Moriarty, New Mexico is about as far as Logan Pierce got before the money and the El Camino gave out. He’d hoped for a clean start in life as a field mechanic working for any company willing to pay top dollar for his skills in the oil fields of West Texas. Low on funds and out of options, he begins a change of course in his mechanic career and takes a local job as a technician at Duggan’s Truck Stop.
The truck stop is a miniature city within a city that has all the luxuries for a home away from home feel for the over-the-road truck driver. Under the false front, Logan discovers there is a dark side that people claim is operated by the Dixie Mafia. Then there is the persistent rumor that affiliates of the Mafia are looking for a quarter-million in missing cash skimmed from over a five-year time frame.
The job was meant to be a temporary solution but that was before Amy Hauser entered the picture and presented Logan with additional problems. They want nothing more than to leave New Mexico for a new life, but then again…there’s that rumor of a quarter-million in missing mob cash.
And Logan just may well have discovered where it’s hidden, but soon finds that some people want it more.
“Thrilling Neo-Western Vibes!”
“Reminded me of the great Carroll John Daly’s vintage Race Williams pulp stories with a little Mickey Spillane sprinkled in.“
“If you dig hitmen and mafia shootouts, busted knuckles, and the smells of diesel blowing on the wind, this one is for you.”
Excerpt- Chapter 14
The cold night air was sharp and bitter. I killed the ignition and the heater motor whined to a halt. We could feel the breeze seeping through the rotted door seals and soaking our bones in the cold. The nearby piñon tree branches swayed in the cold winds and raked against the metal panels of the Ford. We had taken off on a dirt path behind the ranch house and parked off the main road, hidden within a thick cluster. Even if someone happened to drive by, they wouldn’t see the forest green-colored Ford.
My teeth chattered. Our breaths turned into clouds of vapor.
The old verbiage ‘cold as a witch’s tit’ held truth. The clouds hung thick, low, and heavy and all the small shrubs of piñon and salt cedar trees looked like acres of darkened tombstones littering the rolling lands for as far as the eye could see. I wondered how many bodies were buried out here from the beginning of time from conquistadors to the present. I also wondered if we were next.
I had tried to call Hendricks but cell phone service sucked out in the middle of nowhere. I made the mad dash back to Moriarty, swung by Duggan’s shop and pulled him off to the side, and showed him the coin. He told Big Mac he was feeling like shit and going home. We took off, swung by my house, grabbed the .45, and then to Hendricks’s place to grab his guns. We were on edge and spoke little on our way back to the ranch.
I did tell him about the Crown Vic, the black Dodge truck and the four cops and the cousins poking around the property, he remained steadfast in getting the money…if it were there. He was stubborn and I just wanted to wait until the time was ripe for another excursion after the storm had passed but he wasn’t having any of it. He wanted to strike now before the storm rolled in and covered everything.
Hendricks opened the door, stepped out, and mashed the cigarette butt with his boot tip. “Ready?” His breath mixed with cigarette smoke hung in the air in a thick cloud. His own teeth were chattering. It was hard to gauge if it was from the cold or the prospect of finally locating the money.
Nerves. They were kicking into overdrive. If what we thought was true, out there under the pile of rusted metal by the lone telegraph pole was an entrance of some kind that would lead down to a buried cargo container. I wasn’t sure what we would find, but it was worth looking at. I nodded, popped the door, and stepped out. The cold ground was as solid as concrete. The news said it was going to snow and the low clouds agreed. I felt a glistening sprinkle of something cold and wet hit my cheeks. The air was thick with the coming moisture.
“Over there,” I pointed.
Hendricks looked once in the direction, nodded, and pulled out his Taurus .357 revolver from the holster strapped to his hip. He checked the cylinder and clasped it shut. He took a few speed loaders from his backpack and stuffed them into his jacket pockets. I tucked the .45 in the waistband of my trousers and checked it multiple times already, mostly out of nervous reactions. He leaned inside the cab, flipped the bench seat forward, and took out a Mossberg 12 gauge pump. We didn’t know what we were going to end up finding so it was better safe than sorry. He racked the slide, loading buckshot rounds into the chamber. “Let’s move.”
Like apparitions, we moved down the long overgrown path. The only sounds were our footfalls on the cold, frost-encrusted gravel scattered along the trail. Musgrave was long gone, to angels or demons, but somewhere out here, his money was hidden. We hit the gate and waited silently, listening carefully for anything sounding out of place. Musgrave’s old mobile home stuck out as a distant dark shadow nestled within the trees and overgrown dead weeds. With no further sounds, we moved through the gate and slipped off into the shadows offered by the clusters of scrub oak and Chinese willows.
We stayed on the overgrown pathway until we saw the tip of the telegraph pole stuck out above the dark tree line like a thin pencil stabbed into a corpse. Hearing nothing but the wind, we moved off the trail and disappeared into the dark shadows. Hendricks halted every once in a while, and listened for several minutes for any strange noises. When nothing was heard, we moved on until we came to the narrow rise with the rotted telegraph pole jutting out of the ground.
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