Benny and the Bank Robber
Benny and the Bank Robber, no. 1
Mary C. Findley
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Benny Richardson's widowed mother decides to move to Missouri to live on Uncle Tom's farm but Benny rebels on the journey away from his beloved life in the city and the influence of the university community where his father taught. When John Clancy crosses their path and saves them from a sinking barge Benny's mother is seriously injured. She begs Clancy to get Benny to Missouri while she stays behind for surgery and recuperation. Benny quickly learns that John Clancy carries disguises, a long, sharp knife, and too many secrets to make him a safe traveling companion. Benny can't shake the Scripture's promise that God "will never leave thee nor forsake thee."
A card-playing, knife-throwing bank robber, a savage black stallion, and a "cougar evangelist" all play a part in Benny's journey to his uncle's farm and a deeper journey into acceptance of God's will when it isn't at all humanly sensible or safe. Benny's adventures don't stop once he settles in on Uncle Tom's farm and reunites with his mother. His converted bank robber friend Jeremy faces ten years of prison and little hope for the future. Benny faces an implacable bully and finds an unlikely friendship and a long-lost treasure through his dead father. The black stallion Jeremy left in Benny's care turns racehorse but the five hundred dollar prize seems impossible to collect. God allows Jeremy to receive training in medicine and preaching while in prison. Two surprising revelations when spring comes to the farm one more time might turn Benny's life upside down once again.
from Chapter Three – "He'll Go Far!"
"How come you stopped the barge if you already had a good horse? And why were you hiding that black bag under your saddle?" Benny kept talking, so fast that Mr. Clancy couldn't have answered his questions if he had wanted to. And he certainly didn't seem to want to.
"It looked just like the bag Mr. Carlisle put on the train -- and the one that man in the black suit was carrying. What was in all those bags? Or -- was that you pretending to be somebody else again? Were you the one that killed that man at the bank and stole the money?"
Mr. Clancy had been staring at him all this time without moving. Suddenly he jumped forward and grabbed Benny. He covered Benny's mouth with one hand and with the other pulled out a big, long knife. Holding Benny so tight it hurt, he laid the knife up against his throat and whispered in his ear.
"I guess you do get to go along with me, after all, Benny my boy," he hissed. "But somehow I don't think we'll make it to Uncle Tom's. The chickens'll be so disappointed."