I’d never killed a woman before, but the more Cindy talked, the more inclined I was to change my position. The only thing I wanted to hear come out of her mouth had to do with a pile of money, not some bullshit about gun control. As far as I was concerned, I had the gun pointed at her face under control. So I was in no mood for this shit. Especially after I just watched her fuck some guy who was definitely not Lee.
I knew something was up as soon as I pulled into the driveway and saw a Chevy instead of Lee’s F-150. I eased around to the back of the house, and sure enough, I could hear them going at it. I peeked in the bedroom window to see some construction worker-looking guy with Cindy’s legs over his shoulders, pounding away while she squirmed and squealed.
I met him in the hall, didn’t say a word, just slugged him upside the head with the butt of the .45 before he realized what was going on. He went down hard, cussing and grabbing his ear as he collapsed against the wall.
I kicked him in the gut, then stomped on the hand he was using for balance. He went down again, and I kicked him in the back of the head. I drew down on him, told him to get the fuck out. He whimpered, pushed himself up in a pile, stumbled out the door. Cindy was dressed by this time, and standing in the middle of the living room, chattering like a myna bird — scared and a little high.
“Cindy, shut up and sit the fuck down,” I said over the top of my .45. She did, collapsing like she was a balloon that had suddenly lost all of its air. Her brown hair fell around her face. Glassy, hyper eyes. Hands clutching the couch cushion on either side of her, showing off her rack in a tight white T-shirt with “BAMA” stretched across the front. The rack was how I knew she hadn’t been hitting the meth for long. She still looked healthy.
I kept the gun on her. She didn’t move.
“I’m not going to tell you again.” She nodded, finally silent. “Where is Lee?”
“Bullshit. He ain’t there.”
“Then I don’t know.”
“Bullshit. I think you do.”
Her eyes shot back and forth, like a trapped squirrel. I sat in the chair across from the couch, pistol balanced on my knee. “Cindy, here’s the deal. Lee has pissed off some dangerous folks and he owes them a lot of money, but you probably already know that, right?”
She nodded, guilt all over her face.
“OK. Now, I’m down here to make it right. You know me and Lee go way back, and I can help y’all out, but I gotta get that money.”
Cindy relaxed. I knew what was coming — she was going to give up the whole operation. Fucking meth heads. Don’t care about anything but their own ass. “I know where he probably is,” she said.
“Oh, I know you do, but I ain’t finished,” I said. I really didn’t care about Lee at this point, just the twenty grand. “I don’t have a lot of time to fuck around talking to you, then talking to Lee and all that. I need that money. And I’m pretty sure you know where it is.”
She shook her head, looked at the pistol in my hand.
“OK, Cindy, why don’t you tell me where Lee is, and I’ll go ask him about it — after I tell him that while he’s out working you’re here fucking Billy the Builder?”
That got her attention. “No, God no, don’t do that. Please, Jack.”
“Why shouldn’t I? You ain’t cooperating, and Lee’s a friend of mine.”
“He’d kill me.”
“Yeah? That thought crossed my mind, too.”
She looked up at me. “I don’t know where Lee is. I swear.”
“What about the money?”
Something moved in her eyes. “If I tell you, will you not tell Lee about … you know.”
I had to smile.
“What are you smiling at?” she said.
“I’m just wondering how bad you want to keep Lee from finding out about your boyfriend.”
“Jack, I swear, he’d kill me. I’ll do anything.”
I smiled again. She saw it and slid off the couch onto her knees. Crawled over to where I was sitting and put her hands on my knees. “Anything,” she said.
“Well, now. Get to it, girl.”
She did. Blew me like a porn star, even took off her shirt and showed off that great rack while she did it. When she finished and I’d zipped up, she said, “You know that park where the Washatubbee runs into the Kosha River?”
“Down the road on the ‘Tubbee side, about a mile from the end, off on the left in the woods, is a shed. It’s in there.”
I stood and holstered my pistol, stepped toward the door. “It damn well better be.”
“And you won’t tell Lee?”
I turned back toward her. She still hadn’t pulled her shirt back on. “Oh, I can’t tell Lee anything now. He’s in the trunk of his car with a bullet in his head. One of my bullets.”
Cindy fell back on the couch like she had been slapped. She reached for her shirt, as if she only just now realized she was topless. Her eyes were wild, confused. “So, why — ”
“The money, plain and simple. And the rest.”
She focused, looked up at me. She was scared, real scared, but still confused.
I have to give her credit, though. She figured it out pretty damn fast. She yanked her shirt over her head. Fluffed her hair out. “I got it, Jack. Anything you want,” she said, defeat in her voice.
I smiled again and nodded. “Good girl,” I said and closed the door behind me.
Bio: Phillip Thompson is a Marine Corps combat veteran, journalist, speechwriter and gun owner, among other things. His fiction includes three novels (Enemy Within, A Simple Murder and Deep Blood) and short stories published by the Veterans Writing Project’s literary journal (The Review) and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.