Читать онлайн "Sudden prey" автора Sandford John - RuLit - Страница 7

 
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''Daymon Harp, a jigaboo drug dealer,'' Martin said, and Harp thought, Uh-oh.

The kid with the pizza followed them inside, spotted the lighted button for the garage door opener, and pushed it. The door came down and Martin prodded Harp toward the stairs at the back.

''Take the position,'' Martin said.

Harp leaned against the wall, hands and feet spread wide. ''Got no gun,'' he said. He looked sideways at Martin: ''You're not cops.''

''We'd be embarrassed if you was lying about the gun,'' Martin said. The younger guy patted him down, found the wad of cash and pulled it out. ''Ooo,'' he said.

''Thanks.''

Harp kept his mouth shut.

''This is the deal,'' Martin said, as Butters tucked the money away. ''We need some information from you. Wedon't want to hurt you. We will, if you get stupid, so it's best for you to go along.''

''What do you want?'' Daymon asked.

''To go upstairs,'' Butters said, in his soft Tennessee accent. Harp looked at him out of the corner of his eye: Butters had three dark-blue tears tattooed at the inner corner of his left eye, and Daymon Harp thought again, Uh-oh.

THEY CLIMBED THE STAIRS AS A TRIO, AND NOW THE southern boy had a pistol barrel prodding Daymon's spine, while the other focused on his temple. They all tensed while Daymon unlocked the door. A woman called down an interior hall, ''Day?

That you?''

Butters left them, padding silently down the hall, while Martin stayed with

Harp. The woman came around a corner just as Butters got to it and she jumped, shocked, as Butters grabbed her by a wrist and showed her the gun. ''Shut up,''

Butters said.

She shut up.

Five minutes later, Harp and the woman were duct-taped to kitchen chairs. The woman's hands were flat on her thighs, with loops of tape around her upper arms and body. She had a sock stuffed in her mouth, held in place with two or three more wraps of tape. Her terrified dark eyes flicked between Harp and whichever of the white men was in sight.

Martin and Butters checked the apartment. The landing outside the front door,

Martin found when he opened it, was blocked by a pile of brown cardboard appliance boxes. The boxes made a practical burglar alarm and buffer, should the cops come, but still provided an escape route if one were needed.

Butters checked the two bedrooms and found nothing of interest but a collection of vinyl 33-rpm jazz records.

''Clear,'' Butters said, coming back to the front room.

Martin sat down in a third chair and, knee-to-knee with Harp, said, ''You probably know people like us. Met us in the joint. We don't much care for black folks and we'd be happy to cut your throats and be done with it. But we can't, this time, 'cause we need you to introduce us to a friend of yours.''

''Who?'' Daymon Harp asked.

''The cop you're working with.''

Harp tried to look surprised. ''There's no cop.''

''We know you gotta go through your routine, but we don't have a lot of time,''

Martin said. ''So to show you our… mmm… sincerity.. .'' He chose his words carefully, softly: ''We're gonna cut on your girlfriend here.''

''Motherfucker,'' Harp said, but it wasn't directed at Martin. It was simply an exclamation and Martin took it that way. The woman's eyes bulged and she rattled around in the chair, and Martin let her. Over his shoulder, he said, ''Ansel?

See if you can find a knife in the kitchen…''

There was no one standing in the street outside the laundromat, which was a good thing for Butters and Martin, because Harp wouldn't talk right away, and for one short moment, even with the gag, with the windows shut, in the middle of winter, even with that, you could hear Jasmine screaming.

THE MICHIGAN STATE PRISON SENT A SINGLE ESCORT with Dick LaChaise. LaChaise was four years into a nineyear sentence, and not considered an escape risk-with good behavior, he'd be out in a couple of years. They put him in leg irons and cuffs and LaChaise and Wayne O. Sand, the escort, flew into Eau Claire as the sun was going down, eight days after the shootings in Minneapolis.

During the flight, Wayne O. Sand read The Last Mammothby Margaret Allan, because he liked that prehistoric shit and magic and all. If he'd lived back then, he thought, he'd probably be a clan chief, or something. He'd be in shape, anyway.

LaChaise read a tattoo magazine called Skin Art. LaChaise had full sleeves: tattoos running up and down both arms, a comic-book fantasy of superwomen with football-sized tits and lionish hair tangled around his bunched-up weight-room muscles, interspersed with eagles, tigers, knives, a dragon. His arms carried four names: Candy and Georgie on the right, and Harley and Davidson on the left.

The sleeves had been done on the outside, by commercial tattoo artists. The work on his back and legs was being done on the inside. Prison work, with a sewing needle and ballpoint ink. Though the figures lacked the finish of the commercial jobs, there was a nasty raw power to them that LaChaise liked. An aesthetic judgment.

When the plane's wheels came down, LaChaise put the magazine away and looked at

Sand: ''How about a Mc-Donald's? A couple of Big Macs?''

''Maybe, you don't fuck me around,'' Sand said, still in the book. Sand was a flabby man, an authoritarian little prison bureaucrat who'd be nice enough one day, and write you up the next, for doing nothing. He enjoyed his power, but wasn't nearly the worst of them. When they landed, Sand marched LaChaise off the plane, and chained him to the seat post in the back of a rental Ford.

''How about them McDonald's?'' LaChaise asked.

Sand considered for a second, then said, ''Nah. I wanna get a motel 'fore it's too late. There's a game tonight.''

''Hey, c'mon…''

''Shut up,'' Sand said, with the casual curtness of a prison guard.

Sand dropped LaChaise at the Eau Claire County Jail for the night. The next morning, he put LaChaise back in the carand drove him through the frozen landscape to the Logan Funeral Home in Colfax. LaChaise's mother was waiting on the porch of the funeral home, along with Sandy Darling, Candy's sister. A sheriff's car was parked in the street, engine running. A deputy sat inside the car, reading a newspaper.

AMY LACHAISE WAS A ROUND, OILY-FACED COUNTRY woman with suspicious black eyes, close-cropped black hair and a pencil-thin mustache. She wore a black dress with a white collar under a blue nylon parka. A small hat from the 1930s sat nervously atop her head, with a crow's wing of black lace pulled down over her forehead.

Sandy Darling was her opposite: a small woman, slender, with a square chin and a thin, windburned face. Crow's-feet showed at the corners of her eyes, though she was only twenty-nine, four years younger than her sister, Candy. Like Candy, she was blond, but her hair was cut short, and she wore simple seed-pearl earrings.

And while Candy had that pure Wisconsin milkmaid complexion, Sandy showed a scattering of freckles over her windburned nose and forehead. She wore a black wool coat over a long black dress, tight black leather gloves and fancy black cowboy boots with sterling silver toe guards. She carried a white cowboy hat.

When the rental car pulled up, Amy LaChaise started down the walk. Sandy Darling stayed on the porch, turning the cowboy hat in her hands. Wayne O. Sand popped the padlock on the seat-chain, got out, stood between Amy LaChaise and the car door and opened the door for LaChaise.

''That's my ma,'' LaChaise said to Sand, as he got out. LaChaise was a tall man, with heavy shoulders and deep-set black eyes, long hair and a beard over hollowed cheeks. He had fingers that were as thick and tough as hickory sticks.

With a robe, he might have played the Prophet Jeremiah.

     

 

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