Drafting–Colton & Sandy go off-grid

“Turn right on Biesterfield Road. It’s about a quarter mile.” Sandy said from the front passenger seat of Colton’s crew cab Ram truck. The two had spent the past ninety minutes heading west to a house along the southern edge of the Busse Woods Forest Preserve, located just south of Rolling Meadows. Their quest to disappear had led them here.

It seemed their best option. Certainly, they couldn’t stay at Colton’s on S. Princeton, or Sandy’s on S. Farrell St. These places would be the first locations Chicago Police would look once the arrest warrants were issued. Neither man doubted that’s what would happen in court shortly after 10:00 AM on Monday. Hell, the whole purpose of the hearing was to determine whether the defendants would appear in court to face their charges. The judge, the new pro-prosecution judge, would order both men be immediately arrested and held in jail awaiting trial.

Colton turned right, and momentarily squeezed his eyes shut. Why hadn’t he seen this coming? Why wasn’t he more prepared? Why did the damn bank only allow a maximum daily ATM withdrawl of $300.00?

Sandy tried to think of the last time he’d been to Pop’s place. The best he could recall it was three or four years ago. Pop was the only father-figure he’d ever really known, since his biological father had died in his mid-twenties when Sandy was only three. James Todd Hickman was his maternal grandfather, who’d once owned two-hundred acres south of the the Busse Woods Preserve. Over the years he’d made a fortunate selling off twenty to forty acre tracts to eager developers. Now, Pop was gone, as was his only daughter, Sandy and Sarah’s mother, who’d died last February of a brain aneurysm. Any day now, his mother’s estate, which included most of Pop’s estate she had inherited, would be distributed to Sandy and his sister.

Sandy stared at Seibert Landscaping on his right and remembered the physically-exhausting summer he’d worked there. Pop’s had said it would show him what real work was like, and motivate him to do better in school. The only good thing to come out of the three-month torture was the owner’s daughter, the deeply-tanned and delectably toned thirteen year old Rachel Duncan. Oh my, Sandy whispered to himself wondering what might have been if his mother had let him live with Pop year-round.

“What if Sarah reneges?” It was the third time Colton had mentioned the agreement. Although Stella Hickman Brown had left everything in equal shares to Sandy and Sarah, the two had supposedly reached an agreement whereby Sandy would own the Busse Woods home outright, with Sarah receiving an extra $150,000 from Pop’s cash assets for her half of the real estate.

“Again, she lives in Phoenix and has no need or desire for sticks and stones in Rolling Meadows. Oh shit, turn left, right here. Beisner Road.”

“What about the contents. You said Pop’s had a lot of antiques, and several expensive paintings.”

“Get off of it, will you? It’s all in the agreement. That’s where the extra $50,000 comes in.” Sandy pointed ahead. “Slow down. Right on Winston.”

The idea had been Sandy’s. After him and Colton met at Mitchell’s Tap, they’d sat in his truck and brainstormed the safest place to setup base-camp as Sandy called it. After listing a few not-so-desirous spots—including an abandoned warehouse close to Lincoln Park Zoo owned by Colton’s immediate supervisor at work—Sandy had suggested Pop’s house. The only negative being it was ninety minutes from either one of their houses. Colton had reluctantly agreed but was worried that cops or bounty hunters could likely discover the link in Sandy’s ancestral chain.

“Left on Ruskin Drive. About a block.” Pop’s place was the thirteenth house on the left, and backed up to the 3,500 acre nature preserve. Sandy’s mind returned to Rachel Duncan and the summer night they’d hiked to Busse Lake and gone skinny-dipping. Where had his life gone so horribly wrong? Such promise, including an all-expense college education compliments of Pop’s. But, such disappointment? Beginning in the eleventh grade in Chicago. Drugs and stealing had led to juvenile detention and eventually to dropping out of high school. “Here it is, 622 Ruskin Drive.” The last account Sandy had of Rachel was she was married to a Dallas, Texas gynecologist. “Fitting,” he said aloud.

“Uh.” Colton said stopping in front of the two-car garage.

Author: Richard L. Fricks

Former CPA, attorney, and lifelong wanderer. I'm now a full-time skeptic and part-time novelist. The rest of my time I spend biking, gardening, meditating, photographing, reading, writing, and encouraging others to adopt The Pencil Driven Life.

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