[More to come — most likely.]
The screen door creaked, and Dad made his appearance, trading whispers with Bobby.
Probably, Jancy thought, something like, Letting a woman get the better of you!
Father was less prepossessing than Son—fat instead of skinny, but with similar baggy shorts
topped by a wife-beater undershirt, and wearing thongs on dirty feet—double-eeww!
He put a wide grin on his face as he approached.
"I guess you're interested in Old Blue here."
"Not at your price, I'm afraid."
"Well, maybe you don't know how trucks hold their value. Not the way cars..."
"My husband owned several pickups."
"Well... well... Well, then, make a decent offer, and I'll see what..."
"I told your son."
"Yeah, but... Twelve hundred's as low as I can go."
"Then I can't help you, lady. You can try and buffalo the boy, but not me. I'm firm."
She shrugged and turned toward her car.
He let her reach its side before calling, "Wait, wait, wait, wait!"
She controlled her face. Got him!
* * *
Buck came out from behind his desk to greet the detective recommended by Rex Bradley.
The man was quite a sight, wearing a too-tight seersucker jacket thirty years out of date.
He looked around sixty, red-faced from too much sun on his light skin, and
built like a barrel on legs.
Guiding the man to a settee, Buck took the far end himself.
"Thanks, Mr Crow. Ahem. I believe you learned something concerning me
from Mr Bradley, but here's my resume."
It was one of the shortest Buck had ever seen—half a page stating
Valentine S Mielke was retired from the Des Moines police, and naming
the departments he'd worked in during thirty-odd years on the job.
"You pronounce it Milky, I guess? I'm Redcrow—Buck Redcrow."
* * *
"So she broke it off with me," he told Mielke, "not letting me rightly know why.
And then she moved—maybe so I couldn't drop in on her and find out the truth.
"At least, that's Callie's tale—she claimed DeDe was afraid I'd make her get rid of the kid.
But she and I—Callie, I mean—never got along. I always liked to put a burr under her saddle—
agitate her—and she always gave me a ration of static. She might lie to get back at me.
"But the main story—that I believe. DeDe got diagnosed for breast cancer—
pretty advanced—and had an operation, but she wouldn't do the chemo or radiation
for fear of hurting the child. Claimed she'd wait until it was born. But she must have known
it'd be too late, because she went and adopted it out to a rich couple—sold it, in other words—
to get enough money to go live with her parents back east and not run up their bills.
She wanted to die with her family around her, after making sure the child was OK."