Crime fiction. Good and sometimes not so good guys after the bad and sometimes really bad guys. These two are kinda in between. Not the baddest but there’s always tomorrow. Dickie and Ray have formed a dysfunctional partnership with a dark future. Just one of three dramas unfolding in the pages of the next SAM DELAND CRIME NOVEL, SIDE SLIP, scheduled for release next month:
Dickie started the Bronco and the springs creaked a bit as he drove out of the lane and onto the gravel road. They drove a short ways uphill and Dickie shut off the headlights and slowed almost to a stop. He fished out a black metal flashlight and shined it over the roof and into the ditch on Ray’s side. He drove a little farther and spotted the rutted and weed covered driveway. Shifting the light as he turned in, he drove until the path curved and the ass of the Bronco could not be seen from the road.
“Now just listen for a minute,” Dickie said to Ray and shut off the Bronco, dropping the keys to the floorboard. They could hear the trucks out on I-78 south of them but nothing else. Taking the flashlight and a carpenter’s pry bar from under the seat, Dickie got out of the Bronco and snapped the door shut with only a click. Ray picked up a short, fifteen pound mini sledge hammer and got out on his side. With no thought, he slammed the door, making a sound like a shotgun blast in the still dark air.
“You idiot asshole,” Dickie hissed, “Shut the hell up.”
“I didn’t say nothin’, eh?” Ray moaned.
Dickie ground his teeth and started up the drive, flicking the light on in brief flashes, the lens almost covered by his fingers to cut the brightness. Dickie stopped about every ten yards to look and listen. Trying to remember how far up the hill the opening was where the cars would park in front of the small cabin, he eased forward. He’d never seen anyone here so far this summer and kept a close watch on cabins he thought looked promising, trying to see if anyone used them and what their cars looked like. This was easy pickings. And with Ray selling the stuff for him, safe, mostly.
There was just enough residual light in the western sky that they saw the opening just up ahead. They stopped and stood there watching. There were no cars, not even recent tracks in the dirt and no lights on. Up and onto the porch, Dickie stood next to the door and listened again. Then Dickie put the heavy flashlight to use, checking for the key.
These cabin people were predictable. They usually left a key somewhere in case they forgot theirs or a friend wanted to use the cabin. Mats, door jambs, flower pots, it had to be somewhere. If they didn’t find it, their universal keys, the pry bar and sledge, would admit them. They didn’t like to use them if they didn’t have to. Sometimes the cabin owners didn’t even know they had been victimized until days into their stay.
Nothing. Dickie jumped down off the porch and walked around the side of the cabin looking there. He went right to the big white propane tank under the window. Under the top lid of the tank was the meter and sometimes a wasp nest. He lifted up the top and there, under a sleeping gob of bees, was a small metal box. Inside the box was a shiny door key.
“Got it,” Dickie said and went back around to the front door, “Now we can take our time.”