Resurrection 37Posted: November 20, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
Romona composed herself a bit.
“We ain’t had a good relationship for quite a while now, Ricky. I thought I’d lost you. I didn’t know if you’s ever gonna speak to me again. I gots lonely and wondered after your brother. How he’d done in life.
“Last year when Mamaw Eddy died, she left me a bit. Over three thousand dollars from her insurance. I took that money and paid a feller to find out what happened to him.”
Ricky didn’t attend the funeral. He wanted nothing to do with his mother or any of his family. They never gave him anything and he didn’t owe them anything now.
“He’s done good. He’s a preacher of all things now. He’s got a wife. They lives over in Silerville. Last Christmas I went to services there, just to see him. I didn’t tell him who I is, I just wanted to lay eyes on him.”
The church was always packed on Christmas Sunday. When the church let out, J.W. was shaking hands with the parishioners and visitors as they filed past. J.W. held out his hand to Romona, saying “Glad to have you here today.”
He had wondered why she burst into tears, but some people have complicated relationships with religion. She didn’t speak, she just shook his hand, looked in his face, smiled and then walked down the steps of the church.
Ricky’s mind was confusion and anger. He was hurt deeply by his mother not telling him about his brother. He was hurt by her preferring him to Ricky.
“Honey, I always wanted to tell you about your brother. I did. When you’s small I thought I’d tell you when you’s got older. I guess the time never seemed right and I’s so ashamed. I just never did.” Romona’s tear-filled eyes looked to Ricky for some sort of relief. A sign he would forgive her. A sign they could have a relationship again.
Ricky closed his eyes and stood up. Looking at the floor, he pointed her down the hall. Through clenched teeth, he said, “You need to leave now.”
Romona looked to Kat for reprieve.
“I think it’s best you leave,” Kat told her. Romona gathered her purse and left.
When they heard the door close, Ricky slumped down in the recliner, Kat kneeled at his feet.
“Baby, it’s gonna be alright.” She said to him, caressing his leg. Ricky didn’t speak, he just stood up to get another beer.
The rest of the night was tense. After he emptied the five beers in the refrigerator, Ricky got out the bottle of Kentucky Gentleman Bourbon they had in the cupboard. As he fell into more and more of a stupor, Kat distanced herself more and more. Ricky wasn’t talking and she didn’t want to be around a man who was twice her size and blackout drunk.
After she went into the bedroom and locked the door, she could hear him crying. She’d never heard him cry before.
For the next three days, Ricky was stoic. Inside he was processing, trying to figure out his confused emotions. He couldn’t find a hand-hold, a way to pull himself up, figure out the meaning of these revelations.
Kat tried the best she could. She didn’t bring up his drinking, nor his crying. She cleaned and cooked and was the perfect girlfriend. She tried seducing him, putting on something she knew he always had liked, but that fell flat. She tried talking to him, not about his mother or “new” brother, just about anything. He would give her one word answers if any, often he would just nod or grunt. He wasn’t eating.
She was worried for herself. Not about her safety, he had gone back to beer and wasn’t drinking much of that either. She was worried she would miss out on this big score he had been so excited about. Real money. Money that could change her life.
On the fourth day after Romona’s visit, Ricky had a run. This time an overnight run from Cincinnati back down to Knoxville. During that long eight hours in the truck, he began to pull himself together, to make some sense of it all.
This preacher had everything he hadn’t had. It was his mom’s fault. He could have had a good life. It wasn’t fair. It was a flip of a coin. It could have easily just been him who had the easy life, the money, the family. Instead, this guy got it all and he got shit.
As he pondered, he also had a brainstorm. Like his father, Ricky was quick to see an opportunity.
Ricky needed an identity to use once he stole the syndicate’s money. He was just presented with the perfect opportunity. He could steal this preacher’s identity. Heck, they probably looked just like each other.
When he got to exit 104, he turned got off and, instead of heading toward Pure Gold, he headed up Athens road to the library at the corner of Athens and Man of War. It was only 8am and the sign at the library said it didn’t open until 9:30am, so he turned around and get breakfast at the Waffle House he had just passed.
At 9:30am sharp, Ricky walked up to the desk at the library.
“Can I help you?” The attendant asked. Her name tag said “Annette.” She was a somewhat plain, heavy set brunette he guessed to be around 20.
“Yeah, you got computers here for people to use?” Asked Ricky. He knew how to use a computer for the most part. He didn’t have one, usually used his phone, but he didn’t want to do these searches on his phone.
Sure, you just need to sign in here, and then I’ll make a copy of your ID.
Shit, thought Ricky. He didn’t realize he’d have to use ID. He was trying to be smart. Plus in his line of work it paid to be a little paranoid.
“Shoot,” he said, trying to sound like a nice guy and a little flirtatious, “I left Richmond and left my wallet on the counter. I gotta have ID just to use a computer? Annette, couldn’t you bend the rules just a bit for me? I’d hate to have to drive all the way there and back.”
He intentionally used her name. Grifters learn early on calling someone by name makes them trust you more. Plus Annette was young unattractive, and Ricky wasn’t a bad looking guy. He thought his ruse might work.
“Well, I’m not supposed to…”
“It would be a huge favor,” said Ricky.
“We’re not busy, I guess it won’t hurt. Sign in here and print your name.” Said the girl, thinking he was kinda cute.
Ricky signed in “James Green” and handed the board back to her.
“Yours is number six.” All of the computer carols had numbers clearly marked.
“Great, thank you so much, Annette.” Ricky walked over and sat at the computer.
First he used Google to find out the name of his brother. His mother said he was a preacher in Silerville, so he searched for the churches there. There were six showing up in Google.
One by one he searched for each church. On his third try, he found Silerville First United Methodist Church’s website. Clicking on “Our Pastor” he finally saw J.W and Suzanna’s picture.
“Damn, we do look just alike.” He printed out the picture along with the page giving the address of the church and parsonage.
He retrieved the pages from the printer and stopped again by the desk.
“Annette, I’m going to step out and have a cigarette. I’ll be right back, don’t let someone take over my computer, OK?”
“Sure James, or is it Jim?”
“You can call me Jim, thanks. Be right back.”
As Ricky smoked, his next steps began to take shape. He needed to figure out how to steal this preacher’s identity. He had his name, job, address and wife’s name. Plus, he looked just like him, just different hair cut. That was easy to fix.
Going back in, he smiled at Annette and sat back in front of the computer. He figured it would be hard to find out how to steal someone’s identity on Google, but he gave it a shot anyway. He typed in “how to steal someone’s identity.”
Amazingly the first result was “How to steal an identity in seven easy steps.” Shit, this stuff is right out there for anyone to read. He took some notes and now he had a plan. He didn’t want Annette to see him printing it out.
As he left he waved goodbye to Annette and got in his truck. He was home before noon.