Excerpt of Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
(Page 6 of 8)
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Jake spoke up. "It means he won't have to w-w-worry about everybody
making f-f-f-fun of him."
Gus eyed Jake and blinked. "Maybe you're right. Maybe that's the
reason. What do you think, Captain?"
Gus nodded as if that had satisfied him. He bent toward the open
car door to get into the backseat but instead stood there making awful
"Ah, Gus. All over the upholstery," my father said.
Gus straightened up and pulled his shirttail from his pants and
wiped his mouth. "Sorry, Captain. Didn't see it coming."
"Get in front," my father said. He turned to me. "Frank, you and
Jake are going to have to walk home. Do you have a problem with that?"
"No, sir. We'll be fine. But could we have the tire iron from the
trunk? For protection?"
New Bremen wasn't at all the kind of town where you'd need a tire
iron for protection but I nodded toward Jake, whose face had gone
a little white at the prospect of walking home in all that dark, and
my father understood. He popped the trunk and handed me the iron.
"Don't dawdle," he said.
He climbed into the driver's side. "You have to puke again, Gus,
puke out the window. Understand?"
"I read you loud and clear, Captain." He smiled gamely and lifted
a hand to us as my father drove away.
Under the moon we stood on the empty square. The city jail was
the only lit building we could see. On the opposite side of the green
the courthouse clock bonged four times.
"It'll be light in an hour," I said.
"I don't want to walk home," Jake said. "I'm tired."
"Then stay here."
I started away. After a moment Jake came too.
We didn't go home. Not directly. At Sandstone Street I turned off
Jake said, "Where are you going?"
"I want to go home."
"Fine. Go home."
"I don't want to go home alone."
"Then come on. You'll like this, I swear."
A block off Main on the corner of Walnut was a bar with a sign
over the door. Rosie's. A '53 Indian Chief with a sidecar was in the
lot. Gus's motorcycle. Only one automobile was still parked there. A
black Deuce Coupe with fire painted along its sides. I approached that
beauty and spent a moment running my hand admiringly over the
slope of the front wheel well where a silver snake of moonlight shot
along the black enamel. Then I set myself and swung the tire iron and
smashed the left headlight.
"What are you doing?" Jake cried.
I walked to the other headlight and once again the sound of shattering
glass broke the stillness of the night.
"Here," I said and offered the tire iron to my brother. "The rear
lights are all yours."
"No," he said.
"This guy called you a retard. You and Bobby Cole. And he called
Ariel a harelip and Dad a pussy. You don't want to break something
on his car?"
"No." He looked at me then at the tire iron then at the car. "Well,
I handed that magic wand of revenge to Jake. He walked to the
back of Morris Engdahl's precious set of wheels. He glanced at me
once for reassurance then swung. He missed and banged metal and
the tire iron bounced out of his hands.
"Jeez," I said. "What a spaz."
Excerpted from Ordinary Grace
by William Kent Krueger. Copyright © 2013 by William Kent Krueger.
Excerpted by permission of Atria Books. All rights
reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted
without permission in writing from the publisher.