Divine – by Tom
It was over just like that. The color left his face, the light left his eyes. His body crumpled to the ground, quieter than a cone falling from a tree. They paused, smiled, shared a high five. Then, with a sigh, they got to work.
The two of them carried his body up the hill for half an hour, walking, crawling, ducking trees. Doreen had a little digital watch on her wrist. When it started chiming they stopped. They used no words. An observer might wonder if the beeps were an marker or a command.
They stripped the body and took the only thing he had – a few rocks – from his pockets. They examined his naked body. One of them half chuckled. She toed him with her boot and rolled him on into a hollow beneath a tree.
“So long Petey, you dumb fucker.”
“I hope the birds and the critters find you palatable.”
With that, they turned their backs on Petey’s remains and began the downhill trek back to the Early Winters parking lot.
They were not concerned at all about leaving a trail. The trip down was over far more quickly than the trip up, encumbered as they were only with Pete’s wet denim, and his rocks. Not even undergarments or shoes to carry. They also yearned for the bounty they had left in the truck.
The rain was constant and was showing more and more bits of snow as the afternoon progressed and chilled.
They found the truck there, running. Loud music playing within and a car alarm continually blaring, a louder version of the sound on Doreen’s watch. This sound they did not seem to notice at all as they sang along to Roy Orbison. The falsetto and incongruity fueled their giddy mood.
”I wish this thing had a good fucking stereo. Something louder than this little yellow plastic Panasonic.”
“Whatever, it’s fine.”
Millicent rooted through a rucksack she pulled from the backseat. From it she pulled a blue bag with a white drawstring, Crown Royal printed on the side. She placed Pete’s rocks in there. They were not lonely.
“We’ve got a nice little bag going now. Hopefully it helps.”
“It would be nice to get out of this place, but there are some aspects of our job that I love.”
Rocks stored, Doreen passed Millicent her first portion of their shared bounty: an apple fritter and a cup of coffee.
“I do like the apple fritters best,” Millicent opined. Her lips smacked as she greedily finished her first..
“For me, the pink frosting – with chocolate sprinkles – are divine,” said Doreen.
“Divine!” they said in unison, and started giggling.
They had a box of donuts between them on the front seat. They ate their donuts and heartily sipped their venti drips. Half and half for Doreen, black for Millicent. They turned the music down just a bit. The alarm in the truck was still going off, still they did not seem to notice.
“Now back to my question from this morning: have you seen the crows fucking?”
Doreen laughed, some crumbs flying from her mouth. She wiped her face with the back of her sleeve, crumbs lingering on the light brown camo. She removed her orange ballcap and tousled her hair. “No, ridiculous. What was he babbling about? It was like he didn’t understand until the last moment what was going on. Going on about the crows copulating.”
“Copulating. Silly word play,” said Millicent.
“Exactly,” said Doreen, “as if he thought he could confuse us. If you are talking about fucking, might as well just say it.”
“So, which way do you think Paulie went?”
“Petey and Paulie. So foolish. My guess is that Paul went up toward the pass.”
“Yeah. That’s my thought too. Not sure he would have had more success heading to Winthrop. But if he is going to make things easier for us I’m not going to complain.”
Doreen nosed the truck back out onto route twenty and headed west, lights off, in the middle of the road.
“Come on Doreen, turn on the lights and stay on your side of the road.”
“Nobody is out here,” she protested.
“If there is someone, I think it likely we will want to talk to them. Best to to be as unobtrusive as possible. I’ll bet he looks for the next parking lot with a car. Sorry to be such a bummer. What is it I’ve heard about hunting deer – you want to shoot them while they are relaxed. The meat tastes better then.”
“Sure, but I doubt he’s going to be relaxed.”
“Relaxed or no, we’ll find him. I hope he doesn’t go cross country, it could take a while to find him if he does.”
“Alright. Though I just hope he freezes out here. Then we can find him in the morning.”
“But if a lot of snow falls, we’re fucked.”
“We’ll do what we can. What else can George expect?”
“Plus, we’ve got a pretty good haul.”
They thought about the stash in the Crown Royal bag and their potentially hard to find quarry and grew silent. They checked the next two pullouts and found no one. They kept moving and pulled onto a road, just past a sign for Cutthroat Pass trailhead. They ate the rest of the donuts and finished their coffee, comfortable in the extended silence. People could say what they wanted about Doreen and Millicent, but one thing they were sure of was their patience. And their hunger.
Just as twilight was surrendering to night they saw an old subaru rolling down the hill as if it had no concerns at all besides getting out of the rain.
Doreen smiled. She grabbed the gear shift.
“Wait,” said Millicent. “Let’s count to twenty three.”
“Prime,” Doreen smiled again.
They counted silently, and at twenty three Doreen put the engine in gear and turned on the headlights.
As she eased the truck back onto twenty, Millicent turned to her and said, “ you know honey, right now there have to be a couple of crows are out there . . . “
“Getting it on.” They both laughed, the truck headed east, the taillights of the subaru weaving in and out of sight as it followed the curves of the road.