Instead Dec and I walked down to the Blue River west of town. It was only the only route to take if we didn’t wanted to be spotted. Besides, if we took the trails that ran south along the Blue, we could make it to Catlin’s junkyard two miles outside of town in a jiff.
By then, we were both determined to see what Ty had seen in the trunk of the Kennedy car. Because at the end of Sheriff Mac’s investigation, when Hiney and Chris hauled those cars away, Mac never noticed those keys dangling from the slot in the trunk of Kennedy’s car. It was because of the extra gun that Sheriff Mac found himself distracted.
As Dec and I walked down to the dock at the Blue River, our eyes fixed on Mose Hadley’s motorboat tied off there, he said, “Do you want to walk all the way out to Catlin’s? We could be there in less than an hour if in we take Mose Hadley’s boat. Taking a ride by motorboat up the Blue River would be like a Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn adventure!”
I asked, “What if we get caught?”
Dec replied, “Man, you worry too much, Hawk! Or should I call you Chickenhawk? Come on, it’ll be an adventure!”
Stung to anger about him calling me a name, I snapped, “What if Mose Hadley planned to go fishing? What if while we’re cruising upriver to Catlin’s, Mose finds his boat has gone missing?”
By then, Dec and his beagle dog, Baxster, had clambered aboard the twenty-foot boat, complete with a small Captain’s Cabin built over the steering wheel and motor controls. “Brawk! Brawk! Chicken-hawk!” Dec teased, smirking at me as he opened the cabin door.
My own dog, a Pit bull named Cooper, betrayed me, and followed Baxster and his daring master aboard, leaving me standing alone on the dock. I said, “Look, I know it will save us gobs of time and a long walk out to the junkyard. And I’m all for going on a grand adventure. But if we get caught we’ll get grounded for the rest of our lives! Or maybe even sentenced by Judge Neely to the looney bin! I’m risking a lot by doing this, Dec. I get sent to the state home, my brother, Richard, will kick my butt if I get put on the same ward as he’s in.”
Dec and I both knew how explosive my 18-year-old brother was. We’d both been witnesses to his rage one day while he was home for a visit. Mom later said he wasn’t on his meds. Dad broke three knuckles whooping his butt for what he did to Dec.
Richard had made these Balsa wood airplanes that he hung from the ceiling in his bedroom by wires attached to the ceiling with small nails. In a breeze blowing in from the open back door off the porch, those planes would spin back and forth, narrowly missing each other as they swung two-feet from the ceiling. Dec just got carried away that day when he started tossing aluminum foil balls up at Richard’s air force that dominated every patch of his ceiling. Several planes collided in midair, and due to those direct hits, several wings sheared off and fluttered down to the floor.
I winced even as I told Dec he’d better stop. I winced even more when Richard appeared at his bedroom door. He came charging into the room, and with fury and savagery he lit into Dec, slugging him repeatedly in the face and chest.
I wasn’t trying to be no hero. In fact, my first thought was to run out of the tornado of flying fists being leveled on poor Dec. But I didn’t. I jumped on Richard’s back, circled my legs around his waist, and wrapped my arms around his neck. I then hung on like a rodeo rider, riding a mad bull. Richard stopped hitting on Dec, leaving him with a bloody nose. As I clung to his back, I was terrified of the beating I was going to get if I let go. I choked Richard so hard, he spun around to the right, wheeled back around to the left, tottered off balance, knocking over his dresser. He then dropped down to both knees, wavered there for a full minute, and passed clean out.