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Slowly, the boy pivoted, hands in plain sight.
"So, why'd that old man send you to me?" I asked.
Dave's reluctance to answer was written all over his hangdog face.
"What?" I demanded. "What'd he say?"
"You sure you wanna know?"
I slapped leather.
The boy gasped and spit, "Never see this coming. Not in a million years. And something about irritation and," he winced and grimaced, "arbitrary bastard."
Must've been the face I made, or maybe that sharp intake of breath prior to.
"No," Dave cried, showing his palms. "Don't shoot me, man. I was just waiting for you to get back and the door was open, like that guy said. Didn't mean to fall asleep on your couch."
I holstered my weapon in a flash, pressing blood from my lips until it hurt.
"All right, all right." He waxed even more pitiful, like a pissing puppy. "I found a biscuit and ate it. I'm sorry, man. I'll leave now, right now."
I said, "Put your hands down," and grit my teeth. "So, where were you headed when you ran into him?"
"That old guy?"
"Well, who we been talking about here?"
Dave recoiled and snapped, "How the hell would I know?"
I glowered, the boy backpedaled a step, neither of us saying a word for two drawn breaths at least.
"Can I go now?" Dave said. "I don't like the look on your face."
Right then, Sarah burst through the kitchen entry. "What the hell're you doing here?" she cried.
I looked from Sarah to Dave and my lungs deflated.
Perish the thought.
"What's that supposed to mean, Eli?" she spit harshly. "Perish what thought?" She eagle-eyed Dave into a wincing cringe and said, "I know who you are."