Letting Life Lead
Yeah, Bev has a mean sucker punch. I’ve got a hard head though. You don’t get to be boss at women’s hammer throw by being a dainty bitch. I smiled through the blood when that harpy’s knuckles cracked.
“Don’t come back. Mind your business,” she’d said, pretending like pain wasn’t shooting up her arm.
I knew better (bet she broke a finger). “You let him alone. He’s done nothing but be a fool on a goose’s ass.”
Bev smiled the way she did when she was plotting. She was always good at puzzles and getting what she wanted. Her daddy never appreciated her skills. Leaving the company to her brother who don’t have half the brain of a dead clam? That couldn’t have set well.
“Look, hon, he’s a grown man. He can quit me any time,” she said. “As long as he’s useful and doesn’t screw up my business, I don’t much care if he hangs around or not.”
Bev helped me up, real nice. She’s good at playing the game. I took it because a good bluff can get you far. I knew what she was up to. Only I couldn’t prove it.
Anyway, we never spoke after that. I’ve got my own talents, though my finesse tends to lean towards the bull in the kitchen style. I couldn’t resist that sinkhole on the edge of town. You and Bev were always going for coffee or subs and were distracted for the better part of an hour every day. It was no big thing to hot wire that old truck, drive it to the edge, and let it coast in a nose-dive. I had to put her off her game, you see?
She accused me right off. Came to the bar. But I’m always there and no on saw me leave or come back. It’s easy to be invisible in this town. You just got to cut your hair wrong and save a poor woman from getting her head blown off by her husband. Jill Parker; you know her? Fates forbid if you incapacitate one of their old boys and turn him into a jellyfish. I could have killed him you know. But I didn’t. I put that knife right where I wanted it. I figured if he was busy learning to walk, talk, and piss he’d be too busy to be a dick. He could be fertilizing his wife’s garden right now, but I let him keep breathing. Jill’s nice to me, but I’m the only one who talks to her so maybe she’s got no choice.
Sorry. I do go on. I don’t want you to be mad at me. It was the only way. You’d never come otherwise. Struggling won’t help. Those knots are secure. They aren’t hurting you are they? I tried to pad them good. You don’t trust me, that’s fair.
Listen, Bev’s going to do something terrible and you’re in the middle. I can’t be reasonable. No one will believe me. They didn’t listen about Jill. Look, I’ve always liked you but you always had your head full of Bev. You’re like a damn puppy hoping to get a treat. Oh, don’t get all huffy. You know it’s true. She says jump and you go ‘woof’.
It did involve a little stalking and I’m sorry about that. And the bump on your head. Whatever Bev’s up to is happening between now and tomorrow. She had that look she gets. You know the one. For all that she’s blitz at going from one thing to the next, her poker face is for shit. I made a call from your phone to mine and then made sure it was on in case they track us.
Who? Oh, the police. I told you Bev isn’t playing around. Your fingerprints are everywhere. She sent you here there and asunder and you signed for a lot of things. She pulled you in like that goddamn sinkhole.
Anyway, I come up here all the time. No cell signal, but this camp site is well used. Consider me your friendly neighborhood alibi. I’m looking out for you, like the damn dog I am. We can’t help it can we?
I’m going to take the gag off. Now, before you start screaming, I want you to think really hard about every single thing you’ve done for Bev. Everything you brushed aside — the supplies, the shipping container, the guns — then tell me I’m wrong.
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