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What do you do when wrong looks right and right looks wrong?  Do you choose your own right?  Do you say to hell with society’s definitions of right and wrong?  Do you decide to let what may come, come?  Because it is coming. 

See what George and Patti think in Part 7.  Then see what you think. 

Enjoy Part 7.  And, if you have not read Part 6, see if you like it.  I posted it on Friday evening as a bonus.   

 

PODEKA, KANSAS

 

PATTI WAS TIRED OF hiding in the woods behind Bernice and Pete’s house.  She and George should not have been there, she thought.  George was full of nonsense.  Just as she expected.  There was no money in Bernice and Pete’s house.  It was just more of his overactive imagination.  What George saw in their house was probably explainable and simple.

 

Most likely, it went something like this.  Bernice and Pete had accidentally left their doors open.  George saw their front door open and went and checked on them.  Inside were a few dollars on the counter.  Bernice and Pete were asleep.  George saw them and panicked.  He thought they were dead and ran home.  That was probably all there was to it, she told herself.

 

“What are we doing, George?” Patti asked.  George put his finger to his lips, silently telling her to be quiet.  “What are we waiting for?  Is this some sort of game?  Because if it is, I’m not amused.  You lied to me.  No one’s dead.”  He told her ‘shhh.’  “You’re full of…”

 

“Stop talking for a few minutes and look,” he said.  “See if you see anyone or anything moving inside the house or near it.”

 

“I’m not playing this game, George,” she said, irritated.  “It’s a charade.  You think I’m stupid.  I’m not falling for one of your silly jokes.  You pulled me out here and…”

 

“You know what…” He stopped himself.  “You can’t shut up.  Okay.”  He reached and grabbed her wrist and pulled her from the woods into the open backyard.

 

“Ow,” she said and tried to jerk her wrist free from him.  “You’re breaking my wrist.”

 

“Stop the drama,” he said through clenched teeth and hurried them across the yard.  “Just stop talking before you get us killed.  Be quiet.  Please, be quiet.  We’re going to get shot.  And it’ll be your fault.”

 

“You’re hurting me,” she said in a low tone.

 

“That’s the least of your worries if we get caught,” he said.  “Now hurry, before someone sees us.”

 

They sped up.  Just get to the back door, George thought.  He took the Colt pistol from his pocket and held it at his side as they got closer to the house.

 

Patti became nervous.  Her thoughts went from how preposterous George was to this is real.  George was telling the truth.  He was not lying.  He had not made this up.  She was suddenly scared to go into the house.  Scared that someone was waiting for them inside.  Nervous about George having guns to protect them.  Nervous that this was their last day on earth.  They would never see their kids or grandchildren again.  George was going to get them killed.

 

At the back doorsteps they stopped and listened for noises coming from inside.  There were none.  Patti was still too scared to go inside.

 

George looked around the yard.  Nothing was in the yard except grass.  No place for anyone to hide.  Everything outside looked the same as what he saw earlier.

 

He took Patti’s hand.  It was easier and gentler than a few minutes ago.  They eased up the steps.  He glanced back at Patti and pressed his finger against his lips.  The Colt was still in his hand.  She nodded.  He listened for any noises.

 

At the doorway, George felt a tug from Patti.  He looked around at her.  Her eyes were wide.  She was shaking her head.  She did not want to go inside.

 

George gave her a nod and stepped inside the house.  Patti followed him and gasped and pulled back against him.

 

The dead man near the door was lying in blood and surrounded by it.

 

“I can’t do this,” Patti said.  “I can’t do this.”  Her hands shook.  George squeezed her hand tighter.

 

“Look,” George said.  She would not open her eyes.  “You have to look.”

 

“I can’t,” she said.  “I can’t look.”  Her eyes were shut tight.  “I can’t go any further.  Don’t ask me to.  I have to go.  I can’t be in here, George.”  She jerked her hand, trying to free herself from his grip.  He held onto her tightly.  “Let go of me, George.  I’m not kidding.  Let go of my arm.  Let me go.”  She pulled hard to get out the door.

 

“Look,” George said.  “Damn it!”  He shook her by the arm and hard.  “Open your damn eyes and look.”  He pointed down at the duffel bags, which he had left open.

 

Patti stopped pulling for the door and slowly turned her head to George.  He was pointing down at the duffel bags.  Patti slowly turned her head down toward the floor.

 

Five duffel bags appeared to be filled with money.  Two dead men lay in blood.  All that blood, she thought.  Her stomach rolled and churned.  She jerked free of George and ran outside.  George followed her, calling her name in a whisper.  She got to the far end of the backyard and vomited.  George tried to console her that it was going to be alright.

 

“This is the toughest part,” he said.  He put his hand on her back.  “It’s okay.”  She vomited more.  “It’s okay.”

 

She straightened up and pushed him away and asked, “Did you do this?”

 

“What?” George asked, confused.

 

“Did you do this?” she asked.  He squinted.  His mouth had dropped open.  “Did you kill our friends for money?”

 

“No,” he said in disbelief.  “What?  How could you ask me that?  How could you think so little of me?  Why would you ask me that?  You know what?”  He exhaled loudly.  “That money was already here.  This was how I found them.  I didn’t do this.  Since you don’t trust me.”  He paused.  “I’m not a murderer.  You know that.  At least I thought you did.  I’d never do anything like this.”  He exhaled.  “How dare you.  How could you…”

 

“Then why are we here?” she asked.  “You don’t seem upset or sad by this.  Look at yourself.  You’re like a maniac.  You don’t seem to care.  You don’t give a damn.  The hell with our dead friends that we’ve known for years.  There’s money to be taken that’s not ours.  That’s what I’m getting from this.  It’s what I’m getting from you.”

 

“Well, you’re wrong,” George said.

 

“Then what’s the right answer?” she asked.  “What am I supposed to think?  Answer me.  Why are we here?”

 

George was slow to answer.  “I just thought that…”

 

“George,” she said, shocked.  His half-ass answer answered her question.  She knew what he was thinking now.  “Are you crazy?  Are you…?”  She covered her mouth.  She was speechless.  She could only watch in disbelief as George tried to think of an explanation for what he was thinking and why they there.  She was appalled.  Anger filled her eyes.  She let George stammer on.

 

He talked about saving the money for Bernice and Pete’s kids.  They would take the money with them for safekeeping.  If they could not locate Bernice and Pete’s children they would turn it over to the FBI.  Not the local sheriff.  The sheriff was nice.  But that money was a lot of temptation to overcome.

 

Patti did not believe George at all.  He brought them there to steal that money.  There was no other reason.  Period.

 

“What are you thinking?” she asked.  “Are you a fool?  That money isn’t free for the taking.”  George looked down as she stared at him.  “It’s not free.  It belongs to someone and someone bad.  We need to call the police and now.”

 

George did not say anything.  He could not think of anything to say.  She was right.

 

“People like that,” she pointed to the house, “they come for their things,” she said.  “They don’t let things go.  Someone will come to claim those bags.  And whoever is holding them when that time comes, mercy will not be there for them when they need it.  That money belongs to bad people.”  She paused.  “George, we have to think realistically.  We don’t want to die over something we know nothing about.  Let’s give this whole mess to the police.  Whoever owns that money can fight them for it.  The police will do better in a gunfight than we ever could.”

 

George told her he understood.  And he was sorry for thinking stupidly.  But he told her she needed to step back and breathe and think for a moment.  Gather her head and common sense and think about what they were about to do.

 

“This money is the answer to our dreams,” George said.  “Not just me and you.  Our entire family.  Everyone.  Think about Priscilla.”

 

Priscilla was their granddaughter.  Teachers said that she was gifted.  The money could get Pricilla into a special school that their daughter and her husband could not afford to put her in.

 

“Priscilla would thrive,” George said.

 

Patti tried to hide that she agreed with George about Priscilla.  What George said was true.  The thought of allowing Priscilla to get into a prestigious school pulled at Patti’s emotions and clouded her senses.  Neither was positive for her.  She needed a clear head to make the right decision.  Sure it was wrong to want the money.  But then there was the good that it could do.  Maybe they could take a small amount for school costs.  No, Patti thought.  None.  They could not take any of it.

 

“This money would allow Priscilla’s gift to flourish,” George said.  “She could be a great scientist, doctor, whatever she wanted.”

 

Patti could see the smile on Priscilla’s face as she skipped into that school.  She tried to stop herself from imagining it.  She fought back the smile she felt coming onto her lips.

 

“And think about Andy and his family,” George said.  “Finally, they could get some good news.  And we could be the bearers of that news.  We won’t feel helpless as we did before.”

 

Patti thought about their son and his family’s miserable financial condition.  He could finally get his family’s head above water.  Years of heavy medical expenses for a sick child who needed ongoing care could be taken care of.  It would mean a better life for them in one quick moment.

 

And what about her and George? Patti thought.  They had talked about the trips they wanted to take for a long time.  They have dreamed of the fun they would have.  The trips and the fun would no longer be in the future.  It could be right now, right then.

 

Patti looked at George.  Her eyes were filling with tears.

 

George pursed his lips.  A lump entered his throat.  He did not like what he was doing to her.  But he had no choice.  This was their chance.  Their one and only chance in a lifetime.  They had to take it.  What other choice did they have?

 

“Damn it, George,” Patti said.  “Damn you.  You’re manipulating me.  It’s not right.  It’s not right.”

 

Thank you for joining me, George and Patti in this difficult situation.  Really, it’s only difficult because of all that cash.  It’s tough to walk away from it.

I hope you had a great day.  See you next Monday!

Thank you.

Stephen Wallace