One or the Other

Free One or the Other by John McFetridge

Book: One or the Other by John McFetridge Read Free Book Online
Authors: John McFetridge
shoved the guy inside and said, “Don’t puke.” He slammed the door shut and said to Dougherty, “You know him?”
    â€œNo, you?”
    â€œNo. I’m surprised, I thought I would.” Caron leaned against the car and got his smokes out of his pocket and lit one.
    Dougherty said, “He might have sold them something.”
    â€œCan you see the guys who pulled this job paying someone with a stack of bills, the band still on it?” He was holding the paper band in his hand.
    â€œNo.”
    Caron took a deep drag and blew out smoke. “Okay, let’s get his story before we take him in.”
    Dougherty looked past Caron into the car and said, “You want to let him sleep it off?”
    The guy was spread out over the back seat asleep.
    â€œLet’s wake him up,” Caron said. “But not here.”
    They drove to the waterfront, along Mill Street until they were in the parking lot under the Bonaventure Expressway by the Lachine Canal. Dougherty pulled the drunk out of the back seat and propped him up against the hood of the car.
    The guy was awake and trying to focus. He said, “What the hell?”
    Caron stood beside the open passenger door and said, “We’re going to give you a chance to walk away from this.”
    â€œWhere the hell am I?”
    â€œDeep shit,” Caron said. “You’re in deep shit.”
    He walked around the car and stood beside Dougherty, the two of them staring at the drunk, and Caron said, “But we can get you out. All you have to do is tell us who else was in it with you.”
    The guy said, “Who else?” like he really had no idea what they were talking about.
    Caron said, “Just one name.”
    He wasn’t getting it and he started to look scared.
    Caron spoke softly, like he was talking to a friend, saying, “It’s not too late for you, we know it wasn’t your idea, we know you’re just a small part of it.”
    â€œI don’t know what you’re talking about.”
    Caron leaned back and Dougherty leaned in and slapped the hood of the car hard.
    The guy jumped and closed his eyes, ready to get hit.
    Dougherty said, “Tell him what he wants to know.”
    â€œI don’t know anything.”
    Dougherty slapped him. He grabbed the guy’s face in one hand and shook it till he opened his eyes and then Dougherty showed his other hand now in a fist. “Tell him.”
    â€œIt was me, it was just me.”
    Dougherty pulled his fist back to punch but Caron grabbed his arm.
    â€œJust one name, that’s all we need. One other guy who was in this with you.”
    The guy was crying, now, shaking all over. He managed to say, “J-just me,” with Dougherty’s big hand squeezing his face.
    â€œI can only help you if you help me,” Caron said. “I can’t hold him back forever.”
    â€œIt was just me, Jesus Murphy, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
    Dougherty slammed the guy’s head onto the hood of the car and held it there, pressing his face into the still-warm steel.
    Caron leaned down close to the guy and said, “Was it Peaky Boyle? We don’t have to tell him we got it from you.”
    â€œN-no.”
    â€œBig Jim Sadowski?”
    â€œWho?”
    Dougherty’s hand was on the guy’s neck then, and he lifted it up a little and then pressed down harder. “Come on.”
    â€œI don’t know, I don’t know, it was just me, I swear.” He closed his eyes tight, scrunched up his whole face like he was trying to be a turtle and pull it into his shoulders.
    Dougherty looked at Caron for direction.
    â€œLook, no one thinks you did it by yourself.”
    â€œI did, ask the old lady, I always work alone, I swear, if there was someone else, I’d tell you.”
    Caron motioned for Dougherty to let the guy up and he did.
    â€œHere.” Caron held out his smokes and the guy looked at

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