Authors: Richard Stark
Finally, Myers. Brock had apparently decided to make him leak to death, and had used both the knife and the pitchfork for the job. It was impossible to search the clothing without getting bloody fingers. Grofield grimaced with distaste as he went through the pockets, and his revulsion was such that he almost missed the money belt entirely. But he found it, and untied it, and pulled it off Myers' body.
It had four compartments. Two of those, on the left side, had been punctured, and were soggy with blood. Grofield didn't open them at all. He opened the other two, on the right side, and there was the money.
His own money. It still had the Food King wrappers on it. The remains of Grofield's piece of the supermarket job. He sat down on the floor and counted it, and there was four thousand, one hundred eighty dollars there. Out of thirteen thousand, three hundred twenty-five that Myers had taken away from him.
"It's something, anyway," Grofield said aloud, and stuffed the money into his pockets. Going across the road and up toward the Chevy, he added twenty-seven hundred and forty-one hundred eighty in his head, and came up with six thousand, eight hundred, and eighty dollars.
"We can open anyway," he said. He walked around the corner of the burned-out building, and a charred piece of two-by-four came around in a fast arc, hissing it was moving so fast, and hit him square in the face.
Grofield sat up and touched his nose and his hand came away bloody. He could barely see, the way his eyes were puffed shut, and the whole front of his face was stinging. Also, he had a violent headache.
He looked down at himself, and he was sitting on the ground beside a burned-out house in a light rain. And his pockets had all been turned out; he'd been rolled. He said, "Hey."
Movement attracted his attention. He turned his head, slowly and carefully, and there was a man standing beside a car. Grofield's car, the Chevy. And the man was – son of a bitch, it was Perry Morton!
Morton had been just about to get into the car, but now he stood there looking at Grofield and said, "You awake already? I figured you were good for a couple hours."
"How long-" His throat felt raspy; he cleared it, and started again. "How long was I out?"
"Maybe five minutes. Just long enough for me to get your money and your gun and your car keys." Morton was feeling pleased with himself, and why not?
Grofield cleared his throat again. "Don't leave me here, Perry," he said. "This area's going to fill up with cops. I gave you a break, you give me one."
Morton considered. But he was feeling so smug and pleased with himself, he had to be magnanimous. He said, "If you can make it to the car, I'll take you along."
"Thanks, Perry," Grofield said.
It took him two tries to get to his feet, and then he was dizzy as hell. He staggered over to the passenger side of the Chevy and climbed in beside Morton, who had just started the engine.
Morton looked at him and grinned. "Just remember I've got the gun now," he said. "I'll expect you to be as smart with me as I was with you."
"I'll remember," Grofield said.
Morton started the car, and headed them away from there. "I'm going farther up into Canada, and then I'll head west."
"Fine with me." There was a make-up mirror on the sun visor on the passenger side; Grofield put the visor down now and studied his face in it. His nose didn't seem to be broken, but he had several little cuts on both the nose and cheeks. Also he was going to have two lovely black eyes, but they'd be gone before the season started.
"Lemons never lie," Grofield said, and sighed.
"What was that?"
They drove in silence a while, and then Morton, smiling, said, "Well, you're the bigtime pro and I'm just the new boy, but I guess I'm a fast learner, huh?"
"You sure are," Grofield said. He'd licked a handkerchief and was wiping the blood off his face. It was just as well to have a chauffeur for the rest of today, until they were a good distance from the robbery area. There was no hurry about taking the reins back. The Colt Trooper under the dashboard would keep.
Morton turned the radio on, and began to whistle along with the music.
Grofield put his handkerchief away and said, "Wake me when the news comes on, will you?"
Morton glanced at him in surprise. "You're going to sleep?"
"I've had a hard day," Grofield said.
"Well, you can sure rest now," Morton said, and gave a broad smile.
"Yes, I can," Grofield said, and closed his eyes. The Chevy drove across Canada into the sunset.
"Richard Stark" is the celebrated alter ego of MWA Grandmaster, multiple Edgar Award winner, and Academy Award nominee Donald E. Westlake
Author of the best-selling "Parker" series, including the novel that was the basis for the movies Point Blank starring Lee Marvin and Payback starring Mel Gibson
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