Death Along the Spirit Road

Death Along the Spirit Road by C. M. Wendelboe Read Free Book Online

Book: Death Along the Spirit Road by C. M. Wendelboe Read Free Book Online
Authors: C. M. Wendelboe
thought he always convinced Manny to take these cases. Flatter the Indian, and he’ll do anything , he wanted to tell Willie.
    They drove past Big Bat’s to the Y intersection. A man teetered in the middle of the road by the powwow grounds, and the headlights lit him up. “Henry Lone Wolf,” Manny breathed. For those who never remembered a face, Henry’s would be the exception. His bulbous nose was red and swollen, with deep scarring that looked like someone had used it for a bulletin board. His nose was perched between two close-set eyes, on cheeks that had more lines and spiderwebs than a Rand McNally. He glared at the police car.
    “I’d thought he’d be dead by now.”
    “He is,” Willie answered, and stopped within a cruiser-length of Henry. “He’s just so well pickled he doesn’t know it yet.” Henry danced in the middle of the road as he yelled obscenities at the police car. “I figure ol’ ‘Lone Wolf McQuade’ will outlive us all.”
    As Willie walked toward him, Henry assumed his best fighting stance, balled fists held high in front of him, and flicked out slow, labored jabs at invisible opponents. He spied Willie and threw a limp right cross, and nearly lost his balance. Willie dodged Henry’s fist and spun him around and had him cuffed before Manny got out of the car.
    Willie eased him into the backseat behind the cage. “About Lone Wolf McQuade back there,” Willie explained. “Someone started teasing Henry that he was like that Chuck Norris character, the way he always fought us, and was always belligerent when we arrested him. Now every time we haul him in, Henry feels obligated to fight because of his nickname.”
    “And don’t you forget it, Officer With Horn,” Henry yelled from the back. He banged on the Plexiglas divider with his head. “That you Officer Tanno?”
    “It’s me, Henry. Long time.”
    “Too long. Heard you came back here to clean up that Red Cloud mess these local yokels can’t handle.”
    Manny listened to Henry vent. No use arguing with a drunk.
    Willie parked at the jail and opened the door for Henry.
    “Just wait a minute.” Henry jerked his arm from Willie’s grasp and turned to Manny.
    “What is it, Henry?”
    “These guys didn’t ask me, but I got information about that Red Cloud killing.”
    Manny waited for Henry to continue. “A week ago I was having a right good sleep in back of the tribal building. That girl of your sister-in-law … What’s her name?”
    “Erica,” Willie volunteered, then looked sideways at Manny.
    “Yeah. Erica. She and Jason had a terrible argument. Bad enough to wake me up. Nice night. The windows was open. It was like I was right there with them in that room they was so loud.”
    “Go on,” Manny said.
    “Well, Erica yelled that she was going to tell her husband everything. That things had gone far enough.”
    “Then what?”
    “That’s it. They moved off into another part of the building and I didn’t hear the rest.”
    “What does this have to do with Jason’s murder?”
    Henry shrugged. “It was just suspicious. You know I’m good for it. I gave you good information once before, ’member?’Member when I told you that your brother, Reuben, was at Lizzy’s apartment the night Billy Two Moons was murdered?’Member?”
    Manny “’membered.” He had arrested Henry on a public intox charge as he lay passed out across the border from White Clay. Reuben had pleaded guilty to the Two Moons murder eight years before, and Manny desperately wanted some piece of information, some new bit of evidence to hold high and tell everyone his brother didn’t kill Two Moons. Manny believed then that Henry lied to reduce his jail time, just as he was doing now.
    “And what do you want for this pearl of information?”
    Henry smiled. “Just to be released by Thursday. That’s payday here, you know.”
    The ruse hadn’t worked when Manny was a tribal officer, and it didn’t work against Willie now. He steered Henry

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