“Oh Jesus. Oh fuck. Oh Jesus. Oh fuck,” chanted Eddie.
“Just hold him together. Shut up and hold him,” yelled Frank from the front seat. His knuckles were almost blue from gripping the steering wheel tight.
Jared moaned. A low, soft exhalation. I hoped the poor bastard wasn’t conscious.
Both of Eddie’s huge hands were clamped onto what was left of Jared’s face. It was hard to tell how much blood Jared had lost. He and Eddie were dressed in black shirts and black tracker pants. Let’s say it looked like both of them had gone for a swim.
I couldn’t believe Jared was still kicking it. Maybe the kid was made of sterner stuff than we had given him credit for.
“You should have taken a left there, Frank,” I said. We just passed the exit I thought was closest to Dr Nobody’s clinic.
“I’m the one driving. I know what I’m doing, Randall. So sit back and shut up,” said Frank.
I wasn’t going to waste any more precious air on Frank. When he gets like this, a blonde wearing nothing but a smile couldn’t get through to him.
“Oh Jesus. Oh fuck. Oh Jesus. Oh fuck.” Eddie chanted quieter now. It was the only sound in the car other than Jared’s haggard breath.
I looked out the window and got lost in the landscape accompanied by this lovely soundtrack. I ran over the chain of events, trying to figure out what went wrong.
It was supposed to be me, Eddie, Frank, Jared, and Vin. Arnold was the spotter, keeping an eye on the outside of the mansion. We got word some Mr Big’s ex wife jilted him out of a few million’s worth of valuables. Antiques, jewelry, the usual. Grab the goods, if we scared the ex it was a bonus. Get in, get out. Keep it tight. Keep it clean.
At four in the morning, we got the word the house was clear from Arnold. Security grid was disabled. We had a couple hours before anyone would be the wiser. Frank waited in the car. Vin was making sure we all got in scot free via the back french doors. Easy.
We got to the french doors. They were open. We waltzed in. There was no sign of Vin. I didn’t think anything of it. I must have assumed he was already in. First big mistake.
Eddie and Jared scampered off to the north wing. There were three pieces to pick up. I went east, to get two other antiques and head up the stairs for the jewelry. I radioed Arnold to fill him in. All I got back was the walkie talkie squawking to announce he hit the send button.
Second big mistake.
Got the Lionel train. Got the timepiece some astronaut had worn to the moon. Stupid stuff. Whatever, long as we get paid. I headed up the stairs.
The ex wife’s bedroom was third to the right. There were jewels hidden in the closet of the room opposite. The ex wife’s door was ajar. Don’t know why, but I peeked in.
Ever notice that people’s bedrooms have a smell to them? Maybe good, maybe nasty, but it’s there. No scent. May as well have been a display in a department store.
That’s when I heard the screams.
I sprinted down the stairs. Jared was crawling on the floor, leaving a trail of wet like a slug. Gunshots echoed. Eddie came running from the side room.
“Bitch. Vin and that bitch. She cut him,” yelled Eddie.
“Pick him up. Move,” I told Eddie.
It wasn’t till we got to the car that any of us realized how bad Jared was hurt. Frank swore up and down a storm, but he was smart enough to gun the accelerator.
We pulled into the scum brown building where Dr Nobody held shop. Damn near kicked down the door. Eddie carried Jared in. Nobody gets out of this business alive. But there’s no reason for a kid to get half his face ripped off. I was going to have a little chat with Mr Big.