A Time to Kill
"So where's the body?"
Romey snorted and his head nodded. The voice was almost a whisper. "The body of Boyd Boyette.
What a question. First U.S. senator murdered in office, did you know that? Murdered by my dear
client Barry the Blade Muldanno, who shot him in the head four times, then hid the body. No
body, no case. Do you understand, kid?"
"Why aren't you crying, kid? You were crying a few minutes ago. Aren't you scared?"
"Yes, I'm scared. And I'd like to leave. I'm sorry you want to die and all, but I have to take
care of my mother."
"Touching, real touching. Now, shut up. You see, kid, the feds have to have the body to prove
there was a murder. Barry is their suspect, their only suspect, because he really did it, you
see, in fact they know he did it. But they need the body."
"Where is it?"
A dark cloud moved in front of the sun and the clearing was suddenly darker. Romey moved the gun
gently along his leg as if to warn Mark against any sudden moves. "The Blade is not the smartest
thug I've ever met, you know. Thinks he's a genius, but he's really quite stupid."
You're the stupid one, Mark thought again. Sitting in a car with a hose running from the
exhaust. He waited as still as could be.
"The body's under my boat."
"Yes my boat. He was in a hurry. I was out of town, so my beloved client took the body to my
house and buried it in fresh concrete under my garage. It's still there, can you believe it?
The FBI has dug up half of New Orleans trying to find it, but they've never thought about my
house. Maybe Barry ain't so stupid after all."
"When did he tell you this?"
"I'm sick of your questions, kid."
"I'd really like to leave now."
"Shut up. The gas is working. We're gone, kid. Gone." He dropped the pistol on the seat.
The engine hummed quietly. Mark glanced at the bullet hole in the window, at the millions of
tiny crooked cracks running from it, then at the red face and heavy eyelids. A quick snort,
almost a snore, and the head nodded downward.
He was passing out! Mark stared at him and watched his thick chest move. He'd seen his
ex-father do this a hundred times.
Mark breathed deeply. The door lock would make noise. The gun was too close to Romey's hand.
Mark's stomach cramped and his feet were numb.
The red face emitted a loud, sluggish noise, and Mark knew there would be no more chances.
Slowly, ever so slowly, he inched his shaking finger to the door lock switch.
1993 John Grisham