Chapter 37

Charney found himself lying on his back in the middle of the street.  He was pretty sure he hadn’t been shot, but his ribs didn’t feel right, and the back of his head throbbed from having thumped it so hard against the blacktop.  At least the drizzle felt good on his face.  He thought he could see the moonlight breaking through the clouds.  Moonlight, or a jetliner’s landing lights, or maybe, hopefully, angels were descending to collect him… 

Whatever it was, Killdare’s blur blot it out when he stepped into view.  He chomped on his Hubba Bubba and grinned down at Charney.  “Hey, Char,” he said, stooping into a linebacker’s two-point stance, “how many fingers ‘m I holdin’ up?”  His hands were on his knees. 

Charney tried to speak but the best he could do was puff out a groan.  Breathing was hard; thinking was harder.  All he could really feel was the patter of drizzle dampening his skin, his hair and his clothes.  Because it was soft, he didn’t mind that it was cold. 

Killdare chuckled.  He bumped Charney in the ribs with the edge of his boot.  Charney spat blood.  “How many?”  Killdare repeated.

Charney's mental fog thickened.  Had he drawn his Glock or not?  Fixing on Killdare’s blur, Charney slowly curled his fingers around...  damp air--not the grip of his gun.  He shifted his hips.  No, it wasn’t holstered either. 

“Ya hit ‘m too hard,” Killdare said to somebody else.  Charney heard somebody else mumble an apology.  “Ya sonofabitch,” Killdare said, “ya broke m’ new toy.”  Somebody else said he could always get another.

Charney meant to shift his eyes, but he turned his whole head before he knew he was doing it.  His gun lay on the blacktop, just out of reach.  So he reached.  He had placed one finger on the butt of his Glock when Killdare took note and stomped down on his wrist.  Hot, razor-sharp pain sliced through his arm.  Charney grabbed the boot with his free hand--but he didn’t have the strength to shove it off.  “Christ…!” he hissed through his teeth. 

“Nope,” Killdare said, popping his Hubba Bubba, “Killdare.”

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