Monday, February 8, 2016

the golden gumdrop caper, part 13

by manfred skyline

illustrated by roy dismas and konrad kraus

originally appeared in the june through september 1956 issues of last stop - excitement magazine

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

in our previous chapters, we met the international jewel thief stanley slade, recently recaptured after a daring escape from prison, and the notorious adventuress angie ricardo, recently sentenced to a long term in a federal penitentiary. angie has been contacted by mysterious personages, including the "thin man"... who get her released, for their own purposes...,

after a brief stop, where she encounters an old friend , angie continues on her way...

back on the empty highway after her encounter with ruth barry and petey at the elite cafe, angie began considering her options.

she probably should not have spent as much time talking to ruth as she had. if the police were alerted to her escape - and she could not be sure they had not - every minute she was off the road counted.

but there was no sense worrying about it now. she still had plenty of time to reach yonkers at what she figured was the best time.

and she was determined not to speed, in case some state police came along. and to stay on the main highway and not venture down any country roads where the local gendarmes might stop her just for something to do.

the question was - should she even go to yonkers, try to meet up with dick richmond or whoever dick richmond had waiting for her?

where else could she go? if she decided to stiff dick richmond, just take his car and his forty dollars, where could she go?

al gordon - if she could even trust him - was in the pen. all her other old pals from those days, she couldn’t trust at all, and they would all know she was on the run and hot. and besides, dick richmond could almost surely find her through them.

she could never pick up the pieces of the caper she had been lining up when she got busted.

richmond’s proposition - such as it was - had to be legitimate and not some kind of joke. whoever was behind it had put too much time and effort into it.

the word would get around - even in europe and south america and hong kong - that she passed up a chance at a pretty good score. and must have lost her nerve. and that would be the kiss of death.

should she try to find the old, old gang - the commies and revolutionaries? like rose? or ambrose? she knew how they ended up - the ones that were still alive. and what could they do for her? get her a job washing dishes? hot as she was, they couldn’t even get her a job answering the phone at some union hall.

the only thing she could do besides try to meet up in yonkers would be to completely disappear - with about thirty-eight dollars - and start a whole new life.

doing - what? holding up banks? holding up gas stations?

she had always been determined to stay away from things like being a chorus girl or a stripper. and she was probably a little too old now to be starting out in such endeavors. the other girls starting out would be about sixteen or seventeen and laugh at her as an old lady.

find a nice guy - a nice chumpy guy - who worked in a factory and settle down and have four or five kids?

no, dick richmond had the hook in her and that was the way it was.

it was on to yonkers.


yonkers wasn’t that big. surely she could find “ronnie’s” without having to ask anybody.

and she did. on the outskirts of town, it was an old-fashioned “roadhouse” of the type going out of style.

the only other establishment within a hundred yards was a used car lot.

ronnie’s was closed - obviously. it was still short of six in the morning. but driving by, she couldn’t see any sign or anything in the window saying when it did open.

angie parked in front of the used car lot. she got out, locked the car, and walked up the road to ronnie’s.

what a dump. it was hard to tell if it was still open at all. there were some words painted in the bottom of the window, and they were faded.

open 1 p m to 2 a m. well, that took care of that. she couldn’t sit in the car waiting for seven hours.

she was probably meant to wait in or around the bus station all along.

she went back to the car, and drove slowly to the bus station which she had already passed.

now what? wait in, or outside, the bus station? she had seen a little coffee shop a block before, but that was too far away to actually watch the bus station from it.

angie thought, this is getting annoying. couldn’t they have just left a note in the car? was that really such a great risk?

couldn’t iron mask have told her something? a little hint? but she probably had not been told any more than she needed to know.

angie decided to make a quick reconnoiter of the station, to see if richmond was already there, or if she would be approached by anybody right away.

if not, she would come back and wait in the car for about an hour, or until it started to get light. if nobody approached her by then, maybe try the coffee shop.

it was a plan, at least. she lit a cigarette and smoked it down to her fingertips. she rolled the window down, fllcked the butt out, rolled the window back up and opened the door and got out.

the bus station was as deserted as it could be. there was a guy behind the ticket counter reading a magazine who did not look up when angie came through the swinging door.

the only people in the seats were a little old man and little old lady. they looked about ninety years old. unless they were very elaborately disguised, they were not emissaries of dick richmond.

there was a coke machine and a coffee machine. and an unlit little snack bar, with a sign saying “closed”.

but angie felt she was being watched.

she turned and looked out the large window . she did not see anything out there but darkness.

she went back outside to the car. she looked up and down the street but could not see anyone.

she got back in the car and lit another cigarette.

and heard a tapping on the window.

she rolled the window down.

a little girl with long pigtails was standing outside. at first angie thought she was about ten years old, but at second glance realized she was just small and was probably about fifteen.

the girl looked angie in the eyes. “do you want to hear the good news about salvation?”

“do i what?” angie asked. this kid can’t be from richmond, she thought.

the girl shoved some kind of pamphlet through the window at angie.

angie took it - a message from richmond? there was a cross on the cover and some words but before she could read them she noticed another girl standing behind the little pigtailed girl.

this girl was taller, maybe a little older, and black.

“want to give us a ride to new york, lady?” the black girl asked.

“um - i don’t know if i’m going to new york.”

“you don’t know?’ the girl raised her eyebrows. “what kind of answer is that?”

“can we sit in the car?” the little white girl asked. “it’s a little chilly out here.”

“why should i let you do that?” angie asked.

“because you’re a nice lady,” said the black girl.

“because the bible says, ‘ suffer the little children to come unto me’ said the little girl.

might police drive by and wonder what this was all about?

“yeah, you can get in.” angie reached back and opened the rear door.

the two girls settled into the back seat. “my name is salome, by the way,” said the black girl, “and this is pippi.”

“pleased to meet you,” angie replied.

“and what is your name?”

“uh - alice.”

“smith or jones?” asked salome.

“brown. alice brown. miss brown to you.”

part 14

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