John walked up to the ticket booth and it looked like could be a full house. Just what he needed to happen.
“Hey, John! it should be a great game.”
“Hi Dennis, Let’s hope so.” He handed Dennis $5 and noticed the fundraiser table was directly ahead, and He went over and paid for some tickets for a drawing.
The band was playing pregame music and he acknowledged a few other people who walked by. He wanted to make sure a lot of people saw him here. Tonight could be the night.
The ramp leading to the bleachers was new as they finally replaced those wooden bleachers with Aluminum ones. He wished he had brought a seat cushion as the cold from the bleacher seat didn’t take long to penetrate his pants. He scanned the field and saw the Corvettes parking toward the end zone nearest the entryway. They were there to transport the homecoming queen and her court. Their parents were in a separate group. "This is working out" smiling at the thought. The band marched off the field and the growing crowd cheered as the football team took the field for pre-game warm-ups.
Their maroon jerseys with gold pants stood out against the green grass on the field. He was always surprised how green the grass was in late October. The opposing team got off the school bus parked on the other side of the field. Their blue jerseys with white pants seemed out of place in comparison. Their fans filled the bleachers on their side of the field. The scoreboard clock started the countdown until game time. It was at 28 minutes when he dared to go to the bathroom. He acknowledged a few more people along the way. The smell of the popcorn was enticing and he gave into temptation before he returned. He was happy when the seat was still there. The clock was down to 13 minutes. "There she is", he watched the auburn haired cheerleader, he couldn’t help but focus on her as she always had a smile on her face and he admired her graceful moves. She seemed like a woman among girls. She had to be at least 10 years younger than him but he wondered if she was as mature as she looked. He turned his focus toward the crowd. He smiled, “Looks like tonight is the night” he mumbled to himself. Ted Anderson and his wife Marissa were dressed in their finest. They would escort their daughter Megan to the center of the field at halftime where she would be crowned homecoming queen. He rubbed his hands together as to warm them but it was more from excitement than the cold. This had been in his plan for a long time. The homecoming floats started driving around the field and you could hear the various classes cheer. The freshmen float got the loudest ovation, and the seniors were a close second. That seemed like the usual pattern every year. The floats exited and parked behind the end zone. The kids roaming the sidelines went to investigate. The referees entered the field. The crowd filled in around him. He acknowledged a few more people. Many people knew him as he was their insurance man. Farmer's Guild Insurance. His small office was on Main St. in Reese, Michigan and he dealt with many farmers. Tonight he planned on using his contacts to his advantage. It was time to move on. Ever since Evelyn left him he felt no need to stay in the area. She had taken all his assets and ran off Conner Armstrong, who she had worked with.
The crowd roared when the team ran through the “Rocket” banner and onto the field taking him away from his thoughts. The cheerleaders followed and went to the front of the bleachers. They were directly in front of him when then the PA announcer said, “Welcome to Rocket Football! Tonight we welcome the Unionville-Sebewaing Patriots for the 16th annual “Sugar Bowl.” John heard the crowd erupt from across the field in the response.
“I’d also like to welcome all the returning alumni for homecoming. There will be a homecoming dance in the gymnasium after the game.” John watched the band march in formation across the field.
He heard “Ladies and gentlemen please stand as the Rocket Marching Band plays our National Anthem.”
John stood and put his hand to his heart. He gazed at the flag and mouthed the words to the song. The crowd cheered at the conclusion as they all sat. He watched as band marched off the field. The announcer then named each cheerleader and each one did their favorite move.
He smiled when Mary Brunell was acknowledged. "I wonder if she is on Facebook," he thought to himself.
The band marched off the field and scurried to their section of the bleachers. The teams huddled near their respective sidelines and separated with a chant. The kickoff teams both got in information. The kicker for Reese advanced and booted the ball. John watched the ball arc high in the sky and knew it was a good kick. The Patriots receiver fielded the ball and after 20 yards he was tackled at the 32-yard line. John watched the game, but the thought of his plan kept creeping into his mind. It had consumed him since the day he visited Anderson’s house. They had asked him over to talk insurance and were eager to show him their assets. He could think of nothing else. They had made it so tempting, they didn’t seem too concerned about security, as they led him room to room showing off items to have insured. They had to be the richest people in the area. With his plan, after he took the items, they would be reimbursed and he would sell off what he took. Tonight their whole family was at the game as was most of Reese.
Reese was ahead 7-6 nearing the end of the first quarter. He got up and exited steps he had sat close to. He dodged some kids as he walked into the darkened area behind the bleachers. The concessions building came into view. The smell of popping Popcorn was in the air. He entered one of the lines and gradually moved to the front.
“Hi John, what can I get you?”
"Hi Sarah, I need a dog and a hot chocolate.”
She turned and told another volunteer his order then turn to him and said, “That will be a $1.50.”
He handed her $2.00 “keep the change.”
He moved to the open space between the stands and the bleachers and as the second quarter started. The hotdog tasted good and he was tempted to get another, but instead, he sipped his hot chocolate. When he finished, he headed to the men’s restroom. After he relieved himself, he washed his hands and took a moment to look in the mirror. He still couldn’t see the resemblance to Leonardo DeCaprio that many had suggested he looked like. He was happy with his looks. He left the restroom and stood outside in the area near the exit gates. Okay, John, this is it he thought to himself and exited into the dark parking lot. He walked toward his car parked a few rows away.
John searched his pockets for his car f.o.b and unlocked the door. The red interior matched the outside color on his Nissan Altima. He stepped on the brake and pushed the start button. There was a car approaching on the road he watched it drive past. When the road was clear of traffic he started to Anderson’s place. He figured it would take him around 10 minutes to get there. He kept glancing in his rear-view mirror and felt a surge of panic when any car lights were approaching. “Okay John, calm down," he said to himself.
Soon he was outside the village of Reese, and the streetlights were far and between on the country road. He slowed down and saw the reflector lights on both sides of Anderson's driveway, and drove between them, down the long paved driveway to the house. The woods seemed to swallow his lights. It looked so different at night than in the daylight. He reduced speed with the upcoming curves. The car clock showed him it had taken him 8 minutes to arrive at the house. There were a few lights on in the two story brown brick home. The windows were huge and exposed the inside when the curtains were closed. He reached under his seat until he felt a box and lifted it in view. It held blue surgical gloves. He slipped them on. He grabbed a small gym bag out of his back seat and got out the car. He felt for the f.o.b in his pocket and shut the door. He tried the side door of the garage, it opened. He waited inside the garage until his eyes adjusted to the darkness. He pulled out his cell phone and used it to help light the way to the entrance of the house. He then silenced it and put it back in his pocket. He turned the door knob and wasn’t surprised that it wasn’t locked. The door squeaked when he tried to open it so he pushed it open a little bit at a time until he was able to get in and then slowly closed it. He was in the kitchen and he saw the refrigerator and felt a hunger pain as the popcorn and hot dog didn’t satisfy it. “Not now." he said to himself and felt for the light switch. He rummaged through the drawers and cabinets and was rewarded when he found a big wad of $100 bills in a cookie jar located on a bottom shelf of the pantry. He stuffed the bills, in his bag and moved to the dining room. He noticed a new cabinet in the corner. It was as tall as he was when he got near it. It held dishes and knickknacks and that didn’t interest him. He exited the dining room and saw the long curved stairwell to the second floor. A glance at his wristwatch. “Oh shit,” he mumbled to himself. Twenty minutes had already passed. He smiled at the thought of Mrs. Anderson showing him her jewelry and how much how much insurance she had put on its worth. He went right to her jewelry box and emptied it in his bag. He noticed the drawers that were on one side of the bed. He almost laughed aloud when he saw a vibrator roll toward him when he opened one of them. He hurried to Megan's room they had shown him and went into their her room. He didn’t find anything, but he was tempted to take her diary but exited her room and got out on the balcony. There was another room at the end of the balcony that he hadn’t been shown before. He looked at his watch and decided to do a quick check of the room. He was surprised to see a long narrow hallway ahead of him when he opened the door. There was hesitation in his step when he saw a light from yet another room shining on the wall at the end. There hadn’t been a car in the driveway or garage but the fear of finding someone lingered. "This isn’t a good idea," entered his mind as he crept closer to the end of the hallway. He slowly looked around panic entered his thoughts as he contemplated what he was seeing. There was a bank of monitors along the wall. They were obvious for video cameras. “What the fuck!” he said as he walked closer to the monitors.
“Watch your language pretty boy!”
His body reacted in shock at the sound of her voice as he turned to see an elderly woman who used a cane to support herself. His eyes soon focused on the gun in her hand. “Don’t move! You are in deep shit.” She waited a few seconds and then said with a smile, “Excuse my language.”