The Last Deep Breath

Free The Last Deep Breath by Tom Piccirilli

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Authors: Tom Piccirilli
cool and ready for anything, in charge.  He looked to the left as if he was looking into Pax’s eyes now, reading them, seeing what the next move was supposed to be.
    “You don’t look so good,” Lace said.  She pulled a bottle of Jameson’s out of the bottom drawer of Raymond’s desk.  These agents, they all kept a bottle on hand for nips between clients, and they all had the same taste.  “Whatever he did to screw you over, at least you can drink the last few shots of his whiskey.”
    Grey ignored the bottle.  “Do you know Eva Rains?”
    “That fucking bitch.  Of course I know her.  She’s the one who brought this house of cards down on us all.”
    “What do you mean?”
    Lace riffled through the drawers, pulling out anything that looked like it might have any value at all.  A calculator, an iPod.  “I told him a hundred times to cut loose the junkies, but he liked her for some reason and refused to let her go.  He set her up with some nice bits on the weekly crime dramas but she always ruined it for herself.  But she had a hold on him, you know?  She’s beautiful and sexy and a porn gal who can spin around the world with that golden twat and those big fake tits.”
    “They’re not fake,” he said, and then wondered why he’d bother.  Lace looked at him like she had no idea what he was about and was still worried he might start swinging the hammer again.  She clutched the few items to her chest.  He asked, “Is there any contact information on her?”
    “All right, now I’ve got to ask.  Who are you?”
    “I’m her brother.”
    Lace actually clucked.  “Right.”
    “For Christ’s sake, it’s the truth.”
    “I don’t see the resemblance.”
    Grey tried not to sigh.  “Does it really matter?  Even if you don’t believe me, do you care enough not to tell me?”
    “No, I suppose not.  She was living with John.”
    “Where?”
    Lace gave him an address on East 72 nd .  “But they’re not there.  The apartment might even have been rented out by now.”
    There had to be something.  Some way to find out what had gone wrong.   What had made them run.  What had happened to make Raymond stab Ellie with a four-inch blade, if it had been him.  Where their bodies were.
    “You’re sweating like hell.  Are you on the needle too?”
    He glared at her.  “No.”
    She proffered him the whiskey again.  “Here, take a swig.  You need it.  You look like you’re about to fall down.”
    He drank deeply from the bottle.  The heat went through him and swarmed up into his skull and then down into his chest and across his exhausted muscles.  He took another swig.  The girl watched him.  She still had no clue whether he was telling the truth but she didn’t really care.  She just wanted out.  His strung nerves began to loosen.
    “Can you find out what the last job Raymond got for her was?”
    “I already know.  It was a bit part on a sit-com.  It aired a few weeks back.  I saw it.  She was pretty good.  But she’d already gotten a reputation as someone who wouldn’t show up on time and might not show up at all.  Once you’ve got that rep, you’re through.”
    It was practically word for word what Harvey had told him.  “You knew she was a junkie.”
    “Everyone did.  And not a coke fiend or a pill popper.  Those we know how to handle.  But you get a meth-head or a crack-head or a needle shooter, and it’s all over.”
    “Where did she buy her product?”
    “Product?”
    “The H.  The heroin.”
    “How the hell should I know?”
     He’d crossed the country just so he could learn almost nothing.
    He left the Chevelle on the street and started walking with no idea of where he was going.  He didn’t have an apartment anymore.  He would have to get a hotel room or crash with T.S. He could still feel the dust of the desert stuck in his lungs.  He coughed and couldn’t get rid of it.  Grey looked up and he was back at Premium Friends.

22
     
    He

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