Spiegel stood at the edge of the field that butted up to the gas station and squinted against the setting sun. Behind the station away from prying eyes several other agents were anxiously checking their guns. Spiegel was ready. He was going to get the squeeze on Sicero’s operation this time. This would make his career.
Micky sat at the worn kitchen table alone. Before him sat stacks of money that he was in the process of counting. The bulk of it would be heading back to Sicero on his next trip down. He separated bundles with rubber bands and checked them against his account book. Frank’s bookkeeper always double checked Micky’s work, so there was no point trying to cook the books in his favor. He wasn’t smart enough to get away with it.
There was a knock at the door.
“Fuck off!” Micky shouted. He never let anyone in when he had the money out. They knew better than to disturb him.
“Mick, we’re heading into town. Need anything?” It was Cylus. Micky thought about his answer. He’d been meaning to pick out something for Delphia, but he wanted to do it himself.
“No…now fuck off, Cylus,” Micky laughed. Cylus chuckled as he walked away from the door. He shrugged and got in the truck next to Vern.
Inside Micky heard the rumble of the truck’s engine as it fired up. It creaked as it turned around in the yard and trundled back down to the road.
Wilson walked up behind Spiegel as he stared out across the field as the sun dipped behind the horizon.
“It’s almost time,” Wilson said. Spiegel glanced at his watch and nodded.
“Are you sure about your tip?” Spiegel asked Wilson for the hundredth time since he had told him of a place called the Farm in Sicero’s circles. Wilson had spent weeks driving around the countryside to locate the exact spot before he even told Spiegel about it. There had been so many false leads and failures that Spiegel was on his last chance before he was reassigned somewhere else in the department. His brow furrowed under the beads of sweat that had formed. Spiegel pulled out a handkerchief and dabbed the moisture away.
“Yes, I’m positive. This is it,” Wilson assured him. “I double checked it myself.”
Spiegel took a deep breath and pulled the brim of his hat down.
Vern turned into the small dusty town. Cylus leaned his elbow in the open window and stared at the shop fronts as they passed. There were a few more cars than usual by the repair shop behind the gas station. He turned in his seat to take a closer look, but the chance was already gone. Vern turned the corner and parked by the diner.
“Order me a coffee, I’m going to call Frank,” Cylus grumbled as they walked inside. Vern nodded as Cylus ducked into the telephone booth. Cylus picked up the ear piece and talked to the operator. After a few minutes, he was patched through and Sal answered in the backroom of Tino’s.
“It’s Cylus, is Frank around?” he asked.
“You just missed him,” Sal replied.
“Fine, the package will be ready for tomorrow. Let him know I called.” Cylus hung up before Sal could respond. He squeezed out of the booth and went to sit by Vern at the counter.
“Is something bothering you?” Vern asked.
“What? No, why would you say that?” Cylus feigned surprise.
“I dunno, you seem a little on edge,” Vern murmured.
“Nah…” Cylus looked around the diner and his eyes landed on the waitress. He elbowed Vern, “Maybe I just need a piece.” Vern followed his gaze and nodded.
“Maybe Moira’s free,” Vern said.
“Oh she’s never free,” Cylus laughed.
Wilson handed Spiegel the Thompson gun he had requested.
“Are you sure you want that?” Wilson asked. “It’s a lot of fire power.” Spiegel glared at him.
“Yes, I’m sure, I don’t want anyone getting off the hook with some fancy lawyer,” he snapped. “Let’s saddle up!” He yelled at the waiting agents. They consolidated into their cars. The ones that didn’t fit stood on the running boards and held on. Wilson glowered. He set up this whole operation and he was still second to Spiegel. He climbed in the driver’s seat and slammed the door. Spiegel stepped on the running board and motioned forward with his gun. His other arm held on to the car as it pulled out of the empty lot behind the gas station. They made their way slowly into the dusk as shadows crept over the countryside.
Micky still sat at the table staring at the piles of cash he had counted. He took out a bottle and poured himself a drink. He started to pick up each bundle and lob them into a satchel that sat open on the chair. The sound of gravel crunching on the road grew louder and the sounds of engines. Micky froze. He knew it wasn’t Cylus and Vern. It wasn’t the old truck they used around the Farm and there were multiple engines. He sprung to his feet and killed the light from the single naked bulb. His ears strained to listen as several cars approached. He inched over to the curtain and pulled it aside.
Light still splashed up on the horizon and the silhouettes of cars without headlights crept over the hill of the field. Micky darted back to the table and started stuffing the cash into the satchel as quickly as he could. He wasn’t expecting visitors.
Wilson killed his headlights and turned the lead car off the main road onto a dirt track that lead through some trees. They crested a small hill in a field and the Farm lay spread out below them. They rumbled into the empty farmyard. Those clinging to the running boards leapt from the cars and started running towards the barn. Spiegel yelled for the men to spread out.
“Wilson, take the barn,” he ordered through the open car window. Wilson begrudgingly followed orders and got out. He pulled out his revolver and started trailing after the agents that stormed the barn.
Spiegel watched him leave and turned his sights on the dark farmhouse. He walked through the overgrown grass up to the porch. The house was still and quiet. He heard the shouts of the men in the barn and the bunkhouse. A few workers were being hauled outside and thrown on the ground,
The wood planks creaked as Spiegel stepped on the porch. He paused, then put one foot directly in front of the other until he was at the door. The house was still silent. He hoisted the Thompson gun up to the crook of his arm and put a hand on the doorknob. It clicked and the door gave way. In a swift move, he kicked open the door and sprayed bullets in one sweep across the room. The only thing that moved was the threadbare curtain over an open window. Spiegel rushed to the window and looked out. He saw a man hopping the fence to the pasture. Spiegel ran out the front door and around the house. He held the gun up and fired a few more shots before the gun jammed. He tried desperately to clear it, but he had rarely used the gun since training. He watched the man glance over his shoulder as he ran across the pasture and darted into the cornfield.
Micky bolted into the cornfield and ran through the stalks. Even though the leaves battered against him, he didn’t dare slow down. His lungs burned as he ran, but he managed to laugh. For years, he never went near the cornfield until last summer with Delphia. Now it had been the first thought in his mind. He owed her a lot. He’d have to buy her something really nice if he made it back to the coast without getting caught.