Angola LaGrange: The Faded Pink Road Part 3

The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. It was supposed to be a simple retrieval job. Go to a small town in the middle of nowhere, pick up an old, graffitied, pink flamingo, then head back

The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. It was supposed to be a simple retrieval job. Go to a small town in the middle of nowhere, pick up an old, graffitied, pink flamingo, then head back home. And it would have been, if my car hadn’t been tee-boned on the way out of town. When I woke up I was tied to a chair, held captive by two rough-looking men in the back of an old service station. A little trickery and a conveniently timed customer gave me an opportunity for escape.

Read the full details Here and the unfolding case below.

I rocked the chair left, then right. My legs tied to the chair’s gave me a good feel of how far I was tilting, but not great leverage.

Left, then right.

I stretched my feet as best I could to muffle the impact of the landings while trying not to kill my momentum. There was no telling how long my captors would be occupied.

But they could be back at any moment.

Left, then right.

I was in no shape to fight, even if they hadn’t bothered to take the gun out of my purse—a big “if.”


Best to escape before they returned.

How far was the town from here? Or my car?


The bell chimed softly from the front of the service station.

Time’s up.


I threw myself hard to the right. My shoulder and knee hit the floor first. It hurt, but not as much as the car crash.

The chair warped and cracked. The legs didn’t break, but the slat holding the rope around my hands did.

I disentangled myself as best I could. My hands were still bound behind me, but not being held against the chair back gave me better leverage on its legs. I strained and they came loose with a snap.

I didn’t bother trying to untie the ropes that held the chair legs to my own. No time. Instead, I stepped backward through the loop of my bound wrists. Pain shot through my left leg as I put my weight on it.

Any second now, one of them is going to come back through that door.

I gritted my teeth and pushed through. My balance was wobbly, but I didn’t stand a chance without the use of my hands.

I grabbed my purse off the shelf behind me. I knew they’d checked it, and they’d be fools not to take my weapons, but I’d be a fool not to verify that.

The pistol and baton were both gone.


I snatched a wrench off the shelf and hobbled out of the sightline of the door. The garage was bigger than I’d given it credit for. There were two rows of the big shelves, packed with odds and ends. I couldn’t see it from where I hid, but there had to be a roll-up bay door.

Probably on the other side.

With my injuries, I could stay upright, but I couldn’t run. Maybe I could make it outside before they caught me, but no farther.

Plan B then.

I chucked the wrench up over the shelves, trying to land it by the far wall. I ducked down and crammed myself onto the bottom shelf, like the attendant’s corpse.

The wrench clanged off the metal wall and concrete floor.

One of my captors shouted from the other room.

I pulled myself deeper into the recess. My face was toward the wall, so I was blind, but I didn’t want them seeing my face peeking out.

The door burst open, and two sets of footsteps raced across the concrete.

Trouble swore. “Where is she?”

A thin plastic bottle bounced off the floor.

“How should I know? I was talking with you.”

“You shouldn’t have left her alone.”

Their voices moved closer.

“Look, her purse is gone, but she left the flamingo.”

“If we can’t find her before he gets here, it’ll be our heads on the block. Go check around outside.”

One set of footsteps retreating. The creak and bang of an old metal door opening and closing.

The footsteps that remained were slow, methodical.


As he passed by, I held my breath and dearly wished I hadn’t thrown my wrench away.

He paused, about level with my head.

The crack-hiss of a match striking up, followed by the smell of nicotine.

My lungs burned; my body ached.

Move on. Move on.

If I was in better shape, I would have jumped him while he was distracted. But unarmed, bound, and injured, I couldn’t move fast enough to get the drop on a small child, much less a thug with a gun.

The footsteps moved on, but the tobacco lingered.

I allowed myself a few shallow breaths, even though my lungs begged me to gasp.

The gunman made the circuit of the room twice before I heard the door again.

He called out to the other man. I thought there was a reply, but I couldn’t make out the words.

The metal door banged shut again.

Now or never.

I half-crawled, half-rolled out of the concealment of my shelf, quietly as I could.

Every screw that fell to the concrete sounded like a gong to me.

I wasn’t quite out yet when I heard the footsteps.

No time to hide again.

I gave up subtlety. The shelf rattled as I clambered out. I grabbed the nearest tool as the footsteps drew closer.

Trouble came around the corner with his gun raised.

He screamed as I drove the screwdriver into his knee. His momentum brought him down on top of me.

I shoved him off as best I could while I reached for his gun-hand.

He cursed me as he struggled to regain the upper hand.

His pain was fresher than mine, but he wasn’t as injured. And his hands were free.

In moments he’d be free of me with the gun. Then it would all be over.

I shifted my grip from his hand to the gun and twisted. He hit my bad shoulder with his other hand. I kicked the screwdriver handle sticking out of his knee.

He screamed again, and I came away with the gun.

I slowly got to my feet, keeping the pistol trained on him.

Unarmed and beaten, he turned his attention to nursing his ruined knee. But there was murder in his eyes.

“Where’s the other one? Not-doctor?” I asked.

“Looking for you.”

“Call him back.”

“Can’t, if he didn’t hear me yelling.” He said through gritted teeth.

“Have him look at that knee when he gets back. If he wastes time coming after me, you’ll never walk right again. “He growled, but didn’t say anything.

I took my purse, his gun, and the flamingo—I didn’t want to have to come back for it—and hightailed it out of the service station.

Well, it was more of a fast hobble. My body couldn’t handle more than that.

It was dark outside, save for the flickering lights of the service station. There were no cars in the parking lot or at the pumps.

Not-doctor must have taken their car to look for me.

I limped out to the road and checked both ways. No sign of anyone. I chose to follow the road back toward Pattonville. It was a lot farther than I wanted to walk, especially on my gimped legs, but I knew there were people that way.

I stayed off the road. Instead I walked along the tree line, ready to throw myself deeper into the shadows.

I hadn’t made much progress when the headlights came into view. They were coming toward me, toward the service station.

Is this Not-doctor returning from his search or an innocent passerby?

I didn’t have long to decide—hide or return to the road and hope whoever stopped could help me.

The headlights didn’t look like the ones I’d seen just before the crash, for what that was worth. Those would likely have been smashed up now, where these were fine.

So smashed up they had to get a different ride?

Still, I couldn’t hobble all the way back to town. I tucked the pistol into my purse and staggered up to the road.

The car zoomed past me before the brake lights bathed the pavement in red.

I hurried after it, keeping my good hand hovering close to my purse, just in case.

A man in a wide-brimmed hat got out of the driver’s seat. “Ma’am? Is everything alright?”

“Sheriff Nelson?” Relief flooded through me. “They hit my car. Two men holed up in the old service station. They killed Gus.”

“Whoa, slow down. Angie, right?” He held out his hands to steady me.

I nodded. “That’s right. But you need to hurry. Call for backup.”

“Are you hurt?”

“Yes, but I’ll live.”

“Come on, let’s get you settled while I call this in.” He opened the door and helped me into the back of his car.

The familiar smell of vomit and my fading adrenaline threatened to bring my nausea back.

I collapsed into the seat and tried to keep my lunch down.

Nelson climbed into the front and got on the radio. “You there, Hank? Yeah, come on back. I’ve got her.”

To Be Continued…


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