Friday, September 25, 2015

Walt Murphy – Part Two – 20

Sunday dawned bright and sunny. A good omen, I figured, for Ricky's move into my house. After breakfast we took off, stopping at the rental place to pick up the truck he'd reserved before going to his apartment. We also got a ton of boxes since he admitted, rather sheepishly, that he'd only managed to pack his books before running out of the ones he cadged from his local grocery store.

We avoided any talk of Ms Engel's murder while we packed the rest of what he was bringing with him. Most of the furniture, other than a few favorite pieces he didn't want to part with, he had donated to the local homeless shelter. They were scheduled to pick them up around noon. Two young men in a battered long-bed truck appeared right on time and between the four of us we managed to get everything into it and tied down.

After they left, Ricky and I hauled way too many boxes, and the remaining furniture, down to the rental truck. We arrived at my, well, our house now, and parked in the driveway.

I got out of my car, going over to the truck, leaning my arms on the window sill. I guess that's what it is, even in a vehicle. "I opt we go get lunch first before tackling unpacking," I told him.

Ricky agreed wholeheartedly. There's a small but decent restaurant only two blocks from the house, so we decided to walk. We were halfway there, taking a shortcut through a vacant lot, when I heard, first, a small popping noise, followed almost instantly by the sound of something zinging by my head. Now maybe I was overreacting but I grabbed Ricky, shoving him to the ground, with me right beside him in the tall weeds.

"What the hell?" he sputtered angrily.

"Shush," I growled. Cautiously I lifted my head to see if I could spot anyone—because I was damned sure that hadn't been a riled-up bee that flew past me.

There was no one in sight. I slowly got to my knees, checked again, then stood, offering Ricky my hand.

"What was that all about," he asked after I hauled him to his feet.

"Unless I'm very mistaken, someone took a potshot at us."

Ricky paled. "I didn't hear anything."

"They used a silencer. Luckily they were a lousy shot."

"Why? I mean, why shoot at us?"

"If I knew that, I'd know who it was."

His thoughts obviously went the same place mine did because he said, "If you're right, it has to have something to do with Ms Engel's murder."

"A likely conclusion, unless you've got a jealous lover hidden away."

"This is not a laughing matter!" he spat out. But he did smile. Barely. "Or you do," he countered. By then he was looking a bit more like himself, albeit with dirt and broken weeds on his jeans and shirt.

I was in the same shape, so we brushed off as best as possible before I asked, "Do you still want to do lunch?"

"Damned straight. No punk is going to scare me off. Well, not from decent food anyway."

Wrapping one arm around him, I kissed him lightly. Then we proceeded on our way with me keeping a wary eye open for anyone who might look like they intended to play 'shooting gallery' again—with us as the targets.

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