Hanson Page 3
    "Was he?"
    "This project and that, one thing or another. He had a good imagination but it was hard for him to finish things."
    It sounded like Frankie Two-Shoes' description of his own inventor father, who'd drawn plans for a failed remote control bell cow. Frankie had later sold the blueprints to Jim Sloan. Prospecting on a creek on the Lemon Ranch, Frankie had seen the Night Slayer's silent, deadly craft, smelled the odor of fresh blood and found the hooves and eyeless head, the killer's gruesome calling card--
    Now Beulah neatly folded her napkin.
    "At first I thought he was just a shy, lonely ranch kid. You know, too little stimulation. He was in ag, maybe ag mechanics, he was always building things. Then one day after class he asked me if Macbeth were like Oedipus. It made me stop and think. After that we were friends."

    That was something fine, I thought, to be a friend of Beulah's.
    "And what else did he talk about?" Glad pursued.
    "Machines. His latest project, what he planned for the future," she said hopefully.
    "What kind of machines?" probed Glad.
    She leaned forward, extending a tanned slender arm, then slipped a dropped slice of lettuce onto her empty plate.
    "I remember he built a chicken house, it was on exhibit at Public Schools' Week. It was really something. All the eggs rolled down conveyors and fell into cartons. Everyone was excited, people crowded around, waiting for him to throw the switch--"
    "Sounds pretty scientific," Glad said.
    Beulah frowned, moving a shapely finger around the edge of her glass.