While Drowning in the Desert

While Drowning in the Desert by Don Winslow

Book: While Drowning in the Desert by Don Winslow Read Free Book Online
Authors: Don Winslow
Tags: Fiction, General, Thrillers
screeching, “My car! My car!”
    I laid Nathan down, checked him for injuries and then felt around my own back to see if there were any stray pieces of a 1965 Mustang embedded in it. There weren’t any, so it was with some relief that I sat down beside Nathan.
    “My car, my car,” Sami whimpered.
    “Stop whining,” I said. “You have insurance, don’t you?”
    For some reason that made Sami really moan. But by this time I was more pissed off than I was scared so I said, “Your precious car, my ass. You know something, you dumb little jerk? I’m glad I shot your car.”
    Sami pointed the gun at me. “I shoot you now!”
    “You’re not going to shoot us now,” I said.
    I looked around. On the other side of the road there was a smaller dirt road that led up behind a small knoll. It looked as if there were some deserted shacks up there. Maybe it was a deserted old mine. It would at least be some shelter for the night and some shade for the next day. If there was one.
    I helped Nathan up and asked him if he was okay to walk. He said he was, so we started up the little road toward the shacks.
    “I shoot you now!” Sami said as we headed out.
    “No, you’re not,” I said. “Think for a second, Sami. If you shoot us now, you can’t get away from the scene of the crime. If you shoot us now, you’ll be a married man in San Quentin this time next year.”
    Sami had a wonderfully blank expression on his face that I would have thought was funny if we hadn’t been marooned in the middle of the Mojave Desert with a not-overly-bright, incompetent criminal who still had the gun.
    “Oh,” Sami said.
    “Oh,” I answered.
    “You’re right,” Sami said.
    “This is probably a first for you,” Nathan said, so I figured he was basically intact.
    We reached the old shack, which was in fact the remnants of a played-out mine of some sort. It was a one-room cabin with two busted-out windows with no glass, flanking a doorway with no door. Not only was there no glass and no door, there was no water, no food, no blankets, no nothing of anything that we could use.
    But there was nowhere else to go and Nathan looked like he was out of gas.
    “I’m staying here,” I said.
    “Me too,” said Nathan.
    Sami didn’t know what to do, so the next step was fairly predictable—he called Heinz.
    “Mr. Silverstein,” I whispered while Sami was dialing, “would you mind telling me why these people want to kill you?”
    Nathan shrugged, “Maybe they saw the beach movies.”
    For some reason I thought he was being disingenuous.
    Then again, I had seen the beach movies.
    “Hello, Heinz?”
    Nathan nudged me. “So this fella Hannigan had a schlong that a horse shouldn’t have. That an elephant shouldn’t have. They called him the One-Eyed Giant, and not because he was tall, either.…”
    “Sorry, Heinz, I forget, okay? I’m very upset.… I can’t do that, Heinz.… Because then I couldn’t get away from the scene of the crime.…”
    “One night we’re in a restaurant,” Nathan continued. “I’m having a nice piece of fish. Hannigan leans over the table to get the salt and his eye falls out. I go to cut my fish, think I’m looking at the fish-eye, but what I am looking at is Hannigan’s eye.…”
    “Can you come get me, Heinz? I’m sorry. I forget. Where am I? Hold on.” Sami looked around. “In the desert.”
    “I start to cut into the fish,” Nathan continued, “and Hannigan looks at me with his one eye and says, ‘When did you ever see a fish with blue eyes?’ Well, he starts to laugh, I start to laugh, Paulette starts to laugh. ‘When did you ever see a fish with blue eyes?’
    “Some old mine, or something.…” Sami started to give him directions. “Then you go … Hello? Hello?”
    “The battery’s dead,” I said.
    “You can recharge it in the car.”
    Sami gave me the best dirty look he could with his one good eye.
    “I shoot you,” he said.
    “Not until Heinz gets here, you

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