Читать онлайн "Sudden prey" автора Sandford John - RuLit - Страница 5

 
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''They came out, they opened up, we were all right there,'' Lucas said. ''They fired first. That's not cop bullshit.''

''I'm not criticizing,'' Roux said. ''I'm just saying the papers are asking questions.''

''Maybe you oughta tell the papers to go fuck themselves,'' Lucas said. The chief was a politician who had at one time thought she might be headed for the

Senate. ''That'd be a good political move right now, the way things are.''

Roux took an old-fashioned silver cigarette case out of herpocket, popped it open. ''I'm not talking politics here, Lucas. I'm a little worried about what happened.'' She fumbled a cigarette out of the case, snapped the case shut.

''There's a feel of… setup. Of taking the law in our own hands. We're okay, because Farris was shot and you made that call for a stop. But there were six or seven holes in Candy LaChaise. It's not like you weren't ready to do it.''

''We were ready,'' Lucas agreed.

''… So there could be another stink when the medical examiner's report comes out.''

''Tell them to take their time writing the report,'' Lucas said. ''You know the way things are: In a week or so, nobody'll care. And we're still a couple of months from the midwinter sweeps.''

''Yeah, yeah. And the ME's cooperating. Still.''

''The LaChaises started it,'' Lucas persisted. ''And they were sport killers.

Candy LaChaise shot people to see them die. Fuck 'em.''

''Yeah, yeah,'' Roux said. She waved at him and started back toward the chief's office, shoulders slumped. ''Send everybody home. We'll get the shooting board going tomorrow.''

''You really pissed?'' Lucas called after her.

''No. I'm just sorta… depressed. There've been too many bodies this year,'' she said. She stopped, flicked a lighter, touched off the fresh cigarette. The tip glowed like a firefly in the semidark. ''Too many people are getting killed.

You oughta think about that.''

WEATHER KARKINNEN WAS DOING PAPERWORK IN THE study when Lucas got home. She heard him in the kitchen, and called down the hall, ''In the study.''

A moment later, he leaned in the door, a bottle of beer in his hand. ''Hey.''

''I tried to call you,'' she said.

Weather was a small, athletic woman with wide shoulders and close-cut blond hair. She had high cheekbones and eyes that were dark blue and slightly slanted in the Lapp-Finnish way. Her nose was a bit too large and a little crooked, as if she'd once lost a close fight. Not a pretty woman, exactly, but men tended to drift toward her at parties. ''I saw a TV story on the shooting.''

''What'd they say?'' He unscrewed the beer cap and took a sip.

''Two women were shot and killed after a robbery. They say it's a controversial shooting.'' She was anxious, brushing hair out of her eyes.

Lucas shook his head. ''You can't pay any attention to TV.''

He was angry.

''Lucas…''

''What?'' He was defensive, and didn't like it.

''You're really steamed,'' she said. ''What happened?''

''Ah, I'm taking heat from the media. Everybody seems to worry about whether it was a fair fight. Why should the fight be fair? This isn't a game, it's law enforcement.''

''Could you have taken them? Arrested them? Gone to trial, with the people at the other banks in Wisconsin?''

''No.'' He shook his head. ''They were always masked, and always used stolen cars. There was a case down in River Falls, two years ago, where Candy LaChaise was busted for armed robbery. The guy she robbed, the car dealer, was mugged and killed two weeks later, before the trial. There weren't any witnesses and she had an alibi. The River Falls cops think her old nutcake pals helped her out.''

''But it's not your job to kill them,'' Weather said.

''Hey,'' Lucas said. ''I just showed up with a gun. What happened after that, that was their choice. Not mine.''

She shook her head, still distressed. ''I don't know,'' she said. ''What you do frightens me, but not the way I thought it would.'' She crossed her arms and hugged herself, as she would if she were cold. ''I'm not so worried about what somebody else might do to you, as what you might be doing to yourself.''

''I told you…'' Getting angrier now.

''Lucas,'' she interrupted. ''I know how your mind works. TV said these people had been under surveillance for nine days. I can feel you manipulating them into a robbery. I don't know if you know, but I know it.''

''Bullshit,'' he snapped, and he turned out of the doorway.

''Lucas…''

Halfway down the hall, the paperwork registered with him. She was doing wedding invitations. He turned around, went back.

''Jesus, I'm sorry, I'm not mad at you,'' he said. '' Sometimes. .. I don't know, my grip is getting slippery.''

She stood up and said, ''Come here. Sit in the chair.'' He sat, and she climbed on his lap. He was always amazed with how small she was, how small all the parts were. Small head, small hands, little fingers.

''You need something to lower your blood pressure,'' she said.

''That's what the beer's for,'' he said.

''As your doctor, I'm saying the beer's not enough,'' she said, snuggling in his lap.

''Yeah? What exactly would you prescribe…?''

THREE

CRAZY ANSEL BUTTERS WAITED FOR THE RUSH AND when it came, he said, ''Here it comes.''

Dexter Lamb was lying on the couch, one arm trailing on the floor: he was looking up at the spiderweb pattern of cracks on the pink plaster ceiling, and he said, ''I told you, dude.''

Lamb's old lady was in the kitchen, staring at the top of the plastic table, her voice low, slow, clogged, coming down: ''Wish I was going… Goddamnit,

Dexter, where'd you put the bag? I know you got some.''

Ansel didn't hear her, didn't hear the complaints, the whining. Ansel was flying over a cocaine landscape, all the potentialities in his head-green hills, pretty women, red Mustangs, Labrador retrievers-were compressed into a ball of pleasure. His head lay on his shoulder, his long hair falling to the side, like lines of rain outside a window. Twenty minutes later, the dream was all gone, except for the crack afterburn that would arrive like a sack of Christmas coal.

But he had a few minutes yet, and he mumbled, ''Dex, I got something to talk about.'' Lamb was working up anotherpipe, stopped, his eyes hazy from too many hits, too many days without sleep. ''What chu want?''

His wife came out of the back into the kitchen, scratched her crotch through her thin cotton underpants and said, ''Where'd you put the bag, Dex?''

''I need to find a guy,'' Ansel said, talking over her. ''It's worth real money.

A month's worth of smoke. And I need a crib somewhere close. TV, couple beds, like that.''

''I can get you the crib,'' Lamb said. He jerked a thumb at his wife. ''My brother-in-law's got some houses, sorta shitty, but you can live in one of them.

You'd have to buy your own furniture, though. I know where you could get some, real cheap.''

''That'd be okay, I guess.''

Dex finished with the pipe and flicked his Bic, and just before hitting on the mouthpiece, asked, ''Who's this guy you're lookin' for?''

''A cop. I'm looking for a cop.''

Lamb's old lady, eyes big and black, cheeks sunken, a pale white scar, scratched her crotch again and asked, ''What's his name?''

Butters looked at her. ''That's what I need to know,'' he said.

BILL MARTIN CAMEDOWN FROM THE UPPER PENINSULA, driving a Ford extended cab with rusted-out fenders and a fat V-8 tuned to perfection. He took the country roads across Wisconsin, stopped at a roadhouse for a beer and a couple of boiled eggs, stopped again for gasoline, talked to a gun dealer in Ashland.

The countryside was still iced in. Old snow showed the sheen of hard crust through the inky-green pines and bare gray broadleafs. Martin stopped often to get out and tramp around, to peer down from bridges, to check tracks in thesnow.

     

 

2011 - 2018