As dawn leaked through the mini-blinds and into my aching skull, I realized I’d violated the first three rules of sport-fucking. I couldn’t find my wallet, my keys, or my phone.
The first two pissed me off the most because I needed coffee. I wasn’t about to try and decipher that pansy-ass cup thing on her counter and I didn’t want to wake her up. The pleasant ache in my southern hemisphere reminded me that I’d had worse companions, but I liked her better when her mouth was full, and I wasn’t in the mood right this minute.
A shrill buzz solved my third problem, but threatened to end my solitude. I dove for the couch and found my phone between the cushions. As I fumbled at the screen, I wished I’d shut the bedroom door.
Wayne’s voice was a high-pitched blubber that lanced into my ear like an ice pick. “Bro, there’s blood everywhere. Get me the fuck out of here.”
“What the hell are you babbling about?” His panic got me hunting for my shoes. Relief poured through me when I found my keys in the toe of one and my wallet in the other. Even blind drunk my instincts were still good.
“She’s dead. That girl. Whatever the fuck her name was. She’s dead.”
”Goddamn it, are you listening to me? I don’t know. I just know she’s dead. You’ve got the car. Let’s get the fuck out of here.”
“Where are you?” We’d split up at closing time. Wayne went with his date and mine brought me here. We’d been out on the pipeline project all week and when payday came, all we wanted a tall glass of just-don’t-care with a side order of pussy. I think mine was Katy. It looked like I wasn’t going to go back for seconds.
“I’m not sure, but the main street is only a bar, a post office, and a piss stop long, so you can’t be far. The base of the water tower is across the street and there’s some weird ass statue shit in the yard. Get moving before this splatters on you too.”
”What did you do?”
“I don’t know, man. Come on, we can talk about it when we put the state line behind us.”
“I’m on my way.”
“On your way to death row, maybe? Don’t worry about your buddy. He’ll be cuffed up in a hot second unless he gives us a reason to escalate the situation.”
The drawling baritone sent a shockwave through my queasy gut. I turned and the full sunlight through the open kitchen door made my eyes water. I put my hand up as a shield and could make out the outline of a broad-shouldered dude in a flat-brimmed Smokey hat.
He patted his holster and I understood the meaning of escalate.
“Who are you?”
He ignored me as he sat in the recliner like he owned the place. “I owe my deputy a case of beer. He told me my lovely estranged wife was dumping the kids with her mom and shopping it around town. I just couldn’t believe it. I blame her cunt sister. Whoring around in the house where my kids sleep. Course, I’ve been fucking her cousin since there was enough grass on the field for a ball game, but my beloved Katy-Bird said she was taking my kids. That wasn’t going to happen. A man’s patience and pride has limits. Did she even tell you her name?”
I nodded. Last night, I hadn’t noticed the toys and photos. To be honest, I wouldn’t have cared.
He continued. “So, I opted for a two-fer and appreciate your help. Couple of dudes from New York City. Drugged up drinks and big city violence. A goddamn tragedy. I probably need to schedule some prayer vigil shit.”
When I’d stumbled out of the bedroom, I’d missed the limp white hand and dark splatters decorating the wall. A closer examination told me grease wasn’t all I had under my nails.
Turns out I’d missed plenty.
I mentally measured the distance to the door.
He nodded.I took my chance. It was the only one I had.