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Sin Moved In
CHAPTER ONERiver Glen was a town of some thirty-two hundred persons, set in an out-of-the-way part of Idaho on the rambling Snake. The state highway, which served as the town's main street, crossed the river on a two-lane bridge that dated back to 1915. The highway was now being widened, and this called for a new bridge-one which would be wider, higher, and longer than the old span, eliminating the dip in the roadway as it approached the river.Bids had been received, and a contract had been awarded. The contractor had put out a call for men, and this had marked the beginning of an invasion.Boomers-so called because their arrival turned sleepy hamlets like River Glen into boom towns overnight-had begun streaming in from all points of the compass.Some had heard of the project by word of mouth; some had been notified by agencies and unions; others, who were known to the contractor, had received letters from him.Because of a shortage of transient accommodations in the area, the contractor had put up frame barracks at the construction site about a mile north of town, and the men were being quartered there.It was with varying emotions that the townspeople viewed the arrival of this horde of rough, unattached males. Most citizens were happy that the new bridge was being built at last. Businessmen were anticipating a rush of trade, but the more staid elements of the community were apprehensive about the possibility of trouble. This apprehension was fed by the admiring glances which the younger womenfolk cast at the army of newcomers. To the girls, the presence of these men promised to add zest and interest to what was normally a pretty placid way of life.None knew exactly what to expect, for such an experience as this had never come to River Glen before.Among those most excited by the prospects was eighteen-year-old Ellie Stewart who, on her way home from Central High School, was walking beside her friend Rolanda Peters when a heavy truck and trailer passed them on Main Street, carrying construction equipment to the bridge site. Hanging onto the back of the trailer was a bare-chested young man in hard hat and tight jeans. The latter were unbelted and rode so low on his hips that his navel was prominently displayed. Sun-bronzed, he cocked an arm in jaunty salute to the girls."Hey, look at that," Ellie murmured.Rolanda glanced. Her voice, lower-pitched, was more casual than Eleanor's:"He's a big one, all right. That chest would just about flatten a girl.""But what a way to die," Ellie remarked appreciatively as she shyly returned the man's brash wave with a smile.The heavy trailer rumbled up the street, a red flag dangling from its back, the man looking now for other prospects."They've been coming through all day," Rolanda said. "I saw them when I was walking home for lunch.""Where are the guys gonna live?" Ellie asked. "Gee, the hotel here in town isn't big enough to put all of them up.""They're camping by the river." Rolanda smiled wisely as she added, "And don't think our fathers aren't glad of that.""Why? What do you mean?" Light-haired, pretty Eleanor turned an innocent face toward her friend."You child, you! Don't you know what fellows like that look for as soon as they arrive in town? They're like a bunch of jailors just off a ship.""Oh," Eleanor said. "Well, I don't see why anybody should be worried. The girls around here can take care of themselves.""Some of us can." Rolanda's tone implied that she thought Ellie could not.Rolanda had an olive complexion and jet hair which she wore close to her head, straight except for a saucy curve at the tips. Her coloring gave her a striking and exotic look-exotic, at least, for River Glen, Idaho. She had a confident manner which made her seem older than eighteen.Her chum Ellie was just the opposite-girlish to the tips of her unpainted toes. She used only a touch of lipstick, which was all her mother would permit. Her hair was done in an unsophisticated style. Only her burgeoning figure belied the general impression of childishness. Her breasts had already grown to fair-sized melons, round and high and firm. Her buttocks were chubby, too. But so far her waist had held its own.Rolanda, in addition to being half-a-year older than her best chum, was a couple of inches taller and more angular. Her breasts were pert but not conversation stoppers. Her legs were lean.Both girls were less than a month away from passing from junior to senior level at Central High."How long are they gonna be around, I wonder?" Ellie asked. Because there had been a lag in the conversation, she added, "The bridge guys, I mean.""Until the thing is built, of course.""How long'll that be?""A few months. I don't know. Do I look like a construction expert or something?" Ellie thought aloud:"Gee, it's gonna change the town a lot having them here.""Any change will be for the better, far as I'm concerned.""Now, Rollie," Eleanor chided, "just because you came from Portland, you don't need to look down your nose at us ordinary folks. River Glen isn't such a bad place.""To die in, maybe," was her friend's laconic reply.Just then a noisy car pulled over to the curb."Give you two a lift?" yelled a youth with a plump smiling face and an unruly shock of brown hair hanging over his forehead. He was riding on the passenger's side, leaning out the window."Now he shows up," Eleanor said in a loud voice, ostensibly to Rolanda. "After we're almost home.""Tell him we don't want any," the other girl replied, also loudly."Too bad, Carl," Ellie said. "You missed your chance." They were almost at the corner where Main Street intersected Maple, the street on which Ellie and Rolanda lived, next door to each other.The car continued to creep along beside them and the dark-haired, handsome boy who was driving leaned forward and called out:"Goin' to the dance Friday night?""Who was that meant for, Drew?" Rolanda asked. She knew, of course, but she was trying to train him to be more attentive."Okay, Rollie," he said, "you goin'? ""If someone were to ask me nicely, I might consider it.""Okay! So I'm asking.""Nicely, I said." She kept walking alongside Ellie, facing front."Aw, for cripe's sake!" Drew Michaelson pulled the car to a stop, hopped out, and rounded the rear of the jalopy. He trotted over to the girls, wheeled in front of them, and stopped Rolanda with an elaborate bow. "May I have the pleasure, your ladyship?"Ellie giggled."Really, Drew!" Rolanda said. "Don't be such an oaf.""Well, pardon me for living." He was becoming teed off with her.Rolanda saw this and decided she had carried the game far enough. She said:"All right. I'll go with you.""Tuff!" He brightened. "Pick you up at seven-thirty, huh?""Okay.""How about you, El? You goin' with Carl?""I don't know," she replied haltingly. "He hasn't asked me.""He'd like to take you," Drew said."You his agent now?" Rolanda wanted to know, and glanced at the other boy who was still in the car, too far away to hear what they were saying in a normal conversational tone."No. But I just thought ... ""Let Carl talk for himself," Rolanda advised. She took a tighter grip on the books under her arm and edged past Drew.Ellie didn't care for Rolanda's attitude. She would have been glad to accept the invitation there and then, even if it came second-handed. Now she lagged a little and glanced from Drew to Carl."Hey!" Drew yelled at the youth in the car and swung his arm.Carl, responding, hopped out."You want to take Ellie to the dance, don't you?" he asked his friend with a slight tinge of disgust."Sure.""Well, ask her, you dink!""Will you go with me, Ellie?" He grinned."Yes," she said. "I'd like to.""Are you coming?" Rolanda inquired from several paces ahead."Yes." Ellie gave Carl another quick smile. "See you."He grinned back.After the girls had moved a little way along the sidewalk, Drew said:"You know ... we've got us a fair-sized problem shaping up, man.""What do you mean?""That bridge gang that's comin' into town. They're gonna be on the make for our chicks.""Well, they hadn't better!" Carl stiffened."Just sayin' that isn't gonna keep 'em away." He turned back to the car and Carl followed."Most of them are pretty old," Carl said.Drew walked around the back of the hot rod and slid behind the wheel."You dork! Don't you know the older a guy gets, the younger he-likes it?""But they'd find themselves in trouble.""They live on trouble, bastards like that." Drew put the jalopy into gear and it started to roll. "Anyway, they'll be movin' on in a little while, so what do they care?"The car passed Ellie and Rolanda just as the girls were turning up their street."What can we do about it?" Carl asked."Keep our eyes open. When we see one of 'em trying to move in, we pass the word among the guys. Then a bunch of us manages to be on hand the next time the cat shows up. We make it hard for him to operate. Stay close. You know. He'll get the idea, and so will the chick he's after.""I don't think Ellie would pay any attention to them.""Don't count on it, man. As loose a hold as you've got on her, anything might happen." Drew glanced at the boy who sat beside him and asked confidentially, "You made out yet?""Ellie doesn't do it."Drew snorted a laugh."You don't know chicks very well. There isn't one of 'em that's not waitin' for a guy to put it to her.""You think so?""Shoot, yes! Now, you take Rollie. You'd probably figure she wouldn't let a guy, either, huh?"Carl just looked at him."I'm not sayin' I've made out with her," Drew went on, "That's not the thing for a guy to say. But I can tell you she's a lot warmer when you get her alone than she seems when other people are around. All chicks are, if you give 'em a little encouragement."Carl thought that over silently and Drew added:"That's why we gotta be on the lookout for those bridge guys. They're liable to pick themselves off some quick scores if we're not careful.""Okay, Drew, I'm with you."Drew tossed a hand signal and wheeled the jalopy to the left onto a side street, screeching the tires a little. He gunned the motor, let it idle down, and listened to the pipes. Ashe pulled to a stop in front of Carl's house, he said:"If you're smart, you'll take my advice about something else, too.""What's that?""You and Ellie. She's prime. I know what I'm talkin' about. If you don't make out with her pretty soon, some other cat's gonna beat you to the cherry.""Shoot, man. . . ""The way things are now, you're just invitin' one of those bridge builders to move in.""Aw, Ellie wouldn't. . . ""Will you stop with that Ellie-wouldn't crap? She would. They all would, and will. Take it from a guy who knows."Carl gave him a close look, then swung open his door."See you.""Yeah."Drew gunned the car down the street toward his house, a couple of blocks away, as Carl headed for the concrete walk which led to his front door.Might be a pretty good life, Carl thought, the way those bridge guys live. Going from town to town. He couldn't stand the heights, though. From what he'd heard, the new bridge over the Snake was going to be a deuser.It will be a kick watching the thing go up, he thought.This aspect of the bridge crew's presence loomed larger in his mind than the warnings Drew had issued.At her house, as she entered her room and flopped face-downward on her neatly made bed, Ellie Stewart was thinking about the big man who had waved to her from the back of the construction trailer. He had looked right at her, and he'd waved and smiled. Ellie had gotten a warm feeling that still lingered.She wondered how it would be to have a man like that make love to her. Or any man, for that matter. Even Carl Jennings, who wasn't a man yet but was certainly old enough to do what a man could do.But he hadn't done it to her. Nobody had.The guy on the truck couldn't be too much older than she and Carl. He was nineteen or twenty, maybe. She had noticed that quite a few of the construction guys were about that age.She lay on her bed for a little while, thinking about the men, then about Carl. She would be going with him to the dance in just a couple of nights. Maybe this time he would really kiss her-not the peck-on-the-cheek bit, but a genuine smooch. She'd never been kissed really well in her entire life.As she was thinking about this, her eyes fell to her school books which she had placed on a chair. She would have to get into that geometry homework right away, she decided. That is, if she wanted to watch "Shindig" and "Burke's Law" tonight.That Burke-he was an operator.She got up, reached for the book, lazily, and flopped back onto the bed.The guy had waved right at her!She wondered if she would get a chance to meet him or some of the other men. She wondered how they would act. She wondered how she should behave with them.CHAPTER TWOThe project site, near the edge of the river, was stacked with materials and crowded with heavy equipment. It was dry, dusty, and hot. The corrugated steel buildings, which had been slapped together to house the working crews, resembled the make-shift army barracks which had been used so widely in the Second World War. Allen Sullender was too young to remember that, and he had been in grade school during Korea. He hadn't seen military service in the peace-time draft because of a slight hearing defect. It didn't bother him, except when the construction equipment was going, and then a man could stand at his elbow and shout his head off without Allen knowing he was there.He pulled his blue Mercury, covered with the dust of two states, into an open space amid a collection of parked cars. He cut the engine and got out.The quality of most of the cars around him said something about the men who worked on heavy construction jobs-especially the ones, like Allen, who risked their lives on the high steel of bridges and skyscrapers. It said something also about the kind of wages they received. There were two or three Cadillacs, a couple of Lincolns, a T-Bird, and a Chrysler, mostly current or year-old models. There were others in the Olds-Dodge-Mercury class. But there wasn't a Corvair or a Falcon on the lot. The foreign jobs in evidence were sporty and expensive models-an Alfa and a Jag XKE. The only cheap car was a VW, which must have belonged to someone on the engineering staff because it was parked next to the field office.Boomers made three to five hundred dollars a week, when they were working, and most of them had no family to spend their money on. Even the ones who did, managed to hold out enough to enjoy themselves when they were away from home. A good car was a means of enjoyment in itself, and helped to promote enjoyment of another, more personal kind.Pussy wagons, the guys called their chariots.Among the parked vehicles, Allen spotted the one belonging to Pete Burgos, the guy who had tipped him about the River Glen job.You couldn't very well miss Pete's white Caddie with the miniature steer's horns on the front of it. Though Pete wasn't from Texas, he liked the touch those horns gave his car.Mopping his sweating face with the short sleeve of his sport shirt, Allen ambled across the open area toward the three barracks which were lined up in a row. If Pete was there, Allen wanted to say hello to him before heading to the office.He stuck his head in the first doorway. Two or three men lounged on the cots. Another, in his shorts, was heading for the John at the far end of the long room, a towel and shaving implements in his hands. Pete wasn't among the group.The second building was occupied at the moment by two men, Pete and a younger guy who had a hard hat on the back of his head and tight jeans riding low on his hips. He was standing beside the cot where Pete was stretched out, and he was grinning as he delivered the punch line of a story:" ... so the salesman asked him what Wahoo meant, and the old Indian said, 'Wrong hole'. " The young man whooped.Pete, his lanky form at rest and his hands cradling the back of his head, grinned around the cigarette which was planted between his lips. He was about thirty-five and had coal-black hair, straight as string, and a leathery face. He once had told Allen that he was half Cherokee. The other half was Eastern European stock-Greek, maybe.When he saw Allen, Pete sat up."Well, I'll be a sonofabitch! Look who fell in."At that, the other fellow turned around. He couldn't have been more than nineteen and was big and muscular, with brown curly hair and a face that said he got a kick out of life."Hello, Pete," Allen said with a grin and nodded at the man."Joey, this is Al Sullender. Joey Foss.""Hi, Joe."The young guy stuck out a hand."Glad to meet you. You and Pete are old buddies, huh?""We worked together in Detroit, and Pete tipped me about this job." He looked at Pete again. "Thanks for the wire, partner.""You been over to the office?" Pete asked."Not yet. I saw your horny Cadillac out there, so I thought I'd look you up first. How are prospects?""Damn good. They don't have nearly enough men yet.""Got a spare bunk in this flea-trap?""Hell, yes. Take your pick. The only ones spoken for are the ones with the duffel on the shelves in back.""I'd better check in at the office first.""You won't have any trouble getting on," Pete said. "They're crying for guys. The boss has a couple of men in Boise scouring the town.""Sounds good," Allen replied. "I'm ready to go to work.""What I'm ready for don't have nothin' to do with puttin' up no bridge," Joey Foss proclaimed in his Georgia accent. "Man, there's some good young tail in town!""I didn't see much," Allen said. "It looked like a pretty dull place.""They're all home doin' their homework now," the young man retorted. "When I came through a little while ago, school had just let out. Man, the tender titties! And them clean young legs!""You better not mess with jailbait," Pete warned with a twinkle in his eye. "This ain't like a big city, where you can hit and run.""Ah, balls! You spend your time with some barroom tramp if you want to, daddy. I'm goin' after the fresh stuff.""The superintendent will have somethin' to say about that at the meeting he's called for tonight.""Screw the meeting!" Joey glanced from Pete to Allen. "You don't think I'm gonna waste time listnin' to that sonofabitch throw his weight around when there's good honey fugglin' to be had in town, do you? What kind of a crap-brain do you think I am? How about you, Al-you gonna go on the prowl?""I might go with you," Sullender said good-naturedly."I wouldn't." Pete's expression was serious. "You'd better hear what the super has to say first. Small towns are different. You can get your ass in a sling easy. And the company has to answer for what you do. There's local politics involved.""Politics!" Joey scoffed and turned toward the head. "I'm gonna shower the dust off, and then it's River Glen, here I come. You're welcome to join me if you want to, Al.""Thanks," Allen said, but he didn't commit himself beyond that. He respected Pete's judgment, and if Pete said to go easy, maybe he had better listen to the man.There was no trouble getting hired on. There was the usual form to fill out, followed by a short talk with a red-faced perspiring man in a white shirt with turned-back sleeves. Then there was a visit to the doctor who had a two-by-four office on the site during the initial hiring period.Less than an hour later, Allen returned to the barracks, having stopped off at his car to pick up his bags. Pete was alone."All squared away?" he asked from his horizontal position on the cot."Yep. They don't quibble.""I told you. They're hurting."Allen selected an unclaimed bunk across from Pete's and dropped his luggage there. He pushed one bag onto its side, opened it, and began to load his clothing into the small chest of drawers at the head of the bed."Where's Joey? He take off?""Yeah," Pete said. "His cock was so hot, it was burnin' a hole in his pants.""That's a bad way to be," Allen remarked."You didn't really want to go into town with him, did you?""Not particularly. I thought I'd be friendly, though, if there was no reason not to.""There's a reason to watch your step around here. This outfit, Conway and Griggs, is an Idaho firm. They've got a reputation to protect in this state, and a pretty strong 'in' with the local politicos. If any of their men mess up with under-age town girls, there's gonna be hell to pay. Far as I'm concerned, I'm gonna find me a nice comfortable whore.""I don't like whores," Allen said flatly."Then at least get yourself a girl who's grown up. That pink stuff is dynamite in a setup like this."Allen finished unpacking and announced:"I've gotta get cleaned up whether I go into town or not. That was a dusty drive today.""Looks like you have a clear field back there," Pete said.Allen stripped off his shirt and pants and strode to the John, which had four basins with mirrors for shaving, a urinal trough, and two toilet stalls; at the opposite end of the enclosure was an open shower with three spouts and a concrete floor that sloped to a center grate. He hung up the towel he had brought from the supplies at his bunk, got out of his shorts, and went under the water.He soaped thoroughly, enjoying the needle-sharp lukewarm spray. He rinsed, then gave himself a fast shot of cold water.He felt invigorated and optimistic. Starting a new job always made him feel this way. Arriving in a new town did, too. He wasn't very concerned about what Pete Burgos had told him. There would be action in River Glen, as there was action everywhere else, and he would find it. He wouldn't have any trouble, either, because the girl wouldn't yell, whether she was under-age or not. He would keep her too happy for that.He dried off and strode back to his bunk with the towel wrapped around his middle. Pete was reading a paperback, so they didn't talk for awhile. As Allen put on fresh clothes, he speculated to himself about what might be awaiting him in River Glen.