Here’s one of my favorite scenes from The King of Round Valley, my most recent and about-to-be-released novel. (I’m currently going through the paperback proof.) It features two of five bad guys in the story, Acorn and Bear. I like it because it demonstrates a couple of things:
One, the life of the criminal can be soooo boring. Acorn and Bear are sitting in front of Hopper Rigo’s house, waiting for Hopper to come out. Sitting around and watching a house is boring, and the time has to be filled with something. How about some idle chatter?
Two, the scene shows that these guys are dimwits. Violent and vicious, but dimwits nonetheless.
The setup: Hopper has been selling meth for Joe Pina at his school in Covelo. Hopper’s in middle school. Joe was selling meth without permission, got beat up by the main bad guy, Sergeant Johnny Pipe, then was told he had until the end of the day to get out of town. Joe wanted his cash and leftover meth from Hopper because all he had was a hundred forty bucks and change. How far would that get him?
Pipe sends Acorn and Bear to Joe’s trailer to make sure Joe leaves town on time. They get there a little early, and because they’re not real bright and didn’t quite understand their instructions, they beat Joe to death with baseball bats and bury him in the foothills surrounding the reservation.
Acorn and Bear set up this meeting with Hopper under the pretense that they’re going to score some meth from him. What they’re really planning on doing is recovering Joe Pina’s cash and leftover meth for their boss, Pipe.
Acorn and Bear sat in Acorn’s pickup, across from the Rigo’s house, down a bit on Lovell.
Bear said, “How long do you think it’ll take Joe’s body to become, you know, all filled with worms and shit?”
Acorn said, “I bet a couple of days.”
“We didn’t put him in no casket or nothing. We just stuck him in the ground and threw dirt on him. The worms don’t have to chew through anything so they can get to him faster.”
“I thought it would take more like a week, maybe two. The worms gotta find him first, then dig down to where he is.”
“Don’t you know worms are everywhere in the ground? They don’t gotta dig down to Joe, they’re already down there with him. We probably cut some up when we were digging Joe’s grave.”
“I don’t think so. There would be too much, you know, weight on top of them. From all the dirt. It would smash them.”
“Then how could they dig through it if it smashed them?” Acorn turned and looked at Bear. “Huh?”
“Because when you dig through dirt, you make a hole for yourself. So you don’t get smashed.”
“Man, you don’t know what you’re—”
Someone exited the Rigo’s house through the front door, a slender youth with hair down to his shoulders.
Acorn said, “About time.”
In my next post I’ll relate the story I found online that gave me the names Acorn and Bear.