A richard l wren mystery.., p.12
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       A Richard L. Wren Mystery-Adventure Sampler, p.12

           Richard Wren
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  Smitty whispered that he wished his guys out front would finish up and get going

  “Damn those guys. They’re having too much fun, taking too much time.” Smitty was getting antsy. “There’s been plenty of time for our cops to have made their arrests and gone on their way.” We waited. Finally the street noised went away.

  Shortly after that we heard footsteps coming down the hall. We could hear two guys talking to each other about the arrests and how noisy motorcycles were.

  The door swung open and the first guy came through, his head was turned back as he talked with the second guy. He never saw us. Les, being real tall, sized up the situation quickly, threw his towel over the head of the second guy and got the rag in his mouth simultaneously. The first guy whipped around but it was too late. Dave got his towel over his head, rag in his mouth, and we had both of them.

  We tied them up, carried them out and set them at either end of the porch, a good distance from each other. As a precaution we taped their mouths.

  Then, things began to go wrong. We had just got the guys stored on the porch when Smitty said, “Shhhh. What’s that?”

  He was standing next to the swinging door. I tiptoed over to him and listened quietly. Footsteps, that was what Smitty heard, and I could hear them too. There was someone else in the house.

  “Where the hell did he come from?” Smitty whispered.

  “Now what do we do?” I whispered back.

  “We need to find out who’s there. I tell you what; he probably doesn’t know we’re here. You get on your belly and crawl up the hall and see who’s there.”

  It’s hard to argue when you’re whispering. Smitty said we didn’t have any time to waste and to get going.

  I took off my shoes, got down on my belly and tried to slide along the baseboard to where I could peek around the corner and see who was there. Very slowly I inched my head into the room. In a moment or two I could just about see the whole room and I couldn’t see anyone.

  I had just started a reverse crawl out of the living room when an arm came out of nowhere and grabbed a handful of my hair. I was pulled around back into the living room and yanked up to my feet.

  Facing me was a big guy, much taller than me, and he had a gun in his left hand. With his right hand, he was holding me up by my hair so we were face to face, and shaking the hell out of me for good measure. That hurt!

  Whispering into my face, he said. “Who the hell are you, and where are Steve and Johnny?” I was simultaneously thinking that his breath stank, Smitty should have sent someone much bigger than me and he was tearing the hair out of my head.

  “I asked you a question, asshole.”

  It crossed my mind that he must be the bodyguard that was supposed to be with Carpenter.

  The only idea I could come up with was to answer him as loudly as I could. Hoping Smitty’d hear me and do something.

  “Ow,” I yelled, “that hurts!” Okay, you got me. I thought the house was empty.”

  He shook me harder.

  “Where’re Steve and Johnny?”

  “On the porch. They’re okay, honest.”

  “On the porch? What d’ya mean?”

  “They’re tied up on the porch. In the dark they thought I had a gun and I was able to tie and gag ‘em.” I spoke as loudly as I could.

  Shaking me like a rag doll he said “Shut up. You’re making too much noise.” I shut up.

  “You’re feeding me a bunch of crap. He whispered. “I don’t believe you. No way could you surprise those two. You got someone else out there. I ain’t afraid to use this gun, so you better tell me who the hell’s in the kitchen.”

  He still had my hair in his hand and we were still face to face. He was quiet now but very, very menacing.

  “I’m telling you the truth.” I still said it pretty loudly, trying to make it sound like I was really scared by this guy. Which was easy because I was. “You don’t need to use your gun on me. I’m telling you the truth, honest.”

  “I think you’re lying, but I ain’t taking any chances. I’m gonna let go of your hair and you’re gonna march ahead of me into the kitchen. We’ll see if you’re telling the truth or not. Don’t forget – I’ve got the gun aimed at your back and I ain’t afraid to use it.” He didn’t need to remind me.

  With that he pushed me back into the hall and toward the swinging door into the kitchen. He kept one hand on my shoulder, making me walk slowly, while he tiptoed quietly behind me. I could feel the gun barrel on my back. When I got to the door I hesitated but he signaled that I should push it open.

  Standing in the doorway, I couldn’t see anyone at all in the kitchen. He pushed me a little way in, then cautiously came in behind me. I still couldn’t see anyone and was wondering where they’d gone when all hell broke loose.

  With a loud yell, Dave came out of nowhere and crashed down on my captor. Evidently he’d managed to wedge himself above the door and dropped down from there.

  He knocked the gunman down, the gun went off and I was hit.

  -end of excerpt-

  An excerpt from

  Published 2016

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