"Yeah," she says. Her voice sounds resigned.
I look back at her. "You knew this was going to..."
"Yeah. Well. Part of me was hoping it might all be a hoax. Or maybe some kind of game."
"These people don't play, darlin'." I pull on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt.
"I'll put on coffee," she says.
The screen door bangs behind me as I step out onto the porch. "Hey y'all," I say.
Smith swings down out of the door of the Hummer-sine, a toothpick hanging from one corner of his mouth.
"We've come for the blog," he says.
I nod to him. "I know. It's ready."
Last stop: Kent Gowran's Blood Sweat & Murder Blog
"The first blow split Stan's lip and knocked him into a stack of recapped tires at the back of the repair bay. He caught a glimpse of the bright sunlight and the road outside before his stepfather's bulk eclipsed the light like an evil moon. The second, third, and fourth blows were softer but more humiliating, delivered as they were by the hand holding the rolled-up magazine."
It sings, man! Fucking sings like a George Jones tune. And most visitors to this blog have already heard Dusty read the first chapter of his upcoming Breaking Cover, I hope, and I bet it felt good, didn't it? He just gets better and better.
"You ready?" Smith says.
I nod. "Yeah."
He grins. "That's what you think."
I turn to her. "I have to go."
She raises her chin defiantly, tears glistening in her eyes, but she won't let them fall. "I know."
I give her a long, soft kiss, and then, without a look back, I climb in. I gesture at the Wild Turkey bottle in Gischler's lap. "You gonna fondle that thing all day, son, or you gonna open it?"