Mercy patted her on the back and didn’t say anything.
Cade eyed McDonald with a little more respect. The man had been paying attention. Truthfully, Cade hadn’t seen him around the ranch that much and had wondered how he kept his finger on the pulse of everything.Sometimes you must do jobs you hate, McDonald went on. But I’ve always believed in giving one hundred and ten percent no matter how shitty the job is or how much you don’t like the people you work with. What’s important is how you feel because you did what needed to be done and you did it well. McDonald’s eyes were tiny in his bulging, wide face. He always had pink cheeks, but today they seemed more red. His breathing was heavy. Understandable from the effort it must take to move his bulky weight. But he wasn’t a slacker, he was always moving and giving orders.
Cade felt sweat under his armpits. What is he getting at? Is he angry about something?Did I do something wrong, sir?McDonald’s face lit up. Oh no, boy. You’ve done good. I couldn’t be more pleased. I just wanted to hear your impressions of the FBI visit.
Oh. More sweat. They had a photo and asked if I knew him.Cade held eye contact with the large man. I thought I’d seen him around, but I wasn’t certain. Not enough to say I knew him.
A thoughtful look came into McDonald’s eyes, and he evaluated Cade’s words for a long five seconds. He worked around here a bit. It didn’t pan out and I let him go. I don’t know what he was doing at that farm with the fire . . . Maybe he was sleeping in the barn. I don’t think he had another place to go after I fired him. His eyes seemed to darken. The FBI doesn’t need to know he worked here. Sometimes I don’t keep the best employment records.
Cade grabbed the excuse in relief. Understandable, sir.Did you ever count them? Mercy asked.
No, but one time Ned said he had twenty-five. That was a long time ago. He might have sold some since then.When was the last time you saw them buried in the ground? asked Eddie.
Toby ran a hand through his short, straw-colored hair as he thought hard. Last summer, he finally answered. I remember it was hot.Mercy had a thought. Did Ned have stuff buried anywhere else?