Serial Saturday: The Figurine, Part 19

Jefferson reached up to turn the mirror, and swore at the sight of a white Cord with a long scrape along its left fender. It was closing fast.

“That’s the car those two gunsels after you got into, isn’t it?” Temperance asked.

“I reckon.”

“Well, I’ve had just about enough of this,” Temperance said, and scrambled onto her knees on her seat so she could reach into the back of the car.

“I can outrun them,” Jefferson said.

“Don’t bother,” Temperance said, reaching into her carpet bag, “I want to slow them down properly.”

“Oh, Jesus God, Temperance,” Jefferson said as she drew out her Tommy gun. “This ain’t a private road.”

“Won’t take a moment,” Temperance said. She racked the slide on the side of the weapon, her tongue sticking out between her teeth, and turned to roll down her window.

The Cord had closed, and Jefferson saw an arm emerge from the passenger window, holding a pistol. There was the sound of a shot, which as near as Jefferson could tell didn’t hit, and Temperance laughed. He glanced over to see that she had the old wild look in her eye just before she threaded herself half out of the window, not that there’d been much doubt. Bad luck for Glass’ boys that they’d come at her right after the encounter with Clyburne, although he wasn’t sure it would have made a difference.

He’d been expecting the bark of the chopper, but he still jumped when it started, in part because it made the whole Ford rattle. He felt more than heard the hand grip bouncing on the roof where Temperance was resting it.

“Don’t scratch up the dang paint,” he shouted during a pause in the firing. There was no reply, which was probably just as well. He didn’t need Temperance trying to wriggle back in just to clear up what he was saying. As the firing began again, he realized that they were approaching a curve, quite a bit too fast for comfort.

He leaned over to grab a handful of Temperance’s dress with one hand while he wrestled with the wheel with the other. He thought he heard Temperance laugh again as they rocked through the turn, then looked in the mirror again as they leveled out.

The Cord made it through the turn, actually gaining slightly since they didn’t have a crazy woman hanging out of the window to worry about. Then a line of bullet holes appeared across the grill as Temperance began firing again. The Cord swerved, and for a moment it looked like it might flip. Then whoever was driving corrected enough to keep the tires down, but the big car still went off the road. Jefferson saw it dip into the ditch, plowing up dirt and weeds.

Temperance slithered back into her seat, holding the smoking Thompson, and Jefferson let out a breath.

“We might want to finish them off,” Temperance said.

“Hell’s bells you crazy woman, we lucked out not having anyone come along during all that,” Jefferson replied, guiding the Ford around a bend, “I ain’t goin’ back.” He downshifted as they started down a steep hill. “Anyway, I reckon you made your point.”

Temperance shrugged. “They’ll just come harder next time, then.”

Jefferson patted her knee. “Aw, I ain’t worried about that with you around.”

Temperance smiled and shifted around again to get at the back seat. After a few moments of shuffling and metallic clicks, she was seated again, holding the drum magazine that had been on her chopper, and a cardboard box of shells.

She leaned back in her seat and propped one shoeless foot on the dash, making her skirt slide back as she began the long process of reloading the drum.

Jefferson glanced over at her leg, and the small tattoo of a blue candle just visible through her stocking on her foot. “Ya’ll are doing that to distract me, but I’m still mad.”

“Well, what was I supposed to do, with someone who beat up my fiance?” Temperance replied. She was smiling, but Jefferson could hear the irritation creeping into her voice.

He sighed. “Coulda gone bad in a lot of ways. Still could.”

Temperance paused in reloading. “Things are going to go bad, Jefferson. In a whole lot of ways. That’s why you want me along.” 

Copyright © 2012 SM Williams

~ by smwilliams on August 11, 2012.