William Doonan

I write books and stories.

MedicineLand: Chapter Forty-Three

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“You don’t know me yet, but you need to,” Billy St. Clair whispered into Adam’s ear.  “I need you to come and talk with me now.”

Adam looked up.  Hard guy, he quickly concluded.  Older gent, probably only 45 but looking to look older, possibly a fruit.  Fit, in good shape, mean eyes.  Adam had known lots of hard guys in his life and this guy was one of them.  Some jail time behind him, Adam guessed.  He waved at Alice, who still sat by the girl.  “Do you know this man?” he asked.

Alice shrugged.  “About as well as I know you.”

“Can I trust him?”

“I suppose,” she said, watching as Billy smiled.  “He works with Julia’s husband.”

Billy tapped him on the shoulder.  “I’m asking you simply to move into the den so we can talk, that’s all.  It’s not like we’re buying a timeshare together.”

Adam followed him into Rocky’s den where a small fire kept the room a few degrees warmer than the rest of the house.

“Sit.”  Billy waved him to the sofa by the fire as he sat behind the desk.  “Would you like a cigar?”

“Would I?” Adam grinned.  “What have you got?”

Billy opened the humidor as Adam hovered over him.  “Upmans, MonteCristos, a couple of Cohibas.”

“What are those?” Adam asked, inhaling.  “You got about twenty of those and nobody’s touched one.  Can I see one?”

Billy handed him a Cite Loana Petit.  “What drew you to this one in particular?”

“I don’t know.”  Adam sat on the edge of the desk and smelled the cigar.  He took the clipper from Billy, cut the cigar and lit it.  He brought the smoke into his mouth and felt peaceful.  “Very nice.  So you’re a henchman of sorts?  You do…what’s his name?  Rocky, that’s it.  You do Rocky’s dirty work, keep him out of trouble?  Hide the bodies?”

Billy lit a Cohiba and ushered him to the sofa.  “Something like that.  So here’s my concern; as you might imagine, we have never had a situation quite like the one we have right here today.  Nevertheless, we have certain operational protocols.”

“Sounds official,” Adam interrupted.

“It is official.”  Billy stared at the monitor watching as a black jeep passed for the third time.  “Look,” he said, “if it was up to me, given that you just walked in, I don’t know you right?  I would send you off.  But I can’t do that now, so I would detain you.  But Julia says we can trust you.  Rocky says to trust Julia, so you’re in good shape.  You like that?”

Adam shrugged.

“Too bad.  I don’t like that,” Billy said.  “We pulled paper on you off of three wires that say you’re clean, but you told Julia and her posse that you were a major pharmaceuticals  player.  So I have to try to validate through other channels.  And you turn up on a number of other channels.”

“I was completely upfront with Julia.”  Adam pulled on the cigar.

Billy smiled.  “You ran a methamphetamine distribution center.”

“No I did not.” Adam stood and walked toward the window.  “I was chief chemist at a superlab.  I’m out of that business.”

Billy watched the biorhythm scan on the monitor.  The guy could be telling the truth.  “How do you feel about staying here tonight?  We have a pool, full bar, a zombie.  I don’t know what else to tell you, but I would like you to stay here tonight.”

“I can’t do that,” Adam said.  “I have a date.”

“Cancel it.”

“You have no idea.”

“What?”

“Nothing, but I won’t cancel it.  I’m going to be leaving.  And since I don’t have my car, I will need a lift or I can call a cab.”

“I am asking you to really think about staying,” Billy said.  “Because there are more security issues here than I had dreamed possible, and I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around them all.”

“I can appreciate that,” Adam said.  “And I can promise that there is nowhere on God’s green earth that I would rather be come tomorrow than here, but I need to go home to my girl tonight.”

Billy shook his head.

“Bullshit.  This is my first serious girl in a long time, and you are not going to keep me away.  You are not,” he repeated, “so bring it right now.  Shoot me, or try to fight me or whatever you have to do, or trust me to come back tomorrow.  Either way, I’m getting ready to go.”

Billy shook his head.  “You are some kind of odd fucking character.  I don’t know what to make of you.”  He opened the desk drawer and tossed Adam a car key.  “It’s the Audi out front.  Go home tonight.  Come back tomorrow, early.  Will that work?”

Adam nodded.

“Nothing about this to anyone.”

“Fine.”

“Yeah, more than fine,” Billy said.  “If you fuck with us, you’ll have more dogs on your tail than SUBA ever dreamed possible.”

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Written by williamdoonan

June 24, 2013 at 3:38 am

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