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Rennie Stennett: Bounty Hunter

By Rennie Stennett

Triple homicide, just over the border. Three agents. Craughing is giving us hell, giving us absolute hell. We got the potential for a war here. 

“We can fix that.”

Early this morning, a vigilante group– all blown to pieces. Out at Cactus Pond. Machine gun shells from a high velocity weapon. We’re talking extended magazine on a short-stroke piston gas-system kind of thing here, Rennie. It’s a hell of a mess.

“We can fix that too.”

There was a long pause on the line.

I got nothing else for you. No witnesses. We got a gas station nearby that was boosted out of fifty bucks, some chips and a collectible swinger’s magazine. We have two more dead at a sporting goods shop. But I got no line on the perp. Nothing.

“Hundred a day expenses. I’ll bring him in in three.”

I opened the closet and found the red metal case buried beneath some fall blankets. These are the kind of blankets that aren’t as thick as the ones I keep for winter. Just enough to keep the chill out. I looked over the weapons inside. I didn’t have nothing that would match up against that kind of firepower but I didn’t figure on needing it. I picked out a couple of shotguns and loaded them with shells. Buckshot lets you take care of business in tight quarters. I knew it’d be tight.

Klacik’s Garage was next up.  Where I keep the bus. Klacik had his kid there– he was out front stacking pebbles.

“How’s she running, babe?”

Klacik was lit, you could see it. He had to lean against a pole to keep himself vertical.

She’s a gem, Rennie. She’s a gorgeous piece of Lankville Iron. God damn sweat and elbow grease. Lankville ingenuity. Stars and streaks, baby. Our birthright…

Klacik suddenly kicked the boy’s pebble stack over. It was a hell of a boot. The boy took it alright. Probably used to it.

I pulled her out and headed West towards Craughing. About ten miles before the crossing, I turned south into the desert. Put the fan on and hit the gas– got her up to 75.  First stop was the service station.

There was a yokel done up in an oil-stained jumpsuit standing around out front– he had a car up on the lift inside that was dripping antifreeze. Light trumpet music was coming from somewhere.

“Hear you had some money and some chips go missing?”

Who wants to know.

“Interested party. Why don’t we leave it at that?”

Stole a car too, right off the lift. I didn’t report that.

“Why?”

He didn’t say anything for awhile. The light shifted. Had to be 95 out. Had to be.

It belonged to a friend of mine’s wife. Ex ball-player. I was…having sexual relations with her. Mostly just mutual oral but…well, I didn’t want him to know. He’d be upset. About the mutual oral, you know? Had a tendency to get a little sloppy– some spraying went on….

“I get it.  Now, did you get a look at this guy?”

Who? The ball-player? Sure, I’ve known him for years…”

“No, the guy that took the car.” Got a real rocket scientist, here, Rennie.

Just the back of his head as he drove off. He was bald, that’s all I can say. But, there’s one other thing…

“Spit it out.”

Well, it was near sunset a couple nights ago. Big guy with a beard came in, filled up his tank. He asked if I had seen a bald guy, a Mr. Oakes or Oates or something. Said that he was this guy’s caretaker or something. He said– “I am his eternal overseer” or something like that, I couldn’t understand him much. His whole suit was white and it had some blood on it. It seemed odd.

You tell the cops?

Yeah, they said it didn’t sound suspicious, it being a white suit and all.

Which way did he go?

Who?

The big guy with the beard and the blood-stained suit.

Into the desert. He drove off down 144.

I thanked him and headed West.

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