“Good! Fine!” Petty conceded and Benson could feel the fight drain from the pinned man’s body. He was tempted to give another twist to the foot, but then remembered they were supposed to be working together, something that Petty had quickly forgotten.
“Right,” Benson said, and in a quick motion he stood, scooping the spade from the ground – partly because there was more work to do and partly because he didn’t know if Petty might try charging again.
As the man on the ground was slow to rise, Benson knew the spade would be used for its intended purpose. Part of him was disappointed by this fact. He relished the chance to clear out Petty’s bell tower with it. Unfortunately, the pretty boy was crucial to their plan and to their getting paid at the end of this sordid adventure.
“Duncan was right about you,” Petty laughed, a bit of his charm leaking out.
Benson turned and struck the ground with the spade again. Probably another twenty-five or thirty minutes of digging and the spot would be deep enough.
“He told me you were a tough S.O.B.,” he stressed each letter by dragging them into a long breath, then paused, spitting into the dust. “And he said you patient. To a point.”
Benson kept digging, but the bait was too strong for him to leave.
“To a point. Yes,” he said slowly. “But I grow impatient for a good, deserving come-uppance. And you’ve been asking for one all damn day.”
He punctuated his statement with a shovel full of dust, turned, and tossed it at Petty’s feel. The good-looking fella, ex-football star and all-around ladies’ man who somehow lost everything thanks to a love for dice, smiled.
“That’s just the way I get to know the real character of the people with whom I do business,” he paused, smiling big and toothy, adding: “Mr. Creamer.”
Benson sighed and returned to his digging, wondering when Duncan would be back with the body. As if his old friend had heard his thoughts from across the flat county, a cell phone rang. Pre-paid, and with Duncan being the only one who had the number, it was a genuine coincidence.
Petty pulled the phone to his ear. “Is it done?” he asked.
Benson stood, studying pretty boy Petty and he quickly realized the news coming on the other end of the line wasn’t good. Petty avoided eye contact.
“No witnesses, man. We all agreed to that. Sure as shit,” he spoke at last. Benson suddenly felt a huge weight settle on his shoulders. Someone saw Duncan.
Petty turned and looked off toward the dying horizon, but he could still be heard clear as day when he relayed his next order.
“Kill her, man. She’s seen something that’ll never allow her to be okay anyhow. Kill her because that’s the merciful thing to do.”
Benson didn’t flinch, but his heart plummeted. Lorna’s daughter saw the murder.