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|The Prey Series|
Easy Prey is the longest of the Prey novels, at 105,000 words. And yet, it could easily have been longer. After the deadline, the author added several sections designed to enhance the action and give some insight into the minds of the bad guys. But because they were so late, these sections never made it in. Also, some intact sections got cut due to the length of the manuscript. Still, it's interesting to see what might have been if the book had gone to press with all the additions included and the cuts sections restored.
While some books have been rewritten essentially from the ground up Shadow Prey being a key example it usually happens long before the deadline and the earler version doesn't mesh with the final product. But in this book, because the changes were so late, they can be inserted virtually intact.
And be warned, these deleted scenes contain spoilers, so if you haven't read Easy Prey yet, do not continue. Thank you.
In the original draft of Easy Prey, the Second Man actually was introduced in the first chapter. This small scene was cut after the deadline had passed, so it was a very late change. It was originally placed after the sections about the First Man, but before the introduction of Alie'e Maison.
The Second Man had dreams of fighting and sex, though he never got in fights or had sex in real life. Always turned his shoulder first when he was walking toward another man in a hallway. Never said hello to a woman, unless, maybe, she was old, or they'd gone to school together. Even then it was hard.
But he would dream; he would be dramatic. He would be the man in the cool clothes, in the nightclub, with the money; with the girl with the green eyes. He could see her body, pale, like a streak of moonlight; with two delicate petals of pink at her breasts. But it was her eyes...
Sometimes he knelt beside his narrow bed and prayed to Almighty God that the dreams wouldn't come because sometimes, he couldn't get out of them. The dreams would go on night after night, an endless cycle, following the woman through hallways and streets and smoky bars, she always fifty feet ahead of him, looking over her shoulder, her green eyes calling him.
The Second Man had two bedrooms. One had the narrow bed, the other a big chair and a television. They shared the shrine. The shrine was a collection of photographs, more than two hundred now, of the girl with the green eyes. Some were cut from fashion and women's magazines. Some were publicity shots.
The early photos were standard magazine-page rectangles, but a few months earlier, to pare away the extraneous and distracting bordering material, he'd began cutting her figure out of the page.
And a few weeks ago, he'd grown even more severe: he began cutting out her face alone, sticking the cutouts to the wall beside his bed. Green eyes, mounted at eye-level, so he could look into them while he masturbated.
The Second Man was very near the edge. He could think of nothing but the woman with green eyes: Alie'e.
The party scene at the end of the first chapter was cut down to a few paragraphs for reasons of space the book was too darn long as it was, and the party scene didn't add enough. It introduces Del and Trick Bentoin earlier (although they're not named), but this section isn't quite accurate to later changes in the book. The killing of Sandy Lansing isn't mentioned here, but it gives away the fact that she's the dealer. The instances of "xxx" indicate that the information has yet to be filled in later. But since the scene was cut, that never happened, and the "xxx" still remains. So this section isn't so much a simple cut due to length as it is a cut due to extreme revision. But here it is anyway.
The party was pretty much open to anyone hip enough to know about it, and cool enough to get past the two bikers Silly had hired to sit on the porch... Sallance Hanson's house sat on the west bank above xxx lake, just south and west of the loop. From her front door, she could see the buildings in the downtown loop. Just inside the front door, past the bikers, a 60-inch flat panel TV hung from the wall like a painting that moved...
The year before, Alie'e had gotten a small part in a television movie. She was murdered in the fourth minute drowned by a SCUBA diver who dragged her under by the ankle but in the second minute, she'd stood on a Malibu beach in an orange one-piece bathing suit, her blond hair falling around her perfect oval face. She'd said, "If you think you can create a simple psychological portrait of me, then you are not nearly as bright as I thought, Rod; like all human beings, I am more complex than any computer model."
Rod, the man she was ostensibly speaking to, was, at the time of the filming, three hundred feet away, eating a pastrami sandwich with one hand and scratching his nuts with the other. Alie'e repeated the line over and over to get the wood out, the director said. The over-and-over aspect of television always confused Alie'e; she was unable to react to empty space the way a real actor could.
The film loop, "...you're not nearly as bright as I thought, Rod..." played on the sixty-inch flat-panel screen, under the beat of a trashy European techno band; the air was heavy with hemp, and the smell of flowers, together oddly funereal.
Fifty people crowed the apartment: just inside, Kopp, the German couture rep had backed a butchy feminist poet against the wall, both with drinks in their hands while Sandra Lansing, deeply stoned, stood to one side and teetered, as though she might at any moment fall face down on the oriental carpet.
A dozen forty-somethings danced in the piano room; the rest wandered through the five public rooms. A man who might have been a Catholic priest sat on a library couch with a martini and a leather-covered book that might have been the New Testament. A rental-apartment hustler named Carl McBride was arguing with a commercial real estate investor named Luis Ramirez, the two men not quite poking each other in the chests. Jael Corbeau passed through, trailed by a dark-haired woman, rich, good-looking and not long divorced; Sallance Hanson noticed the German's eyes following Jael and thought, "Hmm."
And all of that was fine, but Silly Hanson was looking for Alie'e. The party wouldn't make the papers without her, though the Star-Tribune's party reporter had been in the house for hours, and had gargled down enough Stoli to float a boat.
Silly had worked at Pillsbury, in public relations, until her trust fund arrived, after which she lapsed happily, at first, into a life of idleness, and then into competitive party-giving. For this particular effort, she'd gotten a tape of Alie'e's movie, snipped the line on the beach, turned it into a computer loop and now was playing on the big TV screen in the foyer, and on the wall of monitors in the media room. Silly Hanson was idle, but not without a slashing sense of humor, especially when the victim wasn't bright enough to get it.
A fuss at the door caught her attention. Alie'e? Silly stepped to her left and turned her head, carefully she couldn't be seen to be eager but when she got the right angle at the door, found that it was only Jaime Lord making a fuss over Amnon Plain and a man so huge that he looked like... like a moon coming over the horizon. She went that way, and Plain saw her coming.
"Plain," she said, looking up at the big man, "Introduce me to your friend."
"This is Clark," Plain said. "He's working with us on the Alie'e shoot."
Clark was dressed in Levis, a blue blazer that Silly suspected was a product of Sears Roebuck, a black t-shirt from the same source and shiny new brown loafers, without socks. He unexpectedly thrust out a hand and said, "Pleased to meet ya."
Silly shook: he was so big that she felt like she was putting her hand in a drain pipe. At her side, Jaime looked up at Clark and said, "You are such a monster."
"You two oughta talk," Plain said to Clark, nodding toward Jaime. "Just don't sign anything until I say it's okay."
"Sign what?" Clark asked.
"A modeling contract," Plain said. "And you might not want to pick up any soap in Jaime's shower."
To Silly: "Is Alie'e here?"
"No, but Jael is." She pronounced the name Ya-El, the Hebrew way.
"Fuck Jael." He said Jail.
"Maybe someday," Silly said.
Across the room, the dark rich woman who'd come with Jael whispered to Sandy Lansing, "Silly said you might help me get high...might have something to share."
Lansing, her pupils the size of pinpricks, sized up the dark woman: "Cocaine?" she whispered.
Lansing nodded. "I just got some. I could let you have a bit."
"God, that would be wonderful. I am so low."
They went back to the bathroom, and Sandy gave her an eight-ball in a plastic baggie wrapper; several more baggies nestled in her purse, and a half-dozen foil capsules. The dark woman dug in her purse and found a folded bill, and handed it to Sandy. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," the woman said. "How often do you find this?"
"Well...a couple of times a week, depending, you know, on what's happening. If there's anything going on."
"Do you have a phone number?"
"Sure." Lansing groped in her purse, found a ballpoint pen. "Give me your wrist."
The woman turned her wrist over and Lansing wrote her number on it.
"My name's Pella," the dark woman said, "I really appreciate this. I don't really have another friend who's..." She groped for a word, and finally came up with, "...connected."
"You do have to be around for a while," Lansing said. "Jael said you're just sort of coming out now..." She wrote Pella on her own wrist; otherwise, as high as she was, she'd forget it, and a dealer did not want to forget her customers.
McBride actually did poke Ramirez in the chest this time, and he said, "You don't get that old retail out of that place and get something new in there, you're gonna lose it. I walked through there on Wednesday, and you know what you got in there? You know what you got? Shit shops. That's what the Aussies call them. Shit shops. There's not a single goddamn thing in there that anybody needs..."
Ramirez didn't like being poked in the chest, and you didn't have to be a real estate genius to know that the shit shops weren't generating any revenue. But under his sales contract with the city, he had to take the shops on current lease if he wanted the rest of the deal, and the rest of the deal included the parking garage in the basement. The parking garage was the jewel, and McBride apparently didn't realize that and that made Ramirez wonder about how exactly McBride kept his little empire running.
Of course, rental apartments were a whole different world than commercial space, but when McBride said, "Get you some money and look for the blue collar neighborhoods, something solid but shabby," well, everybody knew that. But how do you handle the get you some money part? McBride had a couple of dozen buildings scattered around the Twin Cities, but Ramirez had never heard where the financing came from...
Jael Corbeau walked past with Pella the Rich Woman, and Ramirez had a quick vision of a Jael-Pella sandwich with himself as the weenie...
McBride poked him in the chest again and was saying, "... sell the whole goddamned floor to some big outsider like Wal-Mart; that's the new frontier, cost-cut retailers in the central cities..."
And Ramirez thought, what is this asshole talking about? A sudden lull in the talk turned his head, and he saw Alie'e Maison at the door.
"Movie star," he said to McBride.
McBride turned his head, took her in, and said, "Fuck anything that walks."
"Well, not yet."
"I'm gonna go meet her," Ramirez said.
The German said to Jael, "You can't possibly be a lesbian."
"Because it's too sad to contemplate."
Jael smiled: "I've been known to take a man to bed," she said.
"Thank God. And speaking of whom, your name and your brother's. How did you two get Old Testament names?"
"My parents were going through their Old Testament phase when we were born," she said. "They were Jews for a while. A year or so."
"They're not Jews any more?"
"Mother died; father's a member of the Bahai, now. He's out in California."
"Of course," the German said. His eyes moved toward the door and he said, "Here's the guest of honor."
Jael turned, and saw Alie'e, just greeting Silly Hanson. "And you ask me how I can be a lesbian?" she said to the German.
"But you're so much more attractive than she is," the German protested. With his rutted face, the skin-head haircut, the deep eyes, he was brutally charming. "She's like an expensive piece of glass. She's pretty, but there's nothing to go with it."
Jael smiled and pressed the trip of her forefinger against his chin: "You are a sweetie; but you have a cruel upper lip," she said. Then she slipped away toward Alie'e.
Pella came out of the can, and the first thing she saw was Jael and Alie'e talking together, and Jael reach out and touch the side of Alie'e's neck, and then her ear, an intimate, stroking movement. The cocaine rush switched tracks, and became cocaine anger. Here she was, Pella Angstrom, propelling herself out of the hands of a faithless male, into the safety of sisterly sex, and now this happens?
She went straight through the crowd, like a bullet, caught Jael's upper arm in her hand, her nails digging into the soft flesh of her triceps; she turned her face toward Alie'e. "Could you introduce me to your friend, Jael?" The gravel in her voice caught the ears of the languid crowd, and more faces turned toward them. A cat fight?
The man who might have been a priest pushed himself off the couch and lurched toward the bar. He'd had two or three more than he should have had, and given the opportunity, hoped to have seven or eight more before they closed him down. As he careened into the main room, he collided with a man dressed in a worn tweed jacket and a t-shirt that said "I'm with stupid," with an arrow pointing at his crotch.
"Steady there." The second man looked like a street character, with a hound-dog face and yellow teeth. He didn't give with the impact, like a street waster would, and when he caught the priestly one, his hands were wound with muscle.
"Good party," the priestly one burped. "Need a drink."
"Lean right here," yellow-teeth said, easing the priestly one against the wall. "I'll get it. What do you want?"
"A martini would be nice. They got them in big pitchers. Crystal pictures."
"Be right back."
"With two olives."
Yellow-teeth, on his way to get the martini, elbowed through a triangle of women, and sensing the tension, bumped into the blonde with the scar, and said, "Oops, Jesus, I'm sorry, honey, are you okay?" The blonde said, "Yeah," and yellow-teeth went on, leaving the three looking a little disgruntled; but the spell had been broken, and the possibility of a cat-fight dissipated.
Alie'e asked, "Has anybody got anything?" The rich woman said, "That woman over there just gave me some." She nodded at Sandy Lansing and the three of them drifted that way. Luis Ramirez, the investor, hitched his pants and said to Alie'e as she passed, "Hey, liked the movie. You gonna do another?"
"Ask my agent," Alie'e said. "I'd like to."
"Let me give you my card," Ramirez said. "I know some people out there..."
"Don't give her your card, Luis, let the poor woman go with her friends," said Silly.
The party rolled along, as they do; people flowing in and out of the apartment, then, at two o'clock, beginning to thin, a trickle of people wandering away, couples headed for bed. A young married woman sat in a hallway outside a bathroom and sobbed. Yellow-teeth stepped out of the can, zipping his fly, stopped and asked, "You okay?" She said, "No," and "Go away." He went away, but as he was about to turn a corner, she said, "My husband and I are breaking up."
He looked back. "Since when?"
"Since now," she said.
"Is he seeing somebody else?" Yellow teeth had curiously sympathetic eyes.
"No," the woman said shakily. "I am."
Jael Corbeau said softly to Alie'e, "Right now, you are the light of my life."
Alie'e, flying a little, now, nodded: she'd always been the light of somebody's life, ever since she was a kid.
"What's you're friend doing?" she asked. She was looking at Pella.
"Pella...She seems to be involved." Pella, across the room, was talking to a redhead in an Irish-green frock; they were sharing a joint. "Would you like to go in the back?"
"That guy is watching us."
Jael turned and saw the German; Kopp smiled and turned away. Another woman drifted by, touched Jael, "Want a little sleepy-time?"
And Alie'e said, "Mmmm."
The man with the yellow teeth was in the hallway when he spotted a thin dark-haired man in a Mets baseball cap, jean jacket and cowboy boots. He had the weathered face and smile lines of a Marlboro cowboy, and was laying some bullshit on a forty-five year old woman who liked it.
Yellow-teeth stopped in his tracks, staring. "Trick?"
The cowboy looked up, eyes narrowing: "Man, they'll invite anybody to these things."
"Oh, shit." Yellow-teeth, stunned, still staring.
The cowboy was puzzled: "What?"
"You're dead," yellow-teeth said.
Alie'e moved softly through the dark, sat back on the bed. The third woman closed the door behind them, and went straight to the bathroom. Jael sprawled beside Alie'e and licked the corner of her eye, then kissed her. Alie'e let herself go, felt Jael's hand on her breast. It all felt so good; she could do this four times a night...
In the bathroom, the third woman took a cut-down spoon out of her purse and laid on the counter top. Alie'e heard the metallic click as it went down, and her hips twitched; then heard tearing paper, then the strike of a match: the smell of the match and the light odor of soap made her think of home, of her mother lighting the stove with a kitchen match, and the smell of soap from the kitchen sink. The woman in the bathroom said, "Are you ready?"
"Yeah..." Alie'e turned her arm and began slapping the inside of her elbow joint, looking for a vein; Jael lay beside her.
"This isn't much, just enough," the third woman said. She stepped out of the bathroom, a tiny syringe pointing into the air.
"Let me," Alie'e said. She found a vein, took the needle, and slipped it in. She liked the needle: liked the anticipation of the prick, and the feel of the steel sliding under her skin. She backed it, brought a little blood, then eased the brown fluid into her arm and pulled the needle. The other woman took it, and went back into the bathroom.
Alie'e never heard the second match: she'd closed her eyes, waiting, and as Jael helped her slip out of her dress, felt the most exquisite languor overtaking her body. Hands touched her at the throat, at the breasts; a tongue somewhere, a hand, and she moaned and moaned again, and let the heroin sing to her...
When Alie'e lifted her head again, she couldn't remember exactly where she was, though she recognized the situation. On a bed, on her back, semi-naked, her dress a silky band pulled up under her armpits. There was an indentation on the blankets next to her, but she couldn't remember exactly who had made it. She sighed, fought the drowsiness, lost for a moment, fell back on the bed. Woke again, rolled off the bed: her mouth tasted terrible. A clock glowed on a nightstand: two-thirty.
Sitting up, she nearly lost her balance, nearly tumbled off the bed; she was disoriented. Turning, she saw a thin line of light, projected under a door. She got up; she was still wearing a shoe. Her bare foot touched a crumbled piece of clothing and she stooped, picked it up. Underpants. Couldn't find her missing shoe... She felt around with her foot, but couldn't locate it, and headed for the door. There'd be a light switch. She found the door knob first, opened it, saw movement.
The killer was there, looked at her.
Alie'e touched her cheek, oblivious of the dress still hung up around her hips, her nakedness from waist-down. She touched her cheeks and said, "Oh," and the killer launched himself at her, struck her in the face. Alie'e felt her nose break, but felt no pain: the heroin was still in her, dulling her. Though she felt no pain, she did feel as though she were drowning, the drowning sensation that comes with a broken nose. And she felt the thin bone break, like a soda cracker, and she felt her self falling and put a hand down. The navicular bone in her wrist snapped with the impact, but she didn't feel that either. The killer landed on her, a heavy man, his knees pinning her shoulders, his hands on her throat. She felt her eyes widening, bulging, as the thumbs pressed in, crushed her adams' apple.
Still, the heroin was with her. She waved her arms, feebly, flopped like a dying fish on a hot riverbank, felt the darkness coming again. She'd always sought the darkness, welcomed it. Before she went under, she felt a sensation of wetness along her buttocks.
Then she was gone.
The killer squatted over her, holding his grip; felt her go slack between his thighs, and still held on. When he was sure she was dead, he turned toward the door, his teeth flashing in the light, his face tight, the rictus of stress seizing him, stretching his face into a mask of spasmed muscle.
He listened, ready to leap again, ready to fight. But he heard nothing. Moved to the door, glanced down the hallway.
Was it possible? Could it be this easy?
Could he walk away?
Maybe. Maybe. Maybe...
He looked down the hall, moved to his left. He could hear the voices from the party. Could he get out here? Maybe maybe...
Man, this morning when he got up this morning, he never would have thought this might happen.
The anger had gone; the killing had actually felt good. And it was so easy.
This section was at the back of chapter ten, right after the Lucas scene ends, but just before the scene with Jael. This was the first of six sections that weren't cuts so much as additions that never got put in. The author feared that there wasn't enough action; all the action happened while he was elsewhere. So these sub-chapters were added to "spice things up". But in the end, they were all left out, as they removed tension.
The first man had a bad feeling about the call. A call to talk about the Sandy Lansing situation? He almost panicked, but not quite. This sounded like blackmail, and if it was, it could still be negotiated.
He met Derrick Deal at his office; they sat across the desk from each other and Deal never quite brought it out: that he knew who'd killed Sandy Lansing and Alie'e. He was too practiced a blackmailer for that.
He didn't demand an envelope full of cash. He asked for a loan a check would be fine. He'd pay it back... someday. Nor were there any threats of documents hidden in safe deposit boxes, or left with lawyers. Deal was a more genteel blackmailer; in his world, things were done by word alone.
But the first man couldn't tolerate the threat. He had another problem, and if the cops put two-and-two together, along with Deal...
Deal sat in the visitor's chair, a look of greedy amusement on his face. When the pitch wasn't immediately rejected, he knew he'd been right: there was something here...
The first man said, "I'm not sure I know you well enough to give you a personal loan. I know what you're doing, Deal; you're threatening to put me with Sandy, and dragging me into that whole Alie'e mess."
"That's not what I want; I'm just kinda in a personal jam," Deal said, wheedling.
"So call me tomorrow. I can't do a damn thing here tonight. I've got fifty dollars in my pocket, and I'm not going to give you that," the first man said. "I don't want to give you a check. I've got a couple thousand in cash salted away in a safe-deposit box..."
They talked for another minute, then Deal said, "All right, tomorrow's okay." They both stood up and Deal stepped toward the door, and as he turned his back, the first man picked up the mallet-style putter that was leaning against his desk. Deal was just outside the door when he half-turned back; at that instant, the head of the club was five inches from his face, traveling at sixty or seventy miles an hour. He never saw it, never suspected it; the club-head buried itself in his face and he went down.
He bled, but the first man dragged him onto the secretary's plastic carpet protector, and rolled him face-up. He hit him five more times with the putter, like swinging an ax, the heavy blade turning Deal's face into bloody oatmeal.
When he was done when he was satisfied the first man dragged Deal's body to the door; drove the car as close as he could, popped the trunk. Then, because he had no option, he simply carried the body out and threw it in the trunk. There were no screams, no calls, no questions, no lights or running feet. Nothing.
He went back inside, got a pile of tissue from the ladies room, soaked half of them, and cleaned up the blood. That was more of a problem that he'd expected, since there'd been some spray from the club head. The job took an hour, but he got it done right. When he was finished, he carried the towels back to the men's room, tore them up, and flushed them. Washed his hands, rinsed his face.
Now to dump the car. Someplace where it wouldn't be noticed too quickly... someplace he could walk back from.
This addition required some "surgery" on the book, to shuffle things around. It deals with the killing of Amnon Plain, and that happens inside a chapter rather than between chapters. Still, you can probably see the intent here. It takes place towards the end of chapter eleven.
The second man was a little disoriented. The night before, he'd tried Jael Corbeau's house: in all of his television-watching experience, when you hit a house, there was always a way to get in. You came in through glass doors across a back patio, climbed a drainpipe or a fire escape or a convenient tree, or you picked a lock... But Corbeau's place was like a fort.
And this place looked worse. A big blocky brick warehouse, with a small parking lot in back. He circled it a few times; on one of the circles, a woman came out the front door, and let it slowly close behind her as she walked away. Three or four circles later, a guy came out the same door; and it closed slowly behind him. Neither had looked back.
He'd never seen that on a cop show, but it seemed workable. He left the car on the street, got the gun out of the back seat, stuffed it inside his coveralls and walked up to the building. If he stood just around the corner from the door, he could hear it open...
There was almost no traffic; still three hours 'til dawn. He'd seen on a show that this was the most unguarded time of night, when everybody was in deepest sleep... That seemed right, right enough that it stuck in his head, but people were coming and going out of here like it was five o'clock, not as if it were a couple of hours before dawn...
The door opened, making a breathing sound, an airy hiss. The second man waited for a long beat, then sidled around the corner. The person going out never looked back; and the second man was inside.
He took a piece of paper from his pocket, looked at it: Suite 722.
He knew what the guy looked like from the news shows. A tough-looking guy. The second man didn't want a fight. He took the stairs, paused at four and six, a little out-of-breath, and on six, was startled when a woman ran by in the hallway. She glanced at him, and kept going, laughing. He hurried up the stairs, listened, then found 722. He could see light under the door somebody was awake at this time of night?
He pulled the gun, aimed it at the door, knocked. Knocked again, louder, heard somebody call, "Yeah, hang on."
The second man backed across the hallway, the gun leveled.
A dead-bolt rattled, and the door opened. The second man pulled the trigger just once.
This bit, meant for insertion after chapter seventeen, was primarily to add some depth to the first man and the second man, both of whom had only tangentially been in the book as characters at that point.
What was going on? What was happening? The first man couldn't stop watching TV. Deal had been found, sooner than he'd hoped, but Deal was only a small part of it. Three other people murdered, and a cop shot? A woman cop? The police would ever stop now. This would never drift off to oblivion, like he'd originally hoped...
Who was doing this? And why?
Whatever the answer to those questions, he'd have to move now. He had to insulate himself; and maybe make some provisions to run...
The second man also watched his work on television. And through the filter of the screen, nothing that had been done seemed much different than any of the rest of it. He clicked through his 999 channels, from the Alie'e murders to a History Channel documentary on Nazi atrocities to a Fox network real-crime show to Murder, She Wrote to an Animal Planet piece on African poaching to a noir shoot-out on HBO and a slasher movie on Cinemax to a gansta-rap video to boxing to great car chases and finally to pro wrestling and back to Alie'e one seamless, continuous pastiche of blood and bodies in any format he wished.
The whole Alie'e thing seemed a little pallid, in fact.
He couldn't really expect anybody to forget about it, but was it really that serious? Alie'e needed to be avenged people should understand that, you certainly saw it often enough. Half the shows on television were about the same thing. He wondered: if he quit now, would he get away with it all?
He thought about that as the murders and atrocities mounted on the wide-screen TV in front of him. And he decided: he had to go back. There were three more to do: Jael Corbeau, Catherine Kinsley, and whoever actually killed Alie'e.
He had an image of that last shooting in mind: the killer being led across an open plaza, his hands tied in front of him, a sneer on his face, a group of thuggish cops around him in grey suits and fedoras. He's gonna get away with it, somehow, some hotshot attorney. Then the camera pulls way back and we realize that we're looking at the scene through a scope, and that cross-hairs are tracking the killerÖHis finger tightens on the trigger, and the gun jumps, and the killer throws his hands in the air as the bullet shatters his brain...
The second man leaned back in his chair, closed his eyes, and did a stop-action slo-mo replay of the whole scene; sort of gave him a hard-on.
And this bit does the same thing: add more depth to the two baddies. Both sections detail give away what's going to happen, and are redundant given that Lucas then finds out what happened. Everything gets explained twice, which is unnecessary. This insert was to come after chapter nineteen.
By eleven o'clock Tuesday morning, the first man was fairly certain about one thing: he couldn't run. After all the work, the plotting, the bullshit, there just wasn't enough money. Not if he had to hide. He would have to stay put, to gut it out.
And shovel some confusing bullshit over what had already been done. Shoveling could be dangerous - but he had to remember that he was ultimately managing for a trial. If he were never picked up, that would be perfect; but if he was... A trial would hurt him, but wouldn't kill him, if it were managed right.
An acquittal, after all, was as good as innocence.
The second man felt the warm breath of celebrity wandering away. There were now stories almost as big as Alie'e at least, there were if you went out on the satellite, got away from Minnesota. And the 'Net was hardly paying any attention at all anymore. It was all Christmas sales now. The second man had an insight: the Internet was television. That's all! It was just more TV.
But then that wasn't bad, was it? He punched up his computer, went out in the newsgroups, clicked on alt . binaries . pictures . celebrities . aliee and found a picture of Alie'e that emphasized the green eyes: and with sixty-two inches of movie-format green eyes peering at him, the second man drifted away into fantasies of sex, celebrity and revenge.
He could do it all, if he could just get away from here...
Another long insert here, and yes, it's another action-oriented one. This one details the killing of Rodriguez, and is pretty effective, despite being a near-rerun of the Deal killing. Still, it adds more to the book than the previous two sections. At least, insofar as the first man is concerned. It goes after chapter twenty-four.
The first man felt as though he were being tortured. He'd visited Rodriguez apartment late in the day, had slipped a note under the door, and then had retreated to the parking lot of a neighboring apartment complex to wait for him. Rodriguez always worked until six or six-thirty, so that he'd miss the evening rush to Woodbury.
But on this night this one critical night he hadn't shown up. The first man waited until seven, then decided to wait another half-hour; and at seven-thirty decided to wait another half hour. And as his car clock was coming up on eight, was about to decide to wait one more half hour... when Richard Rodriguez arrived.
Another car pulled into the lot couple of minutes after Rodriguez, but nobody got out. Cops? Probably. Cops could be good, if everything worked out right. They could be valuable witnesses...
The light in Rodriguez' apartment came on; five minutes later, Rodriguez headed across the parking lot toward his car. He was not-quite trotting.
The first man exhaled, cranked his car up and headed for the parking lot exit. He had to beat Rodriguez downtown by at least a couple of minutes.
He beat him by more than that. After running as fast as he could downtown, he dumped his car in the first on-street parking place he found, then walked a block and a half to Rodriguez' building, and turned down the alley to the loading dock. If the door was still set, he was okay. If not, he'd have to go in through the Skyway, and risk being seen by somebody...
But the door was just fine. He gave it a tug, and swung it open, and stepped up and inside. When he'd first seen it, while scouting the building, it appeared to have been used almost never; even the loading dock itself was covered with a rime of greasy dust. Of course, it was possible that a janitor checked it; but the first man had unlocked it at five-thirty, and if it had just stayed unlocked for that two and a half hours...
Excellent. He stepped up, inside, into the dark. Pulled the door shut and locked it. Took out a pen light, and walked along a dark corridor to a dirty stairwell, picked up a piece of wood the length of a ball bat, split from a two-by-six. He slipped it under his coat, then headed up the stairs to the third floor, one floor above the entrance from the parking ramp. He could look through to the atrium to the entrance from the parking ramp. And this was the sticky part. This was the part where somebody could walk in on him, and wonder at him, waiting in the dark.
There were other possible problems. If Rodriguez took the elevator, he'd have to ambush him on the way out, and who knows how long that would be? And there were at least a couple of people in the building: he could hear them, upstairs, with vacuum cleaners, occasionally calling to each other.
If Rodriguez were right behind him... But Rodriguez wasn't. He expected the other man to show within three or four minutes. Fifteen minutes went by; an elevator went down, then back up. An office door closed echoing in the dark, and somebody rode the elevator down to the second floor, and walked, heels clicking, out through the door of the parking ramp.
Somebody said something, and the first man leaned forward, trying to see... and Rodriguez came through the door.
The first man listened for just a second: only one set of heels clicking down the tile. He opened the stairwell door, ran down a flight: and waited. Five seconds later, Rodriguez pushed through. He saw the first man, flinched, but had no more time than that. The club knocked him down, groaning. A second swing silenced him.
The first man stepped into the hallway, watched and listened. Picked up Rodriguez, staggered to the atrium. Hung him on the railing, listened, then pushed him over, holding onto his pants legs and then his feet until Rodriguez was falling straight down.
A little more than a second later, Rodriguez hit with a wet thump. The first man hurried back to the stairwell, found Rodriguez briefcase, carried it back to the atrium and left it.
He spent fifteen seconds checking the stairwell with the penlight, but found nothing at all.
A minute after that, he was letting himself out of the building, into the alley. He couldn't lock the door behind him. He'd have to hope that whoever found the unlocked door wouldn't connect it with Rodriguez. It seemed a good bet. If he could make it one more block down the street, he'd be gone...
This last, short insert was meant to go after chapter twenty-five. It's another character-development piece, but like the other ones is too short to really do any good, and just gets in the way otherwise. And, again like the other short inserts, everything in it is essentially redundant, as everything comes out elsewhere.
The second man thought about Spooner. Got angry as he thought about him. A banker, yet. A banker who'd taken Alie'e away from him. Wasn't satisfied with whatever you could take out of a bank...
The second man wanted Jael Corbeau and Catherine Kinsley, but that could wait. That could even wait weeks; but Spooner couldn't wait. He could feel the pressure in his head to hit the man; take him out; waste him; terminate him. He'd had a vision of himself sniping at the killer as the cops led him across a plaza, but now, it seemed the cops might not ever arrest him. The first man had seen all the court shows: he knew the level of proof that was needed. There'd been several cases on Law and Order where the crook had almost gotten off, or even had plea-bargained for a lot less than he might have gotten. Had escaped justice. Sneering, corrupt people in good suits with smart lawyers maybe he ought to take a couple of lawyers...
But he was getting distracted.
Spooner was the one he wanted...
27 February 2020
The Prey series, the Virgil Flowers series, the Kidd series, The Singular Menace, The Night Crew, Dead Watch, The Eye and the Heart: The Watercolors of John Stuart Ingle, and Plastic Surgery: The Kindest Cut are copyrighted by John Sandford. All excerpts are used with permission.
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