John Brown’s Body

“How about lately? Live here?”

“No, he’d show up every now and then with a case of beer or a bottle of Jack. Claimed he had an annuity, starting about fifteen years ago, about the same time as that mess with your dad. Don’t know where he lived. May have been back in Cuba, all I know.”

Blackbeard tensed and then dropped it and went back to being just a detective again: calm, deliberate, pro.

“When was the last you saw him?”

Captain David drained the last of the beers, looked up. “Long time. No. Wait. Sometime lately, maybe couple of weeks ago, he came by with a cooler of beer, case of Jack, everything. Told everybody he was cashing in, one last big payoff and then done. Maybe that’s his payoff.” He gestured at the bullet hole.

They went over it a couple of times. Captain David became less coherent and they left. As they left, Captain David yelled at their backs, “Little John, your daddy was a good man, no matter what they said at the end.” Blackbeard’s back stiffened and he kept walking. “Better than you.” Captain David yelled when Blackbeard didn’t reply.

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