Danny swerved. “Goddamn!”
My head slammed against the window. The ass-end of the Avalanche slewed off the road, smashed down into a stone culvert, and jackknifed across the two-lane road. Danny mashed the brakes; we skidded to rest.
“What the fuck, Danny!”
“Son of bitch forced me off the road.”
Craning my neck, I looked back.
“What kind of car.”
“Some goddamned Ford rig. Came right at me. Fuckin’ son of a bitch!”
“You don’t know the truck?”
“Never seen it. Light silver. Lifted. Coulda’ been some college kids. Also coulda’ been some dealers.”
Danny got out. I did too. Walked around the Chevy. All four wheels sat square on the pavement. Nothing looked twisted or broke. “Fuck it. We’ll know soon enough if we should be driving it.”
We cleared off a clump of mud that got dug out and whipped out onto the road. The back bumper dug into the near frozen dirt next to the culvert. Danny whistled when we saw how close we were to tearin’ off his rear right axle. “Goddamn.”
“Are you gonna tell me why exactly we are headin’ to the bank?”
“Oh hell. I’m guessin’ you could say, you just ain’t.”
“Yep. I told you I ain’t robbing it.”
“No shit. We already covered that what you wasn’t doin’. Now I’m interested in the what, are you doin’, part.”
“I haven’t gotten any further than right where we sit.”
“It’s cool, Nickie.”
I sighed. “All right.”
The Dollar General was packed. We drove passed the Exxon station. I caught a glimpse of Bruce standin’ behind the counter. Time seemed to hitch and I could swear his hand started to come up, like he was gonna wave, then stalled and dropped away and wiped across the counter. Maybe he saw me riding inside and decided against it. I don’t know. Don’t care. I got my answer. He didn’t know anything. Just the very part of me askin’ hurt him. I told myself I should raise my hand in his direction the next time I pass through. Ease his mind. I figure it’s worth doing that for a man when you could. Cruel not to. Which worked when that’s what you wanted to be. I was angry. But I wasn’t cruel. I prayed I’d stay that way.
Danny pulled to the curb in front of the Weaver bank. A semi shuddered behind us. I had a clear view to Mom and Pen’s building just up the road.
I looked across at Danny. The way he was settin’ was the same way he set when I come up on him this mornin’. He wasn’t cruel neither. In fact, it could be he never done a cruel thing to a person in his life. I leave huntin’ out of that whole deal though. Plenty of people might call deer huntin’ cruel. But it wasn’t. Not the way we run chases. Here it’s part of life, and it’s not life wasted. Yep, he wasn’t cruel. But right now, I wasn’t sure what he was.
“Danny, you sure us comin’ down here is a good idea?” I asked, but I already knew it wasn’t.
He reached for the door handle. “Nope.”
“You all right?”
“Long ways from it.”
He got out, shoved the door shut.
“Aw hell then.” I pulled the Colt from my waist and shoved it under the seat and went inside. I really don’t think Danny had any idea of what he was wantin’ when he walked in that bank. That’s probably what got underneath my skin the most. I come in. He just stood there in the middle of the bank. I took a seat in a fancy waiting chair. Wasn’t nobody in line in front of him.
Marlene Paulson stood behind the teller desk. “Hi Danny? Can I help you?” She asked it again.
He didn’t budge. Jesus hell is what I thought about how things were going so far.
Marlene looked at me. “What’s wrong with your brother?”
That’s what he looks like when he’s thinkin’ is all I thought of sayin’. But I said nothin’.
Marlene’s eyes went big and she stepped back from her window. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched her arrange some stacks of whatever’s in front of her. Same manner that Bruce had when I went to see him at the Exxon station. Something about standin’ behind a counter for years on end must fuck with your head and give you a narrow-focus god complex and you end up needin’ every last thing in the exact place you think it ought to be. Or maybe you just get bored. I don’t know. I ain’t never done it. Too much time was passin’. Maybe Marlene thought the same thing. Her mouth opened. I thought she was startin’ to say Danny’s name. Instead she backed away, walked real slow like maybe she thought we wouldn’t see her go. I don’t even know if Danny saw her in the first place. He still ain’t moved. Or said nothin’.
“What in the hell, Danny?” I said.