In the Wash: The Rona Shively Stories

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Chapter Fifteen

I pulled into the lot at Rudy’s and parked the car. I headed inside through the crowd. It was pretty busy for this time of night. I walked in and went straight to the bar. The ambiance in this place was best described as non-existent. The bartender took my order and returned with an Amaretto Sour. I drank it quickly and ordered another. Delvecchio walked in when I was in the middle of downing the second drink.

“Give me a chance to catch up,” he said, approaching the bar. He was dressed in a blue cotton shirt and khaki pants. He looked like he had put some effort into his appearance. His hair was still damp around the edges and he had shaved recently. His cologne was a little too strong, but I figured that was because he had just slapped it on in the car outside.

“No problem,” I said, “What’ll you have?”

“Just a Beam and Coke,” he said, “No ice.”

I called the bartender over and asked for the Beam and Coke as well as another Amaretto Sour for myself.

“So, what did you find out?” he asked. He wasn’t nearly as nervous this time. I noted that he wasn’t sweating at all.

“I did some research and found an address for Clement Deardon,” I said, “I assume that was Lucy’s father.”

“I think that was his name,” he said, “Sounds right.” He had a puzzled look on his face, but he didn’t say anything else.

“Well, I drove out there and talked to an older lady who seemed to be only halfway coherent,” I said, “She didn’t give me much of anything other than to say that Lucy had run off nearly ten years back with some guy named Harley or Carl or something like that.”

Recognition sparked in his eyes. “Harley Buck,” he said, snapping his fingers, “That bastard was still trying to call her when we were married.”

“Who is Harley Buck?” I asked, giving him a look. “Why didn’t you give me his name before?”

“I hadn’t thought of him again until just now,” he said, “Hell, it’s been eleven years since Lucy left and I kinda got myself convinced that Luther is just a guy I know. It makes it easier to cope.”

“Whatever works for you,” I said, taking a drink of my Amaretto.

“Back to Buck, who is he?”

“He’s some creep that was always hassling Lucy,” he said, “I never met the guy, but Lucy told me about him once. I guess he’s a real badass.”

“That would have been useful to know,” I said, feeling myself getting more irritated as I thought about Kimball and the asshole in the white car the other night.

“Hey, hey, what’s the problem,” he said, “Why are you getting all bent over this?”

I took a deep breath, trying to shake off the feeling that was coming over me. “Oh nothing, just some bad shit has gone down over the last few days and I’m pretty sure it has something to do with you,” I said hotly.

“What happened?” he asked. He seemed genuinely concerned and even reached his hand across the table to pat mine.

“A friend of mine was killed,” I said, fighting the urge to cry yet again, “The other night, I was followed to her apartment and she was murdered shortly after I left.”

He seemed stunned. He sat for a moment, looking at me. He lowered his gaze and shook his head. “I’m so sorry, Rona,” he said,

“God, I hope this didn’t have anything to do with me.”

“I can’t imagine what else would have prompted it,” I said, “From the minute we spoke, I have had strange shit happen.” I went on to tell him about the guy outside Hell’s Hole the first night we talked and then about the car chase the other night. When I was done, I looked at him for a reaction. He was starting to sweat again.

“Jesus, Rona,” he said, “Why didn’t you call me after all of this

happened?”

I waved him off and said, “What for?”

“I might have been able to help,” he said, “I’m not sure how, but there might be something.”

“Right now, I need to get a fix on this Buck guy,” I said, “Do you have any idea what he looked like?”

“Lucy said he was kind of a short guy, about 5’7” or so,” he said, “I think she said he had reddish-brown hair, but he wasn’t anything special.”

“But you never saw him?” I asked. I just wanted to make sure I had heard him right.

“Nope, I never got a look at the guy.”

“Well, maybe I can look up his driver’s license or something,” I said. I laid some money on the bar and told Delvecchio that I had someplace to be. He insisted on walking me to my car and asked me if I wanted him to stick with me just in case someone tried something tonight. I assured him that I would be fine. We said our good-byes and I headed for the IHOP to meet Rita.

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