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Walk About, Chapter Two: How to Get Rid of a Body
Darlene Franklin-Campbell's new novel, Walk About, is being posted online chapter-by-chapter, for people to read for free. Previous Chapter: Walk About: Chapter One
Chapter Two: How to Get Rid of a Body
By Darlene Franklin-Campbell
"Pinky!" Ace and Rosie said in unison.
The small woman in black removed her mask, revealing soft dark bangs and a long braid. "You left the code on my answering machine and..."
"James Allen is dead," Rosie blurted. "I killed him."
"You murdered your husband?" Pinky squawked.
"Not on purpose," Rosie said.
There was a faint knock at the backdoor.
"It's Clyde," Pinky said.
Ace scurried to the door and opened it. "Rosie's killed James Allen," she said.
"K...killed Ja...James Allen?" Her eyes widened. "He's d...d...dead?" She ran her long fingers through her short, wild curls.
Pinky pointed to the fabric body bag, "Don't tell me...."
"Yep," Ace said. "That'd be the brother-in-law right there."
"He came home early," Rosie recounted. "James Allen called and said he was coming home for an early supper and that I'd better have that stew he likes ready if I knew what was good for me, because he was planning on going back up to the college and talking to Coach Byrant. So, I ran out to the garden and grabbed a handful of garlic bulbs and onions and stuff. But before I could get done, I heard the phone ringing again. So, I just stuck all my stuff in a basket and ran in to answer it. "
She rubbed her temple and continued, "It was just a sales person and....oh, I'm going to prison. They're gonna send me to the electric chair. I just know it."
"No, that's not going to happen. We made a vow and we will all keep it."
"But your business, Ace and Pinky's professoring thing and Clyde, well, and Clyde's job hunting and....and...I'll end up some butch girl's prison wife!"
"We will honor the pact," Pinky said.
"Yes," Ace said.
There were several minutes of silence as Pinky paced back and forth.
Ace lit a cigarette. "You got any coffee?"
"Coffee?" Rosie said. "How can you think of coffee? And why are you smoking in here? James Allen hates the smell of women smoking."
Ace rolled her eyes in the direction of the body and put her cigarette out in the sink. "I'm sorry, Rosie. Coffee helps me think and smoking calms my nerves."
"Y...you...sh...ould try pro---prozac," Clyde said.
"We need to dispose of his body," Pinky said.
"Dispose of the body?" Rosie said. "You say that like he's a thing but he's a person."
"He's a dead person," Pinky said, "and unless you want to still be standing here over him when the sun comes up and he doesn't show up for work and people start calling your house and coming out here, we need to move."
"I'm s-s-sorry this h-h-happened," Clyde said, shoving her hands into the pockets of her baggy carpenter pants and looking at the floor; her bushy black curls hid her face and an over-sized purse exaggerated her thinness. "But Pinky is r-r-right. We need to m-m-move." Clyde had stuttered since childhood and intense situations just magnified the speech impediment.
"Are we really doing this?" Pinky asked, "becoming fugitives?"
"If we don't Rosie will go to prison. She can't possibly prove her innocence." She looked at Rosie and shook her head. "We made a vow to always be there for each other, to do whatever it takes to keep each other out of trouble and especially for Rosie, because we all know her little elevator doesn't quite reach the thirteenth floor." She sighed. "I was getting tired of running Butts, Buns, and Breasts Barbecue and Pool Hall anyway."
"R...reckon my j...job hunting can w...wait," Clyde said.
Pinky closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. Then she said, "We need to do some things to slow down the authorities and throw them off for a few days, to give us a head start. Somebody from his family or work is bound to come check on him eventually."
"Well, we have been talking about going on a vacation," Rosie said. "We were planning to leave next week. He talked about it to a cousin just last night."
"Okay, that's something we can use," Pinky said. "Got any literature? We could leave lying haphazardly by the phone?"
Rosie went to the roll top desk in the corner of the living room and took some pamphlets about Vera Cruz from the drawer.
"Good," Pinky said. "Now, circle the phone number and scribble on the pamphlet, the words 'discount if we come by' and put tomorrow's date."
"I see," Ace said, "that way anyone who comes in will think they took off early."
"Yes," Pinky said. "Now to make it look like they really left, we will have to take some clothes from the closets, stuff some suitcases and put them in whichever vehicle you were planning to drive. That way if anyone comes looking in the next few days, they'll see the travel brochures and hopefully note that there are no suitcases in the house. So, go do that now, Rosie. Pack like you're going on vacation." Pinky ordered. "Oh, and Ace, wear these." She pulled a pair of gloves from her pocket. "We don't want any fingerprints other than Rosie's and James Allen's left in this house anywhere."
"Clyde, get rid of that poisoned stew. Make sure that it's irretrievable. Don't let one trace of it or the ingredients that she put in it remain."
"Oh," and Pinky added, "keep your gloves on."
"T-thanks," Clyde said. "W-what are you going to do?"
She waved her hand at Rosie's pile of fabric, "Why clean up this mess, of course." So, Pinky folded all of the fabric and put it away neatly the closet where Rosie had left the door standing open. Then she wiped the sewing machine and table clean of all fingerprints. When she had finished, the dining room was spotless and the only thing out of place was James Allen's body, lying on the floor in a home-made flowered body bag.
Ace and Rosie packed everything they could think of that a couple would need on a vacation to Vera Cruz and packed it into the trunk of James Allen's car.
Meanwhile, Clyde diluted the stew until it was soup then flushed it down the toilet. She then scoured the pot and all the utensils used to cook it. Finally, she wiped the kitchen clean of all surface dirt and any evidence that a stew had ever been cooked there.
"All finished," Ace said, "Coming back into the dining room where Pinky had just closed the closet door.
"Me, too," Clyde said, coming from the kitchen.
They stood there for a moment, just looking at one another.
"Well, what next?" Ace finally said.
Pinky sighed. "Dispose of the body, make his car disappear and get out of here."
"We'll need to take his car for sure," Ace said.
"Any suggestions," Pinky asked.
"T-take h-him over t-there to the B-bloominton's f-farm," Clyde said. "And put him in the silo."
Pinky shook her head. "Too easy to find."
"We can't put him in a silo," Rosie said. "He's not corn."
"Maybe we could take him over to Rugger's Feed Mill and grind him up into hog feed," Ace said.
"You ain't grinding my husband," Rosie squawked.
"Yuck," Clyde said. "That's s-sick, Ace."
"Agreed. It's not only time-consuming, it's gross and messy," Pinky said. "Do you have any hydrochloric acid with you, Clyde?"
Clyde shook her head.
They all stood silent for a few moments, each contemplating the best way to dispose of a body.
"I can't believe we are actually standing here trying to figure out how to get rid of a body. How is this even real?" Ace said.
"Where's the closest lake around here, Rosie?" Pinkie asked as if she hadn't even heard Ace.
"About ten miles south," Rosie said. "Why?"
"How deep is it?"
"I know all about that lake," Rosie said. "James Allen and his buddies are...were...always fishing and boating. It's 70 feet deep at the deepest spot which is out past Muskrat Cove."
"Good," Pinky said.
"Clyde, you ever hot wire a motor boat?"
Clyde nodded. "P...piece of c...cake."
"Also, we're going to need a few cement blocks. Rosie, got any concrete places around this town where they leave the blocks sitting out?"
"Yeah, what are you planning to do? Steal some?"
"Daddy called it long-term borrowing," Ace said.
Pinky grinned. "LTB, he would've said. Yeah, I plan to LTB a few. We also need some heavy chains and some plumber's tape."
"I've got the tape in my p...purse," Clyde said. She reached into her large bag and produced a roll of tape. "W...water proof tape right here," she said, pride in her voice.
"James Allen has some chains out in the garage," Rosie said.
"Wouldn't it be easier to just drive his whole car off in the lake?" Ace said.
Pinky shook her head. "We couldn't get it to the deepest part and it'd be found. No, we have to find another way to dispose of that car."
"I k-know a w-way," Clyde said. "Th...there's a junk y-yard back home."
Ace nodded. "Bill Grisham's old junk yard down there in Sprawling Holler five miles from anywhere and sitting on the edge of nowhere."
"I need a bl...blow torch," Clyde said.
"James Allen has a bunch of tools out in the garage," Rosie said. "Just go out there and help yourself."
"Just want to b-borrow the bl-blow torch," Clyde said. "I will use my own tools."
"Okay, then let's load the body," Pinky said.
"It ain't a body," Rosie said. "It's James Allen and I'm not only a widow now, I'm poor again."
"Y-you're n-not poor," Clyde said. "You g-got us."
They stood in silence for a moment, reverencing the pact.
Then Ace said, "Pinky, how'd you get in this house like that?"
"Came in the attic window."
"Don't you think that's a little bit of overkill?"
Pinky snarked, "You talking to me about overkill when we're about to dispose of a body?"
Darlene Franklin-Campbell, an Adair County native, holds an M.A. from Lindsey Wilson College but has also done post-graduate work in storytelling and literacy at Western Kentucky University and is an alumnus of Campbellsville University. She is a member of the Elizabeth Maddox Roberts Society, the Adair County Arts Council, The Adair County Genealogical Society, The Green County Genealogical Society, Phi Theta Kappa, and the Mysterium Society (an IQ society for linguists). She has attended the Appalachian Writers Workshop, WisCOn, and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. She currently teaches Art at the Adair County Primary Center. You may visit her webpage at https://www.dardet.com or her writer's blog at https://whisperingwind.blog to check out more of her work.
This story was posted on 2021-12-01 11:16:14
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