“This is going to hurt.”
Geoff carefully—with scrupulous attention to symmetry—folded his shirt and set it on the stuffed chair facing the bed, out of the way. He flexed his arms and then stretched them high over his head, as if limbering up for a swim meet.
“You can blame your friend Shellen for this. He did this to you. Now you’re bleeding. He should have agreed to settle this just between us two, but he dragged you into it. Sorry.”
The kid writhed. His eyes panicked. Geoff’s pointy black cowboy boots were right against his nose. Geoff pressed the tip of one boot right to the boy’s prominent adam’s apple. He pressed down on it gently.
“I don’t blame you. You’re just a kid. None of this involves you. You let yourself be misled, though. But Shellen should have known better than to pull you in to our business. This is no place for you to be at this point in your life.”
He reared back and kicked the kid in the ribs. He did this three times. Then he straddled the kid’s hip and, grabbing him by the still moist hair, slammed the side of his head against the floor till he was unconscious. And the kid would stay unconscious for a long time.
Geoff looked down at his chest. Clean as a whistle. He didn’t know what he expected. More blood. More of a struggle. But he had taken the kid out cleanly. Just some blood around the boy’s mouth. Now the skin on the kid’s ribs was darkening; later the marks would be yellow-green with slashes of dark blue, but not a mark on Geoff. Relieved, he unfolded the sweatshirt and slipped it back on. “No muss, no fuss,” he murmured to himself.
He walked into the living room and yanked the telephone cord out of the wall. Then he smashed the base of the phone under his heel.
In the kitchen refrigerator he found beer—not his brand, but he was thirsty. He pulled the tab off a can and gulped it down standing there. It was Friday, and Shellen could be back in as little as six or seven hours. He stretched out on the sofa and watched a movie on TV, something where savages coated a white man’s body with honey and left him for the ants to eat alive. He had heard about this movie but never seen it.
At the end, he turned the sound down and strolled back to the kitchen. He grabbed another can of Busch and let himself out on the back patio. He stretched himself, fully dressed on an aluminum and plastic recliner. The sun bore down on his face. In minutes he was asleep.
(To be continued)