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Authors: Linda McDonald

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Here Comes the Night

BOOK: Here Comes the Night
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HERE
COMES THE NIGHT
By
Linda McDonald

“Hold
me, squeeze me, don’t ever leave me,

tell
me that I’m doin’ all right…”

Here
Comes the Night

by
Nick Gilder, James McCulloch

 

Pure
Gumption Press

Chapter 1

At 4:30 Buck Dearmore opened his office door just enough to
peek out. The third floor of Cattlemen’s Bank, where he was a Vice-President,
was nearly empty from the usual Friday afternoon early-outs. Blanche, his
secretary, was at her desk filing her nails, talking with Johnny, the chunky
security guard for the executive floor.

“I’ve only had to fire it once,” Johnny was telling her,
referring to his holstered revolver.

“Really, when was that?” Blanche said.

“Warehouse downtown, a few years back. I’m coming around the
corner doing my rounds and this scuzzball has dragged this poor girl in there
and’s rapin’ her. So I quick pull my weapon and holler at him. ‘Hey, get off
her.’ And he looks up at me, and struts over, pants still unzipped, mind you,
sayin’—well I won’t use his language but—‘Come on, mother…You can’t even pull
the trigger.’”

“He actually said that?” Blanche leaned forward with
interest.

Buck closed the door without a sound but kept monitoring
their conversation. He had to wipe his sweaty hands dry before he could pull on
the latex gloves he got from his suit pocket. Then he went to his desk.

Carefully, he retrieved a Beretta from one of the drawers
and double checked its load. Just holding it, even through the gloves, gave him
an adrenalin rush.

Outside, Johnny was on a roll. “Yeah. Kept comin’ at me—close
as that desk over there, so I quick give him a second warning. Nut job just
keeps coming, so…”

“Oh my God, you killed him?”

Buck had heard the story a dozen times, how Johnny had
pulled the trigger, alright, but only hit the guy’s upper arm because the
guard’s hands had been shaking so bad. Not unlike the way Buck’s were starting
to shake now. To steady himself, he breathed in deeply, catching a faint whiff
of the bank’s lemon furniture polish.

Buck patted the plastic bag in his suit jacket pocket, all
the while keeping his ear out for Blanche and Johnny.

“Know what most people say just before they get shot?”
Johnny was asking.

“‘Don’t do it?’”

“Nope. Either ‘You haven’t got the guts,’” he informed her,
“or ‘Go ahead, I dare you.’ And that’s the last thing they say, ever.”

Buck wondered what would be the last words Gordon Wesner
would say. If he pulled this off, that is. He got out the Quarterly Report he
had finished the day before and placed it on top of his desk.

The clock ticked over to 4:35. It was time.

He stuck his head out the office door, carefully keeping his
gloved hands hidden. Johnny stood at attention when he saw him.

“All finished?” Blanche asked, slipping the nail file out of
sight.

Buck shook his head. “Damned Quarterly. Give me fifteen
minutes, absolutely no interruptions and I can knock it out before five.”

“No interruptions. You got it, Mr. Dearmore.”

“Then we can all walk out together.” He looked at Johnny.
“You waiting on him?” Buck nodded toward the president’s office door.

“Nope,” Johnny replied. “He’s working late, as usual. Says
he’ll lock up when he goes. You know the boss.”

Buck nodded and disappeared back into his office. They could
always count on Gordon working late.

He stuck the Beretta in the back of his waistband, then
pulled on a thin, clear rain slicker from his closet. He took another deep
breath. This was it.

As he turned around and faced his office, it struck him how
gaudy it looked. Crimson red and white football paraphernalia and trophies from
the University of Oklahoma spilled over from the walls. Real overkill, and
dusty from a lifetime ago. Now Dearmore was in his forties, at best a silver
fox with a broken down body from too many slams and hits on the field. A guy
who was only where he was because of a brief burst of football fame. In
Oklahoma, where football was God, who wouldn’t give their eyeteeth to close a
loan with a runner-up for the Heisman trophy?

Buck’s best years were past him before he knew they were the
best. The relentless grind of a job he loathed had left him depressed,
hopeless.

And then Angie had happened.

Chapter 2

Gordon Wesner’s red pen bled all over a shoddy report sent
up from a junior officer. He tossed it aside on his desk in disgust.
Incompetence was everywhere, even in banking, which was almost a permit to
print money if you knew what you were doing.

These days you had to be sharper, more ruthless, than the
Norman Rockwell bankers of generations ago. Forget community and home loans.
Hedge funds might be risky and speculative, but that’s where the big bucks
were.
It was a lean, mean
banking paradigm that was
ulcer-inducing, but Gordon had stayed ahead of it.

He loosened his tie and got up to check the thermostat. He
couldn’t work unless it was 65 degrees or lower. The extra pounds piling on to
his already sedentary 50-year-old body made it harder to move as well as cool
off. He pushed the needle down to 64 just for good measure.

Gordon was relieved to be back from the sweltering bank
meeting in Houston. Next time maybe he’d send Dearmore down, before he fired
him. Even Buck could have kept up with those Texas glad handers. All they did
was talk sports anyway, like they were on personal terms with half the players.
They couldn’t care less that Dearmore wouldn’t know a hedge fund if it bit him
in the ass.

Dearmore had outlived his usefulness anyway. It was getting
to where half the people in the bank were too young to even know who he was
anymore. So, while Gordon’s reasons were actually personal, he could explain it
to the Board in business terms as well.

A list of messages on the desk still needed his attention.
As he flipped through them, only one softened his bulldog expression.

“Yes,” he smiled to himself. He pulled off a post-it note
and wrote, “Make appt. to see D.”

He moved to the next message and shook his head in disgust.
With a scoff he punched in a phone number.

Chapter 3

Buck wiped the sweat off his forehead before going into the
small conference room situated between the president and vice-president’s offices
and crossed the thick carpet to Gordon’s office door. He listened a moment to
Gordon blistering somebody’s hide on the phone.

“And why would I give a rat’s ass about that? Huh?” A beat.
“He insisted on money up front and now it’s not working out for him tax wise?
He can kiss my…”

Eight minutes to go by Buck’s watch. Finally the
conversation ended abruptly and he heard the phone click off.
“Fucker,”
he heard Gordon mutter.

Buck pulled his key ring from his trousers pocket and
soundlessly found the one he needed. It tumbled silently in Gordon’s office
door. Buck carefully opened the door and slipped in unheard on a plush Turkish
rug.

Gordon Wesner’s portly back was to him, sitting in his
burgundy leather office chair at a cherry wood desk. The only sound was the
shuffling of papers.

Buck stood there a moment, perspiring again, hands behind
his back. Then, with a start, Gordon sensed his presence and swung around in
his chair.

“Fuck, Dearmore,” Gordon said, sucking in air, “you scared
the shit out of me. I never knew you to still be here this late on a Friday.”

In spite of the gun resting against his back, Buck felt
intimidated by Gordon’s raw, massive face, now glaring at him, waiting for an
explanation.

Buck glanced at the clock on Gordon Wesner’s desk: 4:43.

“Well, Gordon…”

Gordon cut him off with a snort.

“Dammit. How many times do I have to tell you? It’s faggy to
start a sentence with ‘well’.”

Buck automatically said, “Sorry,” and immediately hated
himself for it. He was already losing ground, when he should have the upper
hand. His jaw tightened.

“What are you wearing that slicker for?” Gordon asked. “What
do you want?”

In spite of himself, Buck said, “Well, I wanted…”

“Sonuvabitch, you are slow. Out with it. Some of us’ve got
actual work to do.” Gordon turned back to his desk.

Buck squared his shoulders. “I wanted to tell you how much I
hate being treated like something stuck on the bottom of your shoe.” In the
background, Buck could hear an approaching rumble down by the river. Right on
time.

Gordon twisted back around slowly in his chair and laughed.
“Shit, boy, you
are
something stuck on the bottom of my shoe. You
jockstraps. You think I court ex-O.U. quarterbacks because they’re good at
math? Hell, I don’t trust you to close a damn car loan unless I check the
numbers first. Now, go back to your cave.” He whirled his chair back around to
his desk.

The rumble of the approaching train delivering cattle to
Stockyards City grew louder. Gordon’s clock stood at 4:46. Two more minutes.

Buck was so angry his voice turned low, gutteral. “Fuck
you.”

Gordon Wesner turned to him, his face filled with disgust.
“Get the hell out of my office.”

The train’s engine was so close it was beginning to roar.

Buck drew the Beretta from behind his back and pointed it at
Gordon, whose face finally showed a flicker of fear.

“What the…?” Then Gordon squinted closer at the gun. “Is
that my…what’re you doing with my Beretta?”

Buck’s thin smile was triumphant. “Well, well, well.” He got
the silencer from his pocket and quickly screwed it into place.

The train had grown so loud that they could barely hear each
other. “I just wanted to tell you,” Buck hissed, “that I’m going to take real
good care of your wife.” Buck stepped toward him.

Gordon’s face contorted with rage, but his steely eyes
grasped what was about to happen. He tried to push himself up out of his chair.

The train’s roar crescendoed. Gordon’s face looked terrified
now. Coming out of his chair, he put one hand out toward Buck, as though to
stop him, while the other hand reached blindly for the phone.

Buck had to get in close for it to work. He rushed the few
steps to the desk, closing the gap in a flash. Gordon screamed, but it was
drowned out by the train whistle. Then, before Buck could get the gun in place,
Gordon turned and somehow got hold of Buck’s upraised arm.

Buck strained to keep the gun away from him. Although Buck
was easily stronger, Gordon’s heft and the fact he was fighting for his life
turned it into a real struggle.

Both breathing hard, they awkwardly grappled with each other
for what seemed forever, but was actually only seconds. Then Buck, his own ears
thundering, caught Gordon off balance and shoved him back down into his chair.
Buck regained control of the Beretta just as Gordon was reaching to come back
at him. The train’s rumble was deafening.

Buck raised the gun and fired it into Gordon’s temple.

For a moment, Gordon still sat erect, seemingly frozen. Then
his head dropped onto the desk like a shovel hitting wood.

Outside the train was still screaming, but inside time had
frozen.

Smoke seeped upward in trails out the barrel of the gun.
Blood speckled Buck’s rain slicker. Finally, he released his held breath.

Shaking now that it was done, Buck couldn’t remember what to
do next. He stood paralyzed beside Gordon’s chair, staring at him. Wesner, who
was dead before he hit the desk, looked out with eyes frozen in surprise. It
was chilling to see his enemy like that, face suddenly slack, almost childlike.
From loathing to nothing, as the light left Gordon’s eyes.

Next to him on the desk sat pictures of Gordon and Angie on
their wedding day, traveling in the Mediterranean, and at social galas. He
stared at them numbly, still unable to move.

Then he could hear Angie’s voice in his head, going over
each step. Buck felt Gordon’s pulse just to make sure. Then he put the gun in
Gordon’s right hand and fired it into the ceiling, to leave gunshot residue.
The train was still howling, so he managed the second shot under the noise.
Then he unscrewed the silencer and dropped the gun to the floor under Gordon’s
limp arm.

It had happened like a blur. Like it wasn’t even him doing
it. It was 4:48
.
The train began to whine down to its stop, where it
would unload doomed cattle to their ignominious end.

As Buck shed the blood spattered rain slicker and wadded it
into a ball, he heard a phone ringing from somewhere. He pushed the slicker
into the plastic bag from his pocket and checked for blood on his shoes or
trousers. He was clean. He headed quickly toward the conference room door.

Then he realized, the ringing phone was too close. It was
coming from
his
office. Why was Blanche letting calls through? Pissed,
he hurried toward his office door, then remembered he forgot to turn down
Gordon’s thermostat and turn off his desk lamp.

Cursing himself, he rushed back and unlocked Gordon’s door,
ran to the desk and turned off the light, avoiding looking down. He pushed
Gordon’s thermostat down to 61.

Back in the conference room, he pulled off his gloves and
crammed them into the plastic bag. The continued shrill ringing of his desk
phone unnerved him. Flying back into his office, he yanked the phone from its
cradle. “Yes?”

It was Blanche, her voice dripping with apology. “You okay?
I was starting to think…”

Improvising on his feet, Buck said. “Oh, yeah, sorry, I was
in the conference bathroom. Took me a minute.” He tried not to sound out of
breath.

“Oh, well, listen, I’m so, so sorry to have to disturb you.
But I just got a call. My sister’s gone into labor. She’s already at the
hospital.”

Buck nearly laughed with relief. “Well, then, you’ve got to
head right out. And I’m done with the report. I’ll be there in thirty seconds.”
He hung up before she could say more.

He toweled off the perspiration covering his head and neck.
He hid the bag with the slicker and gloves in his briefcase and checked himself
in the mirror.

Other than a face that had paled to almost white, Buck
looked surprisingly normal to himself. He slapped his cheeks to give himself
some color, then grabbed the Quarterly and headed to the door. He paused at the
door, shut his eyes before leaving and willed himself into looking relaxed.

Once he moved into the outer office, everything was calm,
quiet, as if nothing had happened. He delivered the Quarterly to Blanche, who
hurriedly locked it in one of her desk drawers, ready to send out on Monday.

All the while, she chattered nervously about contractions
and nightmare labor stories while Johnny hung on her every word. Blanche was
sweet and dull usually, but her younger drama queen sister’s pregnancy had
sparked the chatterbox inside.

Buck did not mind. All he had to do was listen benignly and
walk beside them. Blanche talked incessantly all the way down in the elevator
and into the parking lot. That he could handle, even use as a way to avoid the
mental snapshots of the last half hour.

As he said goodbye, Blanche looked at him quizzically.

“Did you hear me? Monday off? Is that okay if she dominoes?”

Buck looked at her for the first time since they left the
building.

“Oh, sure,” he said. “More than that if you need it.”

BOOK: Here Comes the Night
6.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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