Eidetic Sunshine

Eidetic Sunshine

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Chapter 9


A couple of hours later Danny trudged back up the steps of the RV to put away the cleaned, dried, and ironed clothing and bedding.  She was followed my Mr. Hunter. 

Butch tried to stand but Mr. Hunter told him, “Relax Butch, the monitors have released you now that you’ve been without a fever for over a week but you still look like cat puke Boy.  You and Danny fighting that much?” 

Danny rolled her eyes, set the laundry down, and turned to leave.  Butch stopped her.  “You made them didn’t you?  At the carnival.  It was you.  Danner just sold them for you … Delia was still here but this isn’t something that she would come up with.” 

“Oh Delia can be creative when she needs to be.” 

“That’s not what I said.  It was you who made them.” 

Danny shrugged and said, “Maybe.”  She turned once again to leave and said, “I’ll bring your supper … unless … you’d rather take it at the tavern.  I can tell Mrs. Maddox that …” 

“No.  I’m not in the mood for a lot of people.” 

“Uh … okay.  Ring the bell if you need anything.  I’ll be in the garden.” 

Some time later Danny was starting to fight the mosquitoes when Mr. Hunter found her.  “He’s asleep.  Don’t think he meant to be though.  You’ve done a fine job of taking care of him.  I was pretty sure I was going to have to have another name carved on the memorial.” 

“Butch is tougher than that.  But …” 

“But he was bad off, still is a long way off from being fit for duty.  Anyone with brains can see it but it took someone with a good heart to take him in and care for him, keep him out of that damn mausoleum of the dead they call a sick house.  I know Butch ain’t the easiest to get along with … and you and him … well …” 

“Mr. Hunter I don’t know what birdies you’ve been talking to but you are misinformed.  I don’t have a heart.  All I have is a wallet where my heart is supposed to be.” 

“Uh huh.  You keep letting people think that if you want to.  I know better.  And I’m thinking Butch knows better now too.  But … that might cause problems.” 

“There is no mixing of business and personal here Mr. Hunter.  My family owed Butch an old debt.  That’s all this is.” 

“Then Butch is more thick-headed than I gave him credit for being.  But if he is, at least about this, it might not be a bad thing.  Tallahassee is still gunning to connect him to what is going on.  They don’t want him back on the roster.” 

“Sounds to me like they are trying to punish him for finding out things … things maybe some folks in Tallahassee didn’t want found out.” 

Hunter gave Danny a sharp look.  “I’m not saying you’re wrong Danny, hell I shouldn’t even be discussing this with you, but I am telling you not to say that where anyone else can hear it.  These people … haven’t seen anything near like it since the flare … if they’re gunning for Butch it means that he might know more than he thinks he does.  Do me a favor, talk to him.  You got an ear for this stuff.  Don’t tell me unless you think you’ve pulled anything usable, the fewer people that know the better.  And watch yourself here at the tavern.  Good place for a sniffer to hide in plain sight.  You just be careful.” 

“I always am Mr. Hunter.  Always,” Danny told the man who took the statement at face value before walking away.  Too bad for him. 

Danny was tired.  Bone tired.  Just because she had gotten good at this game, especially over the last six months, doesn’t mean that she likes it.  She put her foot on the bottom step and after a few moments battling with herself took the rest of them inside. 

“Butch?” 

“Hmm?” 

“I know you’re tired but we need to talk.  And you’re going to need to be awake and able to think when we do it.  Can you?” 

Butch cracked an eye open.  “You want me gone.  I’ll …” 

“Don’t be an idiot.  I said I need you awake and thinking.  This is important so pay attention.  If you can’t pull your head out of your backside …” 

That did it.  Butch was ready to burst a blood vessel and fight but he was still sick so was slow enough that he caught the look on Danny’s face before he popped off.  “Hunter say something?” 

“Shut that window while I get these.  We’ll roast but since we’re already going to hell we might as well get used to it.”  Butch listened to the tone in Danny’s voice and it made it even more imperative that he figure out what was up.   

After all the windows were shut and the shades drawn Danny said, “They’ll think we are trying to hide that we’re having sex.  Let ‘em.  It will keep them from thinking the truth.  Can you do that?” 

“Depends on why.  I do have my lily white reputation to think of you know.” 

“Yeah.  And if you don’t think that part of it is going to bother me then you can think again but what I’m thinking trumps the shade of your pale cracker butt.” 

Butch tried to sit up and get comfortable but had a hard time until Danny leaned over and helped him.  She caught a quick glimpse of Hunter carefully walking towards the laundry shack and was glad she’d already taken care of one particular problem. 

She stood there looking through the crack in the drapes so long that Butch reached up and over to touch her shoulder.  “Set me up.  Whatever it is I need to see.” 

Danny sighed.  “We got problems Butch.  Big problems.” 

“I got problems.  You got …” 

“Butch as much as I hate to say it I’m beginning to wonder if I’m not the reason that you got hauled off to Tallahassee.” 

“Wait … what?” 

“Here me out.  You remember the night you showed up all beat up.  You remember me being on a tear?” 

“Yeah … but we weren’t exactly on speaking terms so I just figured …” 

“Well you were only partially right.  Do you remember me telling you – before you face planted at my feet – that I wanted to pass off something to you?” 

“To be honest Daniella I barely remember much after getting off my horse except being pissed off the tavern was full.  Barely remember you hauling me over here.  Remember delivering my report to Hunter but not much else.” 

“In a way that’s good.  Probably kept you from showing any sign of anything when you were being interrogated.” 

“Dammit Daniella, what have you gotten into now?” 

“Nothing on purpose and nothing I wanted to be in and to be honest I didn’t think it was anything to begin with until possibly just now … at least not something that would boomerang at me like it apparently is doing.  But if you’re going to understand we gotta talk this through and I’m not too sure you ain’t gonna hate me for one reason or another before too long.” 

Slowly Butch asked, “Are you part of this?” 

“Not willingly and only on accident … and not knowingly until I just put a few bits together.”  Danny sighed and leaned back in the chair she had been using to sit in to keep an eye on Butch when he was at his sickest.  “I wouldn’t … look, I would never put my family in that kind of danger.  I know what you think of me.  I know what you think I’d stoop to ..” 

“I told you I was sorry about that.” 

“No, you were sorry that you wound up being wrong.  That doesn’t mean that you don’t think I’m capable of it.  There’s a difference and we both know it.  And you might be right.  But I never have stooped to certain things Butch.  I’ve never used my body to get what I want.  And I’ve never blackmailed anyone … ever.  No matter how much ammunition I might have.  I admit I’ve killed more than one man, but I’ve never planned it out and killed one in cold blood.  And no, you don’t need to know how many, who they were, or why.  You already know about the three that I’ve killed at the tavern over the years, the rest is just left in the past.  I accept I’ll have to answer for it on Judgment Day, I don’t need you judging me before hand.  I work hard for the money I make and the deals I make … but I don’t cheat the people I make the money off of; I always make sure whatever contract is made I hold up my end.  My word means something to me even if it don’t mean much to other people.  Understand what I’m trying to say?” 

“You are smuggler?” 

“No.  I stay above the law even if it means losing business.  I’m not scared of the law but the difference between me and the average tax cheat is that I understand that there’s not just me to think of.  Tito would have a hard row to hoe if he had a sister that was a criminal.  Joey too if he eventually goes into the military.” 

“So you stay clean for the kids and what it means to them, not because you necessarily think it is that important.” 

Danny shrugged.  “Yes and no.  Let’s just say I’ve lost my respect for most of humanity and those that enforce the laws guarding humanity.  A lot of these so-called laws are just ways to trap people or get in the way of people bettering themselves.  Wouldn’t want no one to get uppity now would we?” 

“Daniella …” 

“Shut up Butch.  Last thing I want or need are your rationalizations or excuses.  You are a good lawman.  I’ll even admit that for the most part you are as fair as your job and your conscience allow you to be.  But you just haven’t had to deal with certain aspects of life in the same way other people have.” 

Danny tried to find the right words and deliver them carefully.  “I’m not making excuses or rationalizations on my end either.  I think everyone is personally accountable.  And I know I am far from perfect but it still makes it hard for me not to be resentful.  I don’t want to fall into the same trap that I’ve watched a lot of people fall into.  To understand I’m going to have to be … Butch I’m going to have to say things you aren’t going to want to hear but you’re still going to have to hear them.  Just also understand that what I say isn’t being said to hurt you or anything else; it is just the way things were and to some extent still are.  Can you do that?” 

Danny knew that Butch’s hesitant nod was the best she was going to get and so she started the explanation.  “Of the six of us I was born with the darkest skin.  I’m still lighter than my grandmother was but you know how dark I get in the summer.  Just look at me now.  I was only out in the garden a couple of hours today and … well, my Cuban heritage is on plain display.” 

“I’ve seen your skin … beneath your shirt.” 

“What?!” 

“It was the night it rained.  You came in soaking wet.  You thought I was asleep … hell I thought I was asleep … but then you stripped off your shirt.  Where did those scars come from?  The ones across your back?” 

Danny was livid.  Then shook her head refusing to get off track and this too was part of the story.  “Strange you bring that up.  Especially now.  And if you ever spy on me again I’ll make sure you’ll have matching scars.” 

Sardonically Butch said, “Fair enough.  Now tell me.” 

Danny could have been irritated at his sudden bossiness after weeks of being sick and then feeling sorry for himself … but she wasn’t.  In fact she took it as a good sign.  But he was going to be sorry he asked.

 

3 comments:

  1. oh man! "Cliff"!! a double whammy! the info and the scars! you're killing me! lol! ok, you're not. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank's Kathy for the new chapter, Great story.
    Wayne

    ReplyDelete