Loser's Town

Free Loser's Town by Daniel Depp

Book: Loser's Town by Daniel Depp Read Free Book Online
Authors: Daniel Depp
inclination to run a ranch. The brothers had been happy to get off the place and were now citified with no desire to return. The land was worth about ten times what Beau had paid for it, and there was pressure to sell. A decade after Mary was gone the place would be a suburb, full of tacky-box houses, cable television towers and other remnants of the American Dream. One more part of Spandau would be gone as well. It didn’t pay to love something you didn’t own, that wasn’t yours. He ended up loving this place in spite of his common sense.
     
    Carlos was giving his son hell about something as Spandau pulled up in back of the house. The son stood with hishead hanging down as Carlos wagged his finger at him. Carlos looked up long enough to smile at Spandau and raise his hand in greeting, then went back to his son. The son glanced up at Spandau, looked sullen but said nothing. Now Spandau could see that the boy had a black eye. The boy hung his head again, letting it all pass over him, not really listening to a word. The boy had always seemed to dislike just about everything and Spandau had always disliked the boy.
    Spandau rapped on the screen door to the kitchen and Mary emerged from inside the house. Mary McCauley was a small, wiry little woman who still looked like Myrna Loy, the actress in the
Thin Man
movies. Beau said this was one of the reasons he had married her. Mainly though, he said, it was because he needed a woman even meaner than he was to keep him in line.
    This wasn’t far from the truth. The previous year, she had picked up a shovel and threatened to stove in the head of a real estate developer who’d been hounding her about selling the ranch. The man had known better when Beau was alive and thought to take advantage of Mary’s bereavement. It would have been fine if the man had left off at paying his respects, but he brought up the sale of the ranch and Mary felt this was a violation of decorum. She chased the man to his car and put out one of the rear lights of his Mercedes before he could get away. It was impossible that Spandau should not adore her.
    Mary opened the screen door and gave Spandau a drypeck on the cheek. ‘We didn’t know if you were coming,’ she said. Mary wasn’t much on demonstrations of affection – Beau had been the great hugger and kisser in the family – but she went directly to the refrigerator and set out on the table a bowl of potato salad, sliced ham, salad and a pitcher of iced tea, all things she knew Spandau liked, all made earlier in the day just for him.
    ‘I like to cultivate an air of mystery,’ he said.
    ‘Mystery, hell,’ Mary said. ‘You’re the most un-mysterious person I ever met. You’re like Beau. You’re an open book, honey, I hate to tell you.’
    ‘What’s all that about?’ he asked, nodding out the window toward Carlos and his son.
    ‘Miguel’s knocked up some girl down in Camarillo,’ she said.
    ‘No wonder he looks like hell. Carlos give him the shiner?’
    ‘Nah, it was the girl’s old man. A good Catholic, too, so he wants wedding bells.’
    ‘Poor bastard.’
    ‘He’s turned into a nasty little shit,’ Mary said. ‘Do him good to get saddled with a fat little wife and about fifteen kids, before somebody knifes him.’
    ‘You’re in a rare mood today.’
    ‘We buried Beau two years ago this week. I always go through an angry spell.’
    Spandau sat down at the table. Mary put a plate, cutlery and a glass in front of him. She filled the glass with tea andremoved the plastic wrap from the food. Spandau helped himself and began eating.
    ‘You’re not going to ask where Dee is?’
    ‘It’s all part of my program of being mysterious,’ he said. ‘Besides, I’m hungry.’ The truth was he couldn’t wait to see Dee, he ached to see her, and they both knew it.
    ‘She’s out in the stable. She’s got Hoagy all ready for you.’
    ‘Good,’ he said. ‘You’re so full of shit,’ she said, smiling. ‘She’s been

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