Dwayne looks very at peace for a seventeen-year-old cuffed to a table, a murder charge being written up against him by an assistant DA in the next room over. I take my boots off the table and decide to bother him.
“Why’d you kill Dukey, Dwayne?”
Dwayne goes on practicing his eye fucking. He’ll need it in Angola Penitentiary.
“You two were tight. Double-D Delights. You moved more ice cream together for the Ace than Carvel’s.”
Nothing. I pat the three-inch file between us.
“The whole case is here, Dwayne. You’ve seen it. Forensics, DNA, the whole CSI nine yards. Plus an informant. Might as well tell me. Working Narco these past three years, I’ve come to know you two better than your mothers.”
It just pops right out of Dwayne; pops my eyebrow right up.
“Seriously?” I’ve heard worse.
“He was the one who vanished my girl, Chantelle. Chan and I were going to get hitched. Leave the game.”
“He took her out, clean gone, no trace, so I’d stay in with him.” He’s actually getting choked up. Little boy sniffles under mad dog eyes. I’m all out of tissues, though.
“I’ve heard worse reasons. I guess.”
But not really. Killing for money is at least cold-blooded, breaking human life down into the same numbers and transactions that corporations do. Killing for sex, monstrous, but hey, that’s Mother Nature for you—look at the animal kingdom.
“It’s the only real reason,” Dwayne says. “You lose someone like Chan, who’s your life, it’s the same as avenging your own death.”
No, not really. Love’s just as stupid and sick as the other reasons.
Dwayne doesn’t have to believe me on that, either. I open the case file to the evidence of it.
“Well, you’re right about one thing, Dwayne,” I say, sliding the folder, open to a photo, over to him. “Chantelle did give you life.”
He stares down at the black-and-white photo of our informant, Chantelle Beery, all those damning transcripts about Double-D Delights under her handshake with the Feds.
Dwayne doesn’t say a thing. He doesn’t cry any more. No reason to kill, no reason to live, he just stares at her picture as if his eyes no longer worked.