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Adventure Crime Fiction


            Rory had been a thorn in my side for years.  He had been a bully from our first encounter in elementary school right up through high school.  After that I had thankfully lost track of that miserable waste of air.  I only rarely looked back on the days of stolen lunches, derisive comments and insults sent my way by Rory.  I had assuaged my bruised psyche by rationalizing that while I had two caring parents, Rory had none.  That sufficed till I discovered that Rory had been the pampered scion of a prominent family whose social status was far above that of my family.  

            But in college Rory was gone, and while there were other unpleasant classmates, none reached the soul rending level of my public-school nemesis, Rory.  College passed.  ROTC, college courses, occasional social activities and finally Susie were enough to sweep away the stabbing memories of Rory.  After college came the military and deployments to some of the most dangerous regions on earth.  Again--there was no thought of Rory.  Following that, I returned home and selected a career in law enforcement.  With a degree and experience I rose up the local ranks.  Life was sweet; until Rory re-entered my life.

            Rory had followed a different career course.  He had barely graduated from high school and soon developed a cadre of questionable acquaintances.  Money from his family obviated the need for employment and to Rory’s mind made further education a waste.   He migrated to a life of debauchery and endless schemes involving ‘easy’ money with his new-found friends.

            He moved quickly from mere delinquency to severe criminality and soon was on the radar of local, state, and federal authorities.

            At the department I was busy with a mountain of paper-work that all officers deal with when my desk mate made a comment, “Don’t you know Rory Inkler?”

            After a moment of frankly stunned silence I responded, “I remember an Inkler from high school, but that’s a long time ago.”

            “Well, he’s here in our lock-up and making life a pain for the jailers.  They’ll all be happy to be rid of him.  With his family; not the nicest people, and with his lawyers, you’d think he was something of criminal royalty—Kind ‘a small time Al Capone.”

            “Rory—did you say Rory Inkler?  Of course,”

 I knew who he was talking about the instant he said the name, but I was too stunned to admit it till my heart stopped pounding and the sweat stopped dripping from my arm pits.  It’s an odd thing, I’d faced machine gun fire and IEDs in the middle east without the panic that one name dropping on me caused.

            “Well, he’s singing like a bird and apparently the feds think he has info that will reveal the secrets of the universe.  I think he and his lawyers have built himself an impressive deal.”

            “Somehow I’m not surprised.  Now that you’ve triggered my memory, I recall that even in school he was always working an angle and able to slide out of any trouble.”

            “That’s him all right, and now he’s asking to see you.”

            “That’s okay, he can ask, but I have no reason or yen to see him.  In fact, I’ll do anything possible to avoid him.”

            I hoped that would be the end of any discussions regarding Rory, but within twenty-four hours the high sheriff was at my desk.   “Detective Sanders, I understand that you have a friend down in lock up.  He’s asking. No. He’s demanding to see his old friend Nelson Sanders.  Ordinarily I’d brush him off, but the feds think his s*** don’t stink.  They love the SOB.  So will you do me a favor and go see the little prick.”

            Seeing Rory was the last thing I wanted.  I would rather have stuck my hand in a hungry tiger’s mouth and give it some salt and pepper, but the boss was, well, he was the boss.  “Okay, I’ll get to it was soon as I get caught up on this stack of reports.”  I looked at the stack of paper on my desk with the frown that indicated I might never finish in order to see my old friend in stir.

            “Nelson, the feds think they are juicing some valuable info. from this guy and they want to keep him happy.  They say to go see him; so, will you just go see the bastard?”


            “How about now?”

            With a dry mouth and light headed feeling bordering on out and out panic I made my way to the basement cells.  The chief jailer seemed happy I had come.  “Well, Det. Sanders, the cry baby in #5 will be awful happy to see you!  You’d think that you two got somethin’ going on.”  He said this with a wink that assured me that he was just putting me on.

            I looked down the hall and back at the jailer.  “Well, let’s get this over with.  The jailer escorted me to cell #5, Rory’s.  Rory was sitting on his cot.  He looked up with the same self-indulgent grin I remembered from high school. “Well, if it ain’t my old friend Nellie. How ya doin’ ol’ pal?  Pull up a chair and let’s sit a spell, We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.  Jailer, either unlock this door or bring my buddy a chair.  We’re going to have a real palaver.”  

            Sorry Mr. Inkler, the door stays locked.  Only your attorney gets in. Them’s the rules.  I’ll get the Detective a chair.”

            The chair was produced and Rory regarded the jailer, “Now get lost.  Me and my old buddy got some talking to do.”

            I sat there, on the edge of the chair, unwilling or perhaps, afraid, to say a word.  What would I say after all?

            Eventually Rory spoke with all the arrogance I now remembered from decades ago.  “Well pal, it’s been a while.  How ya been?”

            With a dry mouth at seemed to be getting worse by the second, I managed a response.  “Well, I’m not in jail.”

            Rory only laughed.  “It’s a minor inconvenience.  I’ll be back on top of the town in a few days.  I may even run for office.  You know, the public really dig a guy whose had a little skin in the game—a guy who knows how to shake things up to get what he wants.”

            “Look, Rory, it’s been a long time, but I know that you didn’t want to see me to remanence.  What do you want?”

            “That’s the old Nelson I remember.  You’re still a real straight shooter—right to the point.  Okay, here’s the thing.  I got a lot of info. The feds want.  They’re all over themselves to get me to a grand jury.  I also got a lot of associates, let’s call them associates, who would just as soon not have their dirty laundry exposed; if you catch my drift.  Now I don’t trust many people.  Hell, I don’t trust anyone.  The lawyers are all on the take from everybody.  The jailers would cut my throat for two dollars.  So, who am I gonna’ get to cart this fine body of mine to the big city to talk to the grand jury?  That would be you.  You and you alone.  No stinkin’ partner or chaperone, just little Nelson and his good friend Rory on a little road trip to visit the grand jury.  The feds already agreed--though reluctantly.  The sheriff was tickled to be rid of me for a while and I think he was almost as happy to be rid of you.”

            It was settled.  Done and done with or without my consent.  The next day the two-hour road trip to the city was scheduled, the car was gassed and Rory was brought out in hand cuffs.

            My comment, “What, no shackles?”

            Rory looked at me with a mock hurt sneer.  “We’re best buds.  I assure you, no shackles needed.”

            The trip seemed to be a true milk run.  The winding highways of our hilly town soon evolved into a four-lane highway.  That’s where the trouble began.  First traffic slowed, then virtually stopped.  After twenty minutes of stop-and-go bumper to bumper traffic I said, “Screw this,” I called in my plan to the sheriff’s office, hit the lights and siren and used the curb to reach the next exit--Pinnacle Notch.

            Pinnacle Notch was like many of those exits seen often from super highways that is passed by frequently, but goes unnoticed.  I instantly understood why.  I had passed this way hundreds if not thousands of times, but had lost recollection of exactly where this road went.  Somehow it was absent on the GPS.   I assumed I would encounter a familiar sign or road soon.  The narrow two lane seemed to get narrower and then turned to gravel.  Just as I was about to turn around and take another chance with the expressway, I came across a road worker in a yellow vest with fluorescent stripes and an array of orange cones.  As we passed, I asked if this would improve or come out anywhere and he assured me the road would soon improve.  We moved forward. I failed to notice the cones repositioned to close the road behind us.  Soon, even the gravel disappeared and all that was left was a true quagmire.  Another worker came to the driver’s side door.

            He was loud and not at all helpful.  “You might as well get out.  This car ain’t goin’ nowhere, at least not till we can get it pulled out.” 

            “Look, this man is in my custody.  I have to radio for help.  Someone will be here in a minute.”

            ‘No ones coming, Nelson.  Not for you and certainly not for this, this Rory.”

With the use of my name as well as Rory’s, I knew I had been had.  Rory and his crew had planned a break and I had been a perfect patsy, a real idiot.  I took a look into be back seat at Rory.

            I was expecting an exultant grin of victory form my ‘old pal.’  But Rory was anything but happy.  He was terrified.  I realized that I had been stupid, but he had been duped and double-crossed by his own crew and probably mine as well.

            The man in the vest motioned to get out.  “Ain’t no one comin’.  There ain’t no sheriff coming and none of Ickley’s family.  Boys, this is the end of the line.”

            I stepped from the car as directed and was instantly relieved of my service weapon.   I opened the back door and out came Rory with some not so gentle urging from the two workmen now gathered by the car.  When I stepped in the mud, I instantly sunk to my shins.  With difficulty I took a step and both of my shoes were sucked into the slime leaving me barefoot.  Rory fared better if it could be called that.  He was virtually dragged across the mire by the hijackers with his feet barely touching the ground.  Soon he was out of sight, and likely never to be seen again.

            The second man returned with no malice stated, “Now it’s your turn.”

With one foot free from the muck, I was able to kick at his gun hand and knock what had been my weapon away.  It landed in the mud and was totally under the mud.  I was still virtually helpless with one foot solidly  mired all around and my weapon gone—taken away, but as he removed the weapon I saw it was covered with the same thick mud that had seized me.  Now I dodged away from the tract off the side of the path and found myself rolling down an embankment of briars underbrush and finally landed in a stream.  I wriggled myself into a culvert beneath the road and lay, listening for any hint of sound above.  I heard a crackle that may have been a shot.  I heard the hijackers above and around, but not yet close.  I managed to get to the opposite side and squeeze out of the culvert only to find the stream flowing down a steep grade, almost a cliff, beneath dense foliage. 

            I heard one of them.  “There!  There he is.”

            But I wasn’t there, I was now on the opposite side of the path.  Slowly I slithered, crawled, and fell down the stream into the larger creek below.  There was nothing to do.  There was no one to call since I had likely been sent to this fate by law enforcement as well as organized crime.  I knew they would come.  Sooner or later, they would find my tracks and follow me.  I found some trash and a paper bag.  I still had my pen so I began writing.  Those few pathetic words are the basis of my account.  Oddly, I wish I could see Rory again

November 01, 2022 19:46

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1 comment

Eileen Turner
00:24 Nov 07, 2022

Rory's past created his future, and poor Nelson thought he had overcome his, but didn't. The past can be like a shadow, try to get into the light and there it is. Good story.


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