The heavenly shades of night finally fell forcing the Sun to say good-bye. Pone had a long
day and was now preparing for a long night. Thanks to the help of coffee he made it to Sumter
with his packages in the peek hours of the morning. The night drive wasn’t uneventful though, they
both stirred a little; Krasko passed gas most of the trip, but that was the only unpleasant thing that came
from him. Crowe at times seemed to be having a nightmare. Boy was he in for a surprise when he
G’s pig farm was just up ahead, but that’s not what Sumter was famous for, it was the home of Shaw
Air Force Base. Sumter was a country town like Rock Hill, but that’s where the comparison ended.
Because of the Air Force, the government was not going to let it become a dust bowl. Big money
played a part in keeping Sumter nice and fertile.
Pone was feeling melancholic about the job he had done. What gave him the right to deliver two
criminals to criminals? He thought of Krasko; a cretin if he ever saw one. He saved him in that
bar only to send him to a worse fate. Out of the frying pan into the fire. A classic mob film entered
Pone’s mind. The main character said it best when he was supposed to blow up a couple of kids to
make a point to another mob family. “I ain’t killin’ no kids man, I ain’t killin’ no kids,” Krasko should
have said the same thing.
As for Crowe, Red caught Pone off guard when she walked him out with Crowe draped over
his shoulder. He felt like something had change between her and Maxwell. In any case, she
filled him in about the woeful Crowe. If Crowe had hired him to go after the two kings, he
might have done it for free, but instead not only did the man hire him through Red, but also
tried to kill him and also planned on killing Red. The master plan was to start an all out gang
war between the Prohibitions and Hip-Hoppers. It would have worked making one believe the
other put a hit on their kid even though their own kid bit the dust in the plan.. The melancholic
feeling Pone had went away. Crowe was a fool to believe he could take out two crime families by
eliminating some key players. Like most things in the cycle of life another crime family would
just replace the other. Pone felt no remorse, do this job long enough and it will harden you.
Pone followed G’s instructions pulling up around the back of a grand weathered gray barn. It
was 8 a.m. And better than an alarm clock Pone witnessed what few people experience now days
except only in the deep south, the sound of a rooster crowing. Welcome to life in the country.
Speaking of welcome, the welcome comity was there as well; Prohibitions and Hip-Hoppers.
Pone saw Macone and G united for perhaps the only time in their blood soaked sinful lives
standing along side their lieutenants and four of their most trusted men from each gang. Five
green mighty John Deere tractors with chains tied to the back of them and positioned in
opposite directions for an unsanctioned tractor pull.
Pone got out of the van to the smell and sound of: clucking, oinks, and moos in the distance.
The smell was no more worse though than a sidewalk of dry urine on a hot day and sewer fumes
coming from a city man hole. He saw about twenty pigs oinking and pressing their snouts
against the wooden pen begging to be fed. Pone walked up to Macone and G. “Crowe and
Krasko in the van.”
The look on Macone’s face went from surprise to anger once he heard his former bomb
maker’s name. G. even gave Macone a look until Pone explained how Crowe plucked a
former member of his crew named White to make use of his bomb making skill, but was
already dead. The look in G’s eyes made Pone realize that White had lucked out.
The goon squad wasted no time retrieving the packages. They were both still feeling
the effect of drug being laid out side by side.
“We good?” asked Pone.
Both Macone and G. agreed with a hand-shake. Pone shook their hands knowing damn
well that hand-shakes were overrated.
“You going to wake them?” asked Pone.
“Let ’em enjoy one last good sleep.” said G.
Despite the smell of pigs, Pone saw a table with coffee and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.
He motioned to Brown.
“You ain’t hungry?” asked Brown.
“Just went on a diet,” remarked Pone.
Pone opened the side door of the van. “Got something for Ella.” He pulled out the bag and gave
it to Brown.
Brown gave a dubious look. “What’s this for?”
“I’m not apologizing for what I did, but this should help Ella financially unless her
religion is against it,”
Brown snorted.”She is religious, but she ain’t no fool,” Brown peeked slightly inside
the bag. “How much?”
Pone shrugged. “Didn’t care to count it,”
“Ain’t nothing wrong with Christmas coming early,”
“Roland and house.”
“Ella said he was still family and the house never existed.”
“I had to tell G about Roland, he gave Macone a look when he identified one of his
former employees. He knows Crowe was playing both sides against each other.”
“It’s all good, man,” said Brown.
“Do me a favor?′ asked Pone.
“You earned it,”
“Make sure I don’t get a Christmas ham from this damn farm.”
Brown smiled and shook his head. “I know that’s right,” He rejoined the group.
“Pone!” called Rudenbaugh.
Can I please get the hell out of here,thought Pone.
“You makin’ me jealous giving Brown all the attention,” said Rudenbaugh straightening his
“I have no favorites.”
“When you going to let me in on one of your poker games?”
“Make sure you bring enough money to lose.”
Both men grinned and parted ways.
Pone stretched and yawned, but wasn’t about to sleep. He wanted to get out of Sumter as
quick as possible. Once he got back on the highway, he looked back at the gathering in the
rear view mirror and saw a big stir among the group. Pone shook his head. Always be weary
of a gangster who owns a pig farm.
Retro City was back to business as usual. The disappearance of Deputy Mayor Crowe was
not discussed and Winslow wasted no time naming possible candidates including Thomas
Maxwell. In Crowe’s case the media made it a private resignation for unprofessional
conduct and not using the proper channels and authorities to handle the murder of two
teens. People of the city were not stupid, but were smart enough not to stick their nose
into mob business.
Pone was glad to be cruising around in Lucille again. Before heading home, he had to
make a stop at Nadine. Birdie made it clear that it was very important. Pone walked inside
the club and knew that something was wrong when he saw three women of his life together
looking bleak, plus Jade was home from college. Red and Birdie were seated at a table;
Jade rushed at him like a linebacker blitzing a quarterback.
It wasn’t for an inappropriate kiss this time, but she never did that in front of Birdie. No,
this time it was a comfort hug with tears. Pone gently separated from Jade.
“What’s going on?” asked Pone.
Birdie was tearfully straight to the point. “Wisdom’s dead … he had cancer.”
Pone walked out as fast as he entered the club. He stood at the entrance looking
toward the gray sky.
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