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.Come on, come on.Here's victim number three, all set up and waiting for you.Break out your goddamned piano wire and do your stuff.I hear you're pretty good.You almost yanked one guy's head clean off.Give us a demonstration, Carl.I always wanted to see a top garotte-man in action.”Martha Borden stirred beside me and started to speak.I grabbed her wrist and dug my fingernails into the flesh to keep her quiet.I heard him coming.His body blocked the glare of the lights.There was something in his hands.He walked past us and stood over the unconscious form of Rullington."What did you give him?""You know what 1 gave him," I said."He'll be out for four hours-well, say three and a half, now.You've got nothing to worry about.You've got all the time in the world.""Shut up!"There was still another long silence.I heard a funny little choked sound like a gasp or a sob, and a whispering metallic noise.He'd dropped the garotte into the lap of the seated sheriff, among the other weapons.He stood there a moment longer, looking down.Then he turned without a word and strode away.Martha started to move, but I clamped down on her wrist once more, and we sat there waiting.He came back, carrying something bulky and, from the way he walked, fairly heavy.It was a child, tied and gagged.He set it down beside its father, studied the picture they made together, and leaned down and removed the gag."Okay, boy?""I.I think so.""You'll have a bit of a wait.Your daddy's asleep.When he wakes up, he'll turn you loose and you can both go home.Don't try to get free by yourself.You can't do it, and you'll just lose a lot of skin.Eric.""Right here.""Grab your toys if you want them.Let's go somewhere and talk."Chapter XIXCarl joined us at the motel back in Amarillo, Texas, after stalling long enough on the road somewhere to start me worrying that, perhaps, he'd changed his mind about coming at all.That was undoubtedly just what he'd intended.He arrived at last, however, bland and unapologetic, and we had a briefing session that lasted well past dawn.By that time, the girl was curled up asleep on the bed nearest the wall, and the motel room was saturated with Carl's cigar smoke and littered with his discarded beer bottles- he'd cleaned up the supply of Carta Blanca I brought from Mexico in the boat's ice chest.That didn't worry me.I knew that his capacity for beer was practically limitless, which was more than I could say for my own."Anything else you need to know?" I asked as we broke it up at last and moved towards the door."Are you kidding? There's everything else I need to know.Only you can't tell me." He grimaced, looked down at the soggy stump of his latest stogie, and mashed it out in the ashtray on the little table by the door."But I've got the names memorized, both lists, and the date.And the fact that it's supposed to look nice and accidental.Did you notice something about those lists, Eric?"I threw a glance over my shoulder at the sleeping girl, in a supposedly meaningful way, and said, "Stop blocking the doorway and let me get some fresh air, will you?" I moved past him, out of the air-conditioning into the warm new daylight.As he joined me, pulling the door closed behind him, I said softly, "I'm paid to notice things about lists and so are you.But we're not paid to talk about what we notice in front of Tom, Dick, Harry, or Martha.If you know what I mean.""She's sound asleep.Anyway, I thought you said she was his daughter." Carl studied me narrowly."Maybe there is something else I ought to know, after all."I regarded him for a moment, a tall man, a big man, in jeans and a thin, gaudy sports shirt that was unbuttoned far enough to display a fairly hairy chest.It's getting so the men are going in for these pectoral peepshows just like the women-unisex, I suppose.He was a couple of inches short of my own height of six-four, but constructed along considerably huskier lines.He had a long, square-chinned face that showed a good growth of blond stubble in the early-morning light [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]