A Pack of Lies: Sneak Peak of Chris Rhatigan’s contribution to ALL Due Respect Books double noir package Two Bullets Solve Everything

6 Dec

Chris Rhatigantwo bullets ebook final

 

This is a portion from near the end when sleazy newspaper reporter Lionel Kasper’s dirty deeds are catching up to him:

 

I ended up in a gas station down the street, put a pack of GPCs, a dollar scratch off, and a small coffee on the debit card. I sat in a two-person booth by the window. The ticket was called MONEY BAGS. The goal of the game was to match three or more numbers. I took a quarter, scratched until I created a small pile of silver dust. I won two bucks, took my winnings in lottery tickets, kept scratching away with that quarter.

I was debating getting more tickets when my cell phone buzzed in my pocket.

“Hello.”

“Is this Lionel Kaspar?”

“Who’s this?”

“Rich Cummings, Wallingtown Police.”

The first ticket was a loser. I moved onto the second one. “They got you calling the media? Where’s Vaughn at today?”

“This is actually regarding Janet Schaefer.”

“What about her?”

“We’d like to have a chat.”

“On the record?”

“This isn’t related to your capacity as a reporter.”

“Then there isn’t much to chat about.”

“Excuse me?”

“I didn’t know her well. I have no idea about the circumstances around her death.”

“We understand that, but we’re gathering information about her right now. Trying to get everything we can. You can relate to that, right?”

“Sure, but I can also tell you that when I’ve been in your position, the Wallingtown Police have given me shit. Am I compelled to talk to you in any way?”

“Listen, just come down to the station. We’ll explain everything when you get here.”

“I asked you a direct yes-or-no question. Am I compelled to talk to you in any way?”

“Not yet.”

I didn’t like how he phrased that.

I stumbled for words, swallowed hard, then ended the call.

The second lotto ticket was a loser too.

* * *

I had to get out. I went back to the ATM, took out twenty bucks. Dropped my cell phone in a trashcan. Back to my apartment to pack a bag with a change of clothes, toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb, a spare half-pack of smokes I found in the bottom of a drawer.

I had to take two buses to reach the train station. Bought a ticket to East Orange for eleven dollars. I had an old friend there who I could hole up with until I planned my next move.

Next train didn’t leave until 3:46. I smoked two cigarettes quickly, glancing this way and that, nervous little puffs hanging in the wet air. No security at the station, no cops. I watched the people enter the station, seeing if I recognized anyone—trying to discover if the witness was, in fact, following me this entire time—but it was a sea of nobodies bouncing from place to place.

I went through the station outside to the crowded platform, couldn’t resist another cigarette despite my dwindling supply. The trains roared in and out, the groups of people swarming on and off like diseases.

As soon as I got a spot on a bench, my train rolled up. The doors hissed open and I found an open three-seater, lied down across it, no way I was going to allow other people into my space.

 

Get it here, ebook or paper.

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