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Jack & Jill (Part Six)


“Got ‘em for you.” Cole said, trying to sound more country than country could sound.

“You guys better stay here.” I said walking down the steps from the porch. “They might not want to talk with you there.”

“What the fuck for?” Joe demanded. “You gonna ask them about us?”

“Joe.” Cole’s voice warned.

“What’s he want to go asking about us fer?” Joe started to walk towards me, but Dave grabbed his arm and that seemed to snap him back.

“It’s got nothing to do with us.” Dave said. “He’s here to help us, remember?”

“I don’t like people talking about me.” He said.

“I hadn’t planned on talking about you at all Joe.” I told him. “I only want to ask them a few things about how the INS people talk to them when they raid here.”

“Well, don’t go talking about me!” Joe said.

“He won’t.” Dave said and nodded his head to me.

I turned and heard something that sounded like a hand clap across what sounded like the back of Joe’s head. I went towards the barn they had indicated the workers were waiting by. I walked around the side of the barn and was faced with a group of Mexicans workers. The guys had gotten them together and then left them here to wait. It suddenly occurred to me that making them stay at the house might not be a good idea because I took German in high school and I was crap at it.

“Hi folks.” I looked into the sea of blank faces. “I’m looking for a young girl. She’s white blonde, about fourteen. Anyone here see anyone like that?”

They looked dumbly at me, one or two of them flicked glances at each other. They were worried that if they said something, it might gain attention and attention was a bad thing in their world. Being noticed meant you were scrutinized and legal or not it could mean deportment. They looked at each other, and then blankly at me.

“Don’t play the ‘I no speak English’ game with me.” I growled, not wanting to. “I don’t care about you people. I don’t have to call INS, and if they ask me I can tell them that I just saw a bunch of good Americans along with some perfectly legal immigrants.”

That got their attention, but I still didn’t have their trust. Pretending like you don’t understand is a tough game, but it’s better if English clearly isn’t your first language. You can always pretend not to understand as much as you really do that way. The problem is that I didn’t have time to screw around with these people.

“Did any of you see the girl?” I took in a deep breath and let it out. “I know you guys don’t want trouble, but if someone doesn’t start telling me something soon I will make trouble and I can make a lot of trouble. I’m good at making trouble. I do it for a living. I am not going to just go away because I can tell by some of your faces that you do understand me and the dumb shit expression is just pissing me off when I’m looking for a little girl who has been kidnapped.”

A few more eyes flicked back and forth, faces moved, there were mutters. They still didn’t say anything to me though. I was going to have to pull out my bastard card and I wasn’t too happy about it. I don’t like threatening people who are already scared and worried. I shook my head, looked down at the ground and back up at them.

“Okay.” I allowed resentment roll into my voice. “By the time they figure out if you guys are legal or not it’ll be way past picking season anyway. Don’t know what you’ll do for money after that.”

I turned around and started, knowing that one of them would say it. I wasn’t sure if I was really going to call INS or not. A threat is only good if you back it up, but none of them had kidnapped Jill Piper.

“Wait.” One of them called out and I turned around trying not to look too smug.

“Yes?” I asked.

“Why are you talking about INS?” The man was young, and his English was too good. He was born with that voice “They never come here, King pays them off.”

“There isn’t any problem with the Feds?” I asked the group.

“No.” The kid said. “The problems these people have isn’t with the feds.”

“What’s your name?” I asked, and for a moment I wished I smoked so I could casually light a cigarette.

“Tommy Tucker.” He said.

“Not exactly the name for a migrant worker is it?”

“I can work, just like anyone else.” He was defiant and I wondered if he’d start giving me a speech. “We need to stand together, my blood brothers and I. The people can’t be oppressed forever.”

He was off to a good start, but I didn’t care about him and I didn’t have my Socialist Bingo Card. If I let him go on I would have been treated to how working people control production, and opiate of the masses and other such phrases. The problem was that I grew up in the Detroit area, and I’ve heard it all before from better speech writers. I’ve also learned from personal experience that anyone who thinks the proletariat are noble hasn’t spent much time around them.

“Okay.” I said waving him away. Even though technically I didn’t care, I still asked my next question. “Not that I care, but did King get you guys here? Got you guys across the border?”

“Yes.” He nodded. “Then he gets them to work here. Then he refuses to pay them. They get room and board, but it’s pretty shabby. They pay pennies on the dollar when it starts looking like people are going to leave. The beat and I think they’ve killed a few of the workers”

“I see.” I nodded. “The problem is, what I’m after is the little girl.”

“She was here the other day.” Tucker told me. “Then he took her to his house I guess.”

“You don’t know where that is, do you?”

The group started suddenly to disperse and I turned to see that Joe was approaching, his hand on the big pearl handle of his gun. He was fat and ungainly over the rough terrain of the fields. You’d think after this long he’d be better at it, but he wasn’t.

“We got work to do.” He snapped at both me and the laborers. “Can’t stand around jawing all day.”

“No.” I said. “I might find out where the little girl is if I did that.”

“You got something to say to me?” He gave me a little shove, which actually caused him to move more than it did me.

“If you shove me again, I’ll knock you on your ass.” I said flatly.

“You trying to be tough with me?”

“I don’t have to try to be tough. I was born tough.” I said putting one hand on his chest and giving him a healthy shove which sent him stumbling back and then landed him flat on his fanny. “I have to try real hard not to be too tough.”

I reached down and smiled at him though. He looked up at me and took my hand and I helped him up. There would be something of an understanding between us now, unless I was totally wrong and he tried to swing for my head. He didn’t, he just brushed himself off a bit. He knew that he’d gone too far, that he’d pushed just a little too hard, and I think I knew why. Even if I didn’t know about the girl, I was way too close to uncovering their secret.

“Look, I really don’t care if you hire illegals.” I told him. “I’m supposed to find a way to stop the bullshit, I’m not here to stir more of it up. I’m not just a detective, I’m a problem solver. I’m here to stop the problems.”

He nodded, and I could see a hamster running on a wheel that turned other wheels in his head. He nodded slowly, but it was merely because the hamster was running, causing an autonomic reaction. He had a handle on me now, or thought he did. He knew that I was bent, and on the proper side of the ledger. I was one of them, and that made me okay. Also, it helped that he had seen something in my eyes that let him know that I was not to be trifled with. It was probably the Seven With One Blow story again. That one gets around and everyone asks me about it. I knew that his next question would he about that in fact.

“You really pop a guy’s eye out of his head once?” He asked, proving once again I have no idea what I’m talking about.

“Yeah.” I nodded. “Actually I popped it out, then I cut it off and then I threw it in a river. Ask me later about how I put his other eye out by shooting it through the back of his head.”

“Goddamn.” He said with admiration and shook his head. “I mean Goddamn.”

“Where do you take the Mexicans when you hear that a raid is coming?” I asked.

“Up to Cole’s place.” Joe smiled a big smile at me. “How come?”

“Maybe someone up there saw it and has been complaining.” I told him. “Might be that we need to shake somebody down.”

“We can do that.” He said while grinning a wide friendly grin.

We walked back to the house and I listened while Joe explained my little plan to Cole and his brothers. Cole’s face darkened and Daryl’s face twisted with confusion when Joe mentioned going to Cole’s place to have a look around. The problem was that Cole knew refusing to play along now would be too suspicious. There was also the fact that I was here to look around about the INS problem and probably would know nothing about Jill Piper, which was too insane to even be discussed. Even suggesting that I might have been hired weeks ago by the company, the girl took precedence. I was glad that I’d decided to clip the Marley thirty-eight onto the back of my pants.

“Well.” Cole said adjusting his cowboy hat. “I’ll go on up there, you boys can follow me.”

Cole walked quickly towards his truck, a brand new Dodge Durango, the kind that had the word HEMI stamped on the side just incase you wanted know what kind of engine it had. I walked to the Hudson and opened the door. Cole looked at the car from his rolling mountain.

“How fast you go in that?” He asked.

“Pretty fast.” I told him. “I’m not sure if the speedometer works right.”

“What kind of engine it got?”

“Whatever Hudson put in it.” I shrugged, not wanting to admit that I know exactly what kind of engine I have and exactly how fast it can travel when I want it to. “Not all Detroit boys know everything about their cars.”

“Got a HEMI in here.” He reached and slapped the roof of his car. “Pretty damn fast.”

“Probably outrun me by miles.” I said.

“You just follow us.” Joe said climbing into a big Ford F150. “We won’t let you get lost.”

“Sure thing.” I said, looking at the maps that I had to both this place and Cole’s place. Even if they tried to loose me, I wouldn’t get lost.

They didn’t try to loose me though, they kept making sure I was right behind them for the fifteen minute drive, even though Cole must have made it in less than five if he kept up the speed he left with.

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