The interior of the old Chevy Impala smelled like an open grave. Puffs of red dust rose from the upholstery and showered from the ceiling with every hole or hump in the pavement. Karl sprawled across the cracked, vinyl back seat. It wasn’t for comfort, but to keep his feet out of the rotten floorboard; it was so eaten with rust that he feared he might break through.
“You awake back there?” called Randall, the driver, looking over his shoulder and grinning crookedly. Karl said nothing. He particularly disliked stupid questions.
Tommy, Randall’s brother, twisted around in the passenger seat to look at him. “Almost there,” he said cheerfully.
Karl sighed. If they’re such idiots, he couldn’t help thinking, what does that make me? Another pothole, another bounce, another cloud of dust.
They were on their way to seal a deal.
The Rayburn boys had approached him the night before in a bar and pool hall called The Rack, down across the Louisiana line. It was a Golden Opportunity, and they were dying to let him in on it. They led him to the darkest booth in the farthest corner of the room. They spoke in hushed tones while repeatedly bobbing up to make sure no one overheard. They couldn’t have looked more suspicious if they’d tried.