Greenmantle by Charles De Lint

Book: Greenmantle by Charles De Lint Read Free Book Online
Authors: Charles De Lint
Tags: Fiction
to visit them sometimes, or she and Ali would come over to our place for dinner….” He glanced at Earl, fright plain in his eyes. In the vague lighting they had a glazed look to them.
    “You’re doing good so far,” Earl said. “So where’s she living now? The paper said something about her fixing up her old man’s place, but it didn’t say where. Did she ever talk to you about it?”
    “It’s in Lanark. Her…her dad used to own a place just outside of Lanark.”
    Earl nodded. “I thought it was around that area, though I would’ve put it farther south. You got some details now on how to get there?”
    “I don’t know the exact address—it’s on a dirt road—but I can…I could draw a map or something.”
    Earl gave Howie a wave. Howie dug a ballpoint pen out of his pocket. Looking around for something to write on, he spotted a cigarette package, which he tore open, exposing the white inside.
    “How’s this?”
    “It’s good,” Earl said and handed them to Goldman. “Draw, Bob. You can use the hood of the car.”
    Hands shaking, Goldman drew out a map of the way to Frankie’s place, praying that he was remembering it properly. He and Joy had only been out there once, and that was in April, before the place was finished.
    “Okay,” Earl said as he studied the map. “You did good.” He took out his own gun and motioned Goldman away from the car. “On your knees, Bob.”
    “See, we’ve got a problem now,” Earl said conversationally. “You’ve made us and if you’d spill your guts so quickly to us, what’s to stop you from doing the same to the man?”
    “No,” Goldman said earnestly. “I won’t tell the police or anyone. I swear! I won’t tell a soul. Please. For God’s sake, I’ll do whatever you want, just don’t…hurt…”
    His voice trailed off as Earl stepped in close, holding the barrel of his gun up to Goldman’s mouth.
    “Suck on this,” Earl said.
    “I said, suck on it.”
    Tremors ran up and down Goldman as he leaned forward and placed his mouth around the cold metal. Earl put his free hand on the top of Goldman’s head. Grabbing a handful of the short hair, he rammed the gun deeper into Goldman’s mouth. From where Howie stood, he could see the wild light in Earl’s eyes as he pulled the trigger.
    The sound of the shot was somewhat muffled, Goldman’s head serving as a natural baffle. The bullet took out most of the back of the head when it exited. Extracting the weapon, Earl pushed the body away from where it sprawled in the dirt.
    “Bye-bye, Bob,” he said.
    “Shit,” Howie muttered.
    Earl turned to him. “You got a problem?”
    Howie regarded him for a long moment, then slowly shook his head. “What’re we going to do with him?”
    “Yeah, but…”
    “Look, he had us made. We’re not talking nickels and dimes here, Howie, m’man. We’re talking about a major slice of two hundred grand. We’re talking about what that money’s going to buy us in Colombia—you see where I’m heading? Against all that, this guy ain’t worth shit. What’s the matter with you anyway? Were you queer for him?”
    Howie shook his head.
    “C’mon. Let’s get out of here.”
    Howie nodded and got into the passenger’s side. “What about your ex?” he asked as Earl started up the car.
    “What about her?”
    “You really think she’s just going to hand over the money?”
    “She’s got a kid,” Earl said. “We’re going to take the kid, then if she don’t pay, the kid goes.”
    “But it’s your kid, too.”
    Earl shook his head wearily. “Christ, Howie. I haven’t seen the little squirt for over ten years. What’s she to me but a baby version of her old lady, huh? I didn’t see her coming to stay with her daddy when Frankie walked out on me.”
    “Well, when you put it like that,” Howie said.
    “Yeah,” Earl said. “I put it like that. Now keep your eyes open for a new set of wheels. I figure

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