Monday, August 4, 2014

First Shot (32)

Yup, I wouldn't say we have any irony deficiency here, Mr. Stone.” Andrew Salzwedel cocked one corner of his compressed lips and grunted a suppressed laugh, acknowledging both his lame pun and the situation it addressed. “We had a meeting and decided it would be appropriate despite the circumstances of his death. It's what we've always done for our members' funerals. It seemed somehow we'd be admitting we did something wrong if we made an exception for Newt.
And me? I volunteered just so nobody would get the idea I harbored a grudge against him, which I don't, of course. We had our differences, but...” He shrugged, turned his hands up helplessly.

They had climbed into Blow's pickup to get out of the bone-chilling gusts that sprang up with their promise of trailing rain, or worse. The sun was gone, shutting down another day.
Saturday, huh?”
That's what Nancy wants. The medical examiner's office is supposed to release the body tomorrow, and she's having him cremated.“
Took him to Richmond, huh?”
Nancy said they wanted to examine the remains for any possible forensic evidence. Maybe find pieces of the bullet, or whatever projectile was used.”
That makes sense. Wonder if they found anything.” Blow decided to get up with Callahan soon as possible. He was weighing how he should address the Himmler killing with Salzwedel, when the history teacher broached it himself.
So was this Himmler guy some kind of federal agent, like they're saying in the news?”
That what they're saying? I haven't seen the news lately.”
It was on NPR. I heard it on the way out here.”
Who did they attribute it to?” Blow's mind was spinning.
Oh, nobody would comment, of course. They never do. But some York County official, probly the sheriff, said the FBI was in charge of the investigation. It sounded like a press conference, but this official was the only one who spoke.
Mr. Stone, when we were at the high school Sunday, it seemed to me this Himmler was practically accusing me of murder. The way he looked at me? He even raised his voice, staring right at me. Remember?”
I do, Andy. I really don't know what to think now. But if Himmler—if that really was his name—was in fact working for some federal agency he obviously was undercover and playing a very interesting role for someone in that position.”
You sound like you might doubt it, that he was an agent.”
Like I say, I don't know what to make of it, especially with this other character, the woman who attacked the Gunthers, looking for some kind of gun. What could be so important about a particular gun? This seems to be the real mystery here.” Blow had shifted in his seat to look straight at Salzwedel while he said this. He continued staring after he'd finished, letting the silence grow between them.
Salzwedel moved his eyes from Blow's to something apparently in the distance, through the windshield. He started to speak a couple of times, but cut his voice off before any words came out. Finally he turned his head slowly to face Blow.
Look, Mr. Stone, I have to get home to the family. I promised Cheryl and our hosts I'd take them somewhere for dinner. It's been kinda rough on everybody, especially Cheryl and the kids, being away from home. But there is something I need to tell you. Could I maybe stop by your office afterward? I won't take much of your time, but I'd rather we were alone, and this really can't wait. And I'd like to keep the family out of it.”
Blow sighed. “Of course, Andy. I'll grab a sandwich on my way home. I should be there in a couple of hours. Come on by.”

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