The Man with the Missing Fingers

Part 1 - THIRTEEN

April 26 – April 27

 

Blanchard drove away from the abandoned plant through a series of small county towns with shack-like houses built on slopes. Presently, the sun was slowly setting behind a fading line of tall trees as he drove along the Ohio River. And he was still on the road when night fell.

Overall, Blanchard was glad about the way things had turned out. All that remained to do was make Ingrid understand that the idea of running, especially together, was not necessary. In a way, it was a fantasy he had sold her–– after they had become lovers–– to secure her involvement in the robbery. Even though the crew had figured out how to slow the flow of the traffic by tampering the stop lights so it continuously stayed on red, they had also figured that on D-day they were going to need a buffer to keep the armored car in place long enough for the explosive device to be set on. Ingrid was perfect for that role with her history of seizures. She was even seeing a doctor who could confirm her medical condition. So after preliminary investigation, any initial suspicions on her would eventually be dropped.

Yes –– there was no need to run anywhere.

            Blanchard arrived at the hotel at around eight p.m. The room was illuminated by only one lamplight. And with the damask curtains drawn, it barely kept the ambient darkness from engulfing everything inside the room.

Ingrid was lying in bed looking beautiful in her yellow pedal-pushers and white swing vest. Upon seeing her like that, Blanchard suddenly wanted to take her. After witnessing Knoxville’s execution he felt alive like never before. And there was always that maddening urge whenever he was around her. And when he wasn’t preoccupied, he could last hours with her and then some.

He thought she was asleep. She wasn’t. She hadn’t heard him come in. And when she acknowledged his presence, he saw that she was even more nervous than when he had left her. He asked her what the matter was.

“It’s Momo––”

“Who?”

“Kinney Mason––” she said, sitting up. “My friend I told you was going to take care of that man.”

“What about him?”

“He’s dead!” Her voice broke. “I tried his phone yesterday. And today too. Now I know why he wasn’t answering. He’s dead.” Her white face had taken on a reddish hue in the lamplight. She scooted over to the foot of the bed, clenching the bedspread, staring and saying, “I called his club and they said the cops found him in his retreat home. A bloody massacre; dead people everywhere… So you see? He killed them all. He did this! And now he knows I set him up. We gotta go. We can’t stay here!”

Just when he was thinking everything was working out fine, here came this swarm of bees out of the honey pot. Blanchard peeled off his leather jacket and threw it halfway across the room to an obscure corner where there was a deep cushioned chair.

“Calm down,” he urged Ingrid.

She answered back, “Don’t tell me to calm down.”

“Listen –– that man that so terrifies you, when he comes for us, my guys and I will get him. So relax.”

“What if I don’t want to wait around till this happens?”

“You’re free to leave,” Blanchard said, his clipped fingernails waving towards the door. Ingrid didn’t follow the gesture with her eyes. Instead, she glared at him. And Blanchard added with a voice devoid of any warmth, “You’ll get your share and then if you still feel like it you can pick a nice spot on the map and hike your way up there.”

“So that’s how it is now?” Ingrid said, folding her legs on the bed.

“You’re making it to be like this.”

“What about all those things we talked about?”

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you,” Blanchard said and moved over to the curtained window. He waved the smooth fold of the curtain away and looked out. The benighted world outside was peppered with yellow glowing dots. “We don’t have to run to be together because there’s nothing to run away from. Everything is fine now. I don’t get what you’re being so fussy about when we can still have it all. Way better than before.”

“Are you kidding yourself or what,” Ingrid blurted out. “And I’m not being fussy. I’m telling you, if we don’t get out of here we’re gonna end up dead too.”

Blanchard turned to look at her. He didn’t like her tone. He moved back towards the bed saying, “Look, I like the way things are right now. You, me, the ad agency––”

“––Your wife.”

“Yes,” he said. “My wife, too.”



S.K.

Edited: 15.04.2019

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