Читать онлайн "Sudden prey" автора Sandford John - RuLit - Страница 3


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As Sloan took the car through an easy U-turn and the three blocks toward the

Midland Steel Federal Credit Union, Lucas looked out the window at the street, and felt the world begin to shift.

The shift always happened before a fight, a suddenly needlesharp appreciation of image and texture, of the smell of other bodies, of cigarette tar and Juicy

Fruit, gun oil, wet leather. If your mind could always work like this, he thought, if it could always operate on this level of realization, you would be a genius. Or mad. Or both.

Lucas remembered a stray thought from earlier in the day, picked up the handset and called dispatch.

''We need two squads on University,'' he said. ''We're tracking a stolen Chevy van and we want a uniform stop as soon as possible.''

He recited the tag number and license and the dispatcher confirmed it. ''We've got a car on Riverside,'' the dispatcher said. ''We'll start them that way.''

CANDY PULLED THE VAN TO THE CURB OUTSIDE HAM'S Pizza. Georgie and Duane were waiting, and she slid over to the passenger seat, and popped the back door for

Georgie as Duane got in the driver's seat.

''Everything okay?'' Duane asked.

''Great, Duane,'' Candy said. She gave him her cheerleader smile.

Duane hungered for her, in his Duane-like way. They'd gone to school together, elementary through high school. They'd played on a jungle gym, smart Candy and notsosmart Duane. She'd let him see her tits a couple of times- once down by

Meyer's Creek, skinny-dipping with Dick, when Dick hadn't seen Duane coming, but

Candy had. She was Dick's woman, all right, but wasn't above building extracurricular loyalty for a time when it might be needed.

''Drive,'' Georgie said from the back. And to Candy: ''You set?''

''I'm set.''

''This should be a good one,'' Georgie said.

''Should be great,'' Candy said. Ten o'clock on a payday morning. The paychecks were issued at eleven. The first employees would be sneaking out to cash their checks by elevenohone. That'd be an hour too late.

''There's the nigger again,'' Duane said, distractedly.

A giant black man had come into Ham's before Candy had gotten there, ordered a slice, asked if he could pay with food stamps. When told that he couldn't, he'd reluctantly taken two crumpled dollar bills out of his pocket and pushed them across the counter.

''Food stamps,'' Georgia said in disgust. ''He's one ofthose screwballs. Look at him talk to himself.''

Franklin, shambling along the street, said, ''One block, fifteen seconds.''

DUANE SAID, ''THERE IT IS,'' AND HIS VOICE MAY HAVE trembled when he said it.

Georgie and Candy turned away from the black man and looked down the street at the yellow brick building with the plastic sign, and the short stoop out front.

''Remember what I said, Duane. We'll be in there for one minute,'' Georgie said.

She leaned forward and spoke softly into his ear, and when Duane tried to turn his head away, she caught his earlobe and tugged it back, pinched it between her nails. Duane flinched, and she said, ''If you drive away, one of us will hunt you down and kill you. If you drive, Duane, you're dead. Isn't that right,


''That's right,'' Candy said, looking at him. She let some ice show, then switched to her God-Duane-I'd-Love-to-Fuck-You-But-I-Gotta-Be-True-to-Dickie look. ''But he won't drive. Duane's okay.'' She patted his thigh.

''Oh, I'll do it,'' Duane said. He looked like a trapped rat. ''I mean, I'll do it. I did it in Rice Lake, didn't I?''

He pulled the van to the curb and Georgie gave him a look, then the two women pulled nude nylon stockings over their faces and took the pistols out of their coat pockets.

''Let's go,'' Georgie said. She climbed out, and Candy followed a step behind; it passed through Georgie's mind that Candy looked radiant.

''I feel like I might pop one,'' Candy said to Georgie, as they climbed the four steps to the Credit Union door.

FRANKLIN WAS HALFWAY DOWN THE BLOCK WHEN they went inside and he said, ''The two women are inside. Pulled the nylons over their heads. It's going down.''

Five seconds later, Del and Kupicek stopped at the corner behind him, then eased forward so they could see the back of the Chevy van and Cale's head. They were forty yards away.

Sloan stopped at the next corner up, and eased forward until he could see the front of the truck. ''You set?'' Lucas asked. He cracked the back door.

''Yeah.'' Sloan nodded, looked almost sleepy and yawned. Tension.

''Let's go,'' Lucas said. And in the handset he said, ''Go.''

GEORGIE AND CANDY WENT IN HARD, VERY LARGE, very loud, screaming, masks, guns,

Georgie first:

''On the wall,'' she screamed, ''on the wall,'' and Candy behind her, vaulting to the top of the cash counter, screaming, the gun big in her hand, the hole at the muzzle looking for eyes. ''On the wall…''

Four women employees and a single customer, a man in a black ski jacket and tinted eyeglasses, were inside the credit union. The woman closest to Candy looked like a carp, her mouth opening and closing, opening and closing, hands coming up, then waving, as though she could wave away a bullet. She wore a pink sweater with hand-darned blue flax blossoms in a line across the chest. Another woman curled up and turned away, looking back at them over her shoulder, and stepped against the back wall, next to a filing cabinet. She wouldn't look at

Candy. A younger woman, a cashier, jumped back, yelped once, put her hands over her mouth, backed away, knocked a phone off a table, jumped again, froze. The fourth woman simply backed away, her hands at her shoulders.

Georgie said, rapid-fire, a vocal machine gun: ''Easy, easy, everybody take it easy. Everybody shut up, shut up, shut up, and stand still. Stand still, everybody shut up… This is a holdup, shut up.''

They'd been inside for ten seconds. Candy dropped behind the counter and pulled a pillowcase out of her waistband and started dumping cash drawers.

''Not enough,'' she shouted over Georgie's chant. ''Not enough, there's more somewhere.''

Georgie picked out the woman with the best clothes, the woman with the flax blossoms, pointed her finger at her and shouted, ''Where is it, where's the rest of it?''

The woman said, ''No-no-no…''

Georgie pointed her pistol at the man in the ski jacket and said, ''If you don't say, in one second I'm gonna blow his fuckin' head off, his fuckin' head.''

Georgie was posed in a two-handed TV-cop position, the pistol pointing at jacket-man's head, never wavering. The flax-blossom woman looked around for somebody to help her, somebody to direct her, but there wasn't anybody. She sagged and said, ''There's a box in the office.''

Candy grabbed her, roughed her, shoved her toward the tiny cubicle in the back.

The woman, scuttling ahead, pointed at a box on the floor in the footwell of the desk. Candy shoved her back toward the door, picked up the box, put it on the desk, and popped the top: stacks of currency, tens, twenties, fifties, hundreds.

''Got it,'' she shouted. She dumped it in the pillowcase.

''Let's go,'' Georgie shouted. ''Let's go…''

Candy twisted the top of the pillowcase and threw it over her shoulder, like

Santa Claus, and hustled around the cash counter toward the door. The man in the ski jacket had backed against the wall at a check-writing desk, his hands over his head, a twisted, trying-to-please smile on his face, his eyes frightened white spots behind the amber-tinted specs.

''What are you laughing at?'' Candy screamed at him. ''Are you laughing at us?''



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