At Providence's Gate
Home | Providence Gate Chat | Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter Five | Chapter Six | Chapter Seven | Chapter Eight | Chapter Nine | Chapter Ten | Chapter Eleven | Chapter Twelve | Chapter Thirteen | Chapter Fourteen | Chapter Fifteen | Chapter Sixteen | Chapter Seventeen | Chapter Eighteen | Chapter Nineteen | Chapter Twenty | Chapter Twenty One | Chapter Twenty Two | Chapter Twenty Three | Chapter Twenty Four | Chapter Twenty Five
Chapter Twenty Two


     After the ambulance came to the field and took me away, Matt Hammond received word about Jason Biggs going out in a blaze of glory and taking a security guard and tourist with him in the process.  There also were a total of eight other people injured, some very seriously.  He may have never become the master thief he strove to be, but when it came to mayhem and murder, Jason Biggs would not be soon forgotten.

     On the way to Matts house his pager went off twice.  He asked Maggie to stop for a few minutes while he stepped outside to take what he called a personal call.  Stopping at an all-night Texaco station at Broadway and Loop 410, Maggie went to the ladies room while Matt made his call.

     When she came out of the rest room, Maggie stood in front of the store for a few minutes while she watched her partner engage in a fairly animated personal phone call.  What she didnt know was Ina had originated four pages to Matt, each only a couple of minutes apart.  She had heard about the capture of Jason Biggs on the news radio station and wanted to get a report directly from the man in charge of the investigation, or so Matt said.

     Maggie dropped Matt off at his house and then proceeded north on McCullough, intending to go right home.  When she arrived at the corner of McCullough and Basse, she noticed her right front tire was making a strange noise and was wobbling.  She stepped out of her car and saw the tire was in dire need of air.  With no service stations open at this time of the morning and desperately needing sleep, Maggie decided to go to her brothers house in Olmos Park to borrow his pickup truck until he could get her tire repaired.  What else are big brothers for?

     Her brother was waiting for Maggie when she arrived ten minutes later.  Thank goodness for cell phones he said to her. He met her on his porch, keys to his Nissan Frontier pickup in his hand. Id invite you in Sis, he said, But Ive got company and shes a bit shy.  Dennie, Im just glad you have a friend over, Maggie jibed, You never would have awoken at this time of the day.

     Back on McCullough, Maggie stopped at a traffic light just in time to see Ina Walstein pull out of a side street and head north, the same direction she was going in, the same direction that Matts house was in.

     Although it was close to 2 am, Maggies feminine curiosity was whetted and she would not be able to sleep until it was quenched.  She followed a safe distance behind Ina until she saw  her make the turn toward Matts street.  Then she went up one street further and doubled back down Matts street just in time to see the two of them locked in an embrace.  So much for professional detachment, thought Maggie.

     But what Maggie noticed next gave her more cause for concern.  He handed Ina a silver pistol that was so big it had to be a 44 magnum.  Whats she going to do with that cannon, wondered the inquisitive insurance investigator.  She vowed to keep her ears and eyes wide open from now on.

     When she arrived at Matts house he greeted Ina with a passionate kiss and warm embrace.  She had been upset over a falling out shed had with her father since the  robbery and although her father didnt blame her for the loss, he had decided not to take the San Antonio Diamond Exchange into a new direction at this time.  He remained adamant about his decision long after the Great Western Indemnity Company coughed over a cool five million into his bank account, thereby negating any loss whatsoever to his company.

     I feel like a little girl being punished by her father, she told Matt.  Matt then let Ina in on the news that it looked like a kid named Chris Manning had the diamonds.  Ina was dumbfounded.  She couldnt believe her ears and asked Matt to repeat what he had just said.  He did and she responded with, That little faggot, I knew all the time he was not to be trusted.

     What are you talking about, Matt said finally and Ina set out to explain.  She told Matt she had a platonic relationship with a grown man over 50, who had Chris Manning as his best friend.  Not only were they best friends she went on to say, Manning didnt approve of her friendship with Nick either.

     Wait a minute, that wouldnt be Nick Soto would it? asked Matt.  One and the same, replied Ina, You know him?  Hes the guy Manning almost killed tonight, Matt said.

     It was all starting to make sense to Ina.  Manning had befriended me hoping I would lead him to the diamonds I received, quite by accident, from John Boucher.  But I cant believe Nick befriended me as part of this evil robbery plot, said Ina. 

     Matt told her it sounded as if I met Ina as accidentally as I received the diamonds from Boucher, totally coincidentally.  And aside from Nick, Im the only person in the game who knows what Chris Manning looks like.  She told Matt she wished she knew where the queer lived and Matt said, Calm down, well find him and the diamonds.

     When we do, Ina said to Matt, as she rubbed his groin with her open palm,  lets take those diamonds down to Brazil and make a new life together.  What about your father? her lover asked.  Fuck him, he wont let loose of the five million to start my line of jewelry, so lets you and I just get out of Dodge.

     Matt promised Ina hed seriously consider it and that it was the best offer he ever had.  Now that his wife had been gone for six months he really had nothing holding him to San Antonio.  The more he thought about it, the better an idea it felt to him.

     Ina left Matts place around 3 am.  She had his 44 magnum pistol under his seat and she was determined to find Chris Manning and her diamonds.  She went back to the Walstein residence where she slept until 6 am.  Quickly bathing and dressing, she decided to drive around on the off chance she might see Chris Manning.

     She parked her H2 Hummer in the lot across from the Greyhound Bus station and went inside to eat some breakfast and see if she could locate Chris.  He was no where to be seen.  At 7:30 am, Ina was back in her vehicle, ready to get on the road and continue her search when she saw a woman walking on the sidewalk across the street.  She was carrying an aluminum case and didnt appear at all comfortable in her outfit.

     Then it dawned on Ina, that was no woman, it was Chris Manning.  He was trying to get out of town dressed as the one sex no one would be looking for.  She watched him walk into the bus terminal and since she didnt want to spook him, she simply sat in a strategic place from which she could watch everyone board the buses. 

Very soon her patience paid off when she watched Chris Manning, still in drag, board the bus to Laredo.  She walked briskly to her Hummer and as soon as the big Greyhound pulled out, she fell in line behind.

Although Ina was quite sure Chris was going to the end of the Line in Laredo, a jumping off point to Mexico and freedom, she decided to follow the Greyhound through the four small towns it made stops in.  By the time the bus finished loading passenger in Alice without anyone getting off, she knew he was bound for Laredo.  Once they arrived in the city of Laredo, Ina drove ahead of the bus by mirroring its route and then, in the final four blocks speeding ahead and parking just to the south of the terminal.  She left the Hummer and walked to one corner of the building where she cold see the passenger disembark but they could not see her.

Chris was the second to the last passenger to get off the bus.  He was wearing a white blouse under a blue jumper, pantyhose and tennis shoes.  He had a what looked like a blonde Eva Gabor wig, obviously more suited for someone more than twice his age and his choice of a bright red hue of lipstick made him seem to be a parody of a drag queen.

Ina had the 44 magnum revolver Matt had given her hidden in a rather large canvas bag she had purchased from the Friends of the Library shop in the basement of San Antonios central library.  She saw that Manning was walking toward where she lie in wait and wait she patiently did, until the boy dressed as a girl rounded the corner and almost ran headlong into her.

Chrissy, my long lost sister from San Antonio, Ina cried and gave Chris a big hug.  Why didnt you let us know earlier youd be visiting?  Chris could not believe his misfortune.  He started to run when his nemesis said, Go ahead, make my day.  Ive got a big gun in this bag and I wont hesitate to use it if you make me. 

Chris took one look at the fire in Inas eyes and look of determination on her face.  It didnt take a psychiatrist to certify this woman was halfway crazy and unpredictable.

Do exactly as you are told Darling Chrissy and you wont get hurt, Ina said with a leer on her face she tried to portray as a smile, Now get in the car, the family is so looking forward to seeing you again.

As Chris opened the passenger side door, Ina opened the drivers.  Put your luggage in the back seat, Chrissy, Ina said pleasantly, Ill bet its just chock full of the latest creations.  I can hardly wait to get a look at them.

As she started to back up, Ina placed the 44 magnum between her legs.  She told Chris to remain perfectly still with his hands folded in his lap, like a good little girl.  One false move, she said and you wont ever move again.

As Ina made a left hand turn toward the border the sky opened up and a famous south Texas thunderstorm hit Laredo full force. Where are we going. Chris managed to say, believing Ina was going to cross the International Bridge into Mexico.  Now thats for me to know and you to find out, faggot, she yelled in an absolutely blood chilling voice.

Before entering the bridge, Ina took the last right hand turn in the United States and drove the H2 Hummer into the huge and fairly empty parking lot that borders the Rio Grande.  She navigated the conspicuous vehicle as far from the shopping mall as possible and then stopped and turned to look Chris directly in the eyes.

So Chrissy, are my diamonds in the case? she asked sweetly.  He looked at her not sure what to say.  I asked you a question sister! Where are my fucking diamonds!? she screamed, spittle forming on the corner of her lips.  She reminded Chris of a rabid dog and all he could think of was how to get out of that vehicle.

Youve got your diamonds back, Ina and most of the cash too.  Look, Im wanted by the police in San Antonio. I killed Nick and since Im wanted you know I aint gonna tell anybody you got the diamonds, Chris said trying to negotiate his life back.

Ina picked up the big chrome-coated 44 magnum and said, Chris Manning, you know what you are?  You are a leech and you are a user.  But worst of all, you are a loose end.  And loose ends are bad.  I dont like loose ends, Chris and I dont tolerate them. Do you want to know what I do to loose ends Chris?

Chris didnt answer.  He stared straight ahead realizing there wasnt a word in the world that could save him from Ina Walsteins wrath, so he as stoically as possible stared straight ahead at what little he could see of the Rio Grande through the brush and the trees along its northern border.  He had not given up hope quite yet.  There was always a chance a Border Patrol officer would come up out of the brush.

The storm was peaking in intensity, lightening flashes were followed by immediate and deafening crescendos of thunder.  With each roar, Chris flinched, think it was the blast from the gun Ina was now holding inches from his left ear.

A bolt of lightening struck the International Bridge and counting on a huge clap of thunder immediately following it, Ina squeezed the trigger of the cannon she had been holding against Mannings head.  The bullet traveled from just behind his left ear, through the center of the young opportunists head and out his right jaw, lodging itself in the leather armrest on the passenger door.

Ina put the gun back under the seat and slowly exited the still idling Hummer.  The thunder and lightening seemed to be slacking off, but it was still enough to soak the stylishly dressed murderess.  There was blood and brains and bone on the passenger side window, Chriss seat and even on the floor, but the side window was intact.  What luck thought Ina.

She opened the passenger side door then walked back to her side and got in.  The combination of the rain and wind completely wet the interior of the window turning splotches of bright crimson into rivers of pink.  As the seconds ticked by, nature herself decreased the intensity of the pink hue on the window until it was hardly visible anymore.

Ina then kicked Chris Manning, onto the pavement of the parking lot.  He lost his blonde blood-soaked Eva Gabor wig in the process, so Ina picked it up and tossed it at the lifeless corpse.  Then, she calmly reached over further, closed the door and started out of the parking lot, humming a little tune.