The sounds of sirens approaching forced Grey and Rosie, Snot and I back into the truck and Grey drives around the long block so that we could go by the scene once again.
When we get there, there are cops everywhere. The black cop is on his back on the hood of the car…he looks unconscious. The original white cop is sitting on the curb nursing a broken nose and Robert and the bike are no where to be seen.
“What the fuck?” I stammered….”where’d he go?” and when no one answered I asked again “tell me I didn’t just imagine all that?”
Rosie turned to me “Robert is in the habit of getting away before there’s enough cops to take him down” she said tiredly. “When we were kids we called him ‘Robert the rabbit’ cos he could just disappear into some rabbit hole and not be seen for hours…course with Mama he’d never quite outlast the trouble….”
“Enough? Enough? Just how fuckin many is enough?” I shouted loudly.
“SHUT UP BABY!” came Grey’s reply.
We eased past the commotion on the street headed back to the farm. I sat quietly in my seat (for once) while Grey and Rosie carried on in pained silence. In no time at all I was nodding off again and I didn’t wake until we were pulling through the back gate of the farm.
“Something’s wrong” said Rosie
“wha what?” I asked, brains still dulled by sleep.
“Robert should be here” she replied.
“well maybe he’s hiding in the barn” I suggested.
Grey snorted “Robert doesn’t hide – but it would be just like him to be up at the big house telling Mama his story without the risk of us embellishing it at all.”
Grey maneuvered the truck across the field and through the gate and then up the hill through the big old oak trees and through the second gate to slowly move past the garden. Snot is squirming around in the box of the truck looking uncomfortable and Rosie is trying to clean herself up and make herself presentable.
“you look fine” Grey admonishes
“not fine enough for Mama” comes the reply “it’s hard to look fine in someone else’s sweats.”
“It was the best we could do on short notice…just be glad we left your jeans and shirt with the hospital…Mama would have smacked me silly had she seen all of Barry’s blood on your clothes.”
“I know…she’s still always after you to take care of us all” Rosie replied.
As we drive slowly past the garden I look over to see the evidence of someone having recently been working in the rows. Rosie looks over my shoulder and shudders.
“you’re right…he’s here, the ass”
We drive around the side of the butter yellow house, all of us watching the big chairs on the wrap around veranda expecting to see someone at any moment. As we approach the front of the house we see Snot’s motorcycle parked on the front walk and Snot mutters about how he’s gonna get that away before Mrs. K catches him.
“you just get it and let out” Rosie says…”we’ll keep Mama busy”
“I’ll just go with Snot” I suggest hopefully.
“not likely” says Rosie…”everyone has to meet Mama sooner or later, and you just might be the ticket we need to keep us all out of Mama’s bad graces”
“Great” I think “no pressure there….nothing like feeling like yer being presented like the prize hog.”
I look up as I hear the sound of a wooden screen door slam to see Robert standing on the porch just outside the door. He looks grim, and waves us in…I can see the flash of silver at his wrists.
We all get out of the truck and as I walk around the front of the old truck I head a big accented voice call from inside the house “Tyrone? Siobhán?”
“Tyrone? Siobhan? Huh who?” I muttered shaking my head as I traipse up the stairs ahead of Grey and Rosie to the porch as Robert swings open the door and waves us into the entryway.
Behind us I heard the click of Snot flipping up his kickstand and a slight rustle as he stealthily walks his bike across the lawn to the driveway.
I look over my shoulder to see the big man virtually skulking in an attempt to make a clean getaway.
“What’s got him so spooked” I wonder.