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Our Porous Border, Chapter 2

The US guard slammed the passport closed and yelled at the intercom, “CODE RED. CODE RED. I’ve got a live one here!”
Jacob floored the accelerator and the small car leapt ahead as if stung by a wasp. The car streaked past the guards running out of the guard room and slithered around the barriers that were already closing. In a few moments, he was well away from the actual border but could hear the sirens wailing and cars starting up with aggressive throaty roars as they headed out in pursuit. He realized that he didn’t have much chance with them once they all got on the highway. Furthermore they would radio ahead and police cars would soon be streaming in from all directions.
He scanned the ditches ahead and caught the slight signs of a farmer’s track ambling through the field on his right. Without really thinking he threw the car into a skid and down the track. It was no more than a grass strip but it was clear sailing—though dangerous at the speed he was driving. Almost at once the track plunged under a paved road via a semi-circular culvert. It was a slim chance but at least it was cover, from both the highway leading from the border crossing and the air. Thus concealed, he just sat and waited. He waited shivering through the sounds of screaming motors, through the sound of urgent sirens, through the flashing of countless emergency lights and even, later on, through the throbbing sounds of a helicopter. The search was truly on. If only darkness would come before they discovered him.
And indeed, once more he was blessed with undeserved good fortune. In their haste to cover the ever-expanding territory of the search, no seekers every discovered the close-by farmer’s grass track.
And now finally it was getting dark. It had been a heavily overcast day so there would be no moon. It would be ideal for his escape, or at least as ideal as it could be considering the circumstances. Escape? He had no plans. He just tuned his mind to be ready for whatever fortune might provide.
As night fell, the searching forces moved further and further away. They must have assumed that he had gotten further in those first few moments than they had reckoned. However they knew that all exits from the larger search area were now covered by rapacious forces eager to jump in for the kill. It was only a matter of time.
At midnight Jacob considered that it was safe enough to explore. He didn’t dare take the car out from cover. The noise of the engine starting up in what was now comparative silence was too risky. He would walk.
He opened the car door and stepped out onto the dirt in the culvert. He closed the door ever so quietly and walked along the path in the opposite direction from which he had come. It was essentially smooth going, despite the path being grass and that somewhat longer than he had expected. Shortly he came upon a simple farmer’s cottage. He carefully circled the building. A more travelled track came in from the other side. There were no lights showing but after all it was midnight. He noted an older model Ford parked by the side of the house. Further on he came across the telephone cable and yanked it from the wall. He figured that anyone still living in a farm house in the middle of developed land might be old fashioned enough not to have connections to the web. It was just another chance he would have to take.
He tried the front door. It opened easily on well maintained hinges. Inside it was even darker. The all pervading sky glow hardly penetrated at all. He moved cautiously but nevertheless he overturned a small table with an accompanying appalling crash. He froze.
“Henry! Did you hear that?” An elderly woman’s voice came from the next room.
“Mmm,” came the sleepy reply. “What’s the trouble ?”
“Henry. Someone’s or something’s in the living room.”
“Is that so?” Henry answered mildly, obviously still sleep bound.
“Henry, get up and see what it is.”
The light was turned on throwing a little illumination into the living room. Jacob picked up a heavy cane from a stand at the door and crouched behind a large arm chair. Henry stumbled into the room. When he passed the arm chair, Jacob swung the cane and caught him across the throat. Henry dropped with no more sound than a sack of flour toppling over on the floor.
“Henry? Is everything all right? Henry? HENRY? You OK?”
Jacob could hear the woman shuffling out of bed. He crept up to the lighted doorway and dealt with her in the same ruthless manner as she emerged. The house returned to an uneasy silence.
Jacob turned on a couple of lights and went through the cottage for money and weapons. He found the man’s wallet containing a couple of hundred dollars. The wallet revealed that the man was Henry F. Klinger. It was old style driver’s license without a photo. Good luck! He put it in his pocket. You never knew when a new identity might come in handy. He stumbled across a set of keys, probably car keys for the Ford outside. He also found a repeating Remington rifle plus some ammunition. He wasn’t familiar with this kind of rifle but a gun was a gun. Yes, he would have preferred a handgun but in this game you took what fortune handed you. He loaded the rifle magazine with bullets and levered one into the chamber.
He found some scissors in a sewing kit. A handy weapon. But best of all he found a bathroom complete with men’s accessories. He used the scissor to cut his beard as short as he could. He washed his face, lathered and used the razor to tackle the remainder. Eventually he got a clean shave. He looked like the old Jacob again.
He took the rifle and went outside for more explorations. He discovered that indeed the keys were for the Ford. He quickly decided that he would make his escape in that car. He stashed the loaded gun in the back seat. The back seat was crammed with all sorts of farmer’s junk but he managed to wedge the gun into the space and position it so that he could grab the inconspicuous muzzle and retrieve the gun readily. He had no idea how he would get back to Canada but he would cross that bridge when he came to it.
Morning was approaching. The sky was a little brighter now. He thought it light enough to drive the Ford on the more used track to the highway—without lights. (Once on the main road he would turn on his lights to blend in with whatever traffic there might be.) He followed the trail and when he saw the highway ahead he waited, lights out, motor running, until there was no traffic passing. Then he darted out put on his lights and tried to act like any night traveller. For the next ten minutes it was all smooth sailing and he started to make plans for his next move. Would it be worth while to carry on to Evanston and hack off a bit of gold from the bar? Damn it, he had left the hack saw in the abandoned rental car. But he could always buy another next day. There was nothing suspicious about buying a hack saw. The weak point in that plan was that he had told the Border Guard that he was bound for Evanston. They’d have the town staked out for sure. Scrap that idea.
He reckoned that somewhere out there the authorities would have ringed the border crossing point and would be checking all traffic. How was he going to avoid that? Could he fake his way through as Henry F. Klinger? It was a big chance but maybe his only one. He thought the odds would be better if he were one of a string of cars rather than a loan driver in the very early morning hours. He pulled into an empty parking lot at an all night Tim Hortons. He went inside and ordered a large black coffee and a donut and took that back to the car. He slumped down in the seat, sipping his brew, nibbling at his donut, making plans and waiting for morning.
In an hour or so dawn lit up the scene and early drivers drifted into the parking lot for their AM fix. No one appeared to notice that the Ford had been there for over an hour. He planned to be just one of the morning rush hour drivers. He prayed that the strange car and no beard would let him through any road block. But if he were stopped and a search was imminent, he would have no option but to shoot the examining officer and once again rely on his wits and surprise to escape and outrun pursuers. Not a great plan but what other options did he have? He had no illusions but that the original murder of his girl friend two years ago, plus possibly one or two more—Henry the farmer and his wife—would not endow the cops with much mercy. At eight o’clock he started up and eased his way onto the throughway. From the outside the Ford and its non descript driver looked just part of the sleepy mob driving to work.
Well, he had figured that one out correctly. Up ahead the traffic had ground to a halt. He could see up the long line of cars to the flashing lights of the police cruisers. The cops were questioning and examining each car as their suspicions dictated. It was agonizing watching the cars inch forward. Some drivers were asked to leave their cars for the moment. Others were waved through rather quickly. He had no idea how the examiners decided on how thorough to be. Several times, as he was stopped, he checked the Remington to make sure it was accessible. He arranged one of his socks over the muzzle so it was concealed.
Now it was the turn of the car in front of him. The officer leaned in the window and asked a few questions. Jacob suddenly realized he didn’t know any of the businesses in the area so if he were asked where he worked he could only make a wild stab. In fact, he didn’t know the area at all well. Not good. Not good. He tried to relax. He realized that his arm pits were wet with anticipation and fear. The car in front drove away. He inched the Ford up to the office and opened the window.
“Good morning, sir. May I see your driver’s license please.”
He reached in his back pocket for Henry’s wallet. He detached the driver’s license and handed it to the cop.
The cop examined it. “And where might you be going today, Mr. Klinger?”
“Oh, I’m just driving through, Officer. I’m on my way to Rochester.”
“And what part of Rochester?”
“Well I know how to get there but I can’t quite remember what the street is called.”
“And what is the purpose of your visit?”
“I’m visiting my aunt. She’s not well. I think she may be dying.”
“But you don’t know the name of the street where she lives?”
“I know where it is but I can’t remember the name.” Jacob was sweating now—visibly!
“How about your aunt’s telephone number?”
Jacob realized that he was the object of some suspicion. “I’d have to look that up in the telephone book.”
“What is your aunt’s name?”
“Ah-h. She’s Aunt ah Milly. Aunt Milly Mainster.”
“Milly Mainster?” repeated the cop thoughtfully. “Would you mind stepping out of the car, sir.”
Jacob realized this was it. Time for plan B. “Officer, I just remembered I have her address and phone number in the back seat.”
He opened the car door and presented his back to the officer at the same time reaching back and grabbing the muzzle of the Remington. As he put one foot on the pavement he pulled the gun towards himself. The rifle was stuck. He pulled it with more vigour. Something of all the farmer’s collection on the back seat, caught in the trigger. The rifle fired. The bullet went up his arm and through his right temple and emerged on the other side. Jacob had made his final escape.
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Somewhere hidden in Evanston is a bar of gold worth maybe $50,000, but no one living knows where.

6 Responses to “Our Porous Border, Chapter 2”

  1. Joy MacFadyen says:

    I had no idea you had such a devious mind, Lyman. Good ending – I always hate it when a murderer escapes justice and am pleased that this one didn’t. GB yfJ

  2. Fran Deacon says:

    What a perfect ending for your story,
    and for ‘the cad, of many names.
    Just exactly where can the gold bar be
    found?
    For some of it’s in knowing Lyman Henderson!

  3. Silvana Ness says:

    This is worth those 4 Gold Stars!

    Very ingenious indeed and satisfying.

    Definitely one of your very best, Lyman.

  4. Rose says:

    That was great Lyman. A Creative, fun page turner.
    Well done. Good ending.

    xo Rosie

  5. David Giles says:

    At almost the end of Part One I thought the plot would reveal that the identity Jacob had assumed would have been someone that also had some secret to hide at the border and that would be the rascal’s undoing. Being convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. As it was you certainly made your point that it is fairly easy to create a fake identity and slip across our porous border.

  6. John Crossley says:

    Loved it Lyman. What an unusual ending.

    John.

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