Chapter 62

The country road was deserted. Few cars used the road, especially in the winter when the roads iced over. Rawley switched off the car lights and sat back, waiting. He tried to get the tension out of his shoulders. Damn Gus, always coming up with a new place to meet. If it wasn’t in some bar, it was on a dark and lonely road. This would be the last time, he vowed. Tonight Gus was bringing one of the family big shots. After that, he would demand everything would be out in the open. No more dealing through Gus.

He ran his hand over his thinning hair. He was too young to look so old. Some men aged better than others. He was one of the others. Mental pictures filled his mind. divorce papers, bachelor living, the foundry. Always, the damned foundry. He wished he had never come to Taylor, or got involved in Cavalieri’s world. They made tidy little deals with men like him. Then when he wanted to let go, to be done with them, they dug in with crab-like claws, clinging like barnacles, wanting more treachery, more brutality, more blood. That’s why it was so important to speak to someone other than Gus.

A car rounded the bend in the road. It was slow, but the lights momentarily blinded him. Then it seemed to accelerate, covering the last quarter of a mile with more speed than was necessary. The car stopped near his and the lights went out. Rawley rolled down his window and waited. One of the other car’s doors opened and closed. He had wanted to hear two car doors.

“Whata ya say, chump?” It was Gus and he was drunk.

“Why are you alone?” Rawley was disgusted. He hated the cocky good looking, son of a bitch. He was all the things Rawley had never been: muscular, swarthy, attractive to women. He spit out of the window.

A hand shot into the car and grabbed him by the throat. ”Don’t ever do that again.” His voice was out of control. “I got instructions to take you to my family. It’s not their style to meet like this on a dark road in the middle of nowhere. Get in my car.”

Rawley began to protest

“Don’t worry, I’ll bring you back to your car. You wanted to meet them, now it’s all arranged.”

Reluctantly, Rawley got in. “I hope it’s not far. You’re too drunk to drive”

Gus drove a short distance on to a gravel road so narrow, the bare branches and underbrush scraped the edges of the car.

“Where the hell are we going?”

“You’ll see.”

The road widened slightly and the headlights revealed a quarry hole with glistening dark water. Gus slammed on the brakes and took a pistol out of his pocket. “Get out,” he ordered.

“You can’t do this. I did everything they wanted, the fire, the core. A work crew lost their jobs because of me,” he sobbed. He held onto the dash board as Gus opened the door for him to get out .He pleaded. The headlights reflected the tears in his eyes.

“That’s right, you did everything just right, but you should never asked for out. You crumb, nobody ever gets out except for dead.” Summoning all his strength, Rawley lunged from the car, hitting Gus in the stomach with his shoulder. The gun fired and flew onto the gravel. They fought and grappled for it, barely able to see it in the headlights beam. The gun lay at the edge of the water.

Rawley was no match for Gus, who hit him and pinned him to the car. He leaped across Rawley’s chest and hurled himself at the weapon. In the split second of a pistol shot, Gus fell headfirst into the icy water. For several seconds Rawley stood there in the headlights beam. Slowly his knees buckled and his body crashed a few feet from the edge of the water, blood, forming a dark pool around him.