Jessie Cartright lived alone and Bob Simmons had already proven that if he did not want to be found, he would not be. I do not know why they left together yesterday. I did not even bother looking for them. Bob did not disappoint me, walking in the library just as the sun fell below the horizon.
He used the back door, the key from Jessie’s key chain rattling in the lock.
As he rounded the corner, we each pointed a shotgun at each other.
“See you found the stash,” he said.
“Where’s Jessie, Bob?”
“Evan,” Bob said, “just tell me where the guns are.”
I said, “Where’s Jessie, Bob?”
“You ain’t even found them have you? Probably still downstairs, huh?” he walked around the circulation desk toward the stairs.
I turned and shot the nearest computer monitor.
“Jesus,” Bob said, stopping. He raised his shotgun higher to my head.
“Where’s Jessie, Bob?”
“He’s fine, okay? Out in the woods. I was gonna tell you, call you when I was out of town. This is all okay, I just needed him to be out of the way. You shoulda heard what he was saying.”
“He’s fine?” I said.
“I swear it,” he said, “Now put down that shotgun and let’s talk.”
I racked the pump action and stared at him, “Think we’re done here, Bob.”
“What?” he asked, “We’re done? We’re done? No, no, we ain’t done, Evan. We are just getting started because you lied. I was downstairs and you told the police everything about how you were with me. You lied for me with that dumb lie you said. That makes us in this together. If you don’t, well… You were showing them that map of where everything went down, not me...”
“Nope,” I said, “Makes me sad for trusting you. Hate that you did that. Made me trust you.”
“So what you waiting for? Shoot me. Them guns is downstairs in your library. Waited til you got drunk and put’em down there. Then you lied. You lied right to them. In their faces, Evan. Who do you think they’ll believe?”
“You kidnapped Jessie. I knew he wouldn’t leave with you. He’s smart. Not with you alone. Knew you were cleaning house for killing those boys, had a plan in that stupid head of yours.”
“So what? Yeah, I got a big plan to make a lot of money. And I’m gonna leave. Right now. Just need to get these guns. Don’t wanna kill you, Evan.”
“Like you killed those boys,” I said.
“Stop saying that,” he said. His arm started shaking, muscles twitching, “You think they’ll believe you? They’ll believe the librarian with the map that lied to them? The one that lives all alone. The one that needed money to fund his family’s failed bullshit.”
“Versus the exjunkie shit who kills his friends over money,” I said.
“They needed killing,” he said, shaking more.
“You do it with that shotgun?” I said.
“All that money and those guns. Guys, the other ones, they said they’d pay me good. Just needed to get a hold of the merch. The boys didn’t see it coming. Yellow Bastards. Huh. Dead Bastards, s’what I called ‘em. Said, ‘Hey you dead bastards’ and counted off. Just one, two, three. Now,” he said, his eyes narrowing, “It’s your turn.”
“Aw hell,” I said, “That enough?”
I jumped right and felt a white heat down my side.
“Banned, stay the shit down,” Parkman’s voice said as thunderous footsteps on the library wood ran through the building. From the ground, I saw the men force Bob to the ground.
“You played me?” Bob said, “Snitched?”
“You took my friend,” I said, “and you fucking shot me.”
I looked at my side and saw the ragged, bloody flesh. My vision went white and then a strange orange and everything went white.