Seven years passed since the unsolved murder of six people in a rural tavern along Florida’s Space Coast. It’s just enough time for the clues to come loose through the digging of journalists Stevie Guthrie and Mac MacGregor. As the young reporter and his veteran editor pursue what could become the little paper’s greatest scoop, they discover the murders were only a coverup for a much bigger conspiracy involving nuclear terrorism.
“Water please,” Paisley whimpered.
Wedge brought him a glass of water.
“Do you have a straw?”
Paisley raised his hands. His palms and fingers were swollen, covered with blisters, scabs and dried blood.
“A straw. I can’t.”
Wedge went back into the kitchen. Fortunately, Gliesa grabbed straws, napkins, plastic forks and ketchup packets by the fistful every time she went to Wendy’s. So they had a drawer full. He stripped one and brought it back.
“Lemme tell you something, you little puke,” Wedge said.
“My name is Charlie.”
“Listen, Charlie. You have no idea what you’re into. So tomorrow, we’re going to the bank, you’re going to get this stuff for me, and then I’m going to let you go. And you’re never going to say a word about this to anyone. Understand?”
“Or we’ll be back. Understand?”
Paisley nodded, with his eyes closed now.
Wedge got comfortable in the chair and fell asleep. So he didn’t notice when Charles Paisley drew his last breath.
Wedge awoke around 4 a.m., his back hurting like hell and his shoulders all stiff. He shuffled into the bathroom, took a couple Oxys, and came back to shake Paisley. The fat man didn’t respond. Not one bit. Wedge checked for a pulse.
“Well, hell,” he said.
An hour later, on the edge of a swampy pond, Wedge, Mitch, and Boo dragged Paisley’s body out of Boo’s truck and left it for gators to feast upon.
Wedge had Pasley’s keys, but he wasn’t sure yet what to do with them.