I aim the adjustable floor lamp at Skinny Guy and power it on. The intensity of the bulb at close quarters is equivalent to that of a spotlight, which is why Skinny Guy is blinded when I remove the sack from his head.
Spit froths from his mouth as he tries to catch his breath while struggling against the arm and leg restraints that keep him glued to an uncomfortable chair. It’s my version of an electric chair—no way out of this mess for ol’ Skinny Guy.
“Wha-where the hell am I?” he manages to ask.
“It may as well be hell as far as you’re concerned.”
“What do you want from me?”
“What the fuck is that?”
“Just a little electricity. You know, a necessity in these days to keep a house powered, a car running, or to make a grown man shit his drawers like a little baby.”
“No, no, no—that’s not necessary. I’ll tell you whatever you want.”
“Yes! I don’t owe those pricks a damn thing. I’ll tell you everything.”
I notice that he’s already wet himself, and believe he’s telling me the truth.
“But can’t I at least use my pliers to pull out a few of your fingernails?”
“No, please don’t do that.”
“Or get my power drill to tunnel through your molars and play with your nerve endings.”
“Please, no.” He begins to sob.
“Ah, shit.” I turn off the battery. “We’ll this isn’t going to be much fun for me, but let’s get started anyway.”
“No torture then?”
“Not as long as I get the answers I’m looking for. What’s your name?”
“Tim, the first thing I need you to explain is why you killed Eddie Snead.”
“I didn’t kill him! It was that monster, Billy. All we were supposed to do was rough Eddie up a bit because he wasn’t kicking up what he owed. But Billy’s a maniac. Eddie tried to make it right, but Billy didn’t care. Just wanted to torture and kill him, then take all his money and drugs.” He stops to shake his head.
“Who else was with you?”
“So you’re telling me that DC selected you to help rough up, Eddie?” I ask. “Do I seem that stupid?”
“No, DC picked Billy and let him figure out how best to handle the situation. He trusted him for some reason.”
“And Billy picked you.” He nods in shame. “Because he knew you were weak and would go alone with his plan.” He nods again.
Damn it, I’ve already killed the man responsible for all this, but didn’t even get the satisfaction of knowing that vengeance was being dealt.
“And I guess that Billy was responsible for the man that Eddie had to bury in his grandfather’s garden, right?”
“No? Billy didn’t kill him?”
“Oh God, you don’t want to know this, man. I’m telling you.”
I slowly pick up a pipe, so that it scrapes across the cement floor of my safe room. “I thought you didn’t want to feel any pain, Timmy.”
“No, I don’t…it’s just….” He starts to cry again. “Oh, man…Billy wasn’t involved and Eddie was forced to clean up the mess….”
“Who’s mess? Who killed that man?”
“It wasn’t a man or even a criminal. They killed…dear God…they killed an innocent woman.”
I drop the pipe and the clattering sound it makes against the floor echoes in my mind as a chill shoots the length of my spine. Looks like I’ll be getting that satisfaction after all.