I gave you everything, treated you like a son. Now it's time for payback.


It was another sleepy, sultry Indian summer day in the village of Sleepyside, New York.  Frank Olyfant could hear the Harley’s drone getting louder and louder as it approached Hawthorne Street.  Taking a broom, he began to sweep debris from the shabby foyer of his hotel onto the narrow sidewalk.

“Damned stink trees,” he muttered, glaring up at the scrubby Tree-of-Heaven pushing its way through the crumbling curb.  A sudden breeze sent another flurry of yellow leaves onto the cracked sidewalk, and he gave a final swish of the broom before setting it back inside the grimy doorway.

Standing outside, he shaded his eyes, trying to identify the bike or its rider.  Mirrored glasses, a head rag, boots, and a nondescript black leather jacket were not helpful clues.  Pulling a pack of unfiltered Pall Malls from the rolled-up sleeve of his T-shirt, Olyfant removed a cigarette and tapped it against his palm to compress any loose shreds of tobacco.  He placed it between his lips and withdrew a battered Zippo from his pocket, shielding the flame from any possible breeze as he held it up to the cigarette’s end and sucked in the air to light it.  Snapping the lighter closed, he replaced it in his pocket, never taking his eyes off the newcomer.

By the time he secured his smokes into the sleeve again, the biker had brought his Hog to a stop and set the kickstand.  Dismounting, he stretched his mouth into a grotesque semblance of a grin, revealing his nicotine stained teeth.

“Snake-eyes, you old son of a bitch!” the newcomer exclaimed.

“What’re you doin’ here, Bull?” Olyfant snarled.

“I just stopped by to see an old buddy.  But you don’t seem very happy to see me.”   Bull retrieved a small tin of tobacco and a packet of rolling papers from the pocket of his leather jacket, and proceeded to roll a cigarette.

“I don’t need no trouble,” the hotelkeeper whined.  “The cops have been sniffing around here like a damned pack of bloodhounds since a few break-ins have gone down.  They seem to think I might know somethin’ about ’em.”

Bull laughed, throwing his head back.  “Well, you do, don’t you?”   Hunching his shoulders, he took a few pulls at his cigarette, lighting it from a match he then dropped and ground into the sidewalk with his heel.  

“I ain’t sayin’.”  Olyfant spat, drawing his heavy black eyebrows together in a scowl, but at a venomous glare from his visitor, Olyfant swallowed audibly.  Stepping back, he decided to try to smooth things over.  “Anyway, it don’t concern you.  Why don’t we go inside?  I got to keep my nose clean for two more years, and I don’t want no nosy cops seeing me out here talkin’ to the likes of you.”

“Don’t mind if I do.”  The powerfully built biker straightened his stooped shoulders and stepped inside to the dimness of the small lobby.  “Don’t you have someplace we can talk alone?  Where no nosy Parkers will hear us?” he asked, removing his shades and his jacket.  His beady eyes darted about the area, taking in the exposed stairwell and the two benches against the outer walls, as well as the raised counter and its barred window. 

“Come on into my office,” Olyfant answered.  He pulled a key from his pocket and unlocked a door next to the registration desk, which was marked “Private”.  “Sit down,” he invited.  “What kind of business you got that brings you to Sleepyside?”

“Just two little things,” Bull said.  “Little things you can help me with.”  He bared his yellow teeth again and reached out a large hand to Olyfant’s arm, which rested on the battered desk.  Olyfant broke into a sweat as the grip on his arm became vise-like.

“The first thing is this.”  He flipped Olyfant’s skinny arm over, revealing a tattoo on its inner aspect.  “Just remember, Snake-eyes, your business is my business.  I’m the boss of this rodeo, and there’s only one way out of the ring.”

Olyfant stared hard at the other man’s arm.  It sported a tattoo as well.  But while Olyfant’s tattoo depicted a knotted length of rope, Bull’s tattoo showed the horned skull of a longhorn bull.

Olyfant swallowed in an attempt to moisten his suddenly dry mouth.  “Ah, don’t get yer back up,” he managed.  “I was just shootin’ my mouth off.  What do you want to know?”

“There’s a shave-tail kid I’m looking for, a kid I treated like a son.  I got word he’s in this area, and I want to look him up.  He’s got something of mine, and I want it back.”

“I can keep my ears open.  What’s the kid’s name?”  Olyfant’s eyebrows beetled again as he prepared to write down the name.


Disclaimer: Characters from the Trixie Belden series are the property of Random House. They are used without permission, although with a great deal of affection and respect. All graphics on these pages copyright 2009 by Mary N.

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