Free Sandman by Sean Costello

Book: Sandman by Sean Costello Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sean Costello
Tags: Canada
never asked me out. He asked me if I was kidding. He said Will shoved him into the lockers one day and told him if he even looked at me the wrong way he’d be walking around with one less nut. He said Will intimidated every guy who might otherwise have asked me out.
    “He wants me at home, Jen, where I can’t be seen. It’s the only thing I can figure, because until I mentioned this job, until I decided I wanted to be more than just a housewife, our lives were terrific.” Nina took a sip of her drink and said, “This is the first time he’s ever hit me. I was furious.” She smiled a little then. “I hit him back, you know. Really belted him.”
    “God,” Jenny said. “Do you think it’ll ever happen again?”
    “I don’t know. But one thing I can promise you: if it does, I’m out the door. Me and the twins. I’ll kill him before I let him punch me around.” Nina removed her glasses, her injured eye watering in the sunlight. Jenny studied it with grim fascination. “I’m not going to back down on this, Jen. It’s something I want and I’m going to have it. As far as I’m concerned, any woman who stands for abuse deserves what she gets.”
    She put her sunglasses back on, the gesture closing the conversation. “So. Shall we eat?”
    Jenny nodded, thinking, deserves what she gets, deserves what she gets....
    And over the course of their hour-long lunch, as the thought played over and over in her mind, the voice deepened and became Jack’s.
    * * *
    Jack finished his list of dentals at two-thirty. After admitting his last patient to the recovery room, he went down the hall to the neuro suite. He found Will hunched in his chair by the anesthetic machine, staring at his feet. A glance at the monitors told Jack the patient’s blood pressure was too low and his pulse was dangerously slow. The IV bag was empty and the Forane vaporizer, set a full percent higher than it should have been for a head case, was almost out of juice. Will was in the room, but he might as well have been sitting on the can at home. He didn’t even notice when Jack came in.
    “Will,” Jack said, acknowledging a grateful nod from the surgeon.
    The burly anesthetist flinched, saying, “Jack. What brings you to the coconut corner?” His eyes were puffy and red.
    Jack leaned over him and whispered, “I want you in my office. Right now. We have to talk.”
    “I’m in the middle of a case here, Jack. I know I owe you some poker money, but can’t it wait?”
    “I don’t want to embarrass you,” Jack said, “but I’m prepared to.”
    “Okay, Jack.” Will stood, glancing at his patient. “What about my patient?”
    “I’ll have somebody cover you.”
    Will said okay and trundled out of the room. When he was gone, Jack picked up the phone and called the lounge to find a replacement.
    * * *
    “So what is it, Will? What’s eating you?”
    Jack had adjusted the blinds in his office to a soothing glow, but Will refused to be soothed. He squirmed and shifted in his chair, bottled fury working in his jaws.
    “It’s that whoring wife of mine,” he said, springing to his feet with startling suddenness. “If I could just catch her at it...” He made a gesture with his fists, a man snapping a length of kindling in two. The fight seemed to run out of him then and he sat down again. “But she’s too clever. I’ve gone almost broke having her followed. I bet she’s blowing the detectives, too.”
    “You know what I think?” Jack said. “I think you’re imagining things. But even if you’re not, even if she’s doing everything you imagine and more—you can’t bring this shit to work with you.”
    Will nodded. He was on the verge of tears.
    Jack said, “If you can’t stay focused, you’re going to kill somebody. It’s that simple.” He waited until Will looked up at him. “Shape up, chum. In a situation like this, friendship only goes so far.” He paused, then said, “Don’t force me to take action against

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