Twin Beeches -- an Illinois Love Story
Author: paul schoaff

Chapter 42
Finding the Escape Hatch


Finding the Escape Hatch


Consolidating and Traveling Light


Buddy was glad Eddie made it back.  He had no idea what to do, on his own.  He didn't have any money, he didn't have any credit cards, even if he could use them without being traced.  He didn't have anyone he could go to for help, only in part because the cops might be watching.  He had, though, long ago given up blaming himself for his bad luck and was back to blaming the cops, the Judge, even Kathy, the slug lying in a coma in Rock Island.   She could have stopped him, should have stopped him.  For much of the night, he ‘daydreamed’ about fixing up his bright yellow ’55 Chevy, driving it down to Talladega, slipping onto the racetrack during time trials and becoming an overnight sensation, winning every race for the next year or two.   He woke with a start! Crazy Eddie didn't know how close Buddy came to opening up on him when he drove up in the Miata, but he waited until Eddie's lanky form unstrapped itself from the preppy little Mazda.


“Any luck?” Buddy yawned.


“A little. Not much, maybe enough.  I don’t know, Buddy, things are headed in the right direction, but it’s gonna get hairy.  Are you sure you don't want to go back?  I can find a different place to hide so you couldn't give me away.”


“Nope, thought it over.  I’m havin’ too much fun.  And, you need me to help you for a change.  Feels pretty good.”


Eddie had watched Buddy for almost a year, and the fact Buddy was still with him confirmed his diagnosis  Buddy was 'Crazy as a Loon'.


“Okay, okay, first things first.  We need to dump one of these rides.  Which one?”


“I vote for the Miata.   It ain't much good on the back roads.”


“I agree, we might need the 4WD, but what we need is another car entirely, one no one will be missing.”


Twenty minutes later, they pushed the Miata into an old shed near the junkyard and worked their way back on the back roads to the schoolhouse.


“We don't need a car for what we do next, Buddy.  It's time to visit Daddy.”


But, they did, in fact, need to drive the Highlander one last time, through the twisting back roads to the spot where the iron bridge crossed the Sugar, Southwest of Goodluck.   The Highlander slipped into the deep pool below the bridge and the boys worked their way along the creek until they found the skiff the Judge and Hawkins used.


By dawn, they bedded down in a little swale only 200 yards downstream from the Hawkins' shack/home.  Sleep came easily after the exhausting ordeal of the last 24 hours.  Eddie made sure the old briefcase under his shirt stayed under his body as he slept.  Would Buddy kill him for it?  God knows, he thought. 


He wondered if somehow, Buddy knew there might be some big money involved and he waited only for the right time to put a bullet in his brain. 



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