88 - The Good Looking One

Submitted by Ken Watts on Fri, 06/01/2007 - 08:33

Al decided that Jonesy was confused again.

As soon as they fell, Jonesy had pushed him off, struggled to his feet, and shouted "Get up, you idiot!"—like it was Al's fault. But Jonesy had fallen first, so Al couldn't see how he caused it.

No. Jonesy was mixed up. He was pretty sure of that.

Then Jonesy had pointed through the house, and shouted "Come on. He went through there!"

They ran through the living room, around the corner, through the dining room, and into the kitchen.

Al thought it was a real nice house.

The side door, leading outside from the kitchen, was just slamming shut.

They dashed across the kitchen and out through the door, in time to see a white pant leg disappear around the front of the house.

They reached the front of the house just as their prey leapt into the catering van.

Jonesy took two running steps toward the van, but it was too late—the engine leaped into life, and the van began to move. He turned and sprinted toward the ambulance.

Al watched him for a second, puzzled, then followed.

"Jonesy?" he called out, "don't you want to…"

But Jonesy interrupted him.

"Damn it, Al. Just shut up and get in the ambulance."

He was already starting the engine.

Al shrugged and climbed in.

* * * * *

Julie followed the ambulance guys as far as the kitchen. Her mother, and Mr. Hogan, were right behind her. She closed the side door and turned around to look at them.

The room was full of warm, rich food smells, but empty, for the moment anyway, of caterers.

Her mother gazed past her, through the window in the side door.

She sighed.

"I hope they catch him."

Julie felt a sudden surge of anger.

"I don't."

Her mother's eyes snapped to hers, surprised.

Julie thought for a moment she was going to get a lecture, but Ann just nodded.

* * * * *

Al hunched in the passenger seat of the ambulance, confused. He didn't understand Jonesy at all.

"Jonesy," he said.

Jonesy didn't even glance his way.

"Shut up."

That was the problem. He had tried to ask a couple of times, but Jonesy had just kept telling him to shut up. So it wasn't his fault. But he couldn't help worrying, anyway.

It was just possible Jonesy hadn't noticed.

The guy in the catering van hadn't been limping.

* * * * *

Outside, through the kitchen window, Julie could see Tim on the deck. He sat with the girl from the photo. They talked intensely, in a world of their own.

"Did you see where that guy went who was here earlier," Julie asked, "the one who was serving the grapes?"

The girl from the photo put a hand on Tim's arm.

"Grapes?" Ann asked, "Are you hungry, dear?"

Julie laughed.

"The good looking one—the guy, I mean."

Ann stiffened. "Julie!"

"Oh, he'll be back."

The door into the dining room was open. The voice came from behind it—between the door and the wall.

It swung closed, revealing an old, friendly, face.

Clarence grinned and stepped forward.

"He'll be back," he said.

"He's running a little errand for me."

* * * * *

The catering van skidded around the turn from the main highway onto a mountain road.

Danny glanced in the rearview mirror and laughed.

The ambulance was right behind him.