[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.If you wanted me to know about it, that is.”“I didn’t feel like talking about it.”“That’s just fine with me.It ain’t none of my business.If you want to keep ever’thing a secret, you just keep it a secret.It’s all the same to me.”“I’ll tell you about it later,” Rhodes said.“Can if you want to.Don’t have to, though.I wouldn’t want you to put yourself out any.”“Did Ivy say where she was?”“She’s at work.You got the number?”“I know what it is,” Rhodes said.Rhodes stopped at a pay phone and called Ivy.“Why didn’t you tell me about Kara West’s make-over?” Ivy asked.“I guess I forgot,” Rhodes said, wondering why Ivy cared.He hoped she wasn’t thinking about coloring her hair.“Where did you hear about it?”“At the Hair Barn.That’s where I get all the news.”The Hair Barn was the shop where Ivy got her hair washed, cut, and blown dry.Rhodes had never understood the appeal of the name.It sounded to him like the name of a place where hair was stored in bales, like hay.But the name aside, Ivy was right about one thing: If you wanted the news — the real news — about Clearview, the Hair Barn was a more reliable source than either the newspaper or the radio station.“I forgot this was hair-cut day.Are you thinking about getting braces? You sure don’t need them.”“I’m not thinking about anything like that.I’m thinking about why Kara West got a make-over.”“Her husband just died.She probably wanted to do something to make herself feel better.”“Maybe.But I think a woman usually does something like that for other reasons.”“What other reasons?”“A man,” Ivy said.“I never thought about that,” Rhodes admitted.“She seemed genuinely sad that John was dead.I felt sorry for her.I thought she was just trying to make herself feel better.”“You can be sad even if you have somebody else lined up,” Ivy told him.“And you can get a make-over for another man as well as for yourself.”Rhodes could feel his clothes soaking up the damp cold.He rubbed his hand across his face and wiped the moisture on his jacket.“That’s a comforting thought,” he said.“I’m not trying to comfort you.I’m just saying that it might throw a new light on those accidents of yours.”“Kara West couldn’t have killed those three men,” Rhodes said.“She might have run over John, but she wasn’t strong enough to have killed Pep.”“How strong do you have to be to hit somebody in the head with a tree limb?”Rhodes thought about that for a second.“Good question,” he said.Rhodes drove out of town to Tuffy West’s wrecking yard.The wide front gate was open, and Rhodes could see the tangle of old cars that the fence was supposed to hide.Tuffy hadn’t gone to the expense of paving the entrance, or any of the rest of the yard for that matter, so the county car splashed through wide, dark puddles as Rhodes drove inside.Rhodes parked beside Tuffy’s wrecker and went inside the building.Tuffy was inside behind the high counter watching a little TV like the one Hack had at the jail.He had it turned up loud, and Rhodes could hear Rod Roddy yelling for someone to “come on down.” Rhodes had heard that Roddy was from Ft.Worth originally, but he didn’t know whether that was true.Tuffy looked up from the TV when Rhodes walked across the oily concrete floor to the counter.When he saw who his visitor was, he turned off The Price Is Right and smiled.“You caught the bastard that killed my brother yet?” he asked.“Not yet,” Rhodes said.“But I’m working on it.”“Good.What can I do for you, then?”“I bought an Edsel,” Rhodes told him.“I was wondering how hard it would be to get parts for it.”“An Edsel, huh? Well, it won’t be easy gettin’ parts for her, I can tell you that.Not as hard as you might think, though.Most of the parts are interchangeable with parts from old Fords and Mercurys.Those old Edsels are mighty popular with collectors right now.I don’t know why, ’cause they’re so ugly — sorry if that hurts your feelin’s, Sheriff, but they are.”Rhodes didn’t care what Tuffy West thought about the Edsel’s appearance.He just wanted to know about the parts.“I got me a computer, and I’m in touch with places all over the U.S.A.,” Tuffy continued.So if the parts are out there, I can find ’em for you.”“I don’t know what I’ll need yet,” Rhodes said.“I haven’t really looked at the car very carefully.”“Is it that one Randy Overton had?”“That’s the one.”“It was in pretty good shape.His daddy took care of it, and it’s been under that tarp ever since.”“You called him ‘Randy,’” Rhodes said.“Were you two pretty good friends?”Tuffy narrowed his eyes.“I knew him.Lots of people knew Randy.”“But how many people knew Overton, Yeldell, and John West?” Rhodes asked.“Plenty, I bet.Why? What difference does it make?”“It wouldn’t make any difference if they hadn’t all been killed,” Rhodes said.Tuffy shrugged.“Accidents happen.”“Sure they do.But your brother wasn’t an accident.”“I wasn’t talkin’ about John.I was talkin’ about the other two.”“Those weren’t accidents,” Rhodes said.“Yeah? What makes you think so?”“Somebody killed them,” Rhodes said.“Somebody who knew all three of them.Somebody who’s lied to me about them two or three times already.”“You better not be talkin’ about me,” Tuffy said.“I am, though,” Rhodes said.Rhodes had thought about things for a long time after hanging up the pay phone.He’d stood out in the weather until his pants legs were wet and sticking to him the way they had when he’d climbed out of the pool at the Old Settlers’ Grounds.Eventually he’d gone over everything that people had said to him, and he’d realized that Tuffy had been lying right from the start.It was the brother-in-law business from the Ma and Pa Kettle debate that had bothered Rhodes.Tuffy was Kara West’s brother-in-law, the one on whose shoulder she’d been crying so hard at the funeral.Rhodes should have been suspicious then.He should have known it was Tuffy all along.“You told me that John left the County Line alone,” Rhodes said.“But he didn’t.He left with you.”“Who says?” Tuffy asked through clenched teeth.“That doesn’t matter,” Rhodes said, hoping that Yvonne Bilson would be willing to testify in court.“You also told me that you didn’t remember whether you saw Pep that night.But according to my witness, you did see him.”“That’s a lie,” Tuffy said.“We’ll have to let a jury decide that,” Rhodes said.“Besides, there’s more.”“There can’t be.”“There’s Pep.Did you let him have a look at John’s Cherokee to see if he could fix it? It might have brought more if you sold it in Mexico or somewhere than if you just broke it down for parts.”“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”“Then why did you take those shots at me yesterday.”Tuffy tried to look surprised.He wasn’t very good at it, and his voice rose a little.“Me?” he asked.“You,” Rhodes said.“I figure Mrs.West called you right after I left her house.She must have told you I knew about Pep and John being friends.You were probably already planning to come over.She was dressed for a visitor, and I wasn’t the one she was expecting.”Tuffy opened his mouth as if he were going to say something, maybe deny something.But no words came out [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]