Reversible Error

Free Reversible Error by Robert K. Tanenbaum

Book: Reversible Error by Robert K. Tanenbaum Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robert K. Tanenbaum
Tags: Fiction, General, det_crime, Thrillers
you doin. You say this really works?"
    "I know it," affirmed the older cop. "Now, just get it stuck in there solid, and don't be twitchin like you done last time."
    Booth now could not move his head. He understood why. He had the muzzle of a.38-caliber revolver stuck firmly in each ear.
    "Hey," he said. "Hey, what…?"
    The driver leaned over the front seat and addressed him conversationally. "See, what he says, is if you do this just right, the two bullets will meet in the middle and cancel out. The same slug, the same load, same gun, understand. It's like physics. I happen to think it's horseshit, myself, but try and tell him anything!"
    Booth's face twisted in a ghastly smile. "You shittin me, man. They can't do that. They's cops, they can't…"
    The smile faded and Booth's jaw went slack, as if something more frightening than having a pistol in each ear had just occurred to him. A trickle of sweat fell into his eye. The older cop caught the change in expression.
    "Say what? What can't cops do, brother?" Dugman asked.
    Booth opened a dry mouth as if to say something, then shut it.
    The cop in the front seat began to talk again, in the same tone of calm explanation. "Yeah, see, we know you killed Clarry, and we know there was cops involved. Now, ordinarily we would take you in, book you, and question you. We would figure, maybe we can make a deal-you give us the guy, we put in a good word with the D.A., and so on.
    "But the word is, you don't deal. You're a stand-up dude. Fine. The problem is, we really need this guy. So we figured, you're no good to us on that, the best thing we could do is, maybe if we ace you out, your guy will-I dunno-get a hair up his ass. Do something dumb. Maybe he'll think we're in the same business, and he'll come after us. Or whatever. I mean it's pretty thin at this point, but I don't see the percentage in doing anything else, if you catch my drift-"
    The older cop broke in, "That's enough. God damn, man, you ain't got to ask his fuckin permission!" He addressed the big cop on the other side of Booth. "OK, we gonna do it now."
    "Just a second, lemme shift around here. Is this gonna fuck up my suit?"
    "Not if you do it right. You lined up good?"
    "Yeah, I guess."
    "OK, squeeze off on the count of three," said the older cop.
    "Um, hold it… you mean, right on three, or just after? Like, one-two-bang? Or one-two-three-bang?"
    The older cop sounded exasperated. "Damn! I told you before; take up all the slack, then let go as soon as I say 'three'!"
    Booth could hear surprisingly well, considering that his ears were full of gun. He understood the explanation given by the man in the front seat, and even sympathized with it, as much as he could, considering his position. He would have used the same reasoning himself. He heard the count, as from a great distance. Closer, more intimately, he heard the whisper of the revolver mechanisms as they brought the new bullets around to be fired. He seemed separated from his trembling body, floating above his own head. He heard the cop say "three" and, a pulse-beat later, the tiny snicks as the mechanisms released their hammers.
    The hammers took a long time to fall. By the time they did, Booth was already far away.
    "I don't think he believed us," said Maus, looking down at Booth's flaccid body.
    "He ain't dead, is he?" asked Mack. Booth's head was resting on his knee.
    Dugman reached out and touched Booth's neck. "Naw, he just fainted. God damn! He let go his business too!" Dugman flung open his door and stepped out onto the sidewalk. In another second, Mack cursed and did the same. They stood on either side of the car hooting and waving their hands past their faces.
    "Say, Maus," said Dugman, "why don't you drive on down to the precinct and book the prisoner. Me and Mack got to do some detective work here on the street."
    "Yo," said Mack. "We got to stay close to our people."
    Maus rolled down his window. "Fuckin guys. I knew I was gonna have to clean the fuckin

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