The Mayonnaise Murders Chapter 5, Scene 2

TMM1 Single Cover

Actually, it wasn’t all of `em that were in on it. But it was enough that they’d gotten that kinda rep where a critter feels safer callin a gangster for help than one of the keystones. They’d gotten that bad. I knew a few personally who were workin hard to at least keep up appearances of a decent department, but the strain of the effort was wearin `em down, and there was a whole sea full of dumb juniors out there who couldn’t wait to sign up for duty and start snatchin their portion of the goods.

So when Beardy starts tellin me how it is that the keystones have been tryin to trace down their operation to get a cut, it gave me that familiar sick feelin inside. So far they hadn’t caught up, but there’d been a few close calls. Still, Deep Cluck always managed to stay one step ahead of the keystones. Maintaining a string of safe houses – or safe shacks – around the Dregs made it easy to stay ahead.. Each one was on a piece of territory registered to a different critter – or to a different enterprise. One belonged to D.C. Ltd. Another belonged to Deep Sea Sand Co. Another one registered under Cluck-a-Buck Finance and Loan.

Those keystones never figured it out, no matter how close they got. Cluck had those idiots drivin round and round in circles right on top of what they swore they couldn’t find. The more Beardy laid it out to me, the more I was beginning to see how much I’d underestimated the jerk.

Course, then I had to ask him why it was he felt like it was safe to tell me all this. Especially with Vee scrunched up in the back seat like she was with her little scratch pad hummin in her hand. I was doin the drivin and Beardy was up front givin directions. The chickens were all layin low inside a trailer we’d hooked up to the back of the transport.

Beardy was wearin another one of those grins.

“You know, me and Vee, we’re gonna have to be headin back to town pretty soon, by the way. Too much longer out here and critters gonna start asking questions. Critters start asking too many questions, and I ain’t gotta tell you what happens next.”

“Cause I figure I can trust you is why I’m tellin you all this. Dunno. Somethin about you, Dude.”

I checked the rear view and saw Vee’s eyes propped open wide. Made me chuckle.

“Excuse me,” she said, tryin to sound all quiet and polite – but I caught the smirk. “Mr. Beardy, did you say there was somethin about a scavenger that can be trusted?”

Still the grin.

“Well, while you’re still feelin kindly towards me, spud, suppose you tell me what the deal was with you layin there in that street with no clothes on with your face jammed in that mayonnaise sandwich. I’m sure you’ve got a perfectly good explanation, but I’m just curious to hear it.”

“And what happened to you when that smoke hit?” asked Vee.

“And what’s in all of this for you? The chickens got a revenge thing goin on, but that still doesn’t figure you. What’s your story?”

“And that, folks, is the question I’ve been waiting for.”

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