Chris Curtis’s hand was steady as he raised the coffee cup to his lips, but there was a tension in his voice as he described what had happened in the parking lot. His articulation was more precise, his word choice less casual.
“I thought they were coming here. For me,” he said, and laughed in his throat. There was no humor in his face. Blow stared at him. “Some trouble back at Mecklenburg. Nothing to it, but the rumors, you know, the bishop decided--” He shrugged. “Anyway, Joan saw them pull in. Said they’d stopped a speeder. And that’s what it looked like when I got here. Both unmarked cars, and I could see the grill lights flashing on one, the black one. Blue and red, the lights, you know. The other car looked like the one this morning, when you and the deputy were here. Sort of a light blue. Couldn’t tell the make, but it was the same car because the woman got out. It was her. The deputy. But in plainclothes now, shorts, T-shirt, blonde hair back in a ponytail. Cute as a bug, you know.” He grinned, Blow nodded.
“And she starts over toward the black car, but one of the guys getting out of it yells something at her, maybe to get back in her car, but she keeps walking toward them--”
“Guys? More than one?”
“Yeah, two that I saw. Two that got out, anyway. One was in uniform, the driver, and the other in plainclothes. They both looked familiar. The driver was stocky, black hair, thick mustache. Chicago mustache, you know? Like Ditka’s? The other guy was completely bald, probly shaved. He was taller than the driver. Thinner, like a basketball player. Looked fit, too. Moved like a cat. Anyway, it looked like they were arguing, but suddenly the tall guy spun her around and pushed her up against her car and cuffed her. She kicked him when he turned her back around to put her in the black car. Looked like she was trying for his balls, but he stepped back and she caught him on the shin, just below the knee. I was thinking a little higher and she might’ve gotten the knee, put him on the ground. But the other guy grabbed one of her arms and they wrestled her into the back of the car. She was kicking and shouting at them. Only thing I could make out was she said they were dead. You assholes are dead, were her exact words. After they got her in the back, they took off. The tall guy drove her car.
“You know, I wanted to go out there and ask them what they were doing but, well, you know...” He shrugged, shook his head. “I was gonna call 911 but I figured I better call you, you having been with her this morning and all. I’m thinking now maybe those two guys weren’t really cops, or maybe I was wrong. Maybe it wasn’t the same girl, but it sure looked like her. And the car.”
Looking back, Blow guessed it was right about then, within seconds of hearing “And the car,” that he began plunging into a fugue state that blocked out everything but the chaos in his head. He’d been able to text Homer the situation was “clear,” and remembered hearing the hood slam down on the Price Hardware van almost hidden on a dirt lane in the woodsy stretch across from Patmos. He couldn’t recall seeing the van leave. The next thing he remembered was hearing his name and becoming aware Chris Curtis was gently lifting the half-full, still hot coffee cup from his hands.
“Something out there, Mr. Stone?” Blow recognized he’d been staring out the window for some time pondering the barely comprehensible implications of what the pastor had told him moments before but seemingly ages ago. He now came fully alert. His instinct was to mumble an excuse and leave, as he’d done earlier after learning Moriarty apparently had not come to the church, angering him to the point of nearly resigning as her attorney. This time he couldn’t leave abruptly without appearing rude or raising inappropriate questions. He dared not reveal that Moriarty was a fake deputy, and he had to take care discussing her at all, as technically she remained his client. He couldn’t imagine how to address—he was having trouble grasping it himself—the jolt Curtis had given him describing the two men who had taken Moriarty. By their descriptions and actions they clearly were cops, and what confused and frightened Blow even more was that they sure as hell sounded like Teach and Callahan.
“This has been a pretty awful day,” Curtis said when it appeared Blow wasn’t going to answer his question. Blow took comfort in this gesture of pastoral sensitivity and tact. He nodded, tilting his head toward Curtis but continuing to stare out the window. “I learned just a few minutes ago, while you were on your way here, that one of our parishioners was killed last night. It seems he and a friend were shot by another friend. It’s truly awful.”
Blow turned from the window and directed his full attention on the pastor. Curtis had remained standing next to the couch after taking the cup from him and setting it on the end table.
“Tyrone?” Blow said, thinking his voice sounded mechanical. Curtis nodded.
“Oh, you know about it,” Curtis said. Blow assented with a dip of his head. Not taking his eyes from the other man’s face, he reached for the coffee. The pastor waited a beat, and continued, “Tyrone Genét. Brilliant young man. Valedictorian here, in Leicester, last year. Full scholarship to M.I.T. Just an awful loss, Blow. Terrible terrible tragedy.”