FREE RIDE

Dirt road 2

We follow the Santee brothers on their search for what doesn’t belong to them. Their tired Mustang just isn’t cutting it for the task they’ve cooked up in their heads. No cash, no credit, no problem.

From the newly released crime novel, ROPE BREAK:

They came to one of the drives that had shell spread over the sand. Russell eased onto the road and followed it almost a half mile back into the pits. The palmettos on the sides of the narrow driveway reached out and snipped at them in spots as they passed. The tips of the fan shaped leaves showed where they had been bruised and ripped by passing vehicles. Around several bends they came to an open parking lot. At the far end was a lopsided office trailer that sagged at the roof and appeared to be sitting in a hole at one end.

Several dust and phosphate covered Mack truck tractors sat at the south end and half a dozen Ford and Chevy pick-up trucks were parked at random angles at the opposite. A chain link gate blocked the path into the mine next to the office. Signs warned any and all to beware of the danger and not to trespass. The Santee brothers ignored the signs and scanned the office for any movement.

Space for parking in front of the office was empty and Jimmy said, “Swing around like we’re lost and pulling back out. Stop by the end of the lot and let’s see if anyone stirs.”

Russell had to think about what Jimmy said but it clicked and he did a turn around and started back the way they came in. Before he left the lot he stopped and Jimmy got out and walked around to the rear of the Mustang checking the tires. He looked back at the beat up old trailer to see if anyone was looking at them. He stood there for almost five minutes leaning his butt against the trunk and fiddling with the Exxon map he pulled out from the backseat.

“What the hell, Jimmy? What are you doin’?” Russell sounded frustrated. There was no shade and no air moving in the stopped car. “Friggin’ hot out here.”

Jimmy made Russell shut off the car and listened for another minute. He walked back to the passenger side and leaned in. “Pull over by the pick-ups, let’s see if they made it easy for us.”

Russell started the car and turned back through the lot to where the pick up trucks sat. They both got out and started checking the driver’s side doors. The third one Jimmy tried was a white Ford four wheel drive and Jimmy found it unlocked. He pulled it quickly open and dropped the visor over the steering wheel. He jumped back and almost got stuck in the eye by the keys as they fell.

“Got one!” He shouted to Russell. Jimmy hustled back over to the Mustang and slipped the tag he had stolen from the truck at Zolfo Springs and the screwdrivers out from under the seat. He met Russell at the back of their new truck where they took off the tag and put on the one they brought. They set to work swapping tags on the other trucks until they had switched several, putting the tag from the soon to be missing truck on one of the other Fords. Jimmy folded the left over tag twice and pitched it twenty yards out into the swampy thick brush just beyond the lot.

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