Sunday, August 19, 2012


It had been snowing off and on all afternoon, heavy at times, but as the sun went down it had tapered off to a flurry.

Except for a dark oval directly over the engine block a dusting of snow covered the hood of Robby Robtoy's pickup truck. The truck had been parked for fifteen minutes alongside of the Gas-N-Go on rt. 7 in St. Albans, but presently, it rumbled to life. The headlights came on. Its windshield wipers worked feverishly for a few seconds clearing a thin film of snow from the windshield. Then the truck pulled out of the parking lot and drove south toward the city. The man who had been working behind the counter came to the door and watched the truck pull away with a brooding expression on his face.

Robtoy turned off the radio and drove in silence as the truck made its way unhurriedly down the street.

After a while he turned left off of rt. 7 onto Brainerd Street. The street was steep and greasy with new snow. The tires spun at first, but then found traction and continued on without difficulty. About halfway up Brainerd the driver killed the headlights and turned left onto a small side street. Unlike the grand old victorian homes on Brainerd this street was lined with newer homes, small, one-story, pre-fab residences. The truck sputtered to a stop across the street from a nondescript house belonging to Candace Rushlow. Halloween decorations, from months before and possibly even from last year, still adorned the front of the house and yard.

Despite the relatively early hour, 9:00 pm, the lights were off in the house. "She probably has work in the morning," Robby mused to himself. Candace worked the early morning shift at the Fonda paper plate factory. In the driveway a red Ford Ranger pickup truck was pulled in tight behind Candace's White Nissan Altima. Snow covered both vehicles and there were no tire tracks coming or going in the virgin snow. They had been there for a while. Robby recognized the truck as belonging to Dillon Longway the owner of "The Spot" bar at the corner of Kingman and Federal Street.

After taking in the scene for a few minutes Robby's truck rumbled back to life and pulled away from the curb. As the truck turned left at the next intersection, back toward rt. 7, the truck's headlights came back on. From her bedroom window Candace watched the truck drive away. She had a look of concern, maybe even fear, on her face.

Dillon Longway watched her from the bed, "What's wrong, babe?"

No comments: