SD Hinton owns The Outsiders and the Shepard clan. America owns the song.
This is the second installment in my Kathy series. It begins where "Every Mother's Son" leaves off.
Sister Golden Hair
I do agree there's times when a woman sure can be a friend of mine…
Tim Shepard gave me one hundred dollars of his cut from selling off my brother's pot. Two days later, he sent his little brother to my house to ask for it back.
"You're shittin' me," I said to Curly.
Curly bounced on his toes and tried to look beyond me inside the house.
"No, I ain't. He needs you to bail him. Everything's a mess. The Devilhawks are fucking us up."
I leaned against the doorframe and pondered Curly and his request. I didn't even know any Devilhawks. Before my brother- who was a Tiber Street Tiger- went to prison, the Devilhawks were small change. Their turf was tiny, and the Shepards handily kept them backed up against the river. My brother used to say their only territory was under the Arkansas River Bridge. Two-Bit called them the Devilfish.
I could only guess that, with my brother in the pen and Adrian Boone dead, the Devilhawks had decided to make a move for Tiber Street turf. The wrinkle in that logic was that they had to move through Shepard Turf to get to it, so they had to take on the Shepards first. They made their move- they jumped Tim at Benny's and Tim got arrested. According to Curly, the gang wasn't functioning without Tim and the Devilhawks were having their way.
"I spent it," I lied to him.
"In two days?" Curly made a face. "What'd you spend it on, Reilly? Sure wasn't clothes and make-up."
He thought he could get away with calling me Reilly like his brother did.
"A little humility, Shepard Junior. The guy being sent by the guy who needs my hundred bucks doesn't get to comment on my clothes and make-up."
"Or lack thereof." Curly didn't get it.
"I spent some of it," I told him, which was the truth. I had filled out the application for Tulsa Technical College, and there was a fee. It would surprise Curly to know that I also bought myself a pair of boots. Not that it was any of his business.
"How much of it?"
"Are you his accountant now? How much is his damned bail? What's he even in for?"
"It's like thirty-five bucks, but he has an old fine," Curly said. "So, it's more like fifty. Simple."
"Yeah, real simple."
"No, that's what he's in for- simple assault."
I shook my head and stepped aside to let Curly in the house. I figured I might as well let him and might as well feed him too. It was going to be a long afternoon. Nothing was ever simple with Tim Shepard.
I guess I didn't look like the girls who usually showed up to bail Tim. The officer behind the desk at the County jail furrowed his brow at me.
"Are you his sister?" He asked.
"No," I said and quit there. I didn't know what to call my relationship to Tim.
"Well, you're not his mom. She was just here. You know he has a fine?"
"You know it's one hell of a fine?"
I turned back to look at Curly, who was sitting on a bench. He was less jumpy on a full stomach. He just looked at me and shrugged.
I asked the officer what he meant by one hell of a fine.
"With the bail, it's one hundred-sixty. He failed to appear on the last charge. He's considered a flight risk. There's the previous fine, the bail, and I guess what you could call a prophylactic fine."
Behind me, Curly snorted at the word prophylactic.
I smiled at the officer and asked him to give me a minute. I walked back to Curly and kicked at his shoe.
"I don't have one hundred-sixty dollars, Shepard. I have seventy-one dollars. Did you know about this before or are you just as surprised?"
Curly raised his eyebrows at me. He looked more baffled than surprised. I guessed he was trying to do the math.
"Eight-nine bucks," I said. "We're eight-nine short. Actually, you're one-sixty short. Whatever's going on here, I think I'm done."
I went back to the counter, picked up my purse and thanked the officer for his time. I walked past Curly and through the station doors. He was right on my heels.
"Please, Kathy," He said. "These guys are into weird shit."
"Like what kind of weird shit?" I asked, still walking towards my car.
"Aren't you into girls?"
"Not like that," he said. I stopped then and looked at him. His voice faltered like a scared kid. Until then the only things I knew of that scared Curly were Tim and the idea of missing dinner.
"Like what then?"
"Doped up girls. They sell them…or rent them out…to the Socs for parties and shit."
"Who told you that?"
"They did- some girls did. They told Tim. He kind of thought they were bullshitting, or he didn't care, or whatever, but then a couple of those Chickenhawk dudes came into Benny's looking for Janine…"
Janine: I guess I knew that was her name. It was familiar now that Curly said it. She was a doper, but she must have had something special going on because Tim didn't deal with dope or users, but he tolerated her. She was pretty, but that was fading fast. She hung around Benny's and Tim didn't seem to mind her hanging on him.
"That's what the fight was about?" I asked Curly. "The simple assault?"
He nodded. "Yeah, they came around to tell Janine it was time to go to work."
"And Tim threw one of them through Benny's window."
"Yeah, pretty much."
I frowned. We had reached my brother's car. I leaned back against the door and looked up at the sky. I didn't want to look at Curly. I didn't want him to know how close I was to giving in. I didn't even know what I was giving in to, but I was close to letting him talk me in to something.
"Where's Janine now?" I asked.
"Don't know," he said. He looked at his feet, and I figured we both knew. "Ain't seen her since Tim went in."
I sighed. "So, I'd guess she went ahead and went to work."
Tim was right: he'd told me only two days before that I was no Al Capone. I was also not Sherlock Holmes, Wyatt Earp, or James Bond. It was a kind of pathetic attempt at crime-fighting, but Curly and I had no choice but to turn around and go back in to the jail and ask to speak with Tim.
"He can't go in," the officer said, nodding at Curly. "He's not eighteen. Are you eighteen?"
"Yes, sir," I said, and began to dig in my purse for my driver's license.
"That's fine. It's not really visiting hours."
"I'd just like a minute. I feel kind of bad- I'd like to tell him myself that we can't get him out."
For the first time, the officer smiled. "I was kind of looking forward to being the one to tell him."
I couldn't tell if he was joking or not. I signed my name to the list on the clipboard and followed him back to the visiting room off of the holding cells.
I'd hadn't been here before. I'd never been old enough to visit all the times my brother was in jail. I took a seat in a plastic chair and waited. The door opposite me opened and a guard let Tim in. He looked surprised to see me. Then he got it, and he rolled his eyes.
"You are not a cheap date, Shepard," I said.
"Fuckin' Curly," he said. He grinned down at the table. "You know, he's fuckin' dumb as a rock, but he sees stuff. Very observant little bastard. He must've seen me palm you that money."
"He must have. Trouble is you have a wee bit more than fifty bucks of bail, Shepard, and I now have a bit less than a hundred."
"Well, maybe they'll take up a collection for me at the church. Sorry he dragged you all the way down here, Reilly. Keep your money. I said it was yours."
"Aren't you worried about Curly?"
"Eternally. What's his problem now?"
"He says the Devilhawks are leaning pretty hard, and Janine's gone missing."
Tim inhaled and his nostrils flared. He bit his lips and then leaned in towards me.
"Can you do me a favor, Reilly- make that two favors: if you're so goddamned worried about my little brother, make him a sandwich. Beyond that, stay home, stay quiet, and stay the hell out of my shit."
"That's more like four favors."
"Baby, just…"He sat back and looked around the room like he wanted to be sure no one heard him say it. "Girl, please, just stay out of it. Honest to Christ, I don't even know what to do on this one. This is way out of my league, and if it's out of my league-"
"Then we got nothing to lose if Curly and I give it a go," I said. I stood up and knocked at the door.
Tim shot up from his seat, but the guard came in and told him to take it easy.
"No, Kathy," he said. "Do you hear me? I swear to God…"
I slipped back out into the station and closed the door between us. Curly stood up. His eyes were wide.
I asked the officer, "If we don't pay the fine or the bail, how long does he have?"
"Holy shit," Curly said.
The officer shot him a look and added, "He has a hearing on Tuesday. If he minds his p's and q's and kisses the judge's ass, there's a chance he'll get sprung with another fine to pay."
Curly smirked. "So we'll see him in six weeks, then?"
"If I was a bettin' man," the officer replied. He told us that Tim's hearing was at two-thirty, if Curly and I wished to attend and give moral support.
I thanked him. My plan was to stay clear of Tim for the next few weeks.