Carhart was sitting out on the terrace with a big old telescopic rifle aimed up at some room across the parking lot. I lost it and cried out WTF and the thing went off with an amazing bang.
Carthart looked at me with utter despair.
"I killed her!" he gasped. His eyes were wide and crazed, tearing up, they shone from here.
I went over.
"Carhart, gimme that thing!" I demanded and found I was taking it from him without resistance.
He just sat there with his mouth open and looking stricken.
"Who is it? Who'd you kill?"
"My new lady I told you about. I was just looking at her through the telescope."
Then he stood up fast and yelled at me. "You made me do it, you crud! You jerked my finger by coming in here like that, yelling like that. You killed her, sure as shit. Better get on 911 and give yourself up. Better do right by this situation. I'm not taking any fall for you, kid. Love of my life. Son of a bitch."
I was looking at the gun. I sort of remember them from when I was a kid. I yanked the bolt action and saw that the chamber was empty. Also it didn't look right somehow.
"Look, Carhart, you just sit there, OK? I'll get you your bottle and you just wait there." I thought a minute. "No. Come inside. Better not be sitting out there. I mean, if you're not seen to be out there it might be better. I mean, for when the cops come. I guess they'll be here any minute."
"You should call them, you crud," he said with drool shooting out of his little O of a mouth.
"I'm gonnna …" I thought a minute. "But I'm gonna go over there and look around first, see if anybody's dead or anything. I mean, if there's some commotion about a body."
"I saw her fall. She went down like a bag of shit."
"Yeah. Yeah. I understand. I'll just go over. I'll take a poke around."
"Where's my jug, you crudbucket?"
I went over to the cupboard. First I put the gun down. No, I just held it with one hand and reached the bottle down. I didn't even bother with a glass, he drank from the bottle every time. He's what some people call alcoholic.
"Love of my life, the son of a bitch. Never even spoken with her."
He was on the couch now but still looking out the window. Real tears drooled down his cheeks.
I handed the bottle over to him and he yanked the top and tossed it across the room. He took the longest swig imaginable. Tears came down. Then he coughed.
"Look. I'm gonna … I'll see about this, OK? I'll just scrounge around a little. You lay low, OK? Anybody comes knocking just tell em to fuck off, crudbucket, can't you see I'm drinking my sorrows away? Something like that. Or just shrug WTF and slam the door in their ugly faces. Unless it's the cops. If it's the cops, deny everything. Deny you even heard anything. I'll take this …"
I held up the rifle. I just looked at it. What could I do? I could just … Well, I put it in the closet between some dirty old suits and threw a couple shirts over it. Then I went outside. Looked both ways. Scanned the terraces for gore, for something indicating mayhem, death, transition from one placid state of morning to the next in which someone had been shot to bits, but there was nothing.
The idiot kid in 20 opened the door and came out with a giant cookie on a plate. She proudly held it up to me.
I said it looked good and she giggled and ran back in. Obviously nothing had disturbed her little thingies. She just went on about her thingies like no one had died. Had they? No one was out there jabbering and gossiping about death. The whole world was quiet and placid as Autumn slowly came on, no cops, nothing.
I went on along the parking lot all the way to the end of the building. I looked up at the last apartment on the second floor. Nothing.
Then a woman came out and leaned against the railing. She looked down at me with amusement.
"Did you hear a shot?" I said.
That's all she said. She looked at me like I wanted to make something out of nothing. That a shot was a normal event.
"Well, aren't you concerned?"
She looked at me for a minute and smiled. She had long black hair and she was beautiful. She was one of my imprints. My sexual thingies. Long black hair and full breasted and fair of skin. Certain actresses. Girls I loved and never told them about it in school. One wife who threw me out in the rain. Long dark hair, sexed like a possession was upon her, biting and drooling and all fuck me fuck me fuck me. You can get bored with it, though.
But this one was not like my wife. She was softer. A little tentative. But she was certain enough by her expression that I was the biggest fool in the world.
"No," she said. "It's just Carhart, shooting at me. He shoots out of love. I won't have his love, so he shoots me."
She had a Southern lilt. I love that.
"Where you from?" I asked.
"Not far. Few miles," she said blandly.