They trudged back to the van, where Titus leaned on the side door, minding his ankle. Ferris and several officers forced the van’s back door open, and found the trunk and several duffel bags filled with cash, documents, and various electronics. Another cop appeared from the woods, dragging another dirt-covered trunk, and holding a shovel in his gloved hand.
‘Clever,’ he said. ‘She must have had the shovel with her, along with a couple of planks. The pit wasn’t very deep, but she covered it up with the planks and some leaves.’
‘She must’ve told Phil about the location at the hospital,’ Frank said. ‘She had to be prepared for an emergency.’ An ambulance arrived and the Hardleys directed the EMTs to the path and ravine where Phil’s body lay.
‘Oh, that reminds me,’ Ferris said. ‘ Lisa, er, Renee, whatever the hell her name is, didn’t make it. She died about five minutes after you left. Stupid bitch.’
‘She got what she deserved,’ Titus said. ‘Although I would have liked to put a few rounds in her.’
‘You and Pepe, too,’ Joe added.
The ambulance crew returned empty-handed. ‘Sorry, Chief,’ one of them said. ‘It’s dark as fuck in there. We can’t see anything.’
‘Ah, well, fuck it,’ Ferris said. ‘ Let the critters get him. We can clean him up in the morning. The Hardleys helped Titus into their car, and hid the Rage in the forest. ‘We’ll pick you up tomorrow,’ Frank said. ‘There’s no way you could ride on that ankle.’
Ferris waived them goodbye and helped the officers fill up the paddy wagon with the stolen loot. He pulled a small pipe out of his jacket pocket and took a hit of weed that he had confiscated in a drug raid. He offered the pipe to his cohorts.
‘Time to celebrate, fellas,’ he said after exhaling. ‘I’m glad that shit’s over.’
The next day, Frank and Joe took their girlfriends to the beach. They were exhausted from the previous night’s adventure, but the salt air and prospect of serious fucking roused their spirits. The girls were quizzical and excited.
‘Is Titus O.K.? ‘ Lorraine asked.
‘Oh yeah,’ Joe replied. ‘Skip picked him up and drove him to the Rage. A little ice on the ankle, and he’s cool.’
‘Won’t you get in trouble for shooting at those creeps?’ Debbie asked.
‘It was self-defense,’ Frank said proudly. ‘They each shot first. Dad’s clearing it all up. We’ll just have to sign something tomorrow.’
‘Ooh!’ the girls cooed in unison.
‘Wait,’ Lorraine asked. ‘What happened to Pepe?’
Joe pointed back to his SUV. ‘Look in there,’ he said, smiling.
The girls ran to the SUV and opened the back door. Pepe lay passed out across the back seat with a puddle of vomit on the floor.
‘Aww!’ the girls chimed.
‘Some things never change,’ Frank said.
Joe raised his right arm. ‘High five!’ he yelled, as the Hardley palms smacked together.