The Final Detail Page 74

was standing over him. Or at least he assumed it was Billy Lee. It was as if the former pretty boy had been kidnapped and replaced with this fleshier counterpart. Billy Lee's formerly prominent cheekbones looked malleable, tallow skin in mid-shed clung to sagging features, his eyes sunken deeper than any pirate treasure, his complexion the gray of a city street after a rainfall. His hair was greasy and jutting all over the place, as unwashed as any MTV video jockey's.

Billy Lee was also holding what looked liked a sawed-off shotgun about six inches from Myron's face.

"He's holding what looks like a sawed-off shotgun about six inches from my face," Myron said for the benefit of the cell phone.

Billy Lee giggled. That sound too was familiar.

"Bonnie Franklin," Myron said.


"Last night. You were the one who hit me with the cattle prod."

Billy Lee spread his hands impossibly wide. "Bingo, baby!"

Myron shook his head. "You definitely look better with the makeup, Billy Lee."

Billy Lee giggled again and retrained the shotgun on Myron. Then he held out his free hand. "Give me the phone."

Myron hesitated but not for long. The sunken eyes, once Myron could see them, were wet and unfocused and tinged with a dull red. Billy Lee's body was one tremor. Myron checked out the short sleeves and saw the needle tracks. Billy Lee looked like the wildest and most unpredictable of animals: a cornered junkie. Myron handed him the phone. Billy Lee put it to his ear.


Win's voice was clear. "Yes, Billy Lee."

"Go to hell."

Billy Lee giggled again. Then he clicked off the phone, untethering them from the outside world, and Myron felt the dread rise in his chest.

Billy Lee stuck the phone in Myron's pocket and looked over at Pat. "Tie him to the chair."

Pat said, "What?"

"Tie him to the chair. There's rope right behind it."

"Tie him how? I look like a goddamn Boy Scout?"

"Just wrap it around him and tie a knot. I want to slow him down in case he gets dumb before I kill him."

Pat moved toward Myron. Billy Lee kept an eye on Myron.

Myron said, "It's not really a good idea to upset Win."

"Win doesn't scare me."

Myron shook his head.


"I knew you were strung out," Myron said. "But I didn't realize how badly."

Pat started winding the rope around Myron's chest. "Maybe you should call him back," Pat said. If the San Andreas quaked like his voice, they'd be calling for an evacuation. "We don't need him searching for us too, you know what I'm saying?"

"Don't worry about it," Billy Lee said.

"And Zorra's still there-"

"Don't worry about it!" Screaming this time. A shrill, awful scream. The shotgun bounced closer to Myron's face. Myron tensed his body, preparing to make a move before the rope was knotted. But Billy Lee jumped back suddenly, as if realizing for the first time that Myron was in the room.

Nobody spoke. Pat tightened the rope and tied it in a knot. Not well done, but it'd serve its stated purpose-i.e., slow him down so that Billy Lee would have plenty of time to blow Myron's head off.

"You trying to kill me, Myron?"

Strange question. "No," Myron said.

Billy Lee's fist slammed into the lower part of Myron's belly. Myron doubled over, the air gone, his lungs spasming in the pure, naked need for oxygen. He felt tears push into his eyes.

"Don't lie to me, asshole."

Myron fought for breath.

Billy Lee sniffed, wiped his face with his sleeve. "Why are you trying to kill me?"

Myron tried to respond, but it took too long. Billy Lee hit him hard with the butt of the shotgun, exactly on the Z spot Zorra had sliced into him the night before. The stitches split apart, and blood mushroomed onto Myron's shirt. His head began to swim. Billy Lee giggled some more. Then he raised the butt of the shotgun over his head and started it in an arc toward Myron's head.

"Billy Lee!" Pat shouted.

Myron saw it coming, but there was no escape. He managed to tilt the chair with his toes and roll back. The blow glanced the top of his head, scraping his scalp. The chair teetered over, and Myron's head banged against the wooden floor. His skull tingled.

Oh Christ...

He looked up. Billy Lee was raising the butt of the shotgun again. A straight blow would crush his skull. Myron tried to roll, but he was hopelessly tangled up. Billy Lee smiled down at him. He held the shotgun high above his head, letting the moment drag out,

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