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Part 10 of The Drop House – George and Patti decide taking the money is more important than life.  Now that they had seen it, what other life could they have without it?  Maybe a life above ground?  Enjoy Part 10.

 

PART 10

 

PODEKA, KANSAS

 

PATTI AND GEORGE STOOD over the duffel bags of money inside Bernice and Pete’s house.  Patti tried not to look at the two dead men on the floor near them.

 

George wondered aloud if the money was Bernice and Pete’s retirement money.  “Maybe they did not trust the banks and kept it in their house,” George said.

 

“Get real, George,” Patti said.  “If those bags are full with stacks of money, there’s probably two, three, four, or five million dollars sitting here.”  She paused.  “Do you really believe this is their retirement?”  George looked at her and nodded.  “We’ve got to get serious about this.  They may have been involved in something bad.  Clearly, whatever it was, it was over their heads.”

 

She stood silently trying to think.  Everything was jumbled in her head.  She hated herself for listening to George.  They were not these types of people.  They were good Christians.  They did not steal.  They did not commit adultery.  Telling a little white lie from time to time was one thing.  But stealing, especially stealing that money from their dead neighbors’ house, was not them.  This was an unforgivable act.  She looked out the doorway toward the woods.  There was nothing but trees behind their neighbors’ house.  Through those woods was how they had walked up to the back of the house without being seen.

 

“I don’t want to rush you,” George said.  She looked at him, startled.  “But, we need to make a decision before whoever was here and was part of what was done comes back.”

 

She looked at him with a confused expression.  She was thinking.  If each of the bundles of bills were hundreds stacked that high, there must be five million dollars in each of those bags.  She clenched her fists and said, “Okay.”  She felt dread the moment the word left her mouth.  But it was too late to say no, even if she wanted to.  George was already telling her what they needed to do.

The Drop House cover 1

“We need to go home and get our truck and load those bags in it,” he said.  “Then we’ll take the money somewhere and hide it.  One of us will have to stay here and stand watch while the other gets the truck.”  She watched him in silence.  “We need to get moving.  Standing here isn’t getting it done.  There’s no more time to kill.  I’m going to get the truck.  If you see anything, run out the back door into the woods.  You can’t call me or someone will know we were here.  They can easily track our phones.  If I don’t see you standing in that front door, I’ll keep driving and see you back at home.  Alright?”  She nodded.  “Remember to listen for the truck and be at the front door or in the woods coming home.  I won’t stop if I don’t see you.  Here.”  He held the Colt pistol out to her.  She recoiled.  “Take it.”  He shoved it at her.  She hesitated and took it.  “I’m gone.  Remember, at the front door.”

 

George looked out the back door and walked out and closed it behind him.  He went down the steps and walked fast toward the trees and began to run.

 

“George,” Patti’ heard herself say in a monotone voice.  Realizing George was gone.  She had listened to him.  But she was in deep thought.  She snatched the back door open and ran out onto the steps.  “George!”  Not hearing her.  George kept running.  She ran down the steps after him.  “George!”  She yelled louder.  “George!”

 

George stopped abruptly and jerked around, ready to fire the shotgun.  Patti was running toward him, yelling his name.

 

Was someone chasing her? George thought.  Where were they?

 

“George, listen,” Patti said.

 

“Damn it,” he said.  “Stop yelling.  I could’ve shot you.  You’re supposed to wait in the house until I got back with the truck.  You weren’t listening.  You were pretending to listen.  You have to listen.  Now, go back inside.  I have to get our truck.  And…”

 

“Listen to me,” she said.  “You said they’re dead.  Bernice and Pete.”  She had not looked at their bodies.  That would have been too much for her to see.  George had asked her if she wanted to see them.  She had had enough of seeing dead bodies.  The two strangers were more than enough for her.  And, if the murders were as gruesome as George described them, why would she want to see that?  “They won’t be using their pickup truck.  And, we’re already here.  And, we should not get any DNA from this place inside our truck.  Not recent DNA.  Because that DNA will most likely have DNA from the two dead strangers.  Then how would we deny not knowing them or having been inside the house with them?”

 

“Great thinking,” George said.  “We’ll use their pickup.  We just need to find the keys.”  They raced back into the house.  George told her to keep her ears open.  If she heard anyone, they would leave out through the woods.

 

Inside the house, they looked for the keys.  Patti refused to look inside Bernice and Pete’s bedroom.  George went in there.  She continued to search the kitchen and dining room.  Within a few minutes, Patti found the keys on the counter next to a napkin holder.  They were pushed almost under it.

 

George ran outside and got into the ten-year-old Ford F150.  He put the key in the ignition and turned it.  He prayed that it would start the first time.

 

He remembered Pete had told him their pickup was due for service.  That had been two months ago.  He doubted Pete ever took it in.  He would have complained about how expensive it was.

 

The engine was slow to turn over.  George also remembered Pete told him they had blown up the original engine in the truck.  They had a rebuilt engine put in by some mechanic they knew.  And, it was slow to start sometimes.  Knowing Pete the work was done on the cheap.

 

George held his breath and turned the ignition and pressed the gas.  The engine turned over and started.  He revved it.  Then he drove the pickup around the house to the back door.  He then moved fast from the truck.  Patti was waiting on the back steps.

 

George raced inside and grabbed the first duffel bag and went to lift it.  He could not lift it onto his shoulder.  He was not a big man.  He was seventy-five and one hundred and forty pounds, at best.  He was not feeble.  He was just not strong.

 

“You see why you need to lift weights?” Patti asked him.  She lifted weights three times per week.  She had told George that holding onto muscle at their age was important.  She bent over and grabbed the strap of the bag.  “Help me.”  George grabbed the strap too.  “Pull.”  They dragged the bag to the back door and out onto the steps.  They stopped to rest.  “Let’s keep moving.”  They pulled the bag down the steps to the pickup’s down tailgate.  “We’re going to have to lift this thing.”

 

“I’m ready,” he said.

 

“Use your legs,” Patti said.  “Like this.”  She showed George how to hold the straps, bend his knees and stand up.  “Ready?  On the count of two.”  He nodded.  “One.  Two.”  They stood.  The bag lifted off the steps.

 

George grunted.  “We got it,” he said.  “We can do it.”  Patti groaned and grunted.  They both made sounds until the bag was on the tailgate of the truck.  George slid it the rest of the way inside the pickup truck’s bed.

 

They leaned over and rested.

 

“Four more, baby,” George said, breathing hard.

 

“What happened to only taking three bags?” she asked.  George shrugged.  “We’re being greedy George.”

 

“Look,” he said.  “If we’re taking three, we may as well take five.  It’s retirement.”  She was fuming.  “It’s your call.”

 

She paused and could not believe where this was going.  There was no time to discuss it.  She exhaled.  “Let’s get the damn bags,” she said, angry.

 

“We can do this,” he said, excited.

 

They looked at one another.  They knew what the other was saying without saying it.  Yes.  They could do it.  But they should not be doing it.  They should not be there.  This was a mistake that they may live to regret.

 

Without talking, they dragged the bags out of the house and loaded them inside the truck’s bed.  After each one they would take a minute rest-break.  Then they would hurry up again until all the bags were loaded.

 

“You can drive the truck to our place,” he said.  “I’m going to the road to listen and see if anyone is coming.  If I don’t see or hear anyone, I’ll hold my fist in the air.  Once you see it come and pick me up.   We’ll take the money and bury it in the woods until we can decide what to do from there.”

 

“Why do I have to drive?” she asked.  “Why can’t I listen for cars or trucks?”

 

“Just drive, please,” he said.  “Let’s not argue over this.”

 

George hurried up the driveway and stopped at the start of it.  He heard Patti drive the truck to the side of the house.  He held his fist in the air.  Patti gunned the engine and raced toward him.  She slammed on the brakes and stopped beside him.

 

George yanked the door open and jumped inside and slammed it shut.  “Slow down,” he said.  She was already driving out of the driveway.  “Be normal.”

 

She was near their house in seconds and turned in their driveway.  She drove behind their house and turned off the engine.  They both sat there—dazed and scared.  After a few minutes of sitting, they looked at one another.

 

“This was a stupid idea,” Patti said.  Her face was pale.

 

George looked out the window and tried to slow his heartbeat down.

 

I hope you liked Part 10 of The Drop House.  Hopefully, George and Patti will get the chance to enjoy their new wealth.  If not, they can say they were rich, if only for a short while.

Thank you for stopping by.  See you next Monday.  

Have a great week.

Stephen Wallace