A Burning Cold Morning (Part 66)

Leo and John Williams did not go too far, traveling just one hundred miles back to Minneapolis, where they ditched the stolen car outside of the city near a newly painted farm house.  They then walked fifteen miles along several dusty roads before coming to the city proper, where they holed up in a nondescript boarding house.  Leo, who on top of being tired and hungry had also been badgered by Williams the whole way about the promise to rob a bank, was quite irritated when they finally settled into the small room.  It smelled like moldy socks to Leo although his parter seemed oblivious to that, commenting instead that he liked the fact it had a big dresser.  Leo mumbled a reply to that and then, taking his shirt off and tossing it onto the bed closer to the door, snapped, “I’ll need a few minutes, you take that other bed.”  He slammed the door behind him and stalked down to the community bathroom.  Ten minutes later, his face washed and shaven, Leo returned to the room in slightly better spirits.  Williams had kicked off his muddy shoes right in front of the door and was lounging comfortably, and mostly undressed, in the one chair available in the room.  His boxer briefs looked filthy and Leo was not impressed.

“You go get yourself fixed up,” he snapped at Williams while motioning toward the door, “it’s your turn.”

Williams took a deep breath before replying.  When he spoke, his voice sounded tired but petulant.  “I’ve had enough already, I just wanna sit here for a few more minutes and then crawl into my rack and sleep for a damn long time.  I’ll square myself away in the morning.”

Leo wrinkled his nose up a bit.  “Better do it now, no sense in putting it off.”

“You know,” Williams replied, “if you’re so worried about something maybe it should be that we need to find a bank to do the job at, you know, find it and hit it fast, get some cash and get outta this state.  That’s what we should be talkin’ about.” 

“We’ve got time for that, don’t worry.  You trust me fella, I know about this stuff, ok? Right now, it’s hot out there.   We’re too hot right now to be out on the streets planning a job.” 

“That’s where you’re one hundred percent wrong I tell ya,” Williams retorted, “and I know things too, about the damn police around here.  What is really the truth is that there’s too much heat for us not to be doin’ something real quick.  We need to act now and get out before they find us around here.”

“We can wait,” Leo replied as he laid back into a flat pillow covered by a dingy pillowcase.

“We shouldn’t, we really gotta get out.  Let’s just pick a bank around here, anyone will do.  We just hit it and then go.”

“Oh no,” Leo sighed as he replied, “it definitely cannot be just any old bank.  It has to be just one bank, just one.  This thing’s personal.”  He then drifted off to sleep even though Williams was continuing to argue with him.  

The next day the two men took a short walk out into town with the intention of getting a few suppliesand trying to get an idea of exactly how much notoriety they may have gained.  That question was answered clearly enough when they saw the wanted posters that were hanging up in many of the businesses they passed by and also pasted up to the exterior walls of several brick buildings.  That fact seemed to spook Williams who went to the effort of tearing down two of the posters and stuffing them into the pocket of his jacket.  Sensing that things were even more perilous for them than even Williams had imagined, they quickly returned to the boarding house without stopping for any supplies.  Once they were inside they began to argue again about the same things as before and by the night of October fourteenth Leo had endured enough.  He agreed that if Williams would just shut up for the remainder of the evening then he would agree to go with him and do the bank robbery the next day.  He did, however, stipulate that it was still going to be the bank he “owed a little pay back to.”  

They both awoke early the next morning and collected the few belongings they had with them.  Pulling hats low over their faces they stepped out and walked briskly to the corner where a small diner was located.  Leo, despite Williams protests, had insisted that they get a good meal, “just in case things go badly for us, at least we will have eaten well.”  His partner had commented that sitting around and eating was exactly what was likely to make things go badly for them but had really been too hungry to protest for very long.  Both of them had subsided on very little food over the previous two days.  Their meal was consumed uneventfully and Leo then led the way seven blocks north to the location of Miner Motor Sales.  As they approached the lot Williams hurried along beside him.

“What’s the plan here then?” he asked.

“You just play along with me, or better yet, just be quiet,” Leo replied.  “We’re going to need a ride and this is where we get one.” 

“But what,”

“Shhh!” Leo interrupted, “just act like an official type of person, ok?”
Before Williams could answer, a tall and gangly salesman with a brown suit on approached with his hand out.

“Frank Stiles gentleman, what can I interest you in today?”
Leo shook the man’s hand and replied.  “Lee Owen, from the city manager’s office.  We were sent your way because our office has need of several additional vehicles.  I’m sure that’s music to your ears.”  Leo laughed as he finished and Frank laughed back.

“You bet it is friend!  You’re just my kind of people.” 

…to be continued