Welcome to PART 5 of The Drop House. Sometimes a prize is more important than life itself. Or, sometimes we are just greedy. You decide. In this Part of the story, George has made up his mind.
Enjoy Part 5.
PATTI WAS STUNNED. SHE repeated in a monotone to George what he had said to her. “Bernice and Pete are dead.” She stared at George. He was still sitting on the floor in front of the front door. “Bernice and Pete are dead.” He nodded to her and hung his head again. She pursed her lips. Words seem to get lost inside her. She shook her head. “What do you mean? Bernice and Pete are dead? What are you saying? You’re being ridiculous. We just saw them. They’re not dead. You’ve made a mistake, as usual.”
George worried Patti was coming unhinged. She would not stop talking. She asked foolish questions. Some were nonsense at best. How did he know it was Pete and Bernice? How did he know the bodies were not impostors? What if they had staged their deaths to get away from someone? Was he wearing his contacts when he saw the bodies of Bernice, Pete, and the two strange men? How did he know the two strange men were not their relatives?
“Would you stop talking!” George yelled in exasperation. “Stop talking for a minute! Let me finish what I was saying! Please!”
“You don’t know if they’re really dead,” she said. “You didn’t turn them over and look. You just assumed…”
“Listen, for once in your life,” he pleaded. She opened her mouth to speak. “Damn it! Would you shut up and listen.”
George shocked her. He never yelled at her. And, he never swore at her. She did not like the way he was talking to her.
George held his finger up at her. “Don’t talk,” he said in a low tone. “Bernice and Pete are dead. I just told you. And there are two guys in their house. They’re dead, too. They have guns. With silencers. Stuff the average person doesn’t see.” Patti pursed her lips. George knew she was bursting to speak. “Wait.” He paused. His brow was furrowed. “There… there’s all this money. Duffel bags. Money. Lots of money. Lots of it. It’s unbelievable. The scene is horrific. But, the money…” His eyes were wide. He rubbed his hand over his face. “What?” He was looking at Patti’s face. “It’s killing you to listen. So spit it out.”
“Did you call the police?” she asked.
He shook his head and whispered, “No.”
Patti picked up her cell phone off the coffee table.
George stood quickly. “What are you doing?” he asked.
She looked down at the phone. “What do you think I’m doing? You just said our neighbors are dead. And two strangers may have murdered them. I’m calling the police. You don’t know who did it, do you?” He shook his head. “What if their killers are still here somewhere? That’s why I’m calling the police.”
“No,” he said. “No. Not yet.” She paused and looked confused. “You’ve got to see it.” She squinted. “I’m serious. You’ve got to see it. Before we make the wrong decision or do something in haste you have to see it.”
“What are you saying George?” she asked, surprised. He told her she had to wait and see it. Then they could call the police. “Are you losing your mind? We need to call the police now.”
“I can’t argue with you right now Patti,” he said. “You have to trust me. Just get dressed and don’t do anything now.” She looked at the phone in her hand. He snatched it from her grip. She became angry. “I had to do it. You may thank me later. But you have to give me a chance. Just promise me you won’t do anything for now.”
She crossed her arms and sighed. He begged her, please. She bit her top lip and exhaled loudly. She pointed her finger at him. “Only for now, George,” she said. “Only for now.”
George kissed her on the cheek. “Get dressed,” he said. “We have to go.” He ran toward their bedroom. “Don’t do anything.” He yelled over his shoulder at her.
“Can I go to the bathroom first?” Patti yelled after him.
“Yes!” George yelled back to her. “But hurry up!”
George opened the nightstand in their bedroom and removed a Colt pistol. Everyone had a gun in their area. Sometimes it took the police a little while to get to them if there was an emergency. He went into the closet and got a twelve-gauge shotgun. He then reached to the back of the closet where a low shelf was. He took a box of shotgun shells off it. He opened the box and grabbed as many shells as he could. Those he put in his coat pocket.
George ran back out to the living room. Patti was putting on her shirt. Her pants and shoes were already on.
“George, what are you doing?” she asked. “Why are you holding that gun?”
“Come on,” he said, ignoring her, or not hearing her. “We’ll go to their house the back way. We don’t need anyone seeing us from the road.
“You’re acting crazy,” she said. “We shouldn’t be going into a place where people have been murdered. Especially if they’re our neighbors and two strange men we don’t know, who, by the way, have guns on them. It could involve drug dealers or organized crime. You don’t know. We could get killed.”
George reached into his pocket and pulled the pistol out and shook it at her. “We’ll be ready,” he said. A stern expression was on his face.
“George, what are you doing with that?” she asked. “Who are you trying to fool? What are you about to do with those guns? Get into a gunfight? You’re going to accidentally shoot someone. Or, one of us.”
“Stop talking and come on,” he demanded. Then he grabbed her by the arm, like he never did, and pulled her toward the back door.
“My wrist,” she said.
Instinctively she pulled back against him. Fifty years of marriage and he had never treated her like this. Manhandling her. It was nothing short of abuse. She dug her heels in and leaned backward.
“Come on,” he said and jerked her through the doorway. She slammed the door shut as he pulled her along. He went down the steps fast. She stumbled after him, missing the last step and almost falling on her face. She bumped into him and recovered her balance to stay upright. “You’ll thank me. Just stay with me.”
They headed toward the woods in the back of their house. Through the woods was a shortcut to Pete and Bernice’s house. “We’ll need to walk fast,” he said. “Stay up. When we get there stay in the woodline. I need to make sure we don’t have company.”
“George, you’re being crazy,” Patti complained. “These are our friends. They’re dead, according to you. We shouldn’t be going to their house.” He pulled her faster through the woods and brush. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Shut up, Patti,” he said. “We’re going to get caught. Someone’s going to hear you. Stop talking and come on.”
“Stop telling me to shut up,” she said. “You shut up, for once.”
“Okay,” he said. “I’m sorry. But let’s hurry a little.”
“Stop,” he whispered. He turned around to Patti and pressed his finger against his lips.
Ten feet into the wood line next to Bernice and Pete’s backyard they stood and looked. The backdoor was still open. Everything looked the same as when he left earlier. But, he could not see if anyone had entered the house.
George’s heart pounded. He wanted to go back home. But the prize inside was too big not to try.
“Ouch,” Patti whispered and yanked her hand from his grip. “You’re hurting me.” She restrained her voice.
“Sorry,” he whispered. His eyes strained to see into the house.
He knew if they walked into that house and those two dead strangers’ friends were inside, he and Patti were not coming out. Not alive.
I hope you enjoyed PART 5 of The Drop House. Have a fantastic rest of the week. And, if you are so lucky to find a duffel bag of money, well, share it with me. But, if there are dead bodies next to it, don’t call me. See you next Monday.