Billy Summers

Billy Summers by Stephen King

Book: Billy Summers by Stephen King Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stephen King
already made the rounds and finished up at Dalton’s bank account in Nevis, and half a mil’s the biggest sign that Nick isn’t playing this funny. When the work is done, the rest will follow.
    Dalton’s DL headshot shows a man of about Billy’s age, maybe a year or two younger, but he’s blond instead of dark. And he has a mustache.
4
    The next morning, Billy parks on the fourth level of the garage near the Gerard Tower. After making certain adjustments to his appearance, he walks in the opposite direction. This is Dalton Smith’s maiden voyage.
    When the city is small, small distances can make a big difference. Pearson Street is only nine blocks from the Main Street parking garage, a brisk fifteen-minute walk (Gerard Tower still looms close enough to be clearly seen), but this is a different world from the one where guys in ties and gals in click-clack shoes man and woman their posts and lunch in the kind of restaurants where the waiter hands you a wine list along with the menu.
    There’s a corner grocery, but it’s closed up. Like many declining neighborhoods, this one is a food desert. There are two barrooms, one closed and the other looking like it’s just hanging on. A pawnshop that doubles as a check-cashing and small-loans business. A sad little strip mall a bit further on. And a line of homes that are trying to look middle class and not getting there.
    Billy guesses the reason for the area’s decline is the vacant lot right across the street from his target house. It’s a big expanse of rubbly, trash-strewn ground. Cutting through it are rusting railroad tracks barely visible in high weeds and summer goldenrod. Signs posted at fifty-foot intervals read CITY PROPERTY and NO TRESPASSING and DANGER KEEP OUT. He notes the jagged remains of a brick building that once must have been a train station. Maybe it served bus lines as well—Greyhound, Trailways, Southern. Now the city’s land-based transportation has moved elsewhere, and this neighborhood, which might have been busy in the closing decades of the last century, is suffering from a kind of municipal COPD. A rusty shopping cart lies overturned on the sidewalk across the way. A tattered pair of men’s undershorts flap from one of its wheels ina hot wind that tousles the hair of Billy’s blond Dalton Smith wig and flutters his shirt collar against his neck.
    Most of the houses need paint. Some have FOR SALE signs in front of them. 658 also needs paint, but the sign in front reads FURNISHED APARTMENTS FOR RENT. There’s a real estate agent’s number to call. Billy notes it down, then goes up the cracked cement walk and looks at the line of doorbells. Although it’s just a three-story, there are four bells. Only one of them, second from the top, has a name: JENSEN. He rings it. At this time of day there’s probably nobody home, but his luck is in.
    Footsteps descend the stairs. A youngish woman peers through the dirty glass of the door. What she sees is a white man in a nice open-collared shirt and dress pants. His blond hair is short. His mustache is neatly trimmed. He wears glasses. He’s quite fat, not to the point of obesity but getting there. He doesn’t look like a bad person, he looks like a good person who could stand to drop twenty or thirty pounds, so she opens the door, but not all the way.
    As if I couldn’t push my way in and strangle you right there in the foyer, Billy thinks. There’s no car in the driveway or parked at the curb, which means your husband’s at work, and those three unmarked bells strongly suggest that you are the only person in this old faux Victorian.
    â€œI don’t buy from door-to-door salesmen,” Mrs. Jensen says.
    â€œNo, ma’am, I’m not a salesman. I’m new in the city and looking for an apartment. This looks like it might be in my price range. I just wanted to know if this is a nice place. My name’s Dalton

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