Sunday, February 13, 2011

ch. 5: westbound

We leave the offices of the newspaper, and once again I take a huge deep breath at the opportunity to basically flee a small town for a big city, with any excuse at all, flimsy or nonexistent. In our case we had several reasons to go, though Brownstreet was backpedaling on his quickly...he now wanted to be with his love interest,right here in my workplace; he made arrangements to call her as soon as he was done with this errand, which should be sometime tonight. I practically pulled him out of the office, his eyes still hanging on the very ground she'd walked on. No sooner did we get out on the little two-lane that connects Jackson City with the interstate, than he began questioning me about her, who she was,l her romantic history, etc. But I was of little help; I could hardly bring myself to tell him what little I knew.

It was another gorgeous fall day, sunny with blue sky, the corn browning in the fields and farmers rushing to haul it in before it was too late. Brown street opened the sunroof and kept under the speed limit, which meant that a steady stream of cars passed us regularly. He reexplained his business in the city. He had a possible gig in a steamboat kind of place owned by the casino, and this was down on the river on the Illinois side, but he had to work out the details, and it would involve going right down to the casino itself, and possibly to yet another stop. I myself was going directly to the We-Tow-It down on the north side of town where I knew I could find what was left of my car.

We discussed the cell phone and the nasty calls poor Wilson Hall had been receiving, or, to be more accurate, we had been receiving in his name. Brown street was still very unsettled that anyone could use such a hostile tone on such a phone; guess he didn't have much experience with them. It stood between us in the little tray that separated our seats. At this point neither of us was in the slightest mood tom pursue the matter; I remember this clearly. I had a story to write, a game to go to the following evening, and, though I felt badlymfor Wilson Hall and the jam he'd gotten himself into, I wasn't about to risk everything I had just timbering the middle between some lawyer, or what was left of his operation, and some multinational with a female killer hurling threats over the phone. I took those threats seriously. That's why, when the phone rang again, I jumped about a foot.

But Brownstreet was quicker. He grabbed thie phone, and, with a quick snap of his wrist, flicked it up out of the sunroof and out of the car.

A large semi was bearing down on us at that moment, and I couldn't bear to turn around and watch, but I heard the crack of a window, the screech of brakes, and more brakes as the truck apparently slowed down, and pulled over. Brown street looked at me and shrugged sheepishly, but didn't even slow down. We discussedmit at length much later. He was fully aware that his Live-Free-or-Die tags were a dead giveaway, that Midwestern truckers were not about to let little slights like this go untracked down, and that this was an era in which presumably the police could track down an errant driver like himself quite easily. His explanation went like this: he'd been genuinely spooked by the phone, and needed to getmit out of the car as soon as possible.

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