“I thought you said you didn’t know how to shoot?” Jarrell accused Melody.
“I never said that” Melody said. “I said I would feel safe if you knew how to shoot.”
“What is the difference?” Jarrell asked.
“Nobody can stay awake all of the time. Nobody has eyes in the back of their head” Melody said. “It is as simple as that. ”
"Staying alive in combat is a team sport" she concluded.
"You sound just like your dad, sometimes" Jarrell said.
Melody responded with a small curtsy. "If you are going to steal, steal from the best."
Down at street level, Gary asked Mayor Wagner what he wanted done with the weedy, young man’s corpse and the truck.
The Mayor was struggling to keep his gorge from riding. He turned away so he did not have to look at the raggedy pile of clothing that just seconds ago had been a young man.
“Take the truck out to one of the oil-wells. Drain the gas and whatever other fluids you think are useful. Throw the body in the river on the north end of town” the Mayor said.
That made sense to Gary. The river flowed north out of town into a sprawling flood-plain where there were no houses.
“No problem” Gary said. “Turtles gotta eat, too.”
Gary had a couple of buddies throw the body in the back of the truck. Driving out East Street, it took thirty seconds to stop, drop the tailgate, drag out the body and then roll it down the bank.
The driver of the chase vehicle did not even need to get out and help.
The truck was high enough for them to slide a five-gallon can and a funnel beneath it.
Gary drove a screwdriver through the thin metal of the gas tank and they only harvested a couple of gallons of gas. It seem likely that the driver of the truck had been trusted with barely enough fuel to make a round trip from Lansing to Eaton Rapids.
Out on the Easter Egg honey-trap, business was brisk. Lena became increasingly agitated as not every truck turned up the drive, but a good many of them did.
About one in the afternoon, Lena asked Dar “How long is this going to go on?”
“Hard to know. There are a lot of people in Lansing and all of them are hungry” Dar admitted.
Fortunately, they had not two-fers to deal with. A truck would pull up the drive. The passenger would invariable get out and try to chase down the tethered hens.
Owen would take one and Dar the other. They kept Lena back for runners.
Then they would drag out the driver and toss him and the passenger into the back and drove the truck around back out-of-sight.
They were going to need a new parking lot pretty soon. They had seven vehicles and they were coming steady.
“Whaddya say I run back to my place and fix you guys some lunch?” Lena asked.
That sounded pretty good to the boys.
An hour later Lena was back, just madder than hell.
At least one of those raiders had hit Lena’s place in her absence.
“Probably a good thing you where here” Dar tried to calm her down. “Every damned one of them has been armed.”
Lena had opened up the coops and pushed the remaining hens out to free range. At least they would have a fighting chance of surviving longer than if they could just be chased down and their necks wrung.
As she fretted, she asked, “Whadda we gonna do if this goes on for weeks. We can’t just sit here.”
“You have a real good point” Dar admitted. “I haven’t been thinking that far ahead. I pretty much got all of my friends into the mix.”
“Maybe you know some people who can relieve us so we can flip on the high-beams and think a little bit longer term” Dar said.
“I don’t know that many people any more. Most the people I know are old, like me. But I can call Haley and maybe she can find us some help” Lena said.
Owen cocked an eyebrow. “Who is Haley?”
“Haley is my granddaughter” Lena said, proudly. “She is seventeen.”
Similar conversations were taking place in town.
Jarrell hated being pinned in one place, even if it was the top of the Red Star and he was with Melody. It felt too much like being a deer in the headlights.
“Hey, Melody” he said.
“Can you handle things for a half an hour? I want to find the Mayor and see what is up” Jarrell said.
“Sure, no problem” Melody said.
Jarrell called the Mayor on his phone and requested a few minutes of face-time.
The Mayor replied “I don’t have a time slot until after dinner.”
“I guess that will have to do” Jarrell said.