As soon as Janice had finished with Eddie, she fired off a quick message to Jonathan.
“Jonathan, can you here me?” she probed.
“Jonathan, come in, dammit!” she tried again.
“Yeah, I'm here.”
“There's no time to talk, so just listen. Dad, you and Eddie are going to drive down and meet me at Ft. Canby. Just do what ever he says until you get there. I'll be waiting. Try not to piss him off, I think he's about ready to blow.”
“What about Luke?”
“Let's keep this in the family, it'll probably get ugly before it's over. If you get a safe chance to call me later, do it. Otherwise I'll see you at the jetty. Understand?”
She waited for almost a minute before accepting the fact that Jonathan wouldn't be answering her question. Eddie had no doubt entered the picture again. What a mess! She felt the urge to throw up again, but fought it down.
"Let's go Granite!" she yelled out the open passenger door.
He was back in the car in seconds. Janice reached across him again and slammed the door shut. Seconds later they were back on the road, windshield wipers on full speed, as the rain and wind continued to increase.
"I got a bad feeling about all of this, Granite. But it's too late to turn back. Gotta protect the ones that are counting on me, you know I what I mean?"
The dog just looked at her quietly, then returned to watching out the window.
"How silly of me? Of course you know what I mean," she thought out loud. "What part of big ol' dedicated guard dog don't I understand?"
There was still no answer from her canine passenger.
"Don't feel like talking, eh? Can't say I blame you. How about we grab a few burgers, and then get this shit over with. Once and for all?"
Granite quickly barked twice, and then leaned over and began licking the side of her face. Janice let out a giggle as his tongue tickled her ear.
"Damn Granite, a simple 'yes Kemosabe' would have been fine," Janice said as she pushed him back into his seat.
“Good to laugh. Good to eat. Then we bite ass,” he finally said to her.
"The term is kick ass, Granite," she corrected him.
Jonathan was still listening to Janice give him his latest set of instructions when Eddie came storming out of the bathroom. Luke was standing behind the bar.
"I've decided you're right father. Jonathan, let's get that tire changed. Now. I want to be out of here in ten minutes."
"What's the hurry, Eddie?" asked Jonathan, not wanting to seem that he knew too much.
"Let's just say there's been a change of plans. Round up a coat old man, you're going too."
"I'm not going anywhere with you, Edward," replied Thomas sarcastically.
"You'll do what ever I tell you to," Eddie said, as he crossed the remaining distance between himself and his father in an instant. He had his father by the shirt with both hands, and pulled him off the bar stool before Luke could get his pistol out.
"That'll be enough, Edward."
Eddie spun around, holding his father in front of himself as a shield. He felt the power rush through him as he stared at his father, seeing the mixture of surprise and fear in his face. He glanced over Thomas' shoulder toward the bar, where Luke stood pointing his revolver directly at them.
"Well, well. What have we here, Luke? You’d better put that thing down before you hurt someone."
"Let him go Edward. Now."
Luke watched intently as Eddie began half-stepping backwards from the bar with his father in tow. His eyes were beginning to glow red again, and Luke knew he was capable of doing almost anything at that moment. He decided to shoot him as soon as his target was clear. Unfortunately, Eddie wasn't giving him one. Just as unfortunate, he couldn't see the pair of eye-bolts twisting counterclockwise out of the two by fours above his head.
"He's right Eddie. Let him go," shouted Jonathan from behind.
Eddie continued to concentrate on the eye-bolts as he answered his brother without turning away from Luke.
"Jonathan, shut the fuck up and get over here in front of me where I can keep an eye on you. Now, before I break his fucking neck!"
"Look Edward. You can take my truck. It's parked out in back. Here are the keys," Luke said as he fished them out of his pants pocket and set them on the bar.
"Just leave Thomas at the door, and I promise we won't do anything to stop you leaving."
"You know what your problem is, Luke?" asked Eddie with a wicked smile.
"I'm sure you're going to tell me," said Luke as he continued to aim the gun towards his friend and his captor, hoping for a clear shot.
"You watch too much TV."
With minimal effort, Eddie mentally pulled the eye-bolts from the ceiling where they supported the heavy 25" color Sony Trinitron above Luke's head. He didn't even have time to look up before the set bounced off of the back of his head, sending him flying against the bar. His gun went off at the same time the picture tube shattered against the floor, sending glass and powder everywhere. Luckily for Thomas, the impact had thrown Luke's aim off, and the bullet ended up in the base of one of the pinball machines, tripping the tilt alarm.
Eddie allowed Thomas to break free of his grasp, and he immediately ran around the end of the bar and dropped down to check on his friend. Jonathan was just about to pick up Luke's fallen weapon when Eddie spotted him and sent the pistol spinning across the floor and under the flashing pinball machine with the bullet hole in it.
Thomas rose from behind the bar, tears beginning to fall down his cheeks. His face was white as a ghost.
"I think he's dead," said Thomas, in a quiet monotone. He turned towards Eddie. "Are you happy now?"
"This wouldn't have happened if you’d done as you were told and Luke would have minded his own fucking business. Now get your fucking coat and let's go. Jonathan, grab those keys, you're driving."
"You might as well kill me here and now Edward, because I'm not going anywhere with you," replied Thomas as if in a trance.
"Gee, father, you know I wouldn't do that," started Eddie in a whinny voice. "I'll just have to rip Jonathan apart limb by limb, and then God only knows what I'll do to your precious little Janice. But you? No, you'll get to live for the rest of your miserable life knowing you were responsible, and I don't think there is enough brandy in this whole damn world to ease that pain."
"Better do as he says, dad," said Jonathan, still shaking in disbelief.
"What do you need me for? Why don't you just leave? I sure can't stop you."
"True, but Janice would like for all of us to be together one last time. Just look at it as some kind of small family reunion. We make her happy, and then I leave. Simple as that."
"All right, but I'll see you rot in hell for this someday, Edward."
"Probably. Maybe we could share a cell together. I do have connections down there you know. Now, let's get going, shall we? Don't want to keep our little Janice waiting."
Janice made an extra effort to watch her speed as she approached the turn off for Warrenton. She wasn't far from Astoria now, and the traffic had begun to thicken a little as local people headed home from work. Between the rain, wind, and the spray that the other cars kicked up, the driving conditions were miserable. She looked at the clock on her dashboard. 3:40 PM. She cursed at herself for cutting the time so close but Eddie sounded like he was about ready to lose it.
If he got there before she did, he'd just have to get over it, she told herself. Still, she would like to get there enough ahead of him to scope out the area a little. Maybe form some kind of a plan. Yeah, right! How do you plan against some kind of lunatic like Eddie? Hell, she hadn't even seen him in, in how long? Not long enough, that was for sure.
A voice nagged at her from somewhere in her sub-conscious.
'When was the last time we really saw Eddie?' it asked.
He was there, standing behind dad, when Randy picked me up to leave for Oregon, she answered. That would have been 1972. There, are you happy?
'And before that?'
I don't know, he was around, he was always around, but we never said any more to each other than we had to, and that was next to nothing.
'So when was the last time we really saw Eddie. You know what I mean. When was the last time we actually interacted with the little fucker?'
Hey, are you trying to psychoanalyze me?
'That was the plan, wasn't it? You're the one who opened up this can of worms after all these years. Remember? You don't expect me to just shut down and go back to sleep, do you? We’ve got too much of a buzz on for that I'm afraid.'
I don't need this shit right now, okay?
'Maybe you do, maybe you don't.'
What in the hell is that supposed to mean?
'Just try and remember.'
Janice thought as hard she could and couldn't remember a damn thing at first. There just seemed to be a black hole of nothingness between the time that the McNalleys had died, correction, had been killed, and the day that she had left Nebraska.
'You didn't even remember being at the McNalleys until a half an hour ago, Janice. Try harder.'
Hey, fuck you! All of this shit is stored in your half of this conversation, not mine. Dig it out yourself!
'I'll give you a little hint.'
I'd give you a fifth of tequila right between the eyes if I had one. That would shut you up.
'Not this time, Janice, you need to know. I need you to know. We're in this together, remember?'
Like you're going to let me forget?
'I just want you to remember. I'm tired of carrying this all by myself.'
So give me a clue, ol' wise one.
'We were sixteen years old, and very high. Trippin' high. Mr. Natural was going around that summer. Remember now?'
Give me a break, Sub. If I had a nickel for every time I tripped I'd be vacationing in the Bahamas right now instead of having absurd conversations with you and the rest of my family.
'The Pack was there too. Remember the Pack? You named yourselves that after seeing some TV show on Frank Sinatra and his friends. They were called the Rat Pack, but you decided to just shorten it to the pack.'
Yeah, I sorta remember, now that you mention it.
'It was you, Linda Horton, Denise Stahl, and Patricia Warner. You remember Patti don't you?'
Patti. Yes. Poor Patti. Another floodgate opened.