Silent Son

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Authors: Gallatin Warfield
they carry stuff.”
    “Truck bed,” Brownie noted. “Now, Jenneane, can you tell me what he looked like? Do you remember that?”
    She squinted her large brown eyes. “White guy. Like the boy on TV, you know, Randy Sands.”
    Brownie squeezed his pen. Randy Sands was a teenage idol with a prime-time show,
Hollywood High
. He had distinctive features, dark hair, and piercing blue eyes. The girls went nuts over him. But the poor guy had one nasty
     flaw that not many knew about. He bore an uncanny resemblance to a no-good shit named Roscoe Miller.
    Brownie wrote MILLER in large letters on his pad. Another possible link to Roscoe! It looked like his initial instincts might
     have been right. “Jenneane, did you ever see the truck again? After it passed you?”
    “No.” The response was quick.
    “How about at the store? Did you see it anywhere near the store?”
    “You’re sure?”
    The girl gave Brownie a teasing look. “I didn’t see it ever again!”
    That sounded positive. If it
Roscoe’s truck, they must have pulled off on a side road, parked it, and walked to the store.
    “Okay,” Brownie said. “Now, when you got to Bowers Corner, what did you see?”
    Jenneane lowered her head. “1 was still in the bus…”
    “When the Lawson boy ran inside,” Brownie interjected.
    “Yes, but I looked out the window…” Her voice faded.
    “And what did you see?”
    “Didn’t see anything… heard some bangs.”
    Brownie glanced up from his pad. “
    “Yes. From the store. Bangs.”
    “How many bangs did you hear, Jenneane?”
    “One when we got there… then one more… then another after Granny went in…”
    Brownie looked into her eyes. They were steady. Sincere. “You heard
bangs. One, two, three.” He extended three fingers to illustrate.
    “Yes. The window was down, and I put my head out, and I heard ‘em.”
    Brownie wrote THREE SHOTS on his pad. This was new information. Fahrnam had reported only one shot. The elderly, hard-of-hearing
     bus driver, none. And he’d not heard from the other kids. “You’re absolutely sure you heard three bangs?” Brownie repeated.
    “Yes,” Jenneane said. “I’m sure.”
    Brownie underlined THREE. They knew one shot went into Henry, and another into Addie. That left one unaccounted for.
    “Listen to me!” Roscoe Miller yelled on the phone. He was parked at Carlos’ Cantina, using the pay booth beside the building.
     The glass had been busted out on the lower panels of the enclosure, but the equipment still functioned. Roscoe kicked a jagged
     shard with the toe of his boot as he spoke. “I want my money!”
    The voice on the other end was subdued and calm. “Take it easy. You’ll get your money. Just be patient.”
    The booth was shrouded in darkness. The dome light had burned out long ago.
    Roscoe’s face contorted in anger. “Goddamn it, we made a deal!”
    “And it will be honored,” the voice replied.
    “How long?” Miller was still seething.
    “Soon. I can’t say exactly when.”
    “Shit!” Roscoe spotted a familiar blue van slowly glide by on the street. It slowed but did not stop. He pulled away from
     the phone, then came back.
    “What is it?” The voice was still calm.
    “The cops. That bastard Brown again!”
    Roscoe craned his neck out of the booth. The van had turned the corner and headed west. “Just drove by. Probably checkin’
     up on
    “Why?” The tone of voice was clinical, as if what he’d just heard was no big deal.
    “He’s after my ass!”
    “Still? He doesn’t have a thing on you.”
    “He’s not gonna give up tryin’.”
    “Don’t sweat it. Just be cool.”
    “I’d be a lot cooler if I had my money!”
    “I told you before not to worry. You’ll get the money.” The voice was steady.
    “You got three more days.” Roscoe replied.
    “You’ll get your money.”
    “Three days.”
    “Good-bye, Roscoe.” The calm voice ended in a

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