Shockley staggered out of his unmarked police car unit with unease. He was shaking from alcohol withdrawals. His neck muscles slowly convulsed as his chin bounced up and down involuntarily. His ears felt as if they were bleeding. They were hot and swollen inside after his car had hit the side of the bank building earlier today. He needed a drink. Hell, he needed it yesterday. Chasing Rinehart for almost 24 hours had taken its toll on him. This was how the farmland roads in Nebraska were—miles and miles of straight black and gray asphalt surrounded by wire picket fences and red barns living in the distance. Red barns painted years ago. Now faded and almost reddish-black, they looked burnt and grossly faded from his viewpoint. After the failed bank robbery attempt, Shockley had received the call in his unmarked Brown Seville. He had been parked at the local 7-Eleven downing a 24-ounce Budweiser. He never bothered to hide the fact to anyone in town that he was a stone cold alcoholic, everyone knew that anyway. They also knew he was a cop, so they left him alone to do what he wanted. In the middle of drinking it, the call had come in over the car radio: Rinehart Carlson had escaped from the state prison two days earlier and had already robbed two banks in the vicinity. While in the middle of robbing the first one, he had plugged a retired school teacher with a sawed-off shotgun that he had procured from one of those same red barns Shockley had trouble viewing in the Nebraska cornfields. While cashing her monthly social security check to buy the monthly ration of cat food,(not for her cat--the schoolteacher didn’t have one) Rinehart had graciously put her out of her misery and taken out the windshield of the schoolteacher’s car (along with her head) at the same time. So here was Shockley chasing Rinehart for the second time in seven years and hating every minute of it. The last time, Shockley had caught Rinehart while lounging in a local bar right after he had destroyed a church with a gasoline can and a match. Seems this time, Rinehart had decided to move up in the world. Yep, moved right on up, just like George and Weezy. MORE...

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