the safe!”

Her white tense face hung over me. I could smell the sweat of fear from her. I could feel the
frustrated greed coming out of her like the sound waves from a radio set. The darkness closed up around me.

From a long way off, I heard her saying, “I must know! Pull yourself together! Tell me how to open it!”

The voice, the room and the sunshine coming through the window were suddenly no longer


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