With a slight gesture of his head in Josie’s direction, Clyde said, “First, I need to know what’s behind your girlfriend and Francine Wilks.”
The man had helped him twice today, finding Josie and delivering Dave’s car. If he could also help stop Francine, Scooter would promise him free gas for the rest of his life. Trying to keep the story short was the hard part. He chose to start with Maize and how Galen Reynolds had taken her to Duluth, then he shared how Josie had got involved and how she’d been providing condoms to the girls on the docks for the past couple of years, including what she’d seen the day she’d been arrested. Next, he quickly covered what had happened last weekend and what Ty had told him about Francine.
Clyde listened the entire time, nodding once in a while and glancing toward Josie several times. When Scooter ended his tale, Clyde said, “You left out the part about her being Roger Nightingale’s daughter.”
Scooter nodded and then shrugged. “Because you already know.”
Oddly enough, Scooter was reminded of Forrest.
“I do now,” Clyde said. “My driver, Howard, is a local man. He saw the resort brochures, and knew that was Dave Sutton’s Chevy.” Clyde leaned a hand on the truck’s bumper. “Nightingale has no idea what his daughter is involved in, has he?”
Scooter shook his head.
“And you’re trying to keep it that way.”
“I have to,” Scooter admitted. “There are others who could be hurt. Once I’ve figured out a way to put a stop to Francine chasing Josie, I’ll tell Roger everything, and accept the consequences.”
“I don’t doubt you will,” Clyde said. “I sense you’re a man of your word. I also trust you can keep a secret when it needs to be kept.”
Scooter wasn’t sure how to take that statement.
Clyde gestured toward the field full of cars, and started walking that way. Scooter followed. They stopped far enough away that they could see everyone—Josie near Dac’s truck, as well as Dac and John, all watching the driver now unloading Dave’s car from the long trailer behind the big rig.
“Someday, Eric, you’ll realize the right people come into our lives when the time is right, that things happen exactly when they are supposed to. Usually we’re too impatient to wait for that time. We want everything now, not later.”
Scooter’s spine tingled as Clyde’s gaze once again found Josie.
“I told you earlier today I once knew a woman from Minnesota,” Clyde said. “I thought her name was Rose Nightingale, but I could have been wrong. You mentioned another woman who had gone to New York. I need to know everything you know about her.”
Scooter wasn’t surprised when his instincts wanted to know why this man wanted to know about Karen Reynolds. The only thing he could think of was her husband, Galen. If Clyde had been involved in any of Galen’s dealings, Scooter didn’t want anything to do with him.
“While you’re thinking,” Clyde said, “I’ll mention that I talked to the chief of police in Duluth today. There’ll be a raid on Francine’s business.”
“The chief will call me back with the details.”
Scooter shook his head. “Don’t hold your breath. The police don’t care about some young Indian girls.” It was common knowledge that most didn’t consider the folks on the reservations equals. That whatever happened to them was of little concern.
“They do if they believe J. P. Morgan has Indian blood running through his veins.”
“He does?” Scooter asked. He’d never met the man, but everyone had heard of him.
“He might,” Clyde said. “Who knows what any of us might find if we chase our roots back far enough. The bottom line is that US Steel puts a lot of money in the pockets of Duluth citizens. If the company was to go somewhere else, the town would feel the loss. If you were the chief of police, who would you be more interested in keeping happy? A multimillion-dollar company or a few criminal citizens who believe others are beneath them?”
Clyde didn’t stop there. “I grew up in the slums of New York. The poorest of the poor. I know what it’s like to have others believe you’re inferior. If there is a warehouse full of young girls, which I believe there is, they need to be returned to their families. And I’ll cherish being the man to railroad Francine back to New York. That neighborhood I grew up in was ruled by the Eastman gang. I had friends, family, die at their hands.”
Scooter had been following the man’s every word. “So that’s why you want to know about Karen Reynolds. Because of her husband. Galen.”