Always Leave ’Em Dying

Always Leave ’Em Dying by Richard S. Prather

Book: Always Leave ’Em Dying by Richard S. Prather Read Free Book Online
Authors: Richard S. Prather
operation. But I can't wander around much in daylight, and you and your uncle are about the only people who don't think I've run amuck. Is there some way I can meet you guys? I'd like to have a big chat with Mr. Hunt."
    "Where are you?"
    "I'm . . . in the sticks right now. Service station." I looked at the guy outside. "And I'm leaving. This egg is eyeballing me too intently at the moment." He was.
    "I'll have Uncle pick you up." She laughed throatily. "He doesn't think you're crazy either. Says you aren't even half as crazy as he is."
    We settled the location, a couple of blocks from the gas station, and I took off. Twenty minutes later I was crouching a few feet off the road in a clump of scratchy bushes, looking most peculiar, I suppose, when I saw a long black foreign car with white sidewall tires, pounds of chrome, monstrous headlights, and everything but a neon propeller, coming like a locomotive down the highway.
    That car could belong to nobody but Randy Hunt, and when tires started screeching a block away as the car slued around, I figured he must be driving. He was.
    He didn't get the mechanical monster stopped till it was half a block past me and I started running toward it as he stuck his brilliant bald head out the window and yelled, "Where you at, boy? You here? Hey!"
    Then he heard me whipping through the sagebrush and beamed at me. As I ran up he said, "Hop in back, son," and I got inside just in time to hear the grating of gears and feel sudden acceleration pile me voluptuously all over Jo Perrine. Ah, that was a ride. I didn't have any idea where we were going, and I was half convinced we'd never get there alive, but even if we didn't, I'd be really living till I died. Randy was sheer hell on curves.
    There was a little conversation, not much. The first thing I said to Jo was "Pardon me," and she said, "It's all right," and then I said, "Woops, pardon," and she said, "You devil," and, finally, she didn't say anything, just laughed softly. We were dear friends by the time I heard tires screeching that same note again and felt the car swinging around in the road.
    "Made it," Randy said from the front seat, piling out of the car before a log building that looked like the Cal-Neva Lodge. "Cabin of mine."
    I sat there. Jo said, "Well, get out."
    "Yeah, sure."
    She grinned at me and mumbled something, then crawled over me and out the door. I followed right behind her.
    Inside, with the smell of broiling steak in my nostrils, I said, "How come you took off so fast last night, Randy?"
    The two of us were in the living room seated before a big stone fireplace. The room was huge, with unadorned pine walls and a bare floor made of some kind of dark wood liberally dotted with knotholes. The only thing on the floor except furniture was a white bearskin rug before the fireplace.
    Randy was resplendent in white flannels, a sport shirt the approximate color of an artist's palette, and a jacket closer to violet than anything else I could think of. Jo had gone into the kitchen and was preparing to stave off my starvation.
    He said, "After you talked to me I got to thinkin' about Olive there all alone expectin' me. And I just got up and left. Had my car in the parking lot half a block down the street there, and took off."
    "See Miss Dixon?"
    "Nope. You see her?" I nodded. "How is she?"
    "The last time I saw her she was dead."
    He leaned forward, face serious. "What'd you say?"
    "She was murdered. I saw her, with the top of her head caved in, and she was very dead." It was quiet for a few seconds, then I added, "Randy, you're about the only person I can talk to who might have info I want. And I think you've got an idea of my status right now."
    "Just from the papers, son. That's enough, of course. I don't believe 'em," he said.
    "Thanks. I can explain most of it. I think." I told him what had happened to me after I'd left him in his room, hitting the high spots.
    When I finished he said, "Then you did shoot Wolfe, like it

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