Sunday, 12 September 2010
NIGHT GAMES By Sean Patrick Reardon
The display on the answering machine indicated one new message. Evan stabbed the stop button with his finger as soon the voice identified itself.
“I know, I know. I’ll be there."
Eight o’clock tomorrow morning. Should never have got involved.
He grabbed the remote off the coffee table, pointed it at the CD player, and Incubus got into “Stellar”. The volume low, so it wouldn't disturb the neighbors in the adjacent apartments.
The curtains open, he looked across the darkness at a third floor apartment seventy-five yards across the way. She was walking around dressed in a silky half kimono, fluffing her mane of blonde hair, and getting ready to start the nightly game play.
Right on schedule.
Evan had been behind Crystal in line at Starbucks three weeks ago. She had already ordered, but when the Barista asked for the money, she realized the ATM card was out in the car. Evan came to the rescue, paid her tab, and they ended up getting friendly. She turned him on to voyeurism. Tonight would make it seven nights in a row.
Crystal always went first, Evan returning the favor when she finished.
He put a chair up close to the window, pulled the curtains closed, until they were a foot apart from each other. He grabbed the Nikon 10x42 binoculars off the bookcase, turned off the lights, and sat down. The time on the cable box changed to ten o'clock.
Evan sighted her, made some quick adjustments on the focus knob, and watched.
“Come to papa.”
Just as the kimono dropped to the floor, Incubus started into “Wish You Were Here”.
The lights went dark in her apartment.
“What the-” Evan leaned forward, gently adjusting the fine tune knob, the Nikon’s almost touching the glass as he tried to find out what happened.
His head flinched. The vision in his left eye went dark..."
Kenny Sullivan banged on the door a few times, identifying himself as police officer, but no one answered.
“What do you think?” He looked at his partner Rick Sherman.
“Well, his car’s here, but he ain’t. Let’s go in.”
Sully turned around, looked at the building super standing behind them.
“You heard him, open it.”
The super unlocked the door, started to go inside, but Sherm grabbed his shoulder, holding him back. “Thanks, we’ll lock it up when we’re done.”
Sully closed the door and they stood in the kitchen, trying to determine which room the music was coming from.
“He must be sleeping, or passed out somewhere in here.” Sully sniffed the air, recognized the familiar stench.
Sherm's face soured when his nostrils got their share.
They pulled their guns. Sully gave Sherm the shush signal with his finger across his lips.
“Hey, anybody home? Mister Cosgrove…NYPD…hello.” Sherm moved slowly toward the music, Sully following couple a feet behind him.
“God…damn.” Sherm stopped, looked back at Sully.
“Holy shit.” Sully moved closer. “No wonder he didn’t testify this morning.”
They looked down at Evan's body on the floor, pants around his ankles, feet resting on an overturned chair. Blood saturated the rug around his head. What used to be his left eyeball, now a hole covered in dark, crusted blood.
Sherm pulled a pen from his jacket, bent over, and used it to pick up the binoculars off the floor. He held them up in front of Sully's face. The left side tube was destroyed.
Sully pointed at the hole in the window. “Check it out. Definitely a professional hit. No doubt about it.”
"You bet your ass it was." Sherm looked down at Evan. "Poor bastard, just trying to do the right thing. And this is what he gets."
"Fondini's nephew is going to walk now without this guy's testimony.” Sully shook his head. “It's a shame. Just what we need, another fuckin' pervert back on the streets."
Sherm cracked a half smile, pointed his shoe at Evan’s head. “And maybe another one off the streets."
Sean Patrick Reardon is the author of the crime thriller novel "Mindjacker". He's blogging at: http://seanpatrickreardon.blogspot.com/