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.But he didn’t think of what he’d heard until a few days later, and by then Rhodes had pretty much forgotten about the whole thing.It all came back to him, though.Chapter TwoRhodes got the call on Sunday afternoon when he and Ivy were watching Randolph Scott, a particular favorite of Rhodes, on video tape.One of Ted Turner’s cable channels had run six or seven of Scott’s movies back to back, and Rhodes had recorded as many of them as he could get on a single tape.The one they were watching was Decision at Sundown.“I never believed those rumors,” Ivy said, taking a handful of the air-popped corn from the bowl on the coffee table.Rhodes took a handful too.He preferred his popcorn soaked with butter and then heavily salted, but Ivy insisted that there was far too much fat in such a concoction.So he settled for what he could get.“What rumors?” he asked.“You know,” Ivy said.“The ones about Randolph Scott.”Rhodes had never heard any rumors about Randolph Scott.He asked again, “What rumors?”Ivy shook her head, making her short hair dance.“Oh, you know.The rumors that he was gay.”Rhodes sat up straight, nearly choking on his popcorn and forgetting all about the movie.“What?”“Well, you know.He was rooming with Cary Grant, and there was that photo of the two of them, and Grant was wearing a woman’s dressing gown ….““You’re making this up,” Rhodes said.Ivy laughed.“No, I’m not.It’s all true.I heard those rumors when I was in high school.”“Well I didn’t,” Rhodes said.“And I don’t believe them.”“Me neither,” Ivy said.The phone rang then, and Rhodes was just as glad.Somehow he didn’t feel like watching TV anymore.Not that it made a bit of difference, even if Randolph Scott had been gay, which Rhodes didn’t believe for a minute, but still ….“Hello,” he said.“Sheriff?” It was Hack.“I wouldn’t bother you, but Ruth’s down at Thurston, and we got a little trouble you need to know about.”Ruth was Deputy Ruth Grady.Even with her out of town, Rhodes knew Hack wouldn’t ordinarily call him at home on a Sunday afternoon if there weren’t some sort of emergency.“What is it?” he asked.“Got a call from down toward Sand Creek.Seems like there’s some shootin’ goin’ on.”“What kind of shooting?”“Didn’t say.Prob’ly just some kids hoo-rawin’ around.But there’s a baptizin’ in the creek today, and the shootin’s coming from pretty near that shallow place that Brother Alton likes to use.”“I’m on the way,” Rhodes said.Sand Creek was about a mile out of Clearview, and it was running just about full owing to the heavy rains at the end of May a week earlier, probably the last good rains before fall.The conditions weren’t the best for a baptizing, but the place that Brother Alton Downey of the Free Will Church of the Lord Jesus liked to use was about as safe as any.The bank sloped gently there, and even when the creek was full a man could pretty well immerse someone without getting out in the creek to where there was enough of a current to cause a problem.Rhodes pulled off to the side of the county road and parked his car as close as he could to the wooden bridge that spanned the creek.There were several other cars already parked there, all of them belonging to the members of Brother Alton’s church.Brother Alton’s old black Cadillac Fleetwood was in front of all the others.As soon as he opened his car door, Rhodes could hear gunshots.He could see where they were coming from, too.There were three young men running awkwardly along the creek bank, and every time there was a clearing in the trees that lined the bank, the men stopped.One of the men would steady his right hand with his left and fire a shot or two through the opening in the trees, and all three men would jump and yell.Then the man who had fired the pistol would hand it to one of the others, who would take his turn at the next clearing.They were shooting at a portable toilet that was floating right down the middle of the creek.It looked to Rhodes a little bit like a silver bullet with its base submerged in the water.There were silver grills around the top near the roof, and there was some lettering on one side, but Rhodes couldn’t make it out.What he could make out was the consternation on the faces of Brother Alton and those members of his small congregation who had gathered for the baptizing.They were standing calf-deep in the muddy water of the creek, hearing gunshots and looking at the silver outhouse that was about seventy yards away and bearing down on them.Rhodes walked down to the creek bank through the tall green weeds and grass.There were quite a few pairs of shoes lined up just at the edge of the grass [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]