I walk straight through the house without looking at anything, past the dining room all set up for supper, and the living room with all the golden chairs and couches and lamps and all the historical paintings of Brinkley and his dick. I can hear the Mexican servants hurrying to catch up. One of them runs past me to get the door open before I get to it. As he pulls it open for me, a glass door opens in one of the ante-rooms next to the circular staircase. Two heads cautiously peek out. It’s Rose Dawn and The Great Koraan. The moment he recognizes me, his face reddens. Then I hear Rose Dawn cry out, “Herbert?” But I don’t stop.(Excerpt from Friend of the Devil, available on Kindle)
Outside, the night air is cool and sweet. The dark sky is bright with a sliver of moon and thousands of stars. My mind goes back to all those ancient-pretending paintings of Brinkley and it almost feels like what I just walked out of was Babylon itself. For a moment, I think about Hamer and find myself wondering if it was a mistake to have left him with those people. But that thought only lasts a moment and then I’m just glad to be away from them.
She called me Herbert in front of her husband and the Mexican servants. No telling who else knows it now. Great. This thing is starting to happen even faster than I’d expected. As I walk along the road toward town, I notice someone walking towards me from the opposite way. Even before I can make him out, I guess who it is. It’s that other guy. He sure does have a way of showing up.
I try to walk past him, but he keeps trying to block my path. For some reason he’s boiling angry. “You fucking asshole,” he shouts in a high-pitched voice. “What’d you have to do that for? I hand it to you on a fucking silver platter. Couldn’t you just let it happen? We’d have won. You’d have walked free. But you couldn’t do it. Why? Didn’t you see his pain? Don’t you see how the man was suffering? Why couldn’t you just let him do himself? Why do you have to play God.”
Fuck you,” I say. “I don’t believe in God.” That gets me so ticked off, for a second I actually consider taking out Old Lucky and going back and shooting him. But I don’t. If I shot everybody that pissed me off, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of people left. I don’t really hear what he says after that, except that I shouldn’t expect the next round to be any walk in the park.
By the time I finally get home to the rooming house, Jack is asleep on the rocking chair out front. As gently as I can, I pick him and carry him inside and put him down on his bed. Then I sneak into the kitchen to see if Mrs. Gruner might have put anything aside I could eat.