79. Jim

Chapter 78


My hands are shaking. Jesus Christ. I’m alone in the house. I dropped the gun as soon as Stag shut the door. Jesus.

I’m so tired of this. I’m tired. I want it to be over.

I really do. No fooling. Nick and the Leighs and Gret and Zig and Izzy and now Matt. I don’t know, Kyle. I think I crossed a line, here. I think what I did you don’t come back from. Even if he didn’t die. Even if I knew he wouldn’t when I pulled the trigger.

What the fuck am I still doing here, kid? I think I crossed a line.

I can pull a lot of stuff and talk my way back into going to sleep with it on my conscience. You know me. I never second-guessed. Even lying to Izzy. I was right to do it, and if I wasn’t I at least didn’t mind too much being wrong.

This is different. It wasn’t like Nick, either. Nick was an accident. We made a mistake, and that’s alright. After forty years, making a mistake isn’t so bad. I miss him, but come on, now. If we hadn’t left him I wouldn’t be here. Like I said, this is different. It went according to plan – it was an … it was an acceptable loss. I don’t like talking that way.

Talk about things the way they are, George Carlin said.

I, premeditated and in cold blood, have shot a child so that I could hurt somebody else. So that I could rattle somebody, and have him playing my game from here on out. I shot a child. I did, and I will not deny it.

Have you ever killed a kid, Kyle? Even back in those old days before any of us? Did you ever kill a kid? I know you did. Did you let it get to you? I know you didn’t.

We are monsters, and we deserve to die for what we’ve done. We deserve it. Man, I don’t know. If we were good people we would have turned guns on ourselves. I don’t know if you can die, but I don’t think that would stop you from trying it if you really wanted to. And I’m still alive because I have a plan, and it needs a couple things done.

For these things I have debased myself. So I just need to hold off the tiredness a little bit more, and that makes it feel a little better. As if I deserve that.


I don’t know where you are right now, but I get the feeling if I do this right I can get you to hear me, and I want you to know that I still need your help. It takes – what? Three weeks to get back from the hotel if you take the long way? The first thing I need you to do is turn around and head back in as fast as you can go. I need you inside the hotel because I’m gonna send Stag in. And when he gets there, he’ll be weak and crippled and he’ll know it, but he’ll go in anyway. He won’t have a choice after I’m done with him. So you let him come to you, and then you tear him to shreds, and we can be done with it.

Trust me on this. I can make him go in. So turn around right fucking now.

Also –

Also, this is probably going to be the last time I talk with you, kid. The last time, you know? If it goes well, I mean. Step two or three of the plan is for me to not make it. I just figured I’d let you know that. I’m not so good at this stuff, but this’ll be the last you hear from me. And I just wanted to let you know that you’ve been a good friend to me and mine, Kyle Marshal. I have never cared what else you were – I don’t care. You’ve been a good friend to me, and that’s worth something. Thank you for knowing me, and for making me better. Give my regards to Annette when you make it back, okay? Thanks. I’m trusting you with this.

Goodbye. I’ll see you –



Chapter 80

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