Make me, p.40
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       Make Me, p.40
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         Part #20 of Jack Reacher series by Lee Child

  Chapter 59

  They didn’t want to take the crew-cab back to town, because they didn’t want to sit where those guys had sat, so they rode the backhoe, as before, Westwood driving, Reacher and Chang face to face above his head, but this time on the dirt road. Which was slow, but more comfortable. They parked in the dealer’s lot. The salesman came out. The backhoe was examined. It was a little stained by crushed wheat, and a little scratched on the sides. There was a little dirt caked on. And the front bucket had a dimple, where the bullet had struck. Not new anymore. Not exactly. Reacher gave the guy five grand from their leftover money. Easy come, easy go.

  Then they walked south through the plaza. The sun was warm. A kid threw a ball against a building, and hit the rebound with a stick. The same kid they had seen before. They stopped by the motel office, where Westwood booked a whole bunch of rooms. For himself, and his photographers, and all kinds of assistants and interns. The new help at the desk was a teenage girl. Maybe ready for college. She was fast and efficient. She was cheerful and bright.

  Reacher asked her, “Why is this town called Mother’s Rest?”

  She said, “I’m not supposed to tell you.”

  “Why?”

  “The farmers don’t like it. They’ve done their best to bury it.”

  “I won’t tell them you told me.”

  “It’s a corruption of the old Arapaho Indian name. One word, but it sounds like two. It means the place where bad things grow.”

  Westwood gave Chang the key to his rental car, and said goodbye. Reacher walked with her to the diner, where the red Ford was parked.

  She said, “You were headed for Chicago.”

  He said, “Yes, I was.”

  “You wanted to get there before the weather turned cold.”

  “Always a good idea, with Chicago.”

  “You could take the seven o’clock train. Eat lunch in the diner. Sleep all afternoon in the sun. In a lawn chair. I saw you, the very first day.”

  “You saw me?”

  “I was walking by.”

  “I told you. I was in the army. I can sleep anywhere.”

  “Are you going to follow up with a doctor?”

  “Maybe.”

  “I’m driving to Oklahoma City. I’ll drop the car at the airport. I guess Westwood’s interns will bring him another. I can fly home from there.”

  He said nothing.

  She said, “You OK?”

  He said, “We were just in Chicago. Maybe I should go someplace else.”

  She smiled. “Go visit Milwaukee. All thirty-six blocks.”

  He paused a beat.

  She said, “You OK?”

  “Will you come with me?”

  “To Milwaukee?”

  “Just a couple of days. Like a vacation. We earned one. We could do what people do.”

  She was quiet for a long moment, five or six seconds, right to the edge of discomfort, and then she said, “I don’t want to answer that question here. Not in Mother’s Rest. Get in the car.”

  He did, and she did, and she started the engine. She put the lever in gear, and turned the wheel, and they drove away from the diner, and the dry goods store, to the old wagon train trail, where they turned left and headed west, with the road running straight on ahead of them through the wheat, forever, until it disappeared in the golden haze on the far horizon, at that point as narrow as a needle.

 
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