The Gardeners – Part Five

THE GARDENERS

Part Five

© Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour

 

            The night didn’t go over well for John, Max, and Ace. Mr. Fornam must have forgotten to block the cameras at the bank, but Max had caught the security guard in time, just before he was about to activate the alarm. Only problem now, though, was that somehow they had to dispose of the guard’s body!

            And the cat … John cursed under his breath, just thinking of it. He’d taken Safire out of the bag, to put her in a cage, and she’d clawed him a good one. Just as she dropped to the floor, Ace had come through the front door, and the cat had escaped into the night.

            “Didn’t know you had a cat,” Ace commented. “Want me to run after it?”

            “She’s not mine,” John had retorted angrily. “Maybe a car will hit her so I don’t have to put up with her anymore––the nasty beast she is!”

            “Oh, I see,” Ace nodded his head, suddenly comprehending who Safire was. “So that’s how you got the old lady to sign on the dotted line?”

            John was irritated. “She’ll never know I don’t still have the cat; besides, that cat won’t find its way home from here…”

            “I’ve heard animals can find their way home even when they are dropped thousands of miles away,” Ace butt in.

            “That darn cat isn’t that smart!” John returned. “Right now we have more pressing matters to think about. What’s happening with the body?”

            “Max is fitting it inside the burlap around the Mountain Ash tree root; we’ll plant it right in the centre of the old lady’s yard.”

            “We weren’t planting a…”

            “We are now,” Ace grinned. “Just tell her that you decided to make a few changes.  We’ll make up a beautiful flower bed all around its base,” he added.

            “And the money?” John asked.

            “Just where you suggested, no change in its location,” Ace replied as Max walked in. “All done buddy,” he put his arm around Max. John didn’t like the way Ace was taking charge.

            “Yep, that guy will neva see the light ‘o day agin!” Max laughed, showing off a number of black teeth. John cringed.

            “Good man,” Ace slapped him on the back. “Lets all get some shut eye; we have an early morning,” he added. Ace and Max headed off to their rooms. 

John stayed behind, brooding. He was still ticked with the cat, and the way things had gone with the job. He also pondered on why Fornam hadn’t blocked the cameras––he’d be questioning him about that in the morning! Good thing that he had had the foresight to grab the tapes.

~

            Betty was restless. Sleep just wouldn’t settle on her. She missed Safire. She sat up in bed and turned the T.V. on. Maybe there would be an old movie playing that she could fall asleep watching. “I’m sure you’ll find a way home to me if you can,” Betty reached over to her night stand and caressed the picture of Safire. “You are the smartest cat I ever owned!”

~

            The morning sun reached through the cracks at the edge of the bedroom curtains, tickling Betty’s eyes open. She glanced at her clock––already 8:30. The morning news was playing on the T.V.

            …another bank robbery last night, only this time the night security guard, Mal Carson, is missing, and the tapes from the cameras have been removed. A blood stain at the scene has led the police to believe that there is foul play here…

            Betty jumped from her bed and moved quickly to the window. She peeked, through the curtains, into her back yard. What in the world were her two friends, and their dogs, doing here so early? Gwen and Mildred never rose before 9:00 a.m. Then, she noticed the gardening crew. What were they doing digging a large hole in the centre of her yard? That hadn’t been in the plan!

            Betty didn’t even change out of her night clothes! She headed out to her back yard. “Stop!” she shouted to the gardeners. “Who said you could dig a big hole in the middle of my yard?” She turned to her friends. “And what are you two busy bodies doing here so early?”

            Before they could respond, Ace sauntered up to Betty. “John asked me to inform you that he’d made a couple of adjustments to the plan––said you wouldn’t have a problem.” He paused, then stepped closer to her, sticking his face just inches from hers. “You don’t have a problem, do you, Betty?” he whispered gruffly.

            Betty backed away. The stench of cheap cigar smoke and whisky was heavy on his breath. “No,” she garbled. “I don’t have a problem.”

            Max finished digging the hole for the tree. “Ace, man, give me a hand with the tree, would ya––it’s pretty heavy.”

            Ace threw Betty another grin. “It’ll be the best garden you ever had,” he said before going to help Max.

            As the two gardeners dragged the tree over to the hole, Prince and Buster began barking ferociously at the burlap bag covering the roots.

Conclusion on August 15th, 2012

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