Copyright (c) 2016 by Randall R. Peterson ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This is a work of fiction. All persons, locations and actions are from the author's imagination or have been used in a fictitious manner.
By R. Peterson
Janet Reynolds and Lisa Jennings lay across the bed both helpless and naked as the three men undressed. Both were both bleeding from the mouth. “Too bad your husband is unconscious,” the biggest one sneered. Jack was bound and tied in the corner. “He might enjoy watching three ex-convicts having a little fun.”
“You’re Harry Walton aren’t you?’” Janet pleaded with the largest gang member. “Don’t do this! You don’t want to go back to prison do you?”
“Me and these other stooges will be back in the joint in a month or so,” Harry said. “That’s a given. Why not enjoy ourselves while we can? Besides …” He held up the Tupperware container with the winning lottery ticket inside. “Eighty-six million dollars is enough money to start a new life almost anywhere!”
“How are you going to explain you and your two thugs accompanying me and my husband to the lottery office?” Janet said.
“Bodyguards!” Harry told her. “When someone wins this kind of money, half the people in the country go nuts.”
The doorbell rang just as Harry started to climb onto the bed. He looked at his watch. “It’s two-twenty in the morning,” Harry cursed. “Who the $#%# would be coming to your house at this time of night?”
One of the other convicts peeled back one corner of the bedroom curtains. “A lot of somebodies,” he whispered as he peered out the window. The flashing lights of a police car reflected on the bedroom wall. “There must be at least six cars out there … and a string of headlights backed-up clear into town.”
The doorbell rang again and someone pounded on the door.
Harry jerked Janet off the bed and thrust her toward the closet. “Put on a robe and go tell all your friends to get the hell out of here.” He walked to the corner and kicked an unconscious Jack with his work-boot. A glimmering knife appeared as if by magic in his hand. “One word about us being here and your husband gets his tonsils extracted … same with this one …” He gestured toward Lisa, “… and all three of your kids.”
Thirty seconds later, Janet opened the door to constant pounding, and Mary Jennings pushed past her, followed by a smiling Don Jepson, the town mayor. At least twenty others were crowded onto the lawn in front of the trailer, with more arriving by the minute. Everyone was talking at the same time. Lights from at least three TV News cameras blinded her. “We know yall has the winning ticket … We figured it out!” Mary screamed. She grabbed Janet’s arms and began to dance with her across the living room as she jumped up and down. She waved a copy of a cash-register receipt in the air like a flag. “Yall were the only person in the store who bought diapers and a lottery ticket!”
Mayor Don Jepson threw his arms around Mary crushing her and Mrs. Jennings. “We’re sorry for coming over so late,” he shouted. “But with the changes this town is going to make with that kind of money … who can sleep?” Deputy Bobby Joe Tinker was right behind the mayor followed by a beaming Ruth Watson and Nancy Livingston. “You really had me fooled with that smoking truck,” Bobby Joe bellowed. “Who knew that truck was actually burning money!”
“Honey, you don’t know what this money is going to mean to the Georgia Daughters of Dixie,” Ruth Watson yelled. “We’ve been needing a new lodge since … forever.”
“This means I’ll be driving one of them new Dodge Chargers with state-of-the-art Whelen LED Lights just like the cops in Atlanta,” Bobby Joe gushed.
“One new police car?” The mayor thundered at the overweight officer, then smiled for the news cameras. “We will have at least twenty, plus new state-of-the-art vehicles for all the city employees.”
Luke Brady, the local Baptist minister, pushed his way through the crowd a little irreverently. His hair stood up on both sides of his head obviously tussled by the crowd. The glare of the TV camera lights made him look like a young devil. He waved a thick manila folder in his hand. “We have hundreds of people in this town who are in dire need,” he said. “Janet, I know you and Jack will do the right thing.”
Kit Kat’s cries somehow rose about the chatter and the questions being fired from a dozen reporters. “Oh your poor baby!” Nancy Livingston pushed past Janet moving toward the bedroom. “All this noise must have woken her up!” Janet turned around to stop her and noticed the back door to the trailer was wide open. She could just see three running figures disappearing behind the clothesline and woodpile as Nancy opened the door to the wrong bedroom. The crowd grew suddenly quiet when Nancy screamed. “Looks like we’ve found out where your little sister got herself off to Mary…” She pointed toward a naked Lisa trying to cover herself on the bed, then scowled at a bound and tied Jack who had just woke-up in the corner. “If this is what money does to people … then I guess we’re all going to hell.”
Sheriff Buford Big B Jackson and three deputies, including Bobbie Joe pushed the crowd and the reporters out of the trailer while Jack and Janet sat in the kitchen. It took minutes for Janet to blurt out the details of their horrific ordeal while Jack patted his swollen face with a large T-Bone steak courtesy of Jim’s Custom Meats. A smiling Jim Turner was the last to leave the trailer. “Don’t you worry none about them convicts,” BB assured Jack and Janet as he closed the door. “They all in a heat wave. The Governor promised me his state police will have Harry Walton and his gang jerking chains before those cotton-pickers can sneak out of Georgia.
Jack spent twenty minutes looking for the Tupperware sandwich container with the winning ticket inside. He had all but given up hope, sure that Harry and his gang must have taken it with them when he spied it leaning against a corner in the bathroom along with a dented can of leaking hairspray, crushed disposable razors and two wet towels. It had been stepped on so many times the plastic was broken … but the ticket inside was still intact.
The Sheriff was on the phone in the other room; Janet tucked the ticket inside her loose-fitting bra. One strap was broken from when it had been used to bind Jack’s hands.
“The first thing we got to do, is get yall and your ticket safely to Atlanta,” The Sheriff said. “Yall still got that ticket don’t you?”
“It’s in a safe place,” Jack looked at Janet’s sagging breasts beneath her dress and the Sheriff’s eyes followed his.
“I’ll drive you to lottery headquarters in Atlanta in my own private car,” BB said. “It’s a Cadillac CTS sedan, not new, but still a nice ride. It won’t attract attention like flashing-lights will.”
“Thank you, Sheriff. We’re not used to such luxury,” Janet told him. “Your car will do just fine. We were worried about driving clear across Georgia in our old truck.”
Something about the Sheriff’s gleaming teeth reminded Jack of an alligator that he once helped chase off a golf-course.
“I like nice things,” BB told them.
Buford Jackson picked them up an hour later, no longer wearing his Sheriff’s uniform but a pair of oversize khaki pants and a loose fitting Hawaiian shirt. Jack and Janet were both happy to see him arrive; half the population of Baxley was still lingering around the outside the doublewide trailer. “Hey! You haven’t forgotten about last winter when I pulled you out of the ditch with my Bronco have you?” Tony Cordess was even drunker than the day before. “Because I’ve got me a long list of things you can pay me back for.”
Ruth Watson tried to push a pre-printed check made out to the Georgia Daughters of Dixie for two-million dollars and a pen into Jack’s hand as he carried Sally and Mick and Janet lugged Kit Kat, a suitcase and his car seat through the crowd toward the Sheriff’s Cadillac. “It’s all legal,” she beamed. “All you have to do is sign!”
Some of the people in the crowd were getting angry by the time the Reynolds family reached the Sheriff’s car. George Brady threw an empty beer bottle that just missed Janet’s head and skimmed the windshield of the Cadillac. “This is what happens when people get money,” he yelled. “Zoom … instant #$%$#^%#$!”
“Can I put these bags in your trunk?” Janet asked as the crowd began to press forward.
“No, Just squeeze into the back seat for now,” BB said. “We need to get out of here.”
It took Bobby Joe Tinker and all three Appling County deputies to push back the crowd so they could get the doors open.
“I can’t believe it!” Jack sat in the front seat next to the sheriff. “I’ve known these people all my life … suddenly they’ve turned into animals.”
“They were always animals,” The sheriff said. “The smell of money makes them hungry.”
“Speaking of food,” Jack said. “I don’t think any of us has eaten since yesterday. How about stopping at that Burger King just outside of Hinesville. I think a couple of Whoppers and fries might help us all forget about losing our friends.”
“I already thought about that.” BB handed Jack a large bag from McDonalds. “I didn’t know what yall liked, so I got a little bit of everything.” He smiled. “We have a long way to go and stopping when your pictures have been plastered all over the TV news is going to be dangerous.”
“Thanks sheriff!” Jack discovered he was ravishingly hungry as he handed out the burgers.
An hour later they were headed south on Interstate ninety-five. Jack, Janet and all three children were asleep, good thing or they might have noticed the change in direction. Sheriff Buford Jackson smiled and began to sing softly as he sped-up to pass a slow moving semi just north of The Florida border. It sounded like the song from the Gold Diggers musical from the 1930’s. We’re in the money. We've got a lot of what it takes to get along!
Jack opened his eyes just as they pulled into the gravel parking-lot of a bar in Miami called Toro Magnifico. His head was swimming through a swirling fog. “What the hell! I’ve been drugged,” he gasped. “What was in those hamburgers”
“Just a little something to help you sleep,” Sheriff Jackson said as he opened his door. Three Cuban looking men in dark suits appeared to be waiting for them. They surrounded the car.
“I told you I like nice things,” BB went on. “I got myself in a bit of a jam spending from the Appling County police fund. Rico Alfaro …” He gestured toward a fat Latino waddling toward them from the bar entrance. “…offered to loan me enough to get past the last two state audits, now he wants paid in full.”
“Do everything they say,” The sheriff whispered. “These guys make Harry Walton and his gang look like choir boys.”
“Veo que entrega las palomas,” Rico said. “Are you sure they have the ticket?”
Sheriff Jackson opened the back door to his Cadillac and dragged a semi-conscious Janet out. He thrust flabby fingers down her blouse, lingering longer than necessary and then pulled out the card.
“You’re a good looking woman with a great figure,” the sheriff told her as he slapped her behind. “You don’t need any padding.”
Rico smiled as the sheriff handed him the ticket. “Volaremos le todo a Atlanta mañana in my private plane,” he told Jack. “Hacer todo lo que digo … and there might be something in it for you … like your lives!”
Janet was still groggy, Jack helped her as they were pushed toward the back entrance of the bar. Kit Kat was sleeping soundly in Janet’s arms but Sally and Mick each walked beside their father holding one of his hands. “Is this what’s it’s like to be rich?” Sally asked as she stared at a flashing neon sign above the main bar entrance showing a naked woman riding a bull.
“I hope not,” Jack told her. “If it is, I’ll never buy another lottery ticket again.”
Ten minutes later the Reynolds family found themselves locked in a tiny back room without windows. A mattress that smelled of sweat, urine and sex was on the cement floor. The bar was obviously packed with mostly Latinos. Loud music with Spanish lyrics played almost constantly. Just before two AM, two loud blasts that sounded like gunshots made all three children wake up and begin to cry. The music stopped and a minute later the noisy sounds began to diminish.
“Thank God,” Janet said. “Now maybe we can get some sleep.”
They heard the door being unlocked and then it burst open. Two men dragged a bleeding corpse into the room and flung it into the corner. “Sorry, but the boss said to put this stiff in here until we figure out what he wants done with it,” one man said.
Janet buried her face in Jack’s arms and began to cry. “I can’t take this anymore,” she sobbed. “How can this night possibly get any worse?”
Her question was answered ten minutes later when the door opened again. Four men stood there. One with a jagged scar that ran across his nose from cheek to cheek was smiling. “El Jefe promise us a little something extra nice after we disposed of his body.” Two of the men grabbed the corpse and dragged it from the room; the other two grabbed Janet. “Hay un montón de putas latinas en este lugar … but none of them moan like the white women do.”
Jack tried to pry their hands off his wife. O ne of them punched him to the floor and then kicked him repeatedly. “Ser agradecido no es su hija (Just be thankful it’s not your daughter),” he said pointing to the children on the mattress.
“We’re going for a ride on a very expensive yacht,” the one leading Janet away whispered in her ear. His hand was sliding up the back of her legs. “I know you will like the way the ocean waves makes the water-bed rock.” All four men laughed. “We all do,” he said. “Todos nosotros lo!”
To be continued …