General Fiction posted October 30, 2022 Chapters:  ...20 21 -22- 23... 

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Miranda supervises Aaron and Waylon.

A chapter in the book The Miranda Chronicles

Fool on a Washer (Miranda)


***So far, Miranda Jessup Buckley, has been jilted, fired, and left to raise her ex-lover's child.   Now, after a very rough day at work, she finds herself supervising Aaron and Waylon as they dive in Haynes Pond. ***
The biscuit is good but very flaky and I feel bad that I am getting crumbs all in Aaron's new truck.  It is a fully loaded, top of the line vehicle.  Dougie had a nice truck but nothing compared to this.
"You ready for this," Aaron says, looking around me to speak with Waylon.  
"Miranda says we have to call the police if we find a skeleton."
Aaron looks at me quizzically.
"Why not?  What are your plans for it, if you do find one?"
"I don't know.  Haven't thought about that.  I mainly want to get down there to see if the liquor is in the car.  That could be worth a fortune."
I cock an eyebrow.  "For real?  You think liquor in rusted top Mason jars at the bottom of Haynes Pond, is gonna make you a millionaire?  Aaron Earl, you need a new retirement plan. "
"I'm hoping we find a dead body," Waylon says quietly.
I nudge Waylon because the dead body in question is related to Aaron.  And, even though they never met, family is family.
"Guy said he'd meet us down here," Aaron says as he pulls down the narrow dirt road that runs along side of Haynes Pond.   
Aaron puts it in park then looks at me.  "You know, we make a pretty good team.  Waylon and me are the brawn and you're the brains."
I choke back a laugh.  "You need higher standards, Aaron.  If I'm the brains, you are in trouble."
"You're one of the smartest people I know.  Maybe not book smart, but people like that are suckers.  You, you're smart.  You don't fall for stuff.  You're a great judge of character."
An image of Farley and then Dougie go dancing through my mind.
He turns to look behind us.  "Good, he's here."
Both he and Waylon scramble like two hound dogs at feeding time, out of the truck.  I am reluctant to leave the mosquito-free cab.  But I realize if this guy is giving important information to the two of them, someone needs to be paying attention. Since I am the newly anointed "brains" of the group, I better live up to that.
Ten minutes of instruction and Guy leaves.  He either thinks those two are completely competent or he thinks he's a gifted teacher.  I don't share his opinion.
"Are y'all gonna set up hand signals to communicate?"
Aaron smiles knowingly at Waylon.  "That's why she's the brains."
He scrunches his nose as he's thinking.  "Okay, obviously thumbs up is yes.  Thumbs down is no.  What else do we need?"
"How about help?" I say.
"Miranda, what could go wrong."
"Best case scenario ... nothing.  Anything. Or worst case ... everything."
"How about we pretend to choke ourselves."  Waylon grins like this is a big silly game.
I reach over and grab his arm. "Hey.  The only reason I agreed to this idiotic idea was because I thought you were responsible enough and taking it seriously. So, you have five seconds to come up with a signal, a serious signal for help, or I'm pulling the plug on this."
His face goes serious then pouty.  "Fine.  How about fist and hand wrapped around wrist."
"That's better.  Now y'all have one hour.  No more, preferably less.  Go on."
They pull the rubber fins on and start their awkward trek into the muck.
I want to go back and settle into the truck but I know I'll lose my mind if I can't keep an eye on them.  Warily, I look towards the brush and thicket that blocked the otherside of the bank.
"And to think, I used to laugh at soccer moms for wasting their time.  Who's laughing now, Randa?  Not you."
It's a quicker pass through the overgrown brush this time.  I guess I cleared it out a little the last time.  Only a few scratches this time.  I look around for a place to sit.  There's all sorts of junk around.  A refrigerator with no door, an office chair, a washer with the lid duct taped shut.  Even a couch.  I opt to sit on the washer.  I have a nice view and my feet are out of water moccasin range.
Aaron sends me a thumbs up and dives under.  Waylon looks towards me and raises a finger, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that it was his thumb.  He, too, disappears under the surface.
I know they have tanks of oxygen but after five minutes of no surfacing, I hop down off the washer and start pacing.
Four more minutes pass before Aaron pops to the surface.  "He got the trunk open!"
"Why's he still down there?" I holler.
"He's trying to get into the car."
"No.  No, tell him to get away from it." 
Aaron nods and waves as he puts his mouth piece in.  He ducks back under the surface.  After several minutes more, he comes up and hollers they are making more progress.  Submerged yet again and stays under for what seems like ten minutes.  And for all I know, it could have been.  Waylon comes up and waves at me like we are suddenly best friends.  Then he slips back into the murky water.
Twenty seconds later, both Aaron and Waylon come splashing to the surface.  They're both swimming towards me.  
"What's wrong?"
"Waylon found another car down there.  It wasn't just my uncle's car that went down when the bridge broke.  Someone else went down too."  Aaron leans over, putting his hands on his knees.  "My granddad never mentioned that."
"Cause it was the fuzz," Waylon says.
Aaron shakes his head.  "It's cause he didn't know.  They thought my dad's uncle was alone when the bridge collapsed.  He was getting chased.  I'll bet that's a Fed in that car."
I look out at the spot they've been diving around.  It's so calm yet underneath it's a secret graveyard.
"I know you said an hour, but please can we have some more time.  You don't understand how important this is."
I want nothing more than to say no.  Time's up and I fulfilled my end of the bargain.  But there is a look on Aaron's face that I've never seen before.  It's a look of pure desperation.  I can't take it.
"Thirty minutes.  No more, no less."
Impulsively, Aaron kisses my cheek.
"Aaron," I say in surprise.
"You had that coming."
To be continued ...


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