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with a polite, "Ready, aim," each time, cuing the four Digger brothers on exactly when to jerk their images slightly and guaranteeing that when the film was developed the farmer would have two pictures of four ghostlike blurs hanging around and on top of two halves of a car in the middle of the neighborhood river. He probably would say something like, "Shucks! They all moved!" But his evidence would be good enough to convince his cronies of the freakiest scene he had ever seen in his life.

The guy was overjoyed about what was obviously going to be a lively topic of conversation for months, and he got his whole family to wave excitedly "Thank you! And goodbye!" at the four subjects of the area's future gossip, before pulling on down the road a few miles to his home where he made the phone calls he promised plus several more to his buddies, a few of whom showed up along with the local sheriff and garage mechanic.

Tumble told the cop he was driving the car when it slipped off the road, because Emmett didn't have a valid license and was still a bit too obviously drunk. As it turned out, the sheriff believed everything Tumble said to him except the part about how fast he was traveling when he inadvertently put the car into a skid by trying to avoid hitting a rabbit. Tumble insisted that he had only been doing forty-five or fifty miles per hour, and the sheriff kept denying that it was possible to do all the things that were done to the car and make the kind of skidmarks that were clearly visible in the churned-up dirt road, without going at least eighty, if not ninety miles per hour. So he told Tumble he was going to have to take him into town before the justice of the peace where the matter would be settled, and he'd pay a fine.

Emmett, in the meantime, was talking with the garage guy about how Hertz would pay the expense of towing it out, and they'd have to pay his price, that is, if Emmett didn't call them first and tell them where it was now located on that back-country road. In return for not calling the Hertz Company until the next morning when it was too late, Emmett asked the not unfriendly young mechanic if he'd be kind enough to drive him and his brothers to the Denton campsite where they were supposed to have been hours before. The fellow said it'd be no trouble at all, and also thanked Emmett for the fifty-to-seventy-five-dollar job he just gave him by promising not to call.

The sheriff was writing something in his book when Emmett walked over to hear the Hun inquire of the cop, "What are the [end page 392]


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