Cadillac Cathedral

Cadillac Cathedral by Jack Hodgins Read Free Book Online

Book: Cadillac Cathedral by Jack Hodgins Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jack Hodgins
Tags: Fiction, General
with the doors closed.” There was a sort of embarrassed chuckle in his voice. “We don’t want you asphyxiating yourself.”
    “What do you want, Matt? I’m working on something that could ruin any number of lives if I don’t get ’er right. And the clock is ticking away while I stand here shouting at you.”
    All of this was true, though he hadn’t thought of putting it quite that way until now. His own future, Martin’s future, perhaps even Myrtle Birdsong’s future depended upon his making sure this hearse was in top shape before he set out tomorrow morning for the city.
    “I was joking, Arvo. We know you’re a man of good sense. It’s just that I’ve got someone here who wants to have a word. If you won’t let us in, maybe you’ll come out. It won’t take more than a few minutes.”
    “This someone doesn’t have a name?”
    “Ms., uh, Edwards — from a home-and-family magazine? Happened to be in the Store when she heard someone wondering what you were up to. Alice Redmond said she could swear she seen the tailend of a hearse disappearing into your shop a few hours ago.”
    “You sure she didn’t say ‘tail end of a horse?’”
    “If you had a horse in there we’d smell it even through your goddamn three-inch doors. I don’t smell anything but grease and oil the same as always. This lady says she only wants a few minutes of your time. It won’t take her any longer than that to see if you’re a story worth her writing up. Might even take your picture.”
    “Tell her if she comes back around noon tomorrow she might get a story if she can find me. Right now I’m too busy to talk to her or anyone else.”
    There was some whispering and muttering outside the doors before Foreman said, “We’re going. Ms. Edwards may come back tomorrow or she may not. You could have missed your chance to see your picture in a magazine.”
    “I’ve lived for three-quarters of a century without seeing my picture in a magazine. I guess I can manage to live a little longer without.”
    “Suit yourself,” Foreman said, making it sound like some kind of warning. Footsteps crunched in gravel, moving away.
    But then returned. “My father owned a pair of Clydesdales,” Matt Foreman’s voice said. “If you had a horse in there I would’ve smelled the sonofabitch. I think you’ve got a hearse in there. If Mizz Edwards decides you’re doing something illegal you can be sure she’ll hound you till she’s found the truth.”
    “I didn’t hear a word you said, Matt,” Arvo said, turning away. “I’m too busy to pay attention to gossip.”
    Whether or not this Ms. Edwards came back, it was important to get this Cadillac out on the road and heading south as early as possible tomorrow, certainly before Matthew Foreman was awake and spying out his side window.
    Naturally he would not let Bert Peterson or Herbie Brewer knowthat he had more than one reason for making this journey. He would rather be doing this alone but knew it wasn’t possible. Peterson would be furious, Herbie disappointed. You don’t allow your friends to lead you to a great opportunity and then leave them behind while you enjoy the rewards in secret.
    This didn’t mean that if he happened to wake up early he would sit around and wait for them to show up. Nor did it mean that if they did show up in time he would stop for any distractions that intrigued them, or make side-trips for some errand they wanted to run. They would be in Peterson’s Henry J and could do whatever they pleased. He would simply keep on moving steadily down the highway in the direction of Martin’s hospital morgue and, maybe, to Myrtle Birdsong’s home in the city of his childhood years.
    But before doing anything more, he would phone David Henderson to let him know that Martin had made his old friend Arvo his executor, and that Arvo was about to go down to rescue Martin from the city. If Henderson was interested in selling him a coffin today on their way through town,

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