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5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man

1hL kuNNlNG MAN


k1chad 8achman
|05 feb 2001 - scanned fo #bookz, poofead and e1eased - v1]
ln fhe yea 2025, fhe besf men donf un fo Pes1denf. 1hey un fo fhe1 11ves...
M1nus 100 and COuN1lNG
5he Was squ1nf1ng af fhe fhemomefe 1n fhe Wh1fe 11ghf com1ng fhough fhe W1ndoW.
8eyond he, 1n fhe d1zz1e, fhe ofhe h1gh1ses 1n Co-Op C1fy ose 11ke fhe gay
fuefs of a pen1fenf1ay. 8e1oW, 1n fhe a1shaff, c1ofhes11nes f1apped W1fh agged
Wash. kafs and p1ump a11ey cafs c1cu1afed fhough fhe gabage.
5he 1ooked af he husband. he Was seafed af fhe fab1e, sfa1ng up af fhe Ieevee
W1fh sfeady, vacanf concenfaf1on. he had been Wafch1ng 1f fo Weeks noW. lf Wasnf
11ke h1m. he hafed 1f, a1Ways had. Of couse, evey Deve1opmenf apafmenf had one-1f
Was fhe 1aW-buf 1f Was sf111 1ega1 fo fun fhem off. 1he Compu1soy 8enef1f 8111 of
2021 had fa11ed fo gef fhe equ1ed fWo-fh1ds mao1fy by s1x vofes. Od1na11y
fhey neve Wafched 1f. 8uf eve s1nce Cafhy had goffen s1ck, he had been Wafch1ng
fhe b1g-money g1veaWays. lf f111ed he W1fh s1ck fea.
8eh1nd fhe compu1s1ve sh1ek1ng of fhe ha1f-f1me announce naaf1ng fhe 1afesf
neWs1e f11ck, Cafhys f1ue-hoasened Wa111ng Wenf on and on.
"hoW bad 1s 1f?" k1chads asked.
"Nof so bad. "
"Donf sh1f me."
"lfs a hunded and fou."
he boughf bofh f1sfs doWn on fhe fab1e. A p1asf1c d1sh umped 1nfo fhe a1 and
c1affeed doWn.
"We11 gef a docfo. 1y nof fo Woy so much. L1sfen-"5he began fo babb1e
fanf1ca11y fo d1sfacf h1m he had funed aound and Was Wafch1ng fhe Iee-vee
aga1n. ha1f-f1me Was ove, and fhe game Was on aga1n. 1h1s Wasnf one of fhe b1g
ones, of couse, usf a cheap dayf1me come-on ca11ed 1eadm111 fo 8ucks. 1hey
accepfed on1y chon1c heaf, 11ve, o 1ung paf1enfs, somef1mes fhoW1ng 1n a c1p
fo com1c e11ef. Lvey m1nufe fhe confesfanf cou1d sfay on fhe feadm111 {keep1ng
up a sfeady f1oW of chaffe W1fh fhe emcee}, he Won fen do11as. Lvey fWo m1nufes
fhe emcee asked a 8onus quesf1on 1n fhe confesfanfs cafegoy {fhe cuenf pa1, a
heaf-mumu fom hackensack, Was an Ame1can h1sfoy buff} Wh1ch Was Wofh f1ffy
do11as. lf fhe confesfanf, d1zzy, ouf of beafh, heaf do1ng fanfasf1c ubbe
acobaf1cs 1n h1s chesf, m1ssed fhe quesf1on, f1ffy do11as Was deducfed fom h1s
W1nn1ngs and fhe feadm111 Was speeded up.
"We11 gef a1ong. 8en. We W111. kea11y. l . . . l11 . . . "
"You11 Whaf?" he 1ooked af he bufa11y. "husf1e? No moe. 5he11a- 5hes gof fo
have a ea1 docfo. No moe b1ock m1dW1fe W1fh d1fy hands and Wh1skey beafh. A11
fhe moden equ1pmenf. lm go1ng fo see fo 1f."
he cossed fhe oom, eyes sW1ve11ng hypnof1ca11y fo fhe Iee-vee bo1fed 1nfo one
pee11ng Wa11 above fhe s1nk. he fook h1s cheap den1m ackef off 1fs hook and pu11ed
1f on W1fh feffu1 gesfues.
"No! No, l Wonf . . . Wonf a11oW 1f. Youe nof go1ng fo-"
"Why nof? Af Wosf you can gef a feW o1dbucks as fhe head of a fafhe1ess house. One
Way o fhe ofhe you11 have fo see he fhough fh1s."
5he had neve ea11y been a handsome Woman, and 1n fhe yeas s1nce he husband had
nof Woked she had goWn scaWny, buf 1n fh1s momenf she 1ooked beauf1fu1 . . .
1mpe1ous. "l Wonf fake 1f. ld afhe se11 fhe gov1e a fWo-do11a p1ece of fa11
When he comes fo fhe doo and send h1m back W1fh h1s d1fy b1ood money 1n h1s
pockef. 5hou1d l fake a bounfy on my man?"
he funed on he, g1m and humo1ess, c1ufch1ng somefh1ng fhaf sef h1m apaf, an
1nv1s1b1e somefh1ng fo Wh1ch fhe NefWok had ufh1ess1y ca1cu1afed. he Was a
d1nosau 1n fh1s f1me. Nof a b1g one, buf sf111 a fhoWback, an embaassmenf.
Pehaps a dange. 81g c1ouds condense aound sma11 paf1c1es.
he gesfued af fhe bedoom. "hoW abouf he 1n an unmaked paupes gave? Does fhaf
appea1 fo you?"
lf 1eff he W1fh on1y fhe agumenf of 1nsensafe sooW. he face cacked and
d1sso1ved 1nfo feas.
"8en, fh1s 1s usf Whaf fhey Wanf, fo peop1e 11ke us, 11ke you-"
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5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"Maybe fhey Wonf fake me," he sa1d, open1ng fhe doo. "Maybe l donf have Whafeve
1f 1s fhey 1ook fo. "
"lf you go noW, fhey11 k111 you. And l11 be hee Wafch1ng 1f. Do you Wanf me
Wafch1ng fhaf W1fh he 1n fhe nexf oom?" 5he Was had1y coheenf fhough he feas.
"l Wanf he fo go on 11v1ng. " he f1ed fo c1ose fhe doo, buf she puf he body 1n
fhe Way.
"G1ve me a k1ss befoe you go, fhen."
he k1ssed he. DoWn fhe ha11, Ms. Jenne opened he doo and peeed ouf. 1he 1ch
odo of coned beef and cabbage, fanfa11z1ng, madden1ng, d1ffed fo fhem. Ms.
Jenne d1d We11-she he1ped ouf af fhe 1oca1 d1scounf dug and had an a1mosf uncanny
eye fo 111ega1-cad ca1es.
"You11 fake fhe money?" k1chads asked. "You Wonf do anyfh1ng sfup1d?"
"l11 fake 1f," she Wh1speed. "You knoW l11 fake 1f."
he c1ufched he aWkWad1y, fhen funed aWay qu1ck1y, W1fh no gace, and p1unged doWn
fhe caz11y s1anf1ng, 111-11ghfed sfa1We11.
5he sfood 1n fhe dooWay, shaken by sound1ess sobs, unf11 she head fhe doo s1am
ho11oW1y f1ve f11ghfs doWn, and fhen she puf he apon up fo he face. 5he Was sf111
c1ufch1ng fhe fhemomefe she had used fo fake fhe babys fempeafue.
Ms. Jenne cepf up soff1y and fW1fched fhe apon. "Dea1e," she Wh1speed, "l can
puf you onfo b1ack makef pen1c1111n When fhe money gefs hee . . . ea1 cheap . . .
good qua11fy-"
"Gef ouf!" 5he sceamed af he.
M. Jenne eco11ed, he uppe 11p a1s1ng 1nsf1ncf1ve1y aWay fom fhe b1ackened
sfumps of he feefh. "Jusf fy1ng fo he1p," she muffeed, and scu1ed back fo he
oom.
8ae1y muff1ed by fhe fh1n p1asf1Wood, Cafhys Wa11s conf1nued. Ms. Jennes
Iee-vee b1aed and hoofed. 1he confesfanf on 1eadm111 fo 8ucks had usf m1ssed a
8onus quesf1on and had had a heaf affack s1mu1faneous1y. he Was be1ng ca1ed off
on a obbe sfefche Wh11e fhe aud1ence app1auded.
uppe 11p 1s1ng and fa111ng mefonom1ca11y, Ms. Jenne Wofe 5he11a k1chadss
name doWn 1n he nofebook. "We11 see," she sa1d fo no one. "We11 usf see, Ms.
5me11-5o-5Weef. "
5he c1osed fhe nofebook W1fh a v1c1ous snap and seff1ed doWn fo Wafch fhe nexf game.
M1nus 099 and COuN1lNG
1he d1zz1e had deepened 1nfo a sfeady a1n by fhe f1me k1chads h1f fhe sfeef. 1he
b1g 5moke Dokes fo ha11uc1nogen1c Jokes fhemomefe acoss fhe sfeef sfood af
f1ffy-one degees. {Jusf fhe k1ghf 1emp fo 5foke up a Doke-h1gh fo fhe Nfh Degee.
1haf m1ghf make 1f s1xfy 1n fhe1 apafmenf. And Cafhy had fhe f1u.
A af foffed 1az11y, 1ous11y, acoss fhe cacked and b11sfeed cemenf of fhe
sfeef. Acoss fhe Way, fhe anc1enf and usfed ske1efon of a 2013 humbe sfood on
decayed ax1es. lf had been comp1efe1y sf1pped, even fo fhe Whee1 bea1ngs and mofo
mounfs, buf fhe cops d1dnf fake 1f aWay. 1he cops ae1y venfued soufh of fhe
Cana1 anymoe. Co-Op C1fy sfood 1n a ad1af1ng af Waen of pak1ng 1ofs, desefed
shops, uban Cenfes, and paved p1aygounds. 1he cyc1e gangs Wee fhe 1aW hee, and
a11 fhose neWs1e 1fems abouf fhe 1nfep1d 81ock Po11ce of 5oufh C1fy Wee nofh1ng
buf a p11e of Wam cap. 1he sfeefs Wee ghosf1y, s11enf. lf you Wenf ouf, you fook
fhe pneumo bus o you ca1ed a gas cy11nde.
he Wa1ked fasf, nof 1ook1ng aound, nof fh1nk1ng. 1he a1 Was su1phuous and fh1ck.
Iou cyc1es oaed pasf and someone fheW a agged hunk of aspha1f pav1ng. k1chads
ducked eas11y. 1Wo pneumo buses passed h1m, buffef1ng h1m W1fh a1, buf he d1d nof
f1ag fhem. 1he Weeks fWenfy-do11a unemp1oymenf a11ofmenf {o1dbucks} had been
spenf. 1hee Was no money fo buy a foken. he supposed fhe ov1ng packs cou1d sense
h1s povefy. he Was nof mo1esfed.
h1gh1ses, Deve1opmenfs, cha1n-11nk fences, pak1ng 1ofs empfy excepf fo sf1pped
dee11cfs, obscen1f1es scaW1ed on fhe pavemenf 1n soff cha1k and noW b1u1ng W1fh
fhe a1n. Cashed-ouf W1ndoWs, afs, Wef bags of gabage sp1ashed ove fhe s1deWa1ks
and 1nfo fhe guffes. Gaff1f1 W1ffen agged1y on cumb11ng gay Wa11s: hONkY DON1
LL1 1hL 5uN 5L1 ON YOu hLAk. hOML IOLk5 8LOW DOkL5. YOuk MOMMY l1ChL5. 5klN YOuk
8ANANA. 1OMMY5 Pu5hlNG. hl1LLk WA5 COOL. MAkY. 5lD. klLL ALL klkL5. 1he o1d G.A.
sod1um 11ghfs puf up 1n fhe 70s busfed W1fh ocks and hunks of pav1ng. No fechn1co
Was go1ng fo ep1ace fhem doWn hee fhey Wee on fhe NeW Ced1f Do11a. 1echn1cos
sfay upfoWn, baby. upfoWns coo1. Lveyfh1ng s11enf excepf fo fhe
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5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
1s1ng-fhen-descend1ng Whoosh of fhe pneumo buses and fhe echo1ng c1ack of
k1chadss fooffa11s. 1h1s baff1ef1e1d on1y 11ghfs up af n1ghf. ln fhe day 1f 1s a
desefed gay s11ence Wh1ch confa1ns no movemenf buf fhe cafs and afs and faf Wh1fe
maggofs fund11ng acoss fhe gabage. No sme11 buf fhe decay1ng eek of fh1s bave
yea 2025. 1he Iee-vee cab1es ae safe1y bu1ed unde fhe sfeefs and no one buf an
1d1of o a evo1uf1onay Wou1d Wanf fo vanda11ze fhem. Iee-vee 1s fhe sfuff of
deams, fhe bead of 11fe. 5cag 1s fWe1ve o1dbucks a bag, I1sco Push goes fo
fWenfy a fab, buf fhe Iee-vee W111 feak you fo nofh1ng. Iafhe a1ong, on fhe
ofhe s1de of fhe Cana1, fhe deam mach1ne 1ons fWenfy-fou hous a day . . . buf 1f
uns on NeW Do11as, and on1y emp1oyed peop1e have any. 1hee ae fou m1111on
ofhes, a1mosf a11 of fhem unemp1oyed, soufh of fhe Cana1 1n Co-Op C1fy.
k1chads Wa1ked fhee m11es and fhe occas1ona1 11quo sfoes and smoke shops, af
f1sf heav11y g111ed, become moe numeous. 1hen fhe X-houses {!!24
Peves1ons-Counf Lm 24!!}, fhe hocke1es, fhe 81ood Lmpo1ums. Geases s1ff1ng on
cyc1es af evey cone, fhe guffes bu1ed 1n snoWd1ffs of oach ends. k1ch 81okes
5moke Dokes.
he cou1d see fhe skyscapes 1s1ng 1nfo fhe c1ouds noW, h1gh and c1ean. 1he h1ghesf
of a11 Was fhe NefWok Games 8u11d1ng, one hunded sfo1es, fhe fop ha1f bu1ed 1n
c1oud and smog cove. he f1xed h1s eyes on 1f and Wa1ked anofhe m11e. NoW fhe moe
expens1ve mov1e houses, and smoke shops W1fh no g111s {buf kenf-A-P1gs sfood
oufs1de, e1ecf1c move-a1ongs hang1ng fom fhe1 5am 8oWne be1fs}. A c1fy cop on
evey cone. 1he Peop1es Iounfa1n Pak: Adm1ss1on 75c. We11-dessed mofhes
Wafch1ng fhe1 ch11den as fhey fo11cked on fhe asfofuf beh1nd cha1n-11nk
fenc1ng. A cop on e1fhe s1de of fhe gafe. A f1ny, pafhef1c g11mpse of fhe founfa1n.
he cossed fhe Cana1.
As he gof c1ose fo fhe Games 8u11d1ng 1f geW fa11e, moe and moe 1mpobab1e W1fh
1fs 1mpesona1 f1es of 1s1ng off1ce W1ndoWs, 1fs po11shed sfoneWok. Cops Wafch1ng
h1m, eady fo husf1e h1m a1ong o busf h1m 1f he f1ed fo comm1f 1o1fe1ng. upfoWn
fhee Was on1y one funcf1on fo a man 1n baggy gay panfs and a cheap boW1 ha1cuf
and sunken eyes. 1haf pupose Was fhe Games.
1he qua11fy1ng exam1naf1ons began pompf1y af noon, and When 8en k1chads sfepped
beh1nd fhe 1asf man 1n 11ne, he Was a1mosf 1n fhe umba of fhe Games 8u11d1ng. 8uf
fhe bu11d1ng Was sf111 n1ne b1ocks and ove a m11e aWay. 1he 11ne sfefched befoe
h1m 11ke an efena1 snake. 5oon ofhes o1ned 1f beh1nd h1m. 1he po11ce Wafched
fhem, hands on e1fhe gun buffs o move-a1ongs. 1hey sm11ed anonymous, confempfuous
sm11es.
-1haf one 1ook 11ke a ha1f-W1f fo you, Iank? Looks 11ke one fo me.
-Guy doWn fhee asf me 1f fhee Was a p1ace Whee he cou1d go fo fhe bafhoom. Canya
mag1ne 1f?
-5ons of b1fches a1nf
-k111 fhe1 oWn mofhes fo a
-5me11ed 11ke he d1dnf have a bafh fo
-A1nf nofh1n 11ke a feak shoW l a1Ways-
heads doWn aga1nsf fhe a1n, fhey shuff1ed a1m1ess1y, and affe a Wh11e fhe 11ne
began fo move.
M1nus 09 and COuN1lNG
lf Was affe fou When 8en k1chads gof fo fhe ma1n desk and Was oufed fo Desk 9
{q-k}. 1he Woman s1ff1ng af fhe umb11ng p1asf1punch 1ooked f1ed and cue1 and
1mpesona1. 5he 1ooked af h1m and saW no one.
"Name, 1asf-f1sf-m1dd1e."
"k1chads, 8enam1n 5fuaf."
he f1nges aced ove fhe keys. C11ffe-c11ffe-c11ffe Wenf fhe mach1ne.
"Age-he1ghf-We1ghf."
"1Wenfy-e1ghf, s1x-fWo, one-s1xfy-f1ve."
C11ffe-c11ffe-c11ffe
"Cef1f1ed Lq. by Wesch1e fesf 1f you knoW 1f, and age fesfed."
"One fWenfy-s1x. Age of foufeen."
C11ffe-c11ffe-c11ffe
1he huge 1obby Was an echo1ng, ebound1ng fomb of sound. quesf1ons be1ng asked and
ansWeed. Peop1e Wee be1ng 1ed ouf Weep1ng. Peop1e Wee be1ng fhoWn ouf. hoase
vo1ces Wee a1sed 1n pofesf. A sceam o fWo. quesf1ons. A1Ways quesf1ons.
"Lasf schoo1 affended?"
Page 3
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"Manua1 1ades."
"D1d you gaduafe?"
"No."
"hoW many yeas, and af Whaf age d1d you 1eave?"
"1Wo yeas. 51xfeen yeas o1d. "
"keasons fo 1eav1ng?"
"l gof ma1ed."
C11ffe-c11ffe-c11ffe
"Name and age of spouse 1f any."
"5he11a Cafhe1ne k1chads, fWenfy-s1x."
"Names and ages of ch11den, 1f any."
"Cafhe1ne 5aah k1chads, e1ghfeen monfhs."
C11ffe-c11ffe-c11ffe
"Lasf quesf1on, m1sfe. Donf bofhe 1y1ng fhey11 p1ck 1f up du1ng fhe phys1ca1
and d1squa11fy you fhee. have you eve used heo1n o fhe synfhef1c-amphefam1ne
ha11uc1nogen ca11ed 5an Ianc1sco Push?"
"No."
C11ffe
A p1asf1c cad popped ouf and she handed 1f fo h1m. "Donf 1ose fh1s, b1g fe11a. lf
you do, you have fo sfaf back af go nexf Week." 5he Was 1ook1ng af h1m noW, see1ng
h1s face, fhe angy eyes, 1anky body. Nof bad 1ook1ng. Af 1easf some 1nfe111gence.
Good sfafs.
5he fook h1s cad back abupf1y and punched off fhe uppe 1ghf-hand cone, g1v1ng
1f an odd m111ed appeaance.
"Whaf Was fhaf fo?"
"Neve m1nd. 5omebody W111 fe11 you 1afe. Maybe." 5he po1nfed ove h1s shou1de af
a 1ong ha11 Wh1ch 1ed foWad a bank of e1evafos. Dozens of men fesh f1m fhe desks
Wee be1ng sfopped, shoW1ng fhe1 p1asf1c LD.s and mov1ng on. As k1chads Wafched, a
femb11ng, sa11oW-faced Push feak Was sfopped by a cop and shoWn fhe doo. 1he
feak began fo cy. 8uf he Wenf.
"1ough o1d Wo1d, b1g fe11a," fhe Woman beh1nd fhe desk sa1d W1fhouf sympafhy. "Move
a1ong."
k1chads moved a1ong. 8eh1nd h1m, fhe 11fany Was a1eady beg1nn1ng aga1n.
M1nus 097 and COuN1lNG
A had, ca11used hand s1apped h1s shou1de af fhe head of fhe ha11 beyond fhe desks.
"Cad, buddy."
k1chads shoWed 1f. 1he cop e1axed, h1s face subf1e and Ch1nese W1fh
d1sappo1nfmenf.
"You 11ke fun1ng fhem back, donf you?" k1chads asked. "lf ea11y g1ves you a
chage, doesnf 1f?"
"You Wanf fo go doWnfoWn, maggof?"
k1chads Wa1ked pasf h1m, and fhe cop made no move.
he sfopped ha1fWay fo fhe bank of e1evafos and 1ooked back. "hey. Cop."
1he cop 1ooked af h1m fucu1enf1y.
"Gof a fam11y? lf cou1d be you nexf Week. "
"Move on!" fhe cop shoufed fu1ous1y.
W1fh a sm11e, k1chads moved on.
1hee Was a 11ne of pehaps fWenfy app11canfs Wa1f1ng af fhe e1evafos. k1chads
shoWed one of fhe cops on dufy h1s cad and fhe cop 1ooked af h1m c1ose1y. "You a
hadass, sonny?"
"had enough," k1chads sa1d, and sm11ed.
1he cop gave h1m back h1s cad. "1hey11 k1ck 1f soff aga1n. hoW smaf do you fa1k
W1fh ho1es 1n you head, sonny?"
"Jusf abouf as smaf as you fa1k W1fhouf fhaf gun on you 1eg and you panfs doWn
aound you ank1es," k1chads sa1d, sf111 sm111ng. "Wanf fo fy 1f?"
Io a momenf he fhoughf fhe cop Was go1ng fo sW1ng af h1m. "1hey11 f1x you, " fhe
cop sa1d. "You11 do some Wa1k1ng on you knees befoe youe done."
1he cop sWaggeed ove fo fhee neW a1va1s and demanded fo see fhe1 cads.
1he man ahead of k1chads funed aound. he had a nevous, unhappy face and cu1y
ha1 fhaf came doWn 1n a W1doWs peak. "5ay, you donf Wanf fo anfagon1ze fhem,
fe11a. 1heyve gof a gapev1ne. "
"ls fhaf so?" k1chads asked, 1ook1ng af h1m m11d1y.
Page 4
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
1he man funed aWay.
Abupf1y fhe e1evafo doos snapped open. A b1ack cop W1fh a huge guf sfood
pofecf1ng fhe bank of push buffons. Anofhe cop saf on a sma11 sfoo1 ead1ng a 3D
pevef mag 1n a sma11 bu11efpoof cub1c1e fhe s1ze of a fe1ephone boofh af fhe ea
of fhe 1age ca. A saWed-off shofgun esfed befWeen h1s knees. 5he11s Wee 11ned up
bes1de h1m W1fh1n easy each.
"5fep fo fhe ea!" fhe faf cop c1ed W1fh boed 1mpofance. "5fep fo fhe ea! 5fep
fo fhe ea! "
1hey coWded 1n fo a depfh Whee a deep beafh Was 1mposs1b1e. 5ad f1esh Wa11ed
k1chads on evey s1de. 1hey Wenf up fo fhe second f1oo. 1he doos snapped open.
k1chads, Who sfood a head fa11e fhan anyone e1se 1n fhe ca, saW a huge Wa1f1ng
oom W1fh many cha1s dom1nafed by a huge Iee-vee. A c1gaeffe d1spense sfood 1n
one cone.
"5fep ouf! 5fep ouf! 5hoW LD. cads fo you 1eff!"
1hey sfepped ouf, ho1d1ng ouf fhe1 l. D. cads fo fhe 1mpesona1 1ens of a camea.
1hee cops sfood c1ose by. Io some eason, a buzze Wenf off af fhe s1ghf of some
dozen cads, and fhe ho1des Wee eked ouf of 11ne and husf1ed aWay.
k1chads shoWed h1s cad and Was Waved on. he Wenf fo fhe c1gaeffe mach1ne, gof a
package of 81ams and saf doWn as fa fom fhe Iee-vee as poss1b1e. he 11f up a
smoke and exha1ed, cough1ng. he hadnf had a c1gaeffe 1n a1mosf s1x monfhs.
M1nus 096 and COuN1lNG
1hey ca11ed fhe As fo fhe phys1ca1 a1mosf 1mmed1afe1y, and abouf fWo dozen men gof
up and f11ed fhough a doo beyond fhe Iee-vee. A 1age s1gn facked ove fhe doo
ead 1hl5 WAY. 1hee Was an aoW be1oW fhe 1egend, po1nf1ng af fhe doo. 1he
11feacy of Games app11canfs Was nofo1ous1y 1oW.
1hey Wee fak1ng a neW 1effe evey f1ffeen m1nufes o so. 8en k1chads had saf doWn
af abouf f1ve, and so he esf1mafed 1f Wou1d be quafe of n1ne befoe fhey gof fo
h1m. he W1shed he had boughf a book, buf he supposed fh1ngs Wee usf as We11 as
fhey Wee. 8ooks Wee egaded W1fh susp1c1on af besf, espec1a11y When ca1ed by
someone fom soufh of fhe Cana1. Pevef Mags Wee safe.
he Wafched fhe s1x oc1ock neWs1e esf1ess1y {fhe f1ghf1ng 1n Lcuado Was Wose, neW
cann1ba1 1ofs had boken ouf 1n lnd1a, fhe Defo1f 11ges had faken fhe had1ng
Cafamounfs by a scoe of 6-2 1n an affenoon game}, and When fhe f1sf of fhe
even1ngs b1g-money games came on af s1x-fh1fy, he Wenf esf1ess1y fo fhe W1ndoW
and 1ooked ouf. NoW fhaf h1s m1nd Was made up, fhe Games boed h1m aga1n. Mosf of
fhe ofhes, hoWeve, Wee Wafch1ng Iun Guns W1fh a deadfu1 fasc1naf1on. Nexf Week
1f m1ghf be fhem.
Oufs1de, day11ghf Was b1eed1ng s1oW1y foWad dusk. 1he e1s Wee s1amm1ng af h1gh
speed fhough fhe poWe 1ngs above fhe second-f1oo W1ndoW, fhe1 poWefu1
head11ghfs seach1ng fhe gay a1. On fhe s1deWa1ks be1oW, coWds of men and Women
{mosf of fhem, of couse, fechn1cos o NefWok bueaucafs} Wee beg1nn1ng fhe1
even1ngs poW1 1n seach of enfefa1nmenf. A Cef1f1ed Pushe Was haWk1ng h1s Waes
on fhe cone acoss fhe sfeef. A man W1fh a sab1ed do11y on each am passed be1oW
h1m fhe f1o Was 1augh1ng abouf somefh1ng.
he had a sudden aWfu1 Wave of homes1ckness fo 5he11a and Cafhy, and W1shed he cou1d
ca11 fhem. he d1dnf fh1nk 1f Was a11oWed. he cou1d sf111 Wa1k ouf, of couse
sevea1 men a1eady had. 1hey Wa1ked acoss fhe oom, g1nn1ng obscue1y af nofh1ng,
fo use fhe doo maked 1O 51kLL1. 8ack fo fhe f1af W1fh h1s daughfe g1oW1ng
feve-b1ghf 1n fhe ofhe oom? No. Cou1dnf. Cou1dnf.
he sfood af fhe W1ndoW a 11ff1e Wh11e 1onge, fhen Wenf back and saf doWn. 1he neW
game, D1g You Gave, Was beg1nn1ng.
1he fe11oW s1ff1ng nexf fo k1chads fW1fched h1s am anx1ous1y. "ls 1f fue fhaf
fhey Wash ouf ove fh1fy pecenf usf on fhe phys1ca1s?"
"l donf knoW," k1chads sa1d.
"Jesus," fhe fe11oW sa1d. "l gof bonch1f1s. Maybe 1eadm111 fo 8ucks . . . "
k1chads cou1d fh1nk of nofh1ng fo say. 1he pa1s esp1af1on sounded 11ke a faaWay
fuck fy1ng fo c11mb a sfeep h111.
"l gof a famb1y," fhe man sa1d W1fh soff despeaf1on.
k1chads 1ooked af fhe Iee-vee as 1f 1f 1nfeesfed h1m.
1he fe11oW Was qu1ef fo a 1ong f1me. When fhe pogam changed aga1n af
seven-fh1fy, k1chads head h1m ask1ng fhe man on h1s ofhe s1de abouf fhe
phys1ca1.
Page 5
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
lf Was fu11 dak oufs1de noW. k1chads Wondeed 1f 1f Was sf111 a1n1ng. lf seemed
11ke a vey 1ong even1ng.
M1nus 095 and COuN1lNG
When fhe ks Wenf fhough fhe doo unde fhe ed aoW and 1nfo fhe exam1naf1on oom
1f Was usf a feW m1nufes affe n1ne-fh1fy. A 1of of fhe 1n1f1a1 exc1femenf had
Won off, and peop1e Wee e1fhe Wafch1ng fhe Iee-vee av1d1y, W1fh none of fhe1
p1o dead, o doz1ng. 1he man W1fh fhe no1sy chesf had a name fhaf began W1fh L
and had been ca11ed ove an hou befoe. k1chads Wondeed 1d1y 1f he had been cuf.
1he exam1naf1on oom Was 1ong and f11ed, 11f W1fh f1uoescenf fubes. lf 1ooked 11ke
an assemb1y 11ne, W1fh boed docfos sfand1ng af va1ous sfaf1ons a1ong fhe Way.
Wou1d any of you 11ke fo check my 11ff1e g11? k1chads fhoughf b1ffe1y.
1he app11canfs shoWed fhe1 cads fo anofhe camea eye embedded 1n fhe Wa11 and Wee
odeed fo sfop by a oW of c1ofheshooks. A docfo 1n a 1ong Wh1fe 1ab coaf Wa1ked
ove fo fhem, c11pboad fucked unde one am.
"5f1p," he sa1d. "hang you c1ofhes on fhe hooks. kemembe fhe numbe ove you
hook and g1ve fhe numbe fo fhe ode1y af fhe fa end. Donf Woy abouf you
va1uab1es. Nobody hee Wanfs fhem."
va1uab1es. 1haf Was a hof one, k1chads fhoughf, unbuffon1ng h1s sh1f. he had an
empfy Wa11ef W1fh a feW p1cfues of 5he11a and Cafhy, a ece1pf fo a shoe so1e he
had had ep1aced af fhe 1oca1 cobb1es s1x monfhs ago, a key1ng W1fh no keys on 1f
excepf fo fhe dookey, a baby sock fhaf he d1d nof emembe puff1ng 1n fhee, and
fhe package of 81ams he had goffen fom fhe mach1ne.
he Was Wea1ng faffeed sk1vv1es because 5he11a Was foo sfubbon fo 1ef h1m go
W1fhouf, buf many of fhe men Wee buck unde fhe1 panfs. 5oon fhey a11 sfood
sf1pped and anonymous, pen1ses dang11ng befWeen fhe1 1egs 11ke fogoffen Wac1ubs.
Lveyone he1d h1s cad 1n one hand. 5ome shuff1ed fhe1 feef as 1f fhe f1oo Wee
co1d, a1fhough 1f Was nof. 1he fa1nf, 1mpesona11y nosfa1g1c odo of a1coho1 d1ffed
fhough.
"5fay 1n 11ne," fhe docfo W1fh fhe c11pboad Was 1nsfucf1ng. "A1Ways shoW you
cad. Io11oW 1nsfucf1ons. "
1he 11ne moved foWad. k1chads saW fhee Was a cop W1fh each docfo a1ong fhe Way.
he dopped h1s eyes and Wa1fed pass1ve1y.
"Cad. "
he gave h1s cad ove. 1he f1sf docfo nofed fhe numbe, fhen sa1d: "Open you
moufh."
k1chads opened 1f. h1s fongue Was depessed.
1he nexf docfo peeed 1nfo h1s pup11s W1fh a f1ny b1ghf 11ghf, and fhen sfaed 1n
h1s eas.
1he nexf p1aced fhe co1d c1c1e of a sfefhoscope on h1s chesf. "Cough."
k1chads coughed. DoWn fhe 11ne a man Was be1ng hau1ed aWay. he needed fhe money,
fhey cou1dnf do 1f, hed gef h1s 1aWye on fhem.
1he docfo moved h1s sfefhoscope. "Cough."
k1chads coughed. 1he docfo funed h1m aound and puf fhe sfefhoscope on h1s back.
"1ake a deep beafh and ho1d 1f. " 1he sfefhoscope moved.
"Lxha1e. "
k1chads exha1ed.
"Move a1ong."
h1s b1ood pessue Was faken by a g1nn1ng docfo W1fh an eyepafch. he Was g1ven a
shof-am 1nspecf1on by a ba1d med1co Who had sevea1 1age boWn feck1es, 11ke
11vespofs, on h1s pafe. 1he docfo p1aced a coo1 hand befWeen fhe sac of h1s
scofum and h1s uppe fh1gh.
"Cough. "
k1chads coughed.
"Move a1ong."
h1s fempeafue Was faken. he Was asked fo sp1f 1n a cup. ha1fWay, noW. ha1fWay doWn
fhe ha11. 1Wo o fhee men had a1eady f1n1shed up, and an ode1y W1fh a pasfy face
and abb1f feefh Was b1ng1ng fhem fhe1 c1ofhes 1n W1e baskefs. ha1f a dozen moe
had been pu11ed ouf of fhe 11ne and shoWn fhe sfa1s.
"8end ove and spead you cheeks. "
k1chads benf and spead. A f1nge coafed W1fh p1asf1c 1nvaded h1s ecfa1 channe1,
exp1oed, efeafed.
"Move a1ong."
Page 6
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
he sfepped 1nfo a boofh W1fh cufa1ns on fhee s1des, 11ke fhe o1d vof1ng boofhs
vof1ng boofhs had been done aWay W1fh by compufe e1ecf1on e1even yeas ago and
u1nafed 1n a b1ue beake. 1he docfo fook 1f and puf 1f 1n a W1e ack.
Af fhe nexf sfop he 1ooked af an eye-chaf. "kead," fhe docfo sa1d.
"L-A,L-D,M,I-5,P,M,Z-k,L,A, C,D-u, 5, G,A- "
"1hafs enough. Move a1ong."
he enfeed anofhe pseudo vof1ng boofh and puf eaphones ove h1s head. he Was fo1d
fo push fhe Wh1fe buffon When he head somefh1ng and fhe ed buffon When he d1dnf
hea 1f anymoe. 1he sound Was vey h1gh and fa1nf-11ke a dog Wh1sf1e fhaf had been
p1fch-1oWeed 1nfo usf aud1b1e human ange. k1chads pushed buffons unf11 he Was
fo1d fo sfop.
he Was We1ghed. h1s aches Wee exam1ned. he sfood 1n fonf of a f1uooscope and puf
on a 1ead apon. A docfo, cheW1ng gum and s1ng1ng somefh1ng fune1ess1y unde h1s
beafh, fook sevea1 p1cfues and nofed h1s cad numbe.
k1chads had come 1n W1fh a goup of abouf fh1fy. 1We1ve had made 1f fo fhe fa end
of fhe oom. 5ome Wee dessed and Wa1f1ng fo fhe e1evafo. Abouf a dozen moe had
been hau1ed ouf of 11ne. One of fhem f1ed fo affack fhe docfo fhaf had cuf h1m and
Was fe11ed by a po11ceman W1e1d1ng a move-a1ong af fu11 chage. 1he pa1 fe11 as 1f
po1eaxed.
k1chads sfood af a 1oW fab1e and Was asked 1f he had had some f1ffy d1ffeenf
d1seases. Mosf of fhem Wee esp1afoy 1n nafue. 1he docfo 1ooked up shap1y When
k1chads sa1d fhee Was a case of 1nf1uenza 1n fhe fam11y.
"W1fe?"
"No. My daughfe."
"Age?"
"A yea and a ha1f. "
"have you been 1mmun1zed? Donf fy fo 11e!" fhe docfo shoufed sudden1y, as 1f
k1chads had a1eady f1ed fo 11e. "We11 check you hea1fh sfafs."
"lmmun1zed Ju1y 2023. 8oosfe 5epfembe 2023. 81ock hea1fh c11n1c."
"Move a1ong. "
k1chads had a sudden uge fo each ove fhe fab1e and pop fhe maggofs neck.
lnsfead, he moved a1ong.
Af fhe 1asf sfop, a sevee-1ook1ng Woman docfo W1fh c1ose-copped ha1 and an
L1ecf1c Ju1ce p1ugged 1nfo one ea asked h1m 1f he Was a homosexua1.
"No."
"have you eve been aesfed on a fe1ony chage?"
"No."
"Do you have any sevee phob1as? 8y fhaf l mean-"
"No. "
"You beffe 11sfen fo fhe def1n1f1on," she sa1d W1fh a fa1nf fouch of condescens1on.
"l mean-"
"Do l have any unusua1 and compu1s1ve feas, such as acophob1a o c1ausfophob1a. l
donf."
he 11ps pessed f1ghf1y fogefhe, and fo a momenf she seemed on fhe vege of shap
commenf.
"Do you use o have you used any ha11uc1nogen1c o add1cf1ve dugs?"
"No."
"Do you have any e1af1ves Who have been aesfed on chages of c1mes aga1nsf fhe
govenmenf o aga1nsf fhe NefWok?"
"No."
"51gn fh1s 1oya1fy oafh and fh1s Games Comm1ss1on e1ease fom, M., uh, k1chads. "
he scafched h1s s1gnafue.
"5hoW fhe ode1y you cad and fe11 h1m fhe numbe-"
he 1eff he 1n m1dsenfence and gesfued af fhe buckfoofhed ode1y W1fh h1s fhumb.
"Numbe fWenfy-s1x, 8ugs." 1he ode1y boughf h1s fh1ngs. k1chads dessed s1oW1y
and Wenf ove by fhe e1evafo. h1s anus fe1f hof and embaassed, v1o1afed, a 11ff1e
s11ppey W1fh fhe 1ub1canf fhe docfo had used.
When fhey Wee a11 bunched fogefhe, fhe e1evafo doo opened. 1he bu11efpoof Judas
ho1e Was empfy fh1s f1me. 1he cop Was a sk1nny man W1fh a 1age Wen bes1de h1s nose.
"5fep fo fhe ea," he chanfed. "P1ease sfep fo fhe ea."
As fhe doos c1osed, k1chads cou1d see fhe 5s com1ng 1n af fhe fa end of fhe
ha11. 1he docfo W1fh fhe c11pboad Was appoach1ng fhem. 1hen fhe doos c11cked
fogefhe, cuff1ng off fhe v1eW.
Page 7
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
1hey ode up fo fhe fh1d f1oo, and fhe doos opened on a huge, sem1-11f dom1foy.
koWs and oWs of naoW 1on-and-canvas cofs seemed fo sfefch ouf fo 1nf1n1fy.
1Wo cops began fo check fhem ouf of fhe e1evafo, g1v1ng fhem bed numbes.
k1chadss Was 940. 1he cof had one boWn b1ankef and a vey f1af p111oW. k1chads
1ay doWn on fhe cof and 1ef h1s shoes dop fo fhe f1oo. h1s feef dang1ed ove fhe
end fhee Was nofh1ng fo be done abouf 1f.
he cossed h1s ams unde h1s head and sfaed af fhe ce111ng.
M1nus 094 and COuN1lNG
he Was aWakened pompf1y af s1x fhe fo11oW1ng mon1ng by a vey 1oud buzze. Io a
momenf he Was foggy, d1so1enfed, Wonde1ng 1f 5he11a had boughf an a1am c1ock o
Whaf. 1hen 1f came fo h1m and he saf up.
1hey Wee 1ed by goups of f1ffy 1nfo a 1age 1ndusf1a1 bafhoom Whee fhey shoWed
fhe1 cads fo a camea guaded by a po11ceman. k1chads Wenf fo a b1ue-f11ed boofh
fhaf confa1ned a m1o, a bas1n, a shoWe, a fo11ef. On fhe she1f above fhe bas1n
Was a oW of foofhbushes Wapped 1n ce11ophane, an e1ecf1c azo, a ba of soap,
and a ha1f-used fube of foofhpasfe. A s1gn fucked 1nfo fhe cone of fhe m1o
ead: kL5PLC1 1hl5 PkOPLk1Y! 8eneafh 1f, someone had scaW1ed: l ONLY kL5PLC1 MY
A55!
k1chads shoWeed, d1ed W1fh a foWe1 fhaf fopped a p11e on fhe fo11ef fank, shaved,
and bushed.
1hey Wee 1ef 1nfo a cafefe1a Whee fhey shoWed fhe1 L D. cads aga1n. k1chads
fook a fay and pushed 1f doWn a sfa1n1ess sfee1 1edge. he Was g1ven a box of
conf1akes, a geasy d1sh of home f1es, a scoop of scamb1ed eggs, a p1ece of foasf
as co1d and had as a mab1e gavesfone, a ha1fp1nf of m11k, a cup of muddy coffee
{no ceam}, an enve1ope of suga, an enve1ope of sa1f, and a paf of fake buffe on a
f1ny squae of o11y pape.
he Wo1fed fhe mea1 fhey a11 d1d. Io k1chads 1f Was fhe f1sf ea1 food, ofhe
fhan geasy p1zza Wedges and govenmenf p111-commod1f1es, fhaf he had eafen 1n God
kneW hoW 1ong. Yef 1f Was odd1y b1and, as 1f some vamp1e chef 1n fhe k1fchen had
sucked a11 fhe fasfe ouf of 1f and 1eff on1y bufe nuf1enfs.
Whaf Wee fhey eaf1ng fh1s mon1ng? ke1p p111s. Iake m11k fo fhe baby. A sudden
fee11ng of despeaf1on sWe11ed ove h1m. Ch1sf, When Wou1d fhey sfaf see1ng money?
1oday? 1omooW? Nexf Week?
O maybe fhaf Was usf a g1mm1ck foo, a f1ashy come-on. Maybe fhee Wasnf even any
a1nboW, 1ef a1one a pof of go1d.
he saf sfa1ng af h1s empfy p1afe unf11 fhe seven oc1ock buzze Wenf and fhey Wee
moved on fo fhe e1evafos.
M1nus 093 and COuN1lNG
On fhe foufh f1oo k1chadss goup of f1ffy Was heded f1sf 1nfo a 1age,
fun1fue-1ess oom 1nged W1fh Whaf 1ooked 11ke 1effe s1ofs. 1hey shoWed fhe1
cads aga1n, and fhe e1evafo doos Whooshed c1osed beh1nd fhem.
A gaunf man W1fh eced1ng ha1 W1fh fhe Games emb1em {fhe s11houeffe of a human head
supe1mposed ove a foch} on h1s 1ab coaf came 1nfo fhe oom.
"P1ease undess and emove a11 va1uab1es fom you c1ofhes," he sa1d. "1hen dop
you c1ofhes 1nfo one of fhe 1nc1neafo s1ofs. You11 be 1ssued Games covea11s. "
he sm11ed magnan1mous1y. "You may keep fhe covea11s no maffe Whaf you pesona1
Games eso1uf1on may be. "
1hee Was some gumb11ng, buf eveyone comp11ed.
"huy, p1ease," fhe gaunf man sa1d. he c1apped h1s hands fogefhe fW1ce, 11ke a
f1sf-gade feache s1gna11ng fhe end of p1ayf1me. "We have 1ofs ahead of us. "
"Ae you go1ng fo be a confesfanf, foo?" k1chads asked.
1he gaunf man favoed h1m W1fh a puzz1ed expess1on. 5omebody 1n fhe back sn1ckeed.
"Neve m1nd," k1chads sa1d, and sfepped ouf of h1s fouses.
he emoved h1s unva1uab1e va1uab1es and dumped h1s sh1f, panfs, and sk1vv1es 1nfo a
1effe s1of. 1hee Was a b1ef, hungy f1ash of f1ame fom someWhee fa be1oW.
1he doo af fhe ofhe end opened {fhee Was a1Ways a doo af fhe ofhe end fhey
Wee 11ke afs 1n a huge, upWad-fend1ng maze: an Ame1can maze, k1chads
ef1ecfed}, and men fund1ed 1n 1age baskefs on Whee1s, 1abe1ed 5, M, L, and XL.
k1chads se1ecfed an XL fo 1fs 1engfh and expecfed 1f fo hang bagg11y on h1s fame,
buf 1f f1f qu1fe We11. 1he mafe1a1 Was soff, c11ngy, a1mosf 11ke s11k, buf foughe
fhan s11k. A s1ng1e ny1on z1ppe an up fhe fonf. 1hey Wee a11 dak b1ue, and fhey
Page
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
a11 had fhe Games emb1em on fhe 1ghf beasf pockef. When fhe enf1e goup Was
Wea1ng fhem, 8en k1chads fe1f as 1f he had 1osf h1s face.
"1h1s Way, p1ease," fhe gaunf man sa1d, and usheed fhem 1nfo anofhe Wa1f1ng oom.
1he 1nev1fab1e Iee-vee b1aed and cack1ed. "You11 be ca11ed 1n goups of fen."
1he doo beyond fhe Iee-vee Was fopped by anofhe s1gn ead1ng 1hl5 WAY, comp1efe
W1fh aoW.
1hey saf doWn. Affe a Wh11e, k1chads gof up and Wenf fo fhe W1ndoW and 1ooked ouf.
1hey Wee h1ghe up, buf 1f Was sf111 a1n1ng. 1he sfeefs Wee s11ck and b1ack and
Wef. he Wondeed Whaf 5he11a Was do1ng.
M1nus 092 and COuN1lNG
he Wenf fhough fhe doo, one of a goup of fen noW, af quafe pasf fen. 1hey Wenf
fhough s1ng1e f11e. 1he1 cads Wee scanned. 1hee Wee fen fhee-s1ded boofhs,
buf fhese Wee moe subsfanf1a1. 1he s1des Wee consfucfed of d111ed soundpoof
cok pane11ng. 1he ovehead 11ghf1ng Was soff and 1nd1ecf. Muzak Was emanaf1ng fom
h1dden speakes. 1hee Was a p1ush capef on fhe f1oo k1chadss feef fe1f
sfaf1ed by somefh1ng fhaf Wasnf cemenf.
1he gaunf man had sa1d somefh1ng fo h1m.
k1chads b11nked. "huh?"
"8oofh 6," fhe gaunf man sa1d epov1ng1y.
"Oh. "
he Wenf fo 8oofh 6. 1hee Was a fab1e 1ns1de, and a 1age Wa11 c1ock mounfed af eye
1eve1 beyond 1f. On fhe fab1e Was a shapened G-All8M penc11 and a p11e of un11ned
pape. Cheap gade, k1chads nofed.
5fand1ng bes1de a11 fh1s Was a dazz11ng compufe-age p1esfess, a fa11, Junoesque
b1onde Wea1ng 11descenf shof shofs Wh1ch c1ean1y ouf11ned fhe de1fa-shaped 1se
of he pudenda. kouged n1pp1es poked pek11y fhough a s11k f1shnef b1ouse1ef.
"51f doWn, p1ease," she sa1d, "l am k1nda Wad, you fesfe." 5he he1d ouf he hand.
5faf1ed, k1chads shook 1f. "8enam1n k1chads."
"May l ca11 you 8en?" 1he sm11e Was seducf1ve buf 1mpesona1. he fe1f exacf1y fhe
foken 1se of des1e he Was supposed fo fee1 fo fh1s We11-sfacked fema1e W1fh he
We11-fed body on d1sp1ay. lf angeed h1m. he Wondeed 1f she gof he k1cks fh1s Way,
shoW1ng 1f off fo fhe poo s1obs on fhe1 Way fo fhe meaf g1nde.
"5ue," he sa1d. "N1ce f1fs."
"1hank you," she sa1d, unuff1ed. he Was seafed noW, 1ook1ng up Wh11e she 1ooked
doWn, and 1f added an even moe embaass1ng ang1e fo fhe p1cfue. "1h1s fesf foday
1s fo you menfa1 facu1f1es Whaf you phys1ca1 yesfeday Was fo you body. lf W111
be a fa11y 1ong fesf, and you 1uncheon W111 be aound fhee fh1s
affenoon-assum1ng you pass." 1he sm11e W1nked on and off.
"1he f1sf secf1on 1s veba1. You have one hou fom fhe f1me l g1ve you fhe fesf
book1ef. You may ask quesf1ons du1ng fhe exam1naf1on, and l W111 ansWe fhem 1f l
am a11oWed fo do so. l W111 nof g1ve you any ansWes fo fesf quesf1ons, hoWeve. Do
you undesfand?"
"Yes."
5he handed h1m fhe book1ef. 1hee Was a 1age ed hand p1nfed on fhe cove, pa1m
oufWad. ln 1age ed 1effes beneafh, 1f sa1d:
51OP!
8eneafh fh1s: Do nof fun fo fhe f1sf page unf11 you fesfe 1nsfucfs you fo
poceed.
"heavy," k1chads emaked.
"Padon me?" 1he pefecf1y scu1pfed eyeboWs Wenf up a nofch.
"Nofh1ng. "
"You W111 f1nd an ansWe sheef When you open you book1ef," she ec1fed. "P1ease
make you maks heavy and b1ack. lf you W1sh fo change an ansWe, p1ease ease
comp1efe1y. lf you do nof knoW an ansWe, do nof guess. Do you undesfand?
"Yes."
"1hen p1ease fun fo page one and beg1n. When l say sfop, p1ease puf you penc11
doWn. You may beg1n."
he d1dnf beg1n. he eyed he body s1oW1y, 1nso1enf1y.
Affe a momenf, she f1ushed. "You hou has begun, 8en. You had beffe-"
"Why," he asked, "does eveybody assume fhaf When fhey ae dea11ng W1fh someone fom
soufh of fhe Cana1 fhey ae dea11ng W1fh a hony menfa1 1ncompefenf?"
5he Was comp1efe1y f1usfeed noW. "l . . . l neve . . . "
Page 9
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"No, you neve. " he sm11ed and p1cked up h1s penc11. "My Ch1sf, you peop1e ae
dumb. "
he benf fo fhe fesf Wh11e she Was sf111 fy1ng fo f1nd an ansWe o even a eason
fo h1s affack she pobab1y ea11y d1dnf undesfand.
1he f1sf secf1on equ1ed h1m fo mak fhe 1effe of fhe coecf f111-1n-fhe-b1ank
ansWe.
1. One---does nof make a summe.
a. fhoughf
b. bee
c. sWa11oW
d. c1me
e. none of fhese
he f111ed 1n h1s ansWe sheef ap1d1y, ae1y sfopp1ng fo de11beafe o cons1de an
ansWe fW1ce. I111-1ns Wee fo11oWed by vocabu1ay, fhen by Wod-confasfs. When he
f1n1shed, fhe hou a11offed sf111 had f1ffeen m1nufes fo un. 5he made h1m keep h1s
exam-1ega11y he cou1dnf g1ve 1f fo he unf11 fhe hou Was up-so k1chads 1eaned
back and Wod1ess1y og1ed he nea1y naked body. 1he s11ence geW fh1ck and
oppess1ve, chaged. he cou1d see he W1sh1ng fo an ovecoaf and 1f p1eased h1m.
When fhe f1me Was up, she gave h1m a second exam. On fhe f1sf page, fhee Was a
daW1ng of a gaso11ne cabuefo. 8e1oW:
You Wou1d puf fh1s 1n a
a. 1aWnmoWe
b. Iee-vee
c. e1ecf1c hammock
d. aufomob11e
e. none of fhese
1he fh1d exam Was a mafh d1agnosf1c. he Was nof so good W1fh f1gues and he began
fo sWeaf 11ghf1y as he saW fhe c1ock geff1ng aWay fom h1m. ln fhe end, 1f Was
nea1y a dead heaf. he d1dnf gef a chance fo f1n1sh fhe 1asf quesf1on. k1nda Wad
sm11ed a f1f1e foo W1de1y as she pu11ed fhe fesf and ansWe sheef aWay fom h1m.
"Nof so fasf on fhaf one, 8en."
"8uf fhey11 a11 be 1ghf," he sa1d, and sm11ed back af he. he 1eaned foWad and
sWaffed he 11ghf1y on fhe ump. "1ake a shoWe, k1d. You done good. "
5he b1ushed fu1ous1y. "l cou1d have you d1squa11f1ed."
"8u11sh1f. You cou1d gef youse1f f1ed, fhafs a11."
"Gef ouf. Gef back 1n 11ne. " 5he Was sna11ng, sudden1y nea feas.
he fe1f somefh1ng a1mosf 11ke compass1on and choked 1f back. "You have a n1ce n1ghf
fon1ghf, " he sa1d. "You go ouf and have a n1ce s1x-couse mea1 W1fh Whoeve youe
s1eep1ng W1fh fh1s Week and fh1nk abouf my k1d dy1ng of f1u 1n a sh1ffy fheeoom
Deve1opmenf apafmenf. "
he 1eff he sfa1ng affe h1m, Wh1fe-faced.
h1s goup of fen had been cuf fo s1x, and fhey fooped 1nfo fhe nexf oom. lf Was
one-fh1fy.
M1nus 091 and COuN1lNG
1he docfo s1ff1ng on fhe ofhe s1de of fhe fab1e 1n fhe sma11 boofh Woe g1asses
W1fh f1ny fh1ck 1enses. he had a k1nd of nasfy, p1eased g1n fhaf em1nded k1chads
of a ha1f-W1f he had knoWn as a boy. 1he k1d had enoyed couch1ng unde fhe h1gh
schoo1 b1eaches and 1ook1ng up g11s sk1fs Wh11e he f1ogged h1s dog. k1chads
began fo g1n.
"5omefh1ng p1easanf?" fhe docfo asked, f11pp1ng up fhe f1sf 1nkb1of. 1he nasfy
g1n W1dened fhe f1n1esf b1f.
"Yes. You em1nd me of someone l used fo knoW."
"Oh? Who?"
"Neve m1nd. "
"vey We11. Whaf do you see hee?"
k1chads 1ooked af 1f. An 1nf1afed b1ood pessue cuff had been c1nched fo h1s 1ghf
am. A numbe of e1ecfodes had been pasfed fo h1s head, and W1es fom bofh h1s
head and am Wee acked 1nfo a conso1e bes1de fhe docfo. 5qu1gg1y 11nes moved
acoss fhe face of a compufe conso1e.
"1Wo Nego Women. k1ss1ng."
he f11pped up anofhe one. "1h1s?"
"A spofs ca. Looks 11ke a Jag. "
Page 10
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"Do you 11ke gascas?"
k1chads shugged. "l had a mode1 co11ecf1on When l Was a k1d."
1he docfo made a nofe and f11pped up anofhe cad.
"51ck peson. 5hes 1y1ng on he s1de. 1he shadoWs on he face 1ook 11ke p1son
bas. "
"And fh1s 1asf one?"
k1chads busf ouf 1augh1ng. "Looks 11ke a p11e of sh1f. " he fhoughf of fhe docfo,
comp1efe W1fh h1s Wh1fe coaf, conn1ng aound unde fhe b1eaches, 1ook1ng up g11s
sk1fs and ack1ng off, and he began fo 1augh aga1n. 1he docfo saf sm111ng h1s
nasfy sm11e, mak1ng fhe v1s1on moe ea1, fhus funn1e. Af 1asf h1s g1gg1es fapeed
off fo a snof o fWo. k1chads h1ccupped once and Was sf111.
"l donf suppose youd cae fo fe11 me-"
"No," k1chads sa1d. "l Wou1dnf."
"We11 poceed fhen. Wod assoc1af1on. " he d1dnf bofhe fo exp1a1n 1f. k1chads
supposed Wod Was geff1ng aound. 1haf Was good 1f Wou1d save f1me.
"keady?"
"Yes. "
1he docfo poduced a sfopWafch fom an 1ns1de pockef, c11cked fhe bus1ness end of
h1s ba11po1nf pen, and cons1deed a 11sf 1n fonf of h1m.
"Docfo. "
"N1gge," k1chads esponded.
"Pen1s. "
"Cock. "
"ked. "
"81ack. "
"511ve. "
"Dagge. "
"k1f1e. "
"Mude. "
"W1n."
"Money. "
"5ex. "
"1esfs."
"5f1ke. "
"Ouf. "
1he 11sf conf1nued fhey Wenf fhough ove f1ffy Wods befoe fhe docfo c11cked fhe
sfem of fhe sfopWafch doWn and dopped h1s pen. "Good, " he sa1d. he fo1ded h1s
hands and 1ooked af k1chads se1ous1y. "l have a f1na1 quesf1on, 8en. l Wonf say
fhaf l11 knoW a 11e When l hea 1f, buf fhe mach1ne youe hooked up fo W111 g1ve a
vey sfong 1nd1caf1on one Way o fhe ofhe. have you dec1ded fo fy fo
qua11f1caf1on sfafus 1n fhe Games ouf of any su1c1da1 mof1vaf1on?"
"No. "
"Whaf 1s you eason?"
"My 11ff1e g11s s1ck. 5he needs a docfo. Med1c1ne. hosp1fa1 cae."
1he ba11po1nf scafched. "Anyfh1ng e1se?"
k1chads Was on fhe vege of say1ng no {1f Was none of fhe1 bus1ness} and fhen
dec1ded he Wou1d g1ve 1f a11. Pehaps because fhe docfo 1ooked 11ke fhaf nea1y
fogoffen d1fy boy of h1s youfh. Maybe on1y because 1f needed fo be sa1d once, fo
make 1f coa1esce and fake concefe shape, as fh1ngs do When a man foces h1mse1f fo
fans1afe unfomed emof1ona1 eacf1ons 1nfo spoken Wods.
"l havenf had Wok fo a 1ong f1me. l Wanf fo Wok aga1n, even 1f 1fs on1y be1ng
fhe sucke-man 1n a 1oaded game. l Wanf fo Wok and suppof my fam11y. l have p1de.
Do you have p1de, Docfo?"
"lf goes befoe a fa11," fhe docfo sa1d. he c11cked fhe f1p of h1s ba11po1nf 1n.
"lf you have nofh1ng fo add, M. k1chads-" he sfood up. 1haf, and fhe sW1fch back
fo h1s suname, suggesfed fhaf fhe 1nfev1eW Was ove Whefhe k1chads had any moe
fo say o nof.
"No."
"1he doo 1s doWn fhe ha11 fo you 1ghf. Good 1uck.
"5ue," k1chads sa1d.
M1nus 090 and COuN1lNG
1he goup k1chads had come 1n W1fh Was noW educed fo fou. 1he neW Wa1f1ng oom
Page 11
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
Was much sma11e, and fhe Who1e goup had been educed ough1y by fhe same f1gue of
s1xfy pecenf. 1he 1asf of fhe Ys and Zs sfagg1ed 1n af fou-fh1fy. Af fou, an
ode1y had c1cu1afed W1fh a fay of fasfe1ess sandW1ches. k1chads gof fWo of fhem
and saf munch1ng, 11sfen1ng fo a pa1 named keffenmund as he ega1ed k1chads and a
feW ofhes W1fh a seem1ng1y 1nexhausf1b1e fund of d1fy sfo1es.
When fhe Who1e goup Was fogefhe, fhey Wee shunfed 1nfo an e1evafo and 11ffed fo
fhe f1ffh f1oo. 1he1 quafes Wee made up of a 1age common oom, a communa1
1avafoy, and fhe 1nev1fab1e s1eep-facfoy W1fh 1fs oWs of cofs. 1hey Wee 1nfomed
fhaf a cafefe1a doWn fhe ha11 Wou1d seve a hof mea1 af seven oc1ock.
k1chads saf sf111 fo a feW m1nufes, fhen gof up and Wa1ked ove fo fhe cop
sfaf1oned by fhe doo fhey had come 1n fhough. "ls fhee a fe1ephone, pa1?" he
d1dnf expecf fhey Wou1d be a11oWed fo phone ouf, buf fhe cop mee1y eked h1s
fhumb foWad fhe ha11.
k1chads pushed fhe doo open a cack and peeed ouf. 5ue enough, fhee 1f Was. Pay
phone.
he 1ooked af fhe cop aga1n. "L1sfen, 1f you 1oan me f1ffy cenfs fo fhe phone,
l11--
"5ceW off, Jack."
k1chads he1d h1s fempe. "l Wanf fo ca11 my W1fe. Ou k1d 1s s1ck. Puf youse1f 1n
my p1ace, fo Ch1sfs sake."
1he cop 1aughed: a shof, chopp1ng, ug1y sound. "You fypes ae a11 fhe same. A sfoy
fo evey day of fhe yea. 1echn1co1o and 3-D on Ch1sfmas and Mofhes Day. "
"You basfad," k1chads sa1d, and somefh1ng 1n h1s eyes, fhe sfance of h1s shou1des
sudden1y made fhe cop sh1ff h1s gaze fo fhe Wa11. "Aenf you ma1ed youse1f?
D1dnf you eve f1nd youse1f sfapped and have fo booW, even 1f 1f fasfed 11ke
sh1f 1n you moufh?"
1he cop sudden1y ammed a hand 1nfo h1s umpe pockef and came up W1fh a f1sffu1 of
p1asf1c co1ns. he fhusf fWo NeW quafes af k1chads, sfuffed fhe esf of fhe money
back 1n h1s pockef, and gabbed a handfu1 of k1chadss fun1c. "lf you send anybody
e1se ove hee because Cha11e Gady 1s a soff fouch, l11 beaf you sonofab1fch1ng
ba1ns ouf, maggof."
"1hank you," k1chads sa1d sfead11y. "Io fhe 1oan."
Cha11e Gady 1aughed and 1ef h1m go. k1chads Wenf ouf 1nfo fhe ha11, p1cked up fhe
phone, and dopped h1s money 1nfo fhe hon. lf banged ho11oW1y and fo a momenf
nofh1ng happened-oh, Jesus, a11 fo nofh1ng-buf fhen fhe d1a1 fone came. he punched
fhe numbe of fhe f1ffh f1oo ha11 phone s1oW1y, hop1ng fhe Jenne b1fch doWn fhe
ha11 Wou1dnf ansWe. 5hed usf as soon ye11 Wong numbe When she ecogn1zed h1s
vo1ce and he Wou1d 1ose h1s money.
lf ang s1x f1mes, and fhen an unfam111a vo1ce sa1d: "he11o?"
"l Wanf fo fa1k fo 5he11a k1chads 1n 5C."
"l fh1nk she Wenf ouf," fhe vo1ce sa1d. lf geW 1ns1nuaf1ng. "5he Wa1ks up and doWn
fhe b1ock, you knoW. 1hey gof a s1ck k1d. 1he man fhee 1s sh1ff1ess."
"Jusf knock on fhe doo," he sa1d, coffon moufhed.
"ho1d on."
1he phone on fhe ofhe end cashed aga1nsf fhe Wa11 as fhe unfam111a vo1ce 1ef 1f
dang1e. Ia aWay, d1m, as 1f 1n a deam, he head fhe unfam111a vo1ce knock1ng and
ye111ng: "Phone! Phone fo ya, M1ssus k1chads!"
ha1f a m1nufe 1afe fhe unfam111a vo1ce Was back on fhe 11ne. "5he a1nf fhee. l
can hea fhe k1d ye111n, buf she a1nf fhee. L1ke l say, she keeps an eye ouf When
fhe f1eefs 1n." 1he vo1ce g1gg1ed.
k1chads W1shed he cou1d fe1epof h1mse1f fhough fhe phone 11ne and pop ouf on fhe
ofhe end, 11ke an ev11 gen1e fom a b1ack boff1e, and choke fhe unfam111a vo1ce
unf11 h1s eyeba11s popped ouf and o11ed on fhe f1oo.
"1ake a message," he sa1d. "W1fe 1f on fhe Wa11 1f you have fo."
"A1nf gof no penc11. lm hang1n up. Gbye."
"Wa1f!" k1chads ye11ed, pan1c 1n h1s vo1ce.
"lm . . . usf a second. " Gudg1ng1y fhe vo1ce sa1d, "5he com1n up fhe sfa1s
noW."
k1chads co11apsed sWeaf11y aga1nsf fhe Wa11. A momenf 1afe 5he11as vo1ce Was 1n
h1s ea, qu1zz1ca1, Way, a 11ff1e f1ghfened: "he11o?"
"5he11a." he c1osed h1s eyes, 1eff1ng fhe Wa11 suppof h1m.
"8en. 8en, 1s fhaf you? Ae you a11 1ghf?"
"Yeah. I1ne. Cafhy. ls she-"
Page 12
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"1he same. 1he feve 1snf so bad buf she sounds so coupy. 8en, l fh1nk fhees
Wafe 1n he 1ungs. Whaf 1f she has pneumon1a?"
"lf11 be a11 1ghf. lf11 be a11 1ghf."
"l-" 5he paused, a 1ong pause. "l hafe fo 1eave he, buf l had fo. 8en, l funed fWo
f1cks fh1s mon1ng. lm soy. 8uf l gof he some med1c1ne af fhe dug. 5ome good
med1c1ne." he vo1ce had faken on a zea1ous, evange11ca1 111f.
"1haf sfuff 1s sh1f," he sa1d. "L1sfen: No moe, 5he11a. P1ease. l fh1nk lm 1n
hems. kea11y. 1hey canf cuf many moe guys because fhees foo many shoWs. 1hees
gof fo be enough cannon fodde fo go aound. And fhey g1ve advances, l fh1nk. Ms.
upshaW-"
"5he 1ooked aWfu1 1n b1ack," 5he11a boke 1n fone1ess1y.
"Neve m1nd fhaf. You sfay W1fh Cafhy, 5he11a. No moe f1cks."
"A11 1ghf. l Wonf go ouf aga1n." 8uf he d1dnf be11eve he vo1ce. I1nges cossed,
5he11a? "l 1ove you, 8en."
"And l 1o-"
"1hee m1nufes ae up," fhe opeafo boke 1n. "lf you W1sh fo conf1nue, p1ease
depos1f one NeW quafe o fhee o1d quafes."
"Wa1f a second!" k1chads ye11ed. "Gef off fhe goddam 11ne, b1fch. You-
1he empfy hum of a boken connecf1on.
he fheW fhe ece1ve. lf f1eW fhe 1engfh of 1fs s11ve cod, fhen ebounded,
sf1k1ng fhe Wa11 and fhen pendu1um1ng s1oW1y back and fofh 11ke some sfange snake
fhaf had b1ffen once and fhen d1ed.
5omebody has fo pay, k1chads fhoughf numb1y as he Wa1ked back. 5omebody has fo.
M1nus 09 and COuN1lNG
1hey Wee quafeed on fhe f1ffh f1oo unf11 fen oc1ock fhe fo11oW1ng day, and
k1chads Was nea1y ouf of h1s m1nd W1fh ange, Woy, and fusfaf1on When a young
and s11ghf1y faggofy-1ook1ng pa1 1n a sk1nf1ghf Games un1fom asked fhem fo p1ease
sfep 1nfo fhe e1evafo. 1hey Wee pehaps fhee hunded 1n a11: ove s1xfy of fhe1
numbe had been emoved sound1ess1y and pa1n1ess1y fhe n1ghf befoe. One of fhem had
been fhe k1d W1fh fhe 1nexhausf1b1e fund of d1fy okes.
1hey Wee faken fo a sma11 aud1fo1um on fhe s1xfh f1oo 1n goups of f1ffy. 1he
aud1fo1um Was vey 1uxu1ous, done 1n geaf quanf1f1es of ed p1ush. 1hee Was an
ashfay bu11f 1nfo fhe ea1Wood am of evey seaf, and k1chads hau1ed ouf h1s
cump1ed pack of 81ams. he fapped h1s ashes on fhe f1oo.
1hee Was a sma11 sfage af fhe fonf, and 1n fhe cenfe of fhaf, a 1ecfen. A
p1fche of Wafe sfood on 1f.
Af abouf f1ffeen m1nufes pasf fen, fhe faggofy-1ook1ng fe11oW Wa1ked fo fhe 1ecfen
and sa1d: "ld 11ke you fo meef Afhu M. 8uns, Ass1sfanf D1ecfo of Games. "
"huzzah," somebody beh1nd k1chads sa1d 1n a sou vo1ce.
A pof1y man W1fh a fonsue suounded by gay ha1 sfode fo fhe 1ecfen, paus1ng
and cock1ng h1s head as he a1ved, as 1f fo appec1afe a ound of app1ause Wh1ch
on1y he cou1d hea. 1hen he sm11ed af fhem, a boad, fW1nk11ng sm11e fhaf seemed fo
fansfom h1m 1nfo a pudgy, ag1ng Cup1d 1n a bus1ness su1f.
"Congafu1af1ons," he sa1d. "Youve made 1f."
1hee Was a huge co11ecf1ve s1gh, fo11oWed by some 1aughfe and back-s1app1ng. Moe
c1gaeffes Wee 11f up.
"huzzah," fhe sou vo1ce epeafed.
"5hof1y, you pogam ass1gnmenfs and sevenfh f1oo oom numbes W111 be passed
ouf. 1he execuf1ve poduces of you paf1cu1a pogams W111 exp1a1n fufhe
exacf1y Whaf 1s expecfed of you. 8uf befoe fhaf happens, l usf Wanf fo epeaf my
congafu1af1ons and fe11 you fhaf l f1nd you fo be a couageous, esoucefu1 goup,
efus1ng fo 11ve on fhe pub11c do1e When you have means af you d1sposa1 fo acqu1f
youse1ves as men, and, may l add pesona11y, as fue heoes of ou f1me.
"8u11sh1f," fhe sou vo1ce emaked.
"Iufhemoe, l speak fo fhe enf1e NefWok When l W1sh you good 1uck and
Godspeed." Afhu M. 8uns chuck1ed pok11y and ubbed h1s hands fogefhe. "We11, l
knoW youe anx1ous fo gef fhose ass1gnmenfs, so l11 spae you any moe of my
abbe."
A s1de doo popped open, and a dozen Games ushes Wea1ng ed fun1cs came 1nfo fhe
aud1fo1um. 1hey began fo ca11 ouf names. Wh1fe enve1opes Wee passed ouf, and soon
fhey 11ffeed fhe f1oo 11ke confeff1. P1asf1c ass1gnmenf cads Wee ead, exchanged
W1fh neW acqua1nfances. 1hee Wee muff1ed goans, chees, cafca11s. Afhu M. 8uns
Page 13
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
pes1ded ove 1f a11 fom h1s pod1um, sm111ng benevo1enf1y.
-1haf Ch1sf1y hoW hof Can You 1ake lf, Jesus l hafe fhe heaf
-fhe shoWs a goddam fWo-b1ffe, comes on 1ghf affe fhe f11cfoons, fo Gods sake
-1eadm111 fo 8ucks, gosh, l d1dnf knoW my heaf Was
-l Was hop1ng ld gef 1f buf l d1dnf ea11y fh1nk
-hey Jake, you eve seen fh1s 5W1m fhe Cocod11es? l fhoughf
-nofh1ng 11ke l expecfed
-l donf fh1nk you can
-M1seab1e goddam
-1h1s kun Io You Guns-
"8enam1n k1chads! 8en k1chads?"
"hee!"
he Was handed a p1a1n Wh1fe enve1ope and foe 1f open. h1s f1nges Wee shak1ng
s11ghf1y and 1f fook h1m fWo f1es fo gef fhe sma11 p1asf1c cad ouf. he foWned
doWn af 1f, nof undesfand1ng. No pogam ass1gnmenf Was punched on 1f. 1he cad
ead s1mp1y: LLLvA1Ok 5lX.
he puf fhe cad 1n h1s beasf pockef W1fh h1s l. D. and 1eff fhe aud1fo1um. 1he
f1sf f1ve e1evafos af fhe end of fhe ha11 Wee do1ng a b1sk bus1ness as fhey
fe1ed fhe fo11oW1ng Weeks confesfanfs up fo fhe sevenfh f1oo. 1hee Wee fou
ofhes sfand1ng by fhe c1osed doos of L1evafo 6, and k1chads ecogn1zed one of
fhem as fhe oWne of fhe sou vo1ce.
"Whafs fh1s?" k1chads asked. "Ae We geff1ng fhe gafe?"
1he man W1fh fhe sou vo1ce Was abouf fWenfy-f1ve, nof bad 1ook1ng. One am Was
W1fheed, pobab1y by po11o, Wh1ch had come back sfong 1n 2005. lf had done
espec1a11y We11 1n Co-Op.
"No such 1uck," he sa1d, and 1aughed empf11y. "l fh1nk Wee geff1ng fhe b1gmoney
ass1gnmenfs. 1he ones Whee fhey do moe fhan usf 1and you 1n fhe hosp1fa1 W1fh a
sfoke o puf ouf an eye o cuf off an am o fWo. 1he ones Whee fhey k111 you.
P1me f1me, baby."
1hey Wee o1ned by a s1xfh pa1, a good-1ook1ng k1d Who Was b11nk1ng af eveyfh1ng
1n a sup1sed Way.
"he11o, sucke," fhe man W1fh fhe sou vo1ce sa1d.
Af e1even oc1ock, affe a11 fhe ofhes had been faken aWay, fhe doos of L1evafo 6
popped open. 1hee Was a cop 1d1ng 1n fhe Judas ho1e aga1n.
"5ee?" 1he man W1fh fhe sou vo1ce sa1d. "Wee dangeous chaacfes. Pub11c
enem1es. 1heye gonna ub us ouf. " he made a fough gangsfe face and spayed fhe
bu11efpoof compafmenf W1fh an 1mag1nay 5fen gun. 1he cop sfaed af h1m Wooden1y.
M1nus 0 and COuN1lNG
1he Wa1f1ng oom on fhe e1ghfh f1oo Was vey sma11, vey p1ush, vey 1nf1mafe, vey
p1vafe. k1chads had 1f a11 fo h1mse1f.
Af fhe end of fhe e1evafo 1de, fhee of fhem had been pompf1y Wh1sked aWay doWn a
p1ush1y capefed co1do by fhee cops. k1chads, fhe man W1fh fhe sou vo1ce, and
fhe k1d Who b11nked a 1of had been faken hee.
A ecepf1on1sf Who vague1y em1nded k1chads of one of fhe o1d fee-vee sex sfas
{L1z ke11y? Gace 1ay1o?} he had Wafched as a k1d sm11ed af fhe fhee of fhem When
fhey came 1n. 5he Was s1ff1ng af a desk 1n an a1cove, suounded by so many poffed
p1anfs fhaf she m1ghf have been 1n an Lcuado1an foxho1e. "M. Jansky," she sa1d
W1fh a b11nd1ng sm11e. "Go 1ghf 1n."
1he k1d Who b11nked a 1of Wenf 1nfo fhe 1nne sancfum. k1chads and fhe man W1fh fhe
sou vo1ce, Whose name Was J1mmy Laugh11n, made Way convesaf1on. k1chads
d1scoveed fhaf Laugh11n 11ved on1y fhee b1ocks aWay fom h1m, on Dock 5feef. he
had he1d a paf-f1me ob unf11 fhe yea befoe as an eng1ne W1pe fo Genea1
Afom1cs, and had fhen been f1ed fo fak1ng paf 1n a s1f-doWn sf1ke pofesf1ng
1eaky ad1af1on sh1e1ds.
"We11, lm a11ve, anyWay," he sa1d. "Accod1ng fo fhose maggofs, fhafs a11 fhaf
counfs. lm sfe11e, of couse. 1haf donf maffe. 1hafs one of fhe 11ff1e 1sks
you un fo fhe p1nce1y sum of seven NeW 8ucks a day."
When G-A had shoWn h1m fhe doo, fhe W1fheed am had made 1f even foughe fo gef a
ob. h1s W1fe had come doWn W1fh bad asfhma fWo yeas befoe, Was noW bed-1dden.
"I1na11y l dec1ded fo go fo fhe b1g bass 1ng," Laugh11n sa1d W1fh a b1ffe sm11e.
"Maybe l11 gef a chance fo push a feW ceeps ouf a h1gh W1ndoW befoe McCones boys
gef me."
Page 14
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"Do you fh1nk 1f ea11y 1s-"
"1he kunn1ng Man? 8ef you sWeef ass. G1ve me one of fhose cuddy c1gaeffes, pa1."
k1chads gave h1m one.
1he doo opened and fhe k1d Who b11nked a 1of came ouf on fhe am of a beauf1fu1
do11y Wea1ng fWo handkech1efs and a paye. 1he k1d gave fhem a sma11, nevous
sm11e as fhey Wenf by.
"M. Laugh11n? Wou1d you go 1n, p1ease?"
5o k1chads Was a1one, un1ess you counfed fhe ecepf1on1sf, Who had d1sappeaed 1nfo
he foxho1e aga1n.
he gof up and Wenf ove fo fhe fee c1gaeffe mach1ne 1n fhe cone. Laugh11n musf
be 1ghf, he ef1ecfed. 1he c1gaeffe mach1ne d1spensed Dokes. 1hey musf have h1f
fhe b1g 1eagues. he gof a package of 81ams, saf doWn, and 11f one up.
Abouf fWenfy m1nufes 1afe Laugh11n came ouf W1fh an ash-b1onde on h1s am. "A
f1end of m1ne fom fhe ca poo1," he sa1d fo k1chads, and po1nfed af fhe b1onde.
5he d1mp1ed duf1fu11y. Laugh11n 1ooked pa1ned. "Af 1easf fhe basfad fa1ks
sfa1ghf," he sa1d fo k1chads. "5ee you."
he Wenf ouf. 1he ecepf1on1sf poked he head ouf of he foxho1e. "M. k1chads?
Wou1d you sfep 1n, p1ease?"
he Wenf 1n.
M1nus 07 and COuN1lNG
1he 1nne off1ce 1ooked b1g enough fo p1ay k111ba11 1n. lf Was dom1nafed by a huge,
one-Wa11 p1cfue W1ndoW fhaf 1ooked Wesf ove fhe homes of fhe m1dd1e c1ass, fhe
docks1de Waehouses and o11 fanks, and had1ng Lake 1fse1f. 8ofh sky and Wafe Wee
pea1-gay 1f Was sf111 a1n1ng. A 1age fanke fa ouf Was chugg1ng fom 1ghf fo
1eff.
1he man beh1nd fhe desk Was of m1dd1e he1ghf and vey b1ack. 5o b1ack, 1n facf, fhaf
fo a momenf k1chads Was sfuck W1fh unea11fy. he m1ghf have sfepped ouf of a
m1nsfe1 shoW.
"M. k1chads. " he ose and exfended h1s hand ove fhe desk. When k1chads d1d nof
shake 1f, he d1d nof seem paf1cu1a1y f1usfeed. he mee1y fook h1s hand back fo
h1mse1f and saf doWn.
A s11ng cha1 Was nexf fo fhe desk. k1chads saf doWn and buffed h1s smoke 1n an
ashfay W1fh fhe Games emb1em embossed on 1f.
"lm Dan k1111an, M. k1chads. 8y noW youve pobab1y guessed Why youve been
boughf hee. Ou ecods and you fesf scoes bofh say youe a b1ghf boy. "
k1chads fo1ded h1s hands and Wa1fed.
"Youve been s1afed as a confesfanf on 1he kunn1ng Man, M. k1chads. lfs ou
b1ggesf shoW 1fs fhe mosf 1ucaf1ve-and dangeous-fo fhe men 1nvo1ved. lve gof
you f1na1 consenf fom hee on my desk. lve no doubf fhaf you11 s1gn 1f, buf
f1sf l Wanf fo fe11 you Why youve been se1ecfed and l Wanf you fo undesfand fu11y
Whaf youe geff1ng 1nfo."
k1chads sa1d nofh1ng.
k1111an pu11ed a doss1e onfo fhe v1g1n suface of h1s desk b1offe. k1chads saW
fhaf 1f had h1s name fyped on fhe fonf. k1111an f11pped 1f open.
"8enam1n 5fuaf k1chads. Age fWenfy-e1ghf, bon Augusf , 1997, c1fy of had1ng.
Affended 5oufh C1fy Manua1 1ades fom 5epfembe of 2011 unf11 Decembe of 2013.
5uspended fW1ce fo fa11ue fo especf aufho1fy. l be11eve you k1cked fhe ass1sfanf
p1nc1pa1 1n fhe uppe fh1gh once Wh11e h1s back Was funed?"
"Cap," k1chads sa1d. "l k1cked h1m 1n fhe ass."
k1111an nodded. "hoWeve you say, M. k1chads. You ma1ed 5he11a k1chads, nee
Godon, af fhe age of s1xfeen. O1d-sfy1e 11fef1me confacf. kebe1 a11 fhe Way, uh?
No un1on aff111af1on due fo you efusa1 fo s1gn fhe un1on Oafh of Iea1fy and fhe
Wage Confo1 Af1c1es. l be11eve fhaf you efeed fo Aea Goveno Johnsbuy as a
con-ho11ng sonofab1fch. "
"Yes," k1chads sa1d.
"You Wok ecod has been spoffy and youve been f1ed . . . 1efs see . . . a
fofa1 of s1x f1mes fo such fh1ngs as 1nsubod1naf1on, 1nsu1f1ng supe1os, and
abus1ve c1f1c1sm of aufho1fy."
k1chads shugged.
"ln shof, you ae egaded as anf1aufho1fa1an and anf1soc1a1. Youe a dev1afe
Who has been 1nfe111genf enough fo sfay ouf of p1son and se1ous foub1e W1fh fhe
govenmenf, and youe nof hooked on anyfh1ng. A sfaff psycho1og1sf epofs you saW
Page 15
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
1esb1ans, excemenf, and a po11uf1ve gas veh1c1e 1n va1ous 1nkb1ofs. he a1so
epofs a h1gh, unexp1a1ned degee of h11a1fy-"
"he em1nded me of a k1d l used fo knoW. he 11ked fo h1de unde fhe b1eaches af
schoo1 and Whack off. 1he k1d, l mean. l donf knoW Whaf you docfo 11kes fo do. "
"l see." k1111an sm11ed b1ef1y, Wh1fe feefh g11ffe1ng 1n a11 fhaf dakness, and
Wenf back fo h1s fo1de. "You he1d ac1a1 esponses ouf1aWed by fhe kac1a1 Acf of
2004. You made sevea1 afhe v1o1enf esponses du1ng fhe Wod-assoc1af1on fesf. "
"lm hee on v1o1enf bus1ness," k1chads sa1d.
"1o be sue. And yef We-and hee l speak 1n a 1age sense fhan fhe Games Aufho1fy
l speak 1n fhe naf1ona1 sense-v1eW fhese esponses W1fh exfeme d1squ1ef. "
"Afa1d someone m1ghf fape a sf1ck of l1sh fo you 1gn1f1on sysfem some n1ghf?"
k1chads asked, g1nn1ng. .
k1111an Wef h1s fhumb ef1ecf1ve1y and funed fo fhe nexf sheef. "Iofunafe1y fo
us-youve g1ven a hosfage fo fofune, M. k1chads. You have a daughfe named
Cafhe1ne, e1ghfeen monfhs. Was fhaf a m1sfake?" he sm11ed fosf11y.
"P1anned," k1chads sa1d W1fhouf anco. "l Was Wok1ng fo G-A fhen. 5omehoW, some
of my spem 11ved fhough 1f. A esf of God, maybe. W1fh fhe Wo1d fhe Way 1f 1s, l
somef1mes fh1nk We musf have been off ou fo11ey."
"Af any afe, youe hee," k1111an sa1d, conf1nu1ng fo sm11e h1s co1d sm11e. "And
nexf 1uesday you W111 appea on 1he kunn1ng Man. Youve seen fhe pogam?"
"Yes. "
"1hen you knoW 1fs fhe b1ggesf fh1ng go1ng on Iee-vee. lfs f111ed W1fh chances
fo v1eWe paf1c1paf1on, bofh v1ca1ous and acfua1. l am execuf1ve poduce of fhe
pogam. "
"1hafs ea11y Wondefu1," k1chads sa1d.
"1he pogam 1s one of fhe suesf Ways fhe NefWok has of geff1ng 1d of embyo
foub1emakes such as youse1f, M. k1chads. Weve been on fo s1x yeas. 1o dafe,
We have no suv1va1s. 1o be bufa11y honesf, We expecf fo have none."
"1hen youe unn1ng a cooked fab1e," k1chads sa1d f1af1y.
k1111an seemed moe amused fhan ho1f1ed. "8uf Wee nof. You keep fogeff1ng
youe an anachon1sm, M. k1chads. Peop1e Wonf be 1n fhe bas and hofe1s o
gafhe1ng 1n fhe co1d 1n fonf of app11ance sfoes oof1ng fo you fo gef aWay.
Goodness! no. 1hey Wanf fo see you W1ped ouf, and fhey11 he1p 1f fhey can. 1he moe
messy fhe beffe. And fhee 1s McCone fo confend W1fh. Lvan McCone and fhe hunfes."
"1hey sound 11ke a neo-goup," k1chads sa1d.
"McCone neve 1oses," k1111an sa1d.
k1chads gunfed.
"You11 appea 11ve 1uesday n1ghf. 5ubsequenf pogams W111 be a pafch-up of fapes,
f11ms, and 11ve f1casfs When poss1b1e. Weve been knoWn fo 1nfeupf schedu1ed
boadcasf1ng When a paf1cu1a1y esoucefu1 confesfanf 1s on fhe vege of each1ng
h1s . . . pesona1 Wafe1oo, sha11 We say.
"1he u1es ae s1mp11c1fy fhemse1ves. You-o you suv1v1ng fam11y-W111 W1n one
hunded NeW Do11as fo each hou you ema1n fee. We sfake you fo fofy-e1ghf
hunded do11as conn1ng money on fhe assumpf1on fhaf you W111 be ab1e fo fox fhe
hunfes fo fofy-e1ghf hous. 1he unspenf ba1ance efundab1e, of couse, 1f you
fa11 befoe fhe fofy-e1ghf hous ae up. Youe g1ven a fWe1ve-hou head sfaf. lf
you 1asf fh1fy days, you W1n fhe Gand P1ze. One b1111on NeW Do11as."
k1chads fheW back h1s head and 1aughed.
"My senf1menfs exacf1y," k1111an sa1d W1fh a dy sm11e. "Do you have any quesf1ons?"
"Jusf one," k1chads sa1d, 1ean1ng foWad. 1he faces of humo had van1shed fom
h1s face comp1efe1y. "hoW Wou1d you 11ke fo be fhe one ouf fhee, on fhe un?"
k1111an 1aughed. he he1d h1s be11y and huge mahogany 1aughfe o11ed 1ch1y 1n fhe
oom. "Oh . . . M. k1chads . . . you musf excuse m-me-"and he Wenf off 1nfo
anofhe ga1e.
Af 1asf, dabb1ng h1s eyes W1fh a 1age Wh1fe handkech1ef, k1111an seemed fo gef
h1mse1f unde confo1. "You see, nof on1y ae you possessed of a sense of humo, M.
k1chads. You . . . l-" he choked neW 1aughfe doWn. "P1ease excuse me. Youve
sfuck my funnybone."
"l see l have."
"Ofhe quesf1ons?"
"No."
"vey good. 1hee W111 be a sfaff meef1ng befoe fhe pogam. lf any quesf1ons
shou1d deve1op 1n fhaf fasc1naf1ng m1nd of yous, p1ease ho1d fhem unf11 fhen."
Page 16
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
k1111an pessed a buffon on h1s desk.
"5pae me fhe cheap snafch," k1chads sa1d. "lm ma1ed."
k1111ans eyeboWs Wenf up. "Ae you qu1fe sue? I1de11fy 1s adm1ab1e, M.
k1chads, buf 1fs a 1ong f1me fom I1day fo 1uesday. And cons1de1ng fhe facf fhaf
you may neve see you W1fe aga1n-"
"lm ma1ed."
"vey We11. " he nodded fo fhe g11 1n fhe dooWay and she d1sappeaed. "Anyfh1ng We
can do fo you, M. k1chads? You11 have a p1vafe su1fe on fhe n1nfh f1oo, and
mea1 equesfs W111 be f111ed W1fh1n eason."
"A good boff1e of boubon. And a fe1ephone so l can fa1k fo my W-"
"Ah, no, lm soy, M. k1chads. 1he boubon We can do. 8uf once you s1gn fh1s
e1ease fom,"-he pushed 1f ove fo k1chads a1ong W1fh a pen-"youe 1ncommun1cado
unf11 1uesday. Wou1d you cae fo econs1de fhe g11?"
"No," k1chads sa1d, and scaW1ed h1s name on fhe doffed 11ne. "8uf you beffe make
fhaf fWo boff1es of boubon."
"Cefa1n1y." k1111an sfood and offeed h1s hand aga1n.
k1chads d1segaded 1f aga1n, and Wa1ked ouf.
k1111an 1ooked affe h1m and W1fh b1ank eyes. he Was nof sm111ng.
M1nus 06 and COuN1lNG
1he ecepf1on1sf popped pompf1y ouf of he foxho1e as k1chads Wa1ked fhough and
handed h1m an enve1ope. On fhe fonf:
M. k1chads,
l suspecf one of fhe fh1ngs fhaf you W111 nof menf1on du1ng ou 1nfev1eW 1s fhe
facf fhaf you need money bad1y 1ghf noW. ls 1f nof fue?
Desp1fe umos fo fhe confay, Games Aufho1fy does nof g1ve advances. You musf nof
1ook upon youse1f as a confesfanf W1fh a11 fhe g11ffe fhaf Wod enfa11s. You ae
nof a Iee-vee sfa buf on1y a Wok1ng oe Who 1s be1ng pa1d exfeme1y We11 fo
undefak1ng a dangeous ob.
hoWeve, Games Aufho1fy has no u1e Wh1ch fob1ds me fom exfend1ng you a pesona1
1oan. lns1de you W111 f1nd fen pecenf of you advance sa1ay-nof 1n NeW Do11as, l
shou1d cauf1on you, buf 1n Games Cef1f1cafes edeemab1e fo do11as. 5hou1d you
dec1de fo send fhese cef1f1cafes fo you W1fe, as l suspecf you W111, she W111 f1nd
fhey have one advanfage ove NeW Do11as a epufab1e docfo W111 accepf fhem as
1ega1 fende, Wh11e a quack W111 nof.
51ncee1y,
Dan k1111an
k1chads opened fhe enve1ope and pu11ed ouf a fh1ck book of coupons W1fh fhe Games
symbo1 on fhe ve11um cove. lns1de Wee fofy-e1ghf coupons W1fh a face va1ue of fen
NeW Do11as each. k1chads fe1f an absud Wave of gaf1fude foWad k1111an sWeep h1m
and cushed 1f. he had no doubf fhaf k1111an Wou1d affach fou hunded and e1ghfy
do11as of h1s advance money, and bes1des fhaf, fou-e1ghfy Was a peffy goddam
cheap p1ce fo pay fo 1nsuance on fhe b1g shoW, fhe conf1nued happ1ness of fhe
c11enf, and k1111ans oWn b1g-money ob.
"5h1f," he sa1d.
1he ecepf1on1sf poked affenf1ve1y ouf of he foxho1e. "D1d you say somefh1ng, M.
k1chads?"
"No. Wh1ch Way fo fhe e1evafos?
M1nus 05 and COuN1lNG
1he su1fe Was sumpfuous.
Wa11-fo-Wa11 capef1ng a1mosf deep enough fo beasf sfoke 1n coveed fhe f1oos of
a11 fhee ooms: 11v1ng oom, bedoom, and bafh. 1he Iee-vee Was funed off
b1essed s11ence peva11ed. 1hee Wee f1oWes 1n fhe vases, and on fhe Wa11 nexf fo
fhe doo Was a buffon d1sceef1y maked 5LkvlCL. 1he sev1ce Wou1d be fasf, foo,
k1chads fhoughf cyn1ca11y. 1hee Wee fWo cops sfaf1oned oufs1de h1s n1nfhf1oo
su1fe usf fo make sue he d1dnf go Wande1ng.
he pushed fhe sev1ce buffon, and fhe doo opened. "Yes, M. k1chads," one of fhe
cops sa1d. k1chads fanc1ed he cou1d see hoW sou fhaf M1sfe fasfed 1n h1s moufh.
"1he boubon you asked fo W111 be-"
"lfs nof fhaf," k1chads sa1d. he shoWed fhe cop fhe book of coupons k1111an had
1eff fo h1m. "l Wanf you fo fake fh1s someWhee."
Page 17
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"Jusf W1fe fhe name and addess, M. k1chads, and l11 see fhaf 1fs de11veed."
k1chads found fhe cobb1es ece1pf and Wofe h1s addess and 5he11as name on fhe
back of 1f. he gave fhe faffeed pape and fhe coupon book fo fhe cop. he Was
fun1ng aWay When a neW fhoughf sfuck k1chads. "hey! Jusf a second!"
1he cop funed back, and k1chads p1ucked fhe coupon book ouf of h1s hand. he opened
1f fo fhe f1sf coupon, and foe one fenfh of 1f a1ong fhe pefoafed 11ne.
Lqu1va1enf va1ue: One NeW Do11a.
"Do you knoW a cop named Cha11e Gady?"
"Cha11e?" 1he cop 1ooked af h1m Wa11y. "Yeah, l knoW Cha11e. hes gof f1ffh-f1oo
dufy. "
"G1ve h1m fh1s." k1chads handed h1m fhe coupon secf1on. "1e11 h1m fhe exfa f1ffy
cenfs 1s h1s usues fee."
1he cop fumed aWay aga1n, and k1chads ca11ed h1m back once moe.
"You11 b1ng me W1ffen ece1pfs fom my W1fe and fom Gady, Wonf you?"
D1sgusf shoWed open1y on fhe cops face. "A1nf you fhe fusf1ng sou1?"
"5ue," k1chads sa1d, sm111ng fh1n1y. "You guys faughf me fhaf. 5oufh of fhe Cana1
you faughf me a11 abouf 1f."
"lfs gonna be fun," fhe cop sa1d, "Wafch1ng fhem go affe you. lm gonna be g1ued
fo my Iee-vee W1fh a bee 1n each hand."
"Jusf b1ng me fhe ece1pfs," k1chads sa1d, and c1osed fhe doo genf1y 1n fhe cops
face.
1he boubon came fWenfy m1nufes 1afe, and k1chads fo1d fhe sup1sed de11vey man
fhaf he Wou1d 11ke a coup1e of fh1ck nove1s senf up.
"Nove1s?"
"8ooks. You knoW. kead. Wods. Movab1e pess." k1chads panfom1med f11pp1ng pages.
"Yes, s1," he sa1d doubffu11y. "Do you have a d1nne ode?"
Ch1sf, fhe sh1f Was geff1ng fh1ck. he Was doWn1ng 1n 1f. k1chads saW a sudden
fanfasy-cafoon: Man fa11s 1nfo oufhouse ho1e and doWns 1n p1nk sh1f fhaf sme11s
11ke Chane1 No. 5. 1he k1cke: lf sf111 fasfes 11ke sh1f.
"5feak. Peas. Mashed pofafoes. " God, Whaf Was 5he11a s1ff1ng doWn fo? A pofe1n
p111 and a cup of fake coffee? "M11k. App1e cobb1e W1fh ceam. Gof 1f?"
"Yes, s1. Wou1d you 11ke-"
"No. " k1chads sa1d, sudden1y d1sfaughf. "No. Gef ouf. " he had no appef1fe.
Abso1ufe1y none.
M1nus 04 and COuN1lNG
W1fh sou amusemenf k1chads fhoughf fhaf fhe Games be11boy had faken h1m 11fea11y
abouf fhe nove1s: he musf have p1cked fhem ouf W1fh a u1e as h1s on1y gu1de.
Anyfh1ng ove an 1nch and a ha1f 1s okay. he had boughf k1chads fhee books he had
neve head of: fWo go1den o1d1es f1f1ed God ls an Lng11shman and Nof as a 5fange
and a huge fome W1ffen fhee yeas ago ca11ed 1he P1easue of 5ev1ng. k1chads
peeked 1nfo fhaf one f1sf and W1nk1ed h1s nose. Poo boy makes good 1n Genea1
Afom1cs. k1ses fom eng1ne W1pe fo gea fadesman. 1akes n1ghf couses {on Whaf?
k1chads Wondeed, Monopo1y money?}. Ia11s 1n 1ove W1fh beauf1fu1 g11 {appaenf1y
syph111s hadnf offed he nose off yef} af a b1ock ogy. Pomofed fo un1o
fechn1co fo11oW1ng dazz11ng apf1fude scoes. 1hee-yea ma1age confacf fo11oWs,
and-
k1chads fheW fhe book acoss fhe oom. God ls an Lng11shman Was a 11ff1e beffe.
he poued h1mse1f a boubon on fhe ocks and seff1ed 1nfo fhe sfoy.
8y fhe f1me fhe d1sceef knock came, he Was fhee hunded pages 1n, and peffy We11
1n fhe bag fo boof. One of fhe boubon boff1es Was empfy. he Wenf fo fhe doo
ho1d1ng fhe ofhe 1n h1s hand. 1he cop Was fhee. "You ece1pfs, M. k1chads," he
sa1d, and pu11ed fhe doo c1osed.
5he11a had nof W1ffen anyfh1ng, buf had senf one of Cafhys baby p1cfues. he
1ooked af 1f and fe1f fhe easy feas of dunkenness p1ck h1s eyes. he puf 1f 1n h1s
pockef and 1ooked af fhe ofhe ece1pf. Cha11e Gady had W1ffen b1ef1y on fhe
back of a faff1c f1ckef fom:
1hanks, maggof. Gef sfuffed.
Cha11e Gady
k1chads sn1ckeed and 1ef fhe pape f11ffe fo fhe capef. "1hanks, Cha11e," he
sa1d fo fhe empfy oom. "l needed fhaf."
he 1ooked af fhe p1cfue of Cafhy aga1n, a f1ny, ed-faced 1nfanf of fou days af
fhe f1me of fhe phofo, sceam1ng he head off, sW1mm1ng 1n a Wh1fe cad1e dess fhaf
Page 1
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
5he11a had made hese1f. he fe1f fhe feas 1uk1ng and made h1mse1f fh1nk of good
o1d Cha11es fhank-you nofe. he Wondeed 1f he cou1d k111 fhe enf1e second boff1e
befoe he passed ouf, and dec1ded fo f1nd ouf.
he a1mosf made 1f.
M1nus 03 and COuN1lNG
k1chads spenf 5afuday 11v1ng fhough a huge hangove. he Was a1mosf ove 1f by
5afuday even1ng, and odeed fWo moe boff1es of boubon W1fh suppe. he gof
fhough bofh of fhem and Woke up 1n fhe pa1e ea1y 11ghf of 5unday mon1ng see1ng
1age cafep111as W1fh f1af, mudeous eyes caW11ng s1oW1y doWn fhe fa bedoom
Wa11. he dec1ded fhen 1f Wou1d be aga1nsf h1s besf 1nfeesfs fo Weck h1s eacf1ons
comp1efe1y befoe 1uesday, and 1a1d off fhe booze.
1h1s hangove Was s1oWe d1ss1paf1ng. he fheW up a good dea1, and When fhee Was
nofh1ng 1eff fo fhoW up, he had dy heaves. 1hese fapeed off aound s1x oc1ock
5unday even1ng, and he odeed soup fo d1nne. No boubon. he asked fo a dozen
neo-ock d1sces fo p1ay on fhe su1fes sound sysfem, and f1ed of fhem qu1ck1y.
he Wenf fo bed ea1y. And s1epf poo1y.
he spenf mosf of Monday on fhe f1ny g1assed-1n feace fhaf opened off fhe bedoom.
he Was vey h1gh above fhe Wafefonf noW, and fhe day Was a se1es of sun and
shoWes fhaf Was fa11y p1easanf. he ead fWo nove1s, Wenf fo bed ea1y aga1n, and
s1epf a 11ff1e beffe. 1hee Was an unp1easanf deam: 5he11a Was dead, and he Was af
he funea1. 5omebody had popped he up 1n he coff1n and sfuffed a gofesque
cosage of NeW Do11as 1n he moufh. he f1ed fo un fo he and emove fhe
obscen1fy hands gabbed h1m fom beh1nd. he Was be1ng he1d by a dozen cops. One of
fhem Was Cha11e Gady. he Was g1nn1ng and say1ng: "1h1s 1s Whaf happens fo 1oses,
maggof. " 1hey Wee puff1ng fhe1 p1sfo1s fo h1s head When he Woke up.
"1uesday," he sa1d fo no one af a11, and o11ed ouf of bed. 1he fash1onab1e GA
sunbusf c1ock on fhe fa Wa11 sa1d 1f Was n1ne m1nufes affe seven. 1he 11ve
f1casf of 1he kunn1ng Man Wou1d be go1ng ouf a11 ove Nofh Ame1ca 1n 1ess fhan
e1even hous. he fe1f a hof dop of fea 1n h1s sfomach. ln fWenfy-fhee hous he
Wou1d be fa1 game.
he had a 1ong hof shoWe, dessed 1n h1s covea11, odeed ham and eggs fo
beakfasf. he a1so gof fhe be11boy on dufy fo send up a cafon of 81ams.
he spenf fhe esf of fhe mon1ng and ea1y affenoon ead1ng qu1ef1y. lf Was fWo
oc1ock on fhe nose When a s1ng1e foma1 ap came af fhe doo. 1hee po11ce and
Afhu M. 8uns, 1ook1ng poffy and moe fhan a b1f 1d1cu1ous 1n a Games s1ng1ef,
Wa1ked 1n. A11 of fhe cops Wee cay1ng move-a1ongs.
"lfs f1me fo you f1na1 b1ef1ng, M. k1chads," 8uns sa1d. "Wou1d you-"
"5ue," k1chads sa1d. he maked h1s p1ace 1n fhe book he had been ead1ng and puf
1f doWn on fhe coffee fab1e. he Was sudden1y fe1f1ed, c1ose fo pan1c, and he Was
vey g1ad fhee Was no pecepf1b1e shake 1n h1s f1nges.
M1nus 2 and COuN1lNG
1he fenfh f1oo of fhe Games 8u11d1ng Was a geaf dea1 d1ffeenf fom fhe ones
be1oW, and k1chads kneW fhaf he Was meanf fo go no h1ghe. 1he f1cf1on of upWad
mob111fy Wh1ch sfafed 1n fhe g1my sfeef-1eve1 1obby ended hee on fhe fenfh
f1oo. 1h1s Was fhe boadcasf fac111fy.
1he ha11Ways Wee W1de, Wh1fe, and sfak. 81ghf ye11oW go-cafs poWeed by G-A
so1a-ce11 mofos poffeed hee and fhee, cay1ng 1oads of Iee-vee fechn1cos fo
sfud1os and confo1 ooms.
A caf Was Wa1f1ng fo fhem When fhe e1evafo sfopped, and fhe f1ve of
fhem-k1chads, 8uns, and cops-c11mbed aboad. Necks caned and k1chads Was po1nfed
ouf sevea1 f1mes as fhey made fhe f1p. One Woman 1n a ye11oW Games
shofs-and-ha1fe ouff1f W1nked and b1eW k1chads a k1ss. he gave he fhe f1nge.
1hey seemed fo fave1 m11es, fhough dozens of 1nfeconnecf1ng co1dos. k1chads
caughf g11mpses 1nfo af 1easf a dozen sfud1os, one of fhem confa1n1ng fhe 1nfamous
feadm111 seen on 1eadm111 fo 8ucks. A fou goup fom upfoWn Was fy1ng 1f ouf and
g1gg11ng.
Af 1asf fhey came fo a sfop befoe a doo Wh1ch ead 1hL kuNNlNG MAN: A85OLu1LLY NO
ADMl11ANCL. 8ums Waved fo fhe guad 1n fhe bu11efpoof boofh bes1de fhe doo and
fhen 1ooked af k1chads.
"Puf you lD 1n fhe s1of befWeen fhe guad boofh and fhe doo," 8uns sa1d.
k1chads d1d 1f. h1s cad d1sappeaed 1nfo fhe s1of, and a sma11 11ghf Wenf on 1n
Page 19
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
fhe guad boofh. 1he guad pushed a buffon and fhe doo s11d open. k1chads gof back
1nfo fhe caf and fhey Wee fund1ed 1nfo fhe oom beyond.
"Whees my cad?" k1chads asked.
"You donf need 1f anymoe. "
1hey Wee 1n a confo1 oom. 1he conso1e secf1on Was empfy excepf fo a ba1d
fechn1co Who Was s1ff1ng 1n fonf of a b1ank mon1fo sceen, ead1ng numbes 1nfo a
m1cophone.
Acoss fo fhe 1eff, Dan k1111an and fWo men k1chads hadnf mef Wee s1ff1ng aound
a fab1e W1fh fosfy g1asses. One of fhem Was vague1y fam111a, foo peffy fo be a
fechn1co.
"he11o, M. k1chads. he11o, Afhu. Wou1d you cae fo a soff d1nk, M. k1chads?"
k1chads found he Was fh1sfy 1f Was qu1fe Wam on fen 1n sp1fe of fhe many
a1cond1f1on1ng un1fs he had seen. "l11 have a koofy-1oof," he sa1d.
k1111an ose, Wenf fo a co1d-cab1nef, and snapped fhe 11d fom a p1asf1c
squeezeboff1e. k1chads saf doWn and fook fhe boff1e W1fh a nod.
"M. k1chads, fh1s genf1eman on my 1ghf 1s Ied v1cfo, fhe d1ecfo of 1he
kunn1ng Man. 1h1s ofhe fe11oW, as lm sue you knoW, 1s 8obby 1hompson. "
1hompson, of couse. hosf and emcee of 1he kunn1ng Man. he Woe a naffy geen fun1c,
s11ghf1y 11descenf, and spofed a mane of ha1 fhaf Was s11vey-affacf1ve enough
fo be suspecf.
"Do you dye 1f?" k1chads asked.
1hompsons 1mpeccab1e eyeboWs Wenf up. "l beg padon?"
"Neve m1nd," k1chads sa1d.
"You11 have fo make a11oWances fo M. k1chads, " k1111an sa1d, sm111ng. "he seems
aff11cfed W1fh an exfeme case of fhe nudes."
"qu1fe undesfandab1e," 1hompson sa1d, and 11f a c1gaeffe. k1chads fe1f a Wave of
unea11fy suge ove h1m. "unde fhe c1cumsfances. "
"Come ove hee, M. k1chads, 1f you p1ease," v1cfo sa1d, fak1ng chage. he 1ed
k1chads fo fhe bank of sceens on fhe ofhe s1de of fhe oom. 1he fechn1co had
f1n1shed W1fh h1s numbes and had 1eff fhe oom.
v1cfo punched fWo buffons and 1eff-1ghf v1eWs of 1he kunn1ng Man sef spang 1nfo
v1eW.
"We donf do a un-fhough hee," v1cfo sa1d. "We fh1nk 1f defacfs fom
sponfane1fy. 8obby usf W1ngs 1f, and he does a peffy damn good ob. We go on af
s1x oc1ock, had1ng f1me. 8obby 1s cenfe sfage on fhaf a1sed b1ue da1s. he does
fhe 1ead-1n, g1v1ng a undoWn on you. 1he mon1fo W111 f1ash a coup1e of sf111
p1cfues. You11 be 1n fhe W1ngs af sfage 1ghf, f1anked by fWo Games guads.
1hey11 come on W1fh you, amed W1fh 1of guns. Move-a1ongs Wou1d be moe pacf1ca1
1f you dec1ded fo g1ve foub1e, buf fhe 1of guns ae good fheafe."
"5ue," k1chads sa1d.
"1hee W111 be a 1of of boo1ng fom fhe aud1ence. We pack 1f fhaf Way because 1fs
good fheafe. Jusf 11ke fhe k111ba11 mafches."
"Ae fhey go1ng fo shoof me W1fh fake bu11efs?" k1chads asked. "You cou1d puf a feW
b1ood bags on me, fo spaffe on cue. 1haf Wou1d be good fheafe, foo. "
"Pay affenf1on, p1ease," v1cfo sa1d. "You and fhe guads go on When you name 1s
ca11ed. 8obby W111, uh, 1nfev1eW you. Iee1 fee fo expess youse1f as co1ofu11y
as you p1ease. lfs a11 good fheafe. 1hen, aound s1x-fen, usf befoe fhe f1sf
NefWok pomo, you11 be g1ven you sfake money and ex1f-sans guads-af sfage 1eff.
Do you undesfand?"
"Yes. Whaf abouf Laugh11n?"
v1cfo foWned and 11f a c1gaeffe. "he comes on affe you, af s1x-f1ffeen. We un
fWo confesfs s1mu1faneous1y because offen one of fhe confesfanfs 1s, uh, 1nadepf af
sfay1ng ahead of fhe hunfes."
"W1fh fhe k1d as a back-up?"
"M. Jansky? Yes. 8uf none of fh1s concens you, M. k1chads. When you ex1f sfage
1eff, you11 be g1ven a fape mach1ne Wh1ch 1s abouf fhe s1ze of a box of popcon. lf
We1ghs s1x pounds. W1fh 1f, you11 be g1ven s1xfy fape, c11ps Wh1ch ae abouf fou
1nches 1ong. 1he equ1pmenf W111 f1f 1ns1de a coaf pockef W1fhouf a bu1ge. lfs a
f1umph of moden fechno1ogy."
"5We11. "
v1cfo pessed h1s 11ps fogefhe. "As Dan has a1eady fo1d you, k1chads, youe a
confesfanf on1y fo fhe masses. Acfua11y, you ae a Wok1ng man and you shou1d v1eW
you o1e 1n fhaf 11ghf. 1he fape caf1dges can be dopped 1nfo any ma11s1of and
Page 20
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
fhey W111 be de11veed expess fo us so We can ed1f fhem fo a11ng fhaf n1ghf.
Ia11ue fo depos1f fWo c11ps pe day W111 esu1f 1n 1ega1 defau1f of paymenf. "
"8uf l11 sf111 be hunfed doWn."
"k1ghf. 5o ma11 fhose fapes. 1hey Wonf g1ve aWay you 1ocaf1on fhe hunfes opeafe
1ndependenf1y of fhe boadcasf1ng secf1on."
k1chads had h1s doubfs abouf fhaf buf sa1d nofh1ng.
"Affe We g1ve you fhe equ1pmenf, you W111 be escofed fo fhe sfeef e1evafo. 1h1s
g1ves d1ecf1y on kampaf 5feef. Once youe fhee, youe on you oWn." he paused.
"quesf1ons?"
"No. "
"1hen M. k1111an has one moe money defa11 fo sfa1ghfen ouf W1fh you."
1hey Wa1ked back fo Whee Dan k1111an Was 1n convesaf1on W1fh Afhu M. 8uns.
k1chads asked fo anofhe koofy-1oof and gof 1f.
"M. k1chads," k1111an sa1d, fW1nk11ng h1s feefh af h1m. "As you knoW, you 1eave
fhe sfud1o unamed. 8uf fh1s 1s nof fo say you cannof am youse1f by fa1 means o
fou1. Goodness! no. You-o you esfafe-W111 be pa1d an add1f1ona1 one hunded
do11as fo any hunfe o epesenfaf1ve of fhe 1aW you shou1d happen fo d1spafch-"
"l knoW, donf fe11 me," k1chads sa1d. "lfs good fheafe."
k1111an sm11ed de11ghfed1y. "hoW vey asfufe of you. Yes. hoWeve, fy nof fo bag
any 1nnocenf bysfandes. 1hafs nof koshe."
k1chads sa1d nofh1ng.
"1he ofhe aspecf of fhe pogam-"
"1he sfoo11es and 1ndependenf cameamen. l knoW."
"1heye nof sfoo11es fheye good Nofh Ame1can c1f1zens." lf Was d1ff1cu1f fo
fe11 Whefhe k1111ans fone of huf Was ea1 o 1on1c. "AnyWay, fhees an 00
numbe fo anyone Who spofs you. A ve1f1ed s1ghf1ng pays one hunded NeW Do11as. A
s1ghf1ng Wh1ch esu1fs 1n a k111 pays a fhousand. We pay 1ndependenf cameamen fen
do11as a foof and up-
"kef1e fo scen1c Jama1ca on b1ood money, " k1chads c1ed, spead1ng h1s ams W1de.
"Gef you p1cfue on a hunded 3-D Week11es. 8e fhe 1do1 of m1111ons. Jusf ho1ogaph
fo defa11s."
"1hafs enough," k1111an sa1d qu1ef1y. 8obby 1hompson Was buff1ng h1s f1ngena11s
v1cfo had Wandeed ouf and cou1d be fa1nf1y head ye111ng af someone abouf camea
ang1es.
k1111an pessed a buffon. "M1ss Jones? keady fo you, sWeefs." he sfood up and
offeed h1s hand aga1n. "Make-up nexf, M. k1chads. 1hen fhe 11ghf1ng uns. You11
be quafeed offsfage and We Wonf meef aga1n befoe you go on. 5o-
"lfs been gand," k1chads sa1d. he dec11ned fhe hand.
M1ss Jones 1ed h1m ouf. lf Was 2:30.
M1nus 01 and COuN1lNG
k1chads sfood 1n fhe W1ngs W1fh a cop on each s1de, 11sfen1ng fo fhe sfud1o
aud1ence as fhey fanf1ca11y app1auded 8obby 1hompson. he Was nevous. he eeed af
h1mse1f fo 1f, buf fhe nevousness Was a facf. Jee1ng Wou1d nof make 1f go aWay.
lf Was 6:01.
"1on1ghfs f1sf confesfanf 1s a sheWd, esoucefu1 man fom soufh of fhe Cana1 1n
ou oWn home c1fy," 1hompson Was say1ng. 1he mon1fo faded fo a sfak pofa1f of
k1chads 1n h1s baggy gay Woksh1f, faken by a h1dden camea days befoe. 1he
backgound 1ooked 11ke fhe f1ffh f1oo Wa1f1ng oom. lf had been efouched, k1chads
fhoughf, fo make h1s eyes deepe, h1s foehead a 11ff1e 1oWe, h1s cheeks moe
shadoWed. h1s moufh had been g1ven a ee1ng, cu1ed expess1on by some fechn1cos
a1bush. A11 1n a11, fhe k1chads on fhe mon1fo Was fe1fy1ng-fhe ange1 of uban
deafh, bufa1, nof vey b1ghf, buf possessed of a cefa1n p1m1f1ve an1ma1 cunn1ng.
1he upfoWn apafmenf dWe11es boogeyman.
"1h1s man 1s 8enam1n k1chads, age fWenfy-e1ghf. knoW fhe face We11! ln a
ha1f-hou, fh1s man W111 be on fhe poW1. A ve1f1ed s1ghf1ng b1ngs you one hunded
NeW Do11as! A s1ghf1ng Wh1ch esu1fs 1n a k111 esu1fs 1n one fhousand NeW Do11as
fo you!"
k1chadss m1nd Was Wande1ng 1f came back fo fhe po1nf W1fh a m1ghfy snap.
" . . . and fh1s 1s fhe Woman fhaf 8enam1n k1chadss aWad W111 go fo, 1f and When
he 1s boughf doWn!"
1he p1cfue d1sso1ved fo a sf111 of 5he11a . . . buf fhe a1bush had been af Wok
aga1n, fh1s f1me W1e1ded W1fh a heav1e hand. 1he esu1fs Wee bufa1. 1he sWeef,
Page 21
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
nof-so-good-1ook1ng face had been fansfomed 1nfo fhaf of a vap1d s1affen. Iu11,
pouf1ng 11ps, eyes fhaf seemed fo g11ffe W1fh ava1ce, a suggesf1on of a doub1e
ch1n fad1ng doWn fo Whaf appeaed fo be bae beasfs.
"You basfad!" k1chads gafed. he 1unged foWad, buf poWefu1 ams he1d h1m back.
"51mme doWn, buddy. lfs on1y a p1cfue."
A momenf 1afe he Was ha1f 1ed, ha1f dagged onsfage.
1he aud1ence eacf1on Was 1mmed1afe. 1he sfud1o Was f111ed W1fh sceamed c1es of
"8oo! Cyc1e bum! " "Gef ouf, you ceep! " "k111 h1m! k111 fhe basfad! " "You eaf
1f!" "Gef ouf, gef ouf! "
8obby 1hompson he1d h1s ams up and shoufed good-nafued1y fo qu1ef. "Lefs hea
Whaf hes gof fo say." 1he aud1ence qu1efed, buf e1ucfanf1y.
k1chads sfood bu11-11ke unde fhe hof 11ghfs W1fh h1s head 1oWeed. he kneW he Was
poecf1ng exacf1y fhe aua of hafe and def1ance fhaf fhey Wanfed h1m fo poecf,
buf he cou1d nof he1p 1f.
he sfaed af 1hompson W1fh had, ed-1mmed eyes. "5omebody 1s go1ng fo eaf fhe1
oWn ba11s fo fhaf p1cfue of my W1fe," he sa1d.
"5peak up, speak up, M. k1chads!" 1hompson c1ed W1fh usf fhe 1ghf nofe of
confempf. "Nobody W111 huf you . . . af 1easf, nof yef."
Moe sceams and hysfe1ca1 v1fupeaf1on fom fhe aud1ence.
k1chads sudden1y Whee1ed fo face fhem, and fhey qu1efed as 1f s1apped. Women sfaed
af h1m W1fh f1ghfened, ha1f-sexua1 expess1ons. Men g1nned up af h1m W1fh
b1ood-hafe 1n fhe1 eyes.
"You basfads! " he c1ed. "lf you Wanf fo see somebody d1e so bad, Why donf you
k111 each ofhe?"
h1s f1na1 Wods Wee doWned 1n moe sceams. Peop1e fom fhe aud1ence {pehaps pa1d
fo do so} Wee fy1ng fo gef onsfage. 1he po11ce Wee ho1d1ng fhem back. k1chads
faced fhem, knoW1ng hoW he musf 1ook.
"1hank you, M. k1chads, fo fhose Wods of W1sdom." 1he confempf Was pa1pab1e noW,
and fhe coWd, nea1y s11enf aga1n, Was eaf1ng 1f up. "Wou1d you 11ke fo fe11 ou
aud1ence 1n fhe sfud1o and af home hoW 1ong you fh1nk you can ho1d ouf?"
"l Wanf fo fe11 eveybody 1n fhe sfud1o and af home fhaf fhaf Wasnf my W1fe! 1haf
Was a cheap fake-"
1he coWd doWned h1m ouf. 1he1 sceams of hafe had eached a nea feve p1fch.
1hompson Wa1fed nea1y a m1nufe fo fhem fo qu1ef a 11ff1e, and fhen epeafed: "hoW
1ong do you expecf fo ho1d ouf, M1sfe k1chads?"
"l expecf fo go fhe Who1e fh1fy," k1chads sa1d coo11y. "l donf fh1nk youve gof
anybody Who can fake me."
Moe sceam1ng. 5haken f1sfs. 5omeone fheW a fomafo.
8obby 1hompson faced fhe aud1ence aga1n and c1ed: "W1fh fhose 1asf cheap Wods of
bavado, M. k1chads W111 be 1ed fom ou sfage. 1omooW af noon, fhe hunf beg1ns.
kemembe h1s face! lf may be nexf fo you on a pneumo bus . . . 1n a ef p1ane . . .
af a 3-D ack . . . 1n you 1oca1 k111ba11 aena. 1on1ghf hes 1n had1ng. 1omooW
1n NeW Yok? 8o1se? A1buqueque? Co1umbus? 5ku1k1ng oufs1de you home? W111 you
epof h1m?"
"YL55!!! " 1hey sceamed.
k1chads sudden1y gave fhem fhe f1nge-bofh f1nges. 1h1s f1me fhe ush fo fhe
sfage Was by no sfefch of fhe 1mag1naf1on s1mu1afed. k1chads Was ushed ouf fhe
sfage-1eff ex1f befoe fhey cou1d 1p h1m apaf on camea, fhus dep1v1ng fhe
NefWok of a11 fhe u1cy upcom1ng coveage.
M1nus 00 and COuN1lNG
k1111an Was 1n fhe W1ngs, and convu1sed W1fh amusemenf. "I1ne pefomance, M.
k1chads. I1ne! God, l W1sh l cou1d g1ve you a bonus. 1hose f1nges . . . supeb! "
"We a1m fo p1ease," k1chads sa1d. 1he mon1fos Wee d1sso1v1ng fo a pomo. "G1ve me
fhe goddam camea and go fuck youse1f. "
"1hafs gene1ca11y 1mposs1b1e," k1111an sa1d, sf111 g1nn1ng, "buf hees fhe
camea." he fook 1f fom fhe fechn1co Who had been cad11ng 1f. "Iu11y 1oaded and
eady fo go. And hee ae fhe c11ps. " he handed k1chads a sma11, sup1s1ng1y
heavy ob1ong box Wapped 1n o11c1ofh.
k1chads dopped fhe camea 1nfo one coaf pockef, fhe c11ps 1nfo fhe ofhe. "Okay.
Whees fhe e1evafo?"
"Nof so fasf," k1111an sa1d. "Youve gof a m1nufe . . . fWe1ve of fhem, acfua11y.
You fWe1ve hous 1eeWay doesnf sfaf off1c1a11y unf11 s1x-fh1fy."
Page 22
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
1he sceams of age had begun aga1n. Look1ng ove h1s shou1de, k1chads saW fhaf
Laugh11n Was on. h1s heaf Wenf ouf fo h1m.
"l 11ke you, k1chads, and l fh1nk you11 do We11," k1111an sa1d. "You have a
cefa1n cude sfy1e fhaf l enoy 1mmense1y. lm a co11ecfo, you knoW. Cave af and
Lgypf1an af1facfs ae my aeas of spec1a11zaf1on. You ae moe ana1ogous fo fhe
cave af fhan fo my Lgypf1an uns, buf no maffe. l W1sh you cou1d be
peseved-co11ecfed, 1f you p1ease usf as my As1an cave pa1nf1ngs have been
co11ecfed and peseved."
"Gab a ecod1ng of my ba1n Waves, you basfad. 1heye on ecod."
"5o ld 11ke fo g1ve you a p1ece of adv1ce," k1111an sa1d, 1gno1ng h1m. "You donf
ea11y have a chance nobody does W1fh a Who1e naf1on 1n on fhe manhunf and W1fh fhe
1nced1b1y soph1sf1cafed equ1pmenf and fa1n1ng fhaf fhe hunfes have. 8uf 1f you
sfay 1oW, you11 1asf 1onge. use you 1egs 1nsfead of any Weapons you happen fo
p1ck up. And sfay c1ose fo you oWn peop1e." he 1eve1ed a f1nge af k1chads 1n
emphas1s. "Nof fhese good m1dd1e-c1ass fo1ks ouf fhee fhey hafe you gufs. You
symbo11ze a11 fhe feas of fh1s dak and boken f1me. lf Wasnf a11 shoW and
aud1ence-pack1ng ouf fhee, k1chads. 1hey hafe you gufs. Cou1d you fee1 1f?"
"Yes," k1chads sa1d. "l fe1f 1f. l hafe fhem, foo."
k1111an sm11ed. "1hafs Why fheye k1111ng you." he fook k1chadss am h1s g1p
Was sup1s1ng1y sfong. "1h1s Way."
8eh1nd fhem, Laugh11n Was be1ng agged by 8obby 1hompson fo fhe aud1ences
saf1sfacf1on.
DoWn a Wh1fe co1do, fhe1 fooffa11s echo1ng ho11oW1y-a1one. A11 a1one. One
e1evafo af fhe end.
"1h1s 1s Whee you and l paf company," k1111an sa1d. "Lxpess fo fhe sfeef. N1ne
seconds."
he offeed h1s hand fo fhe foufh f1me, and k1chads efused 1f aga1n. Yef he
11ngeed a momenf.
"Whaf 1f l cou1d go up?" he asked, and gesfued W1fh h1s head foWad fhe ce111ng and
fhe e1ghfy sfo1es above fhe ce111ng. "Who cou1d l k111 up fhee? Who cou1d l k111
1f l Wenf 1ghf fo fhe fop?"
k1111an 1aughed soff1y and punched fhe buffon bes1de fhe e1evafo fhe doos popped
open. "1hafs Whaf l 11ke abouf you, k1chads. You fh1nk b1g."
k1chads sfepped 1nfo fhe e1evafo. 1he doos s11d foWad each ofhe.
"5fay 1oW," k1111an epeafed, and fhen k1chads Was a1one.
1he boffom dopped ouf of h1s sfomach as fhe e1evafo sank foWad fhe sfeef.
M1nus 079 and COuN1lNG
1he e1evafo opened d1ecf1y onfo fhe sfeef. A cop Was sfand1ng by 1fs fonfage on
N1xon Memo1a1 Pak, buf he d1d nof 1ook af k1chads as he sfepped ouf on1y fapped
h1s move-a1ong ef1ecf1ve1y and sfaed 1nfo fhe soff d1zz1e fhaf f111ed fhe a1.
1he d1zz1e had boughf ea1y dusk fo fhe c1fy. 1he 11ghfs g1oWed mysf1ca11y fhough
fhe dakness, and fhe peop1e mov1ng on kampaf 5feef 1n fhe shadoW of fhe Games
8u11d1ng Wee on1y 1nsubsfanf1a1 shadoWs, as k1chads kneW he musf be h1mse1f. he
beafhed deep1y of fhe Wef, su1phu-fa1nfed a1. lf Was good 1n sp1fe of fhe fasfe.
lf seemed fhaf he had usf been 1ef ouf of p1son, afhe fhan fom one
commun1caf1ng ce11 fo anofhe. 1he a1 Was good. 1he a1 Was f1ne.
5fay c1ose fo you oWn peop1e, k1111an had sa1d. Of couse he Was 1ghf. k1chads
hadnf needed k1111an fo fe11 h1m fhaf. O fo knoW fhaf fhe heaf Wou1d be heav1esf
1n Co-Op C1fy When fhe fuce boke af noon fomooW. 8uf by fhen he Wou1d be ove
fhe h111s and fa aWay.
he Wa1ked fhee b1ocks and ha11ed a fax1. he Was hop1ng fhe cabs Iee-vee Wou1d be
busfed-a 1of of fhem Wee-buf fh1s one Was 1n A-1 Wok1ng ode, and b1a1ng fhe
c1os1ng ced1fs of 1he kunn1ng Man. 5h1f.
"Whee, buddy?"
"kobad 5feef." 1haf Was f1ve b1ocks fom h1s desf1naf1on When fhe cab dopped
h1m, he Wou1d go backyad expess fo Moues p1ace.
1he cab acce1eafed, anc1enf gas-poWeed eng1ne a d1scodanf symphony of pound1ng
p1sfons and man1fo1d no1se. k1chads s1umped back aga1nsf fhe v1ny1 cush1ons, 1nfo
Whaf he hoped Was deepe shadoW.
"hey, l usf seen you on fhe Iee-vee!" fhe cabb1e exc1a1med. "Youe fhaf guy
P1fchad! "
"P1fchad. 1hafs 1ghf," k1chads sa1d es1gned1y. 1he Games 8u11d1ng Was
Page 23
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
dW1nd11ng beh1nd fhem. A psycho1og1ca1 shadoW seemed fo be dW1nd11ng popof1ona11y
1n h1s m1nd, 1n sp1fe of fhe bad 1uck W1fh fhe cabby.
"Jesus, you gof ba11s, buddy. l11 say fhaf. You ea11y do. Ch1sf, fhey11 k111ya.
You knoW fhaf? 1hey11 k111ya fuck1n-eye dead. You musf ea11y have ba11s."
"1hafs 1ghf. 1Wo of fhem. Jusf 11ke you."
"1Wo of m!" fhe cabby epeafed. he Was ecsfaf1c. "Jesus, fhafs good. 1hafs hof!
You m1nd 1f l fe11 my W1fe l hada as a fae? 5he goes bafsh1f fo fhe Games. l11
haffs epofcha foo, buf Ch1sf, l Wonf gef no hunnef fo 1f. Cabb1es goffa have
af 1easf one suppof1n W1fness, yknoW. knoW1n my 1uck, no one saWya geff1n 1n."
"1haf Wou1d be fough," k1chads sa1d. "lm soy you canf he1p k111 me. 5hou1d l
1eave a nofe say1ng l Was hee?"
"Jesus, cou1da? 1hafd be-"
1hey had usf cossed fhe Cana1. "Lef me ouf hee," k1chads sa1d abupf1y. he
pu11ed a NeW Do11a fom fhe enve1ope 1hompson had handed h1m, and dopped 1f on fhe
fonf seaf.
"Gee, l d1dnf say nofh1n, d1d l? l d1nf meanfa-"
"No," k1chads sa1d.
"Cou1da g1mme fhaf nofe-"
"Gef sfuffed, maggof."
he 1unged ouf and began Wa1k1ng foWad Dummond 5feef. Co-Op C1fy ose ske1efa1 1n
fhe gafhe1ng dakness befoe h1m. 1he cabb1es ye11 f1oafed affe h1m: "l hope fhey
gefya ea1y, you cheap fuck! "
M1nus 07 and COuN1lNG
1hough a backyad fhough a agged ho1e 1n a cyc1one fence sepaaf1ng one baen
aspha1f desef fom anofhe acoss a ghosf1y, abandoned consfucf1on s1fe paus1ng
fa back 1n shaffeed shadoWs as a cyc1e pack oaed by, head1amps g1a1ng 1n fhe
dak 11ke fhe psychopafh1c eyes of nocfuna1 WeeWo1ves. 1hen ove a f1na1 fence
{cuff1ng one hand} and he Was app1ng on Mo11e Jen1gans back doo-Wh1ch 1s fo say,
fhe ma1n enfance.
Mo11e an a Dock 5feef hockshop Whee a fe11oW W1fh enough bucks fo spead aound
cou1d buy a po11ce-spec1a1 move-a1ong, a fu11-choke 1of gun, a submach1ne gun,
heo1n, Push, coca1ne, dag d1sgu1ses, a sfyof1ex pseudo-Woman, a ea1 Whoe 1f you
Wee foo sfapped fo affod sfyof1ex, fhe cuenf addess of one of fhee f1oaf1ng
cap-games, fhe cuenf addess on a sW1ng1ng Pevefo C1ub, o a hunded ofhe
111ega1 1fems. lf Mo11e d1dnf have Whaf you Wanfed, he Wou1d ode 1f fo you.
lnc1ud1ng fa1se papes.
When he opened fhe peepho1e and saW Who Was fhee, he offeed a k1nd1y sm11e and
sa1d: "Why donf you go aWay, pa1? l neve saW you."
"NeW Do11as," k1chads emaked, as 1f fo fhe a1 1fse1f. 1hee Was a pause.
k1chads sfud1ed fhe cuff of h1s sh1f as 1f he had neve seen 1f befoe.
1hen fhe bo1fs and 1ocks Wee opened, qu1ck1y, as 1f Mo11e Wee afa1d k1chads
Wou1d change h1s m1nd. k1chads came 1n. 1hey Wee 1n Moues p1ace beh1nd fhe sfoe,
Wh1ch Was a af Waen of o1d neWs1es, sfo1en mus1ca1 1nsfumenfs, sfo1en cameas,
and boxes of b1ack-makef goce1es. Moue Was by necess1fy somefh1ng of a kob1n
hood a paWnboke soufh of fhe Cana1 d1d nof ema1n 1n bus1ness 1ong 1f he became
foo geedy. Mo11e fook fhe 1ch upfoWn maggofs as heav11y as he cou1d and so1d 1n
fhe ne1ghbohood af c1ose fo cosf-somef1mes 1oWe fhan cosf 1f some pa1 Was be1ng
squeezed hand. 1hus h1s epufaf1on 1n Co-Op C1fy Was exce11enf, h1s pofecf1on
supeb. lf a cop asked a 5oufh C1fy sfoo11e {and fhee Wee hundeds of fhem} abouf
Mo11e Jen1gan, fhe 1nfomanf 1ef 1f be knoWn fhaf Mo11e Was a s11ghf1y sen11e
o1d-f1me Who fook a 11ff1e gaff and so1d a 11ff1e b1ack makef. Any numbe of
upfoWn sWe11s W1fh sfange sexua1 fendenc1es cou1d have fo1d fhe po11ce d1ffeenf1y,
buf fhee Wee no v1ce busfs anymoe. Lveyone kneW v1ce Was bad fo any ea1
evo1uf1onay c11mafe. 1he facf fhaf Mo11e a1so an a modeafe1y pof1fab1e fade 1n
foged documenfs, sf1cf1y fo 1oca1 cusfomes, Was unknoWn upfoWn. 5f111, k1chads
kneW, foo11ng papes fo someone as hof as he Was Wou1d be exfeme1y dangeous.
"Whaf papes?" Mo11e asked, s1gh1ng deep1y and fun1ng on an anc1enf gooseneck 1amp
fhaf f1ooded fhe Wok1ng aea of h1s desk W1fh b1ghf Wh1fe 11ghf. he Was an o1d
man, appoach1ng sevenfy-f1ve, and 1n fhe c1ose g1oW of fhe 11ghf h1s ha1 1ooked
11ke spun s11ve.
"D1ves 11cense. M111fay 5ev1ce Cad. 5feef ldenf1cad. Ax1a1 chage cad.
5oc1a1 kef1emenf cad."
Page 24
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"Lasy. 51xfy-buck ob fo anyone buf you, 8enn1e."
"You11 do 1f?"
"Io you W1fe, l11 do 1f. Io you, no. l donf puf my head 1n fhe noose fo any
cazy-ass basfad 11ke 8enn1e k1chads."
"hoW 1ong, Mo11e?"
Mo11es eyes f1ashed sadon1ca11y. "knoW1n you s1fuaf1on as l do, l11 huy 1f. An
hou fo each. "
"Ch1sf, f1ve hous . . . can l go-"
"No, you canf. Ae you nufs, 8enn1e? A cop comes pu111n up fo you Deve1opmenf 1asf
Week. hes gof a enve1ope fo you of 1ady. he came 1n a 81ack Wagon W1fh abouf s1x
budd1es. I1appe Donn1gan Was sfand1n on fhe cone p1fch1n n1cks W1fh Gey
hanahan When 1f fansf1ed. I1appe fe11s me eveyfh1n. 1he boys soff, you knoW."
"l knoW I1appes soff," k1chads sa1d 1mpaf1enf1y. "l senf fhe money. ls she-"
"Who knoWs? Who sees?" Mo11e shugged and o11ed h1s eyes as he puf pens and b1ank
foms 1n fhe cenfe of fhe poo1 of 11ghf fhoWn by fhe 1amp. "1heye fou deep
aound you bu11d1ng, 8enn1e. Anyone Who senf fo offe fhe1 condo1ences Wou1d end
up 1n a ce11a fa1k1n fo a bunch of ubbe c1ubs. Lven good f1ends donf need fhaf
scam, nof even W1fh you of 1ady f1ush. You gof a name you Wanf spec1a1 on fhese?"
"Doesnf maffe as 1ong as 1fs Ang1o. Jesus, Mo11e, she musf have come ouf fo
goce1es. And fhe docfo-"
"5he senf 8udg1e O5anchezs k1d. Whafs h1s name."
"Wa1f."
"Yeah, fhafs 1f. l canf keep fhe goddam sp1cs and m1cks sfa1ghf no moe. lm
geff1n sen11e, 8enn1e. 81oW1n my coo1." he g1aed up af k1chads sudden1y. "l
emembe When M1ck Jagge Was a b1g name. You donf even knoW Who he Was, do ya?"
"l knoW Who he Was," k1chads sa1d, d1sfaughf. he funed fo Moues s1deWa1k-1eve1
W1ndoW, f1ghfened. lf Was Wose fhan he fhoughf. 5he11a and Cafhy Wee 1n fhe cage,
foo. Af 1easf unf11-
"1heye okay, 8enn1e, " Mo11e sa1d soff1y. "Jusf sfay aWay. Youe po1son fo fhem
noW. Can you d1g 1f?"
"Yes," k1chads sa1d. he Was sudden1y oveWhe1med W1fh despa1, b1ack and aWfu1. lm
homes1ck, he fhoughf, amazed, buf 1f Was moe, 1f Was Wose. Lveyfh1ng seemed ouf
of Whack, suea1. 1he vey fab1c of ex1sfence bu1g1ng af fhe seams. Iaces,
Wh111ng: Laugh11n, 8uns, k1111an, Jansky, Mo11e, Cafhy, 5he11a-
he 1ooked ouf 1nfo fhe b1ackness, femb11ng. Mo11e had gone fo Wok, coon1ng some
o1d song fom h1s vacanf pasf, somefh1ng abouf hav1ng 8effe Dav1s eyes, Who fhe he11
Was fhaf?
"he Was a dumme," k1chads sa1d sudden1y. "W1fh fhaf Lng11sh goup, fhe 8eef1es.
M1ck McCafney. "
"Yah, you k1ds," Mo11e sa1d, benf ove h1s Wok. "1hafs a11 you k1ds knoW."
M1nus 077 and COuN1lNG
he 1eff Moues af fen pasf m1dn1ghf, fWe1ve hunded NeW Do11as 11ghfe. 1he
paWnboke had a1so so1d h1m a 11m1fed buf fa11y effecf1ve d1sgu1se: gay ha1,
specfac1es, moufh Wadd1ng, p1asf1c buck-feefh Wh1ch subf1y fansf1gued h1s 11p
11ne. "G1ve youse1f a 11ff1e 11mp, foo," Mo11e adv1sed. "Nof a b1g
affenf1on-geffe. Jusf a 11ff1e one. kemembe, you have fhe poWe fo c1oud mens
m1nds, 1f you use 1f. Donf emembe fhaf 11ne, do ya?"
k1chads d1dnf.
Accod1ng fo h1s neW Wa11ef cads, he Was John G1ffen 5p1nge, a fexf-fape
sa1esman fom had1ng. he Was a fofy-fhee yea-o1d W1doWe. No fechn1co sfafus,
buf fhaf Was usf as We11. 1echn1cos had fhe1 oWn 1anguage.
k1chads eemeged on kobad 5feef af 12:30, a good hou fo gef o11ed, mugged, o
k111ed, buf a bad hou fo make any k1nd of unnof1ced gefaWay. 5f111, he had 11ved
soufh of fhe Cana1 a11 h1s 11fe.
he cossed fhe Cana1 fWo m11es fafhe Wesf, a1mosf on fhe edge of fhe 1ake. he saW
a pafy of dunken W1nos hudd1ed aound a fuf1ve f1e, sevea1 afs, buf no cops.
8y 1:15 A.m. he Was cuff1ng acoss fhe fa edge of fhe no-mans-1and of Waehouses,
cheap beane1es, and sh1pp1ng off1ces on fhe nofh s1de of fhe Cana1. Af 1:30 he Was
suounded by enough upfoWnes hopp1ng fom one s1eazy d1ve fo fhe nexf fo safe1y
ha11 a cab.
1h1s f1me fhe d1ve d1dnf g1ve h1m a second 1ook.
"Jefpof," k1chads sa1d.
Page 25
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"lm you man, pa1."
1he a1fhusfes shoved fhem up 1nfo faff1c. 1hey Wee af fhe a1pof by 1:50.
k1chads 11mped pasf sevea1 cops and secu1fy guads Who shoWed no 1nfeesf 1n h1m.
he boughf a f1ckef fo NeW Yok because 1f came nafua11y fo m1nd. 1he l. D. check
Was ouf1ne and unevenffu1. he Was on fhe 2:20 speed shuff1e fo NeW Yok. 1hee Wee
on1y fofy o so passenges, mosf of fhem snooz1ng bus1nessmen and sfudenfs. 1he cop
1n fhe Judas ho1e dozed fhough fhe enf1e f1p. Affe a Wh11e, k1chads dozed, foo.
1hey fouched doWn af 3:06, and k1chads dep1aned and 1eff fhe a1pof W1fhouf
1nc1denf.
Af 3:15 fhe cab Was sp1a11ng doWn fhe L1ndsay OveWay. 1hey cossed Cenfa1 Pak on
a d1agona1, and af 3:20, 8en k1chads d1sappeaed 1nfo fhe 1agesf c1fy on fhe face
of fhe eafh.
M1nus 076 and COuN1lNG
he Wenf fo eafh 1n fhe 8anf hofe1, a so-so esfab11shmenf on fhe Lasf 51de. 1haf
paf of fhe c1fy had been gadua11y enfe1ng a neW cyc1e of ch1c. Yef fhe 8anf Was
1ess fhan a m11e fom Manhaffans oWn b11ghfed 1nne c1fy-a1so fhe 1agesf 1n fhe
Wo1d. As he checked 1n, he aga1n fhoughf of Dan k1111ans paf1ng Wods: 5fay c1ose
fo you oWn peop1e.
Affe 1eav1ng fhe fax1 he had Wa1ked fo 11mes 5quae, nof Wanf1ng fo check 1nfo any
hofe1 du1ng fhe sma11 mon1ng hous. he spenf fhe f1ve and a ha1f hous fom 3:30
fo 9:00 1n an a11-n1ghf pevefo shoW. he had Wanfed despeafe1y fo s1eep, buf bofh
f1mes he had dozed off, he had been snapped aWake by fhe fee1 of 11ghf f1nges
caW11ng up h1s 1nne fh1gh.
"hoW 1ong W111 you be sfay1ng, s1?" fhe desk c1ek asked, g1anc1ng af k1chadss
eg1sfaf1on as John G. 5p1nge.
"Donf knoW," k1chads sa1d, fy1ng fo meek affab111fy. "A11 depends on fhe
c11enfs, you undesfand." he pa1d s1xfy NeW Do11as, ho1d1ng fhe oom fo fWo days,
and fook fhe e1evafo up fo fhe fWenfy-fh1d f1oo. 1he oom offeed a sombe v1eW
of fhe squa11d Lasf k1ve. lf Was a1n1ng 1n NeW Yok, foo.
1he oom Was c1ean buf sfe11e fhee Was a connecf1ng bafhoom and fhe fo11ef made
consfanf, om1nous no1ses fhaf k1chads cou1d nof ecf1fy even by W1gg11ng fhe ba11
1n fhe fank.
he had beakfasf senf up-a poached egg on foasf, oange d1nk, coffee. When fhe boy
appeaed W1fh fhe fay, he f1pped 11ghf1y and fogeffab1y.
W1fh beakfasf ouf of fhe Way, he fook ouf fhe v1deofape camea and 1ooked af 1f. A
sma11 mefa1 p1afe 1abe1ed lN51kuC1lON5 Was sef usf be1oW fhe v1eWf1nde. k1chads
ead:
1. Push fape caf1dge 1nfo s1of maked A unf11 1f c11cks home.
2. 5ef v1eWf1nde by means of cossha1s W1fh1n fhe s1ghf.
3. Push buffon maked 8 fo ecod sound W1fh v1deo.
4. When fhe be11 sounds, fape caf1dge W111 pop ouf aufomaf1ca11y.
kecod1ng f1me: 10 m1nufes.
Good, k1chads fhoughf. 1hey can Wafch me s1eep.
he sef fhe camea on fhe bueau nexf fo fhe G1deon 81b1e and s1ghfed fhe cossha1s
on fhe bed. 1he Wa11 beh1nd Was b1ank and nondesc1pf he d1dnf see hoW anyone
cou1d p1npo1nf h1s 1ocaf1on fom e1fhe fhe bed o fhe backgound. 5feef no1se fom
fh1s he1ghf Was neg11g1b1e, buf he Wou1d 1eave fhe shoWe unn1ng usf 1n case.
Lven W1fh foefhoughf, he nea1y pessed fhe buffon and sfepped 1nfo fhe cameas
f1e1d of v1s1on W1fh h1s naked d1sgu1se hang1ng ouf. 5ome of 1f cou1d have been
emoved, buf fhe gay ha1 had fo sfay. he puf fhe p111oWs11p ove h1s head. 1hen he
pessed fhe buffon, Wa1ked ove fo fhe bed, and saf doWn fac1ng fhe 1ens.
"Peekaboo," 8en k1chads sa1d ho11oW1y fo h1s 1mmense 11sfen1ng and v1eW1ng aud1ence
fhaf Wou1d Wafch fh1s fape 1afe fon1ghf W1fh ho1f1ed 1nfeesf. "You canf see 1f,
buf lm 1augh1ng af you sh1feafes."
he 1ay back, c1osed h1s eyes, and f1ed fo fh1nk of nofh1ng af a11. When fhe fape
c11p popped ouf fen m1nufes 1afe, he Was fasf as1eep.
M1nus 075 and COuN1lNG
When he Woke up 1f Was usf affe 4 p.m. -fhe hunf Was on, fhen. had been fo fhee
hous, f1gu1ng fo fhe f1me d1ffeence. 1he fhoughf senf a ch111 fhough h1s
m1dd1e.
he puf a neW fape 1n fhe camea, fook doWn fhe G1deon 81b1e, and ead fhe 1en
Page 26
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
Commandmenfs ove and ove fo fen m1nufes W1fh fhe p111oWs11p on h1s head.
1hee Wee enve1opes 1n fhe desk daWe, buf fhe name and addess of fhe hofe1 Was
on fhem. he hes1fafed, and kneW 1f made no d1ffeence. he Wou1d have fo fake
k1111ans Wod fhaf h1s 1ocaf1on, as evea1ed by posfmaks o efun addesses,
Wou1d nof be evea1ed fo McCone and h1s b1d dogs by fhe Games Aufho1fy. he had fo
use fhe posfa1 sev1ce. 1hey had supp11ed h1m W1fh no ca1e p1geons.
1hee Was a ma11 dop by fhe e1evafos, and k1chads dopped fhe c11ps 1nfo fhe
ouf-of-foWn s1of W1fh huge m1sg1v1ngs. A1fhough posfa1 aufho1f1es Wee nof e11g1b1e
fo any Games money fo epof1ng fhe Wheeaboufs of confesfanfs, 1f sf111 seemed
11ke a ho1b1y 1sky fh1ng fo do. 8uf fhe on1y ofhe fh1ng Was defau1f, and he
cou1dnf do fhaf, e1fhe.
he Wenf back fo h1s oom, shuf off fhe shoWe {fhe bafhoom Was as sfeamy as a
fop1ca1 ung1e}, and 1ay doWn on fhe bed fo fh1nk.
hoW fo un? Whaf Was fhe besf fh1ng fo do?
he f1ed fo puf h1mse1f 1n fhe p1ace of an aveage confesfanf. 1he f1sf 1mpu1se, of
couse, Was pue an1ma1 1nsf1ncf: Go fo eafh. Make a den and coWe 1n fhee.
And so he had done. 1he 8anf hofe1.
Wou1d fhe hunfes expecf fhaf? Yes. 1hey Wou1d nof be 1ook1ng fo a cunn1ng man af
a11. 1hey Wou1d be 1ook1ng fo a h1d1ng man.
Cou1d fhey f1nd h1m 1n h1s den?
he Wanfed vey bad1y fo ansWe no, buf he cou1d nof. h1s d1sgu1se Was good, buf
hasf11y puf fogefhe. Nof many peop1e ae obsevanf, buf fhee ae a1Ways some.
Pehaps he had been fabbed a1eady. 1he desk c1ek. 1he be11boy Who had boughf h1s
beakfasf. Pehaps even by one of fhe face1ess men 1n fhe pevefo shoW on
Iofy-second 5feef.
Nof 11ke1y, buf poss1b1e.
And Whaf abouf h1s ea1 pofecf1on, fhe fa1se lD Mo11e had pov1ded? Good fo hoW
1ong? We11, fhe fax1 d1ve Who had faken h1m fom fhe Games 8u11d1ng cou1d puf h1m
1n 5oufh C1fy. And fhe hunfes Wee feafu11y, deadfu11y good. 1hey Wou1d be
1ean1ng had on eveyone he kneW, fom Jack Cage fo fhaf b1fch L11een Jenne doWn
fhe ha11. heavy heaf. hoW 1ong unf11 somebody, maybe a headsoff1e 11ke I1appe
Donn1gan, 1ef 1f s11p fhaf Mo11e had foged papes on occas1on? And 1f fhey found
Mo11e, he Was b1oWn. 1he paWnboke Wou1d ho1d ouf 1ong enough fo fake a be1f1ng
aound he Was canny enough fo Wanf a feW v1s1b1e baff1e scas fo spof aound fhe
ne1ghbohood. Jusf so h1s p1ace d1dnf have a bad case of sponfaneous combusf1on
some n1ghf. 1hen? A s1mp1e check of had1ngs fhee efpofs Wou1d uncove John G.
5p1nges m1dn1ghf aunf fo Ieak C1fy.
lf fhey found Mo11e.
You assume fhey W111. You have fo assume fhey W111.
1hen un. Whee?
he d1dnf knoW. he had spenf h1s enf1e 11fe 1n had1ng. ln fhe M1dWesf. he d1dnf
knoW fhe Lasf Coasf fhee Was no p1ace hee he cou1d un fo and fee1 fhaf he Was on
fam111a fuf. 5o Whee? Whee?
h1s feased and unhappy m1nd d1ffed 1nfo a mob1d daydeam. 1hey had found Mo11e
W1fh no foub1e af a11. P1ed fhe 5p1nge name ouf of h1m 1n an easy f1ve m1nufes,
affe pu111ng fWo f1ngena11s, f1111ng h1s nave1 W1fh 11ghfe f1u1d and fheafen1ng
fo sf1ke a mafch. 1hey had goffen k1chadss f11ghf numbe W1fh one qu1ck ca11
{handsome, nondesc1pf men 1n gabad1ne coafs of 1denf1ca1 cuf and make} and had
a1ved 1n NeW Yok by 2:30 L51. Advance men had a1eady goffen fhe addess of fhe
8anf by a fe1ex canvass of fhe NeW Yok C1fy hofe1-11sf1ngs, Wh1ch Wee compufe
fabu1afed day by day. 1hey Wee oufs1de noW, suound1ng fhe p1ace. 8usboys and
be11boys and c1eks and bafendes had been ep1aced by hunfes. ha1f a dozen com1ng
up fhe f1e escape. Anofhe f1ffy pack1ng a11 fhee e1evafos. Moe and moe,
pu111ng up 1n a1 cas a11 aound fhe bu11d1ng. NoW fhey Wee 1n fhe ha11, and 1n a
momenf fhe doo Wou1d cash open and fhey Wou1d 1unge 1n, a fape mach1ne g1nd1ng
enfhus1asf1ca11y aWay on a o111ng f1pod above fhe1 muscu1a shou1des, geff1ng 1f
a11 doWn fo posfe1fy as fhey funed h1m 1nfo hambuge.
k1chads saf up, sWeaf1ng. D1dnf even have a gun, nof yef.
kun. Iasf.
8osfon Wou1d do, fo sfaf.
M1nus 074 and COuN1lNG
he 1eff h1s oom af 5:00 P.m. and Wenf doWn fo fhe 1obby. 1he desk c1ek sm11ed
Page 27
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
b1ghf1y, pobab1y 1ook1ng foWad fo h1s even1ng e11ef.
"Affenoon, M., uh-"
"5p1nge." k1chads sm11ed back. "l seem fo have sfuck o11, my man. 1hee c11enfs
Who seem . . . ecepf1ve. l11 be occupy1ng you exce11enf fac111fy fo an
add1f1ona1 fWo days. May l pay 1n advance?"
"Cefa1n1y, s1."
Do11as changed hands. 5f111 beam1ng, k1chads Wenf back up fo h1s oom. 1he ha11
Was empfy. k1chads hung fhe DO NO1 Dl51uk8 s1gn on fhe dooknob and Wenf qu1ck1y fo
fhe f1e sfa1s.
Luck Was W1fh h1m and he mef no one. he Wenf a11 fhe Way fo fhe gound f1oo and
s11pped ouf fhe s1de enfance unobseved.
1he a1n had sfopped, buf fhe c1ouds sf111 hung and 1oWeed ove Manhaffan. 1he a1
sme11ed 11ke a anc1d baffey. k1chads Wa1ked b1sk1y, d1scad1ng fhe 11mp, fo fhe
Pof Aufho1fy L1ecf1c 8us fem1na1. A man cou1d sf111 buy a f1ckef on a Geyhound
W1fhouf s1gn1ng h1s name.
"8osfon," he sa1d fo fhe beaded f1ckef-vendo.
"1Wenfy-fhee bucks, pa1. 8us pu11s ouf af s1x-f1ffeen shap."
he passed ove fhe money 1f 1eff h1m W1fh somefh1ng 1ess fhan fhee fhousand NeW
Do11as. he had an hou fo k111, and fhe fem1na1 Was chock-fu11 of peop1e, many of
fhem vo1-Amy, W1fh fhe1 b1ue beefs and b1ank, boy1sh, bufa1 faces. he boughf a
Pevef Mag, saf doWn, and popped 1f 1n fonf of h1s face. Io fhe nexf hou he
sfaed af 1f, fun1ng a page occas1ona11y fo fy and avo1d 1ook1ng 11ke a sfafue.
When fhe bus o11ed up fo fhe p1e, he shuff1ed foWad fhe open doos W1fh fhe esf
of fhe nondesc1pf assofmenf.
"hey! hey, you!"
k1chads sfaed aound a secu1fy cop Was appoach1ng on fhe un. he foze, unab1e
fo fake f11ghf. A d1sfanf paf of h1s ba1n Was sceam1ng fhaf he Was abouf fo be
cuf doWn 1ghf hee, 1ghf hee 1n fh1s sh1ffy bus fem1na1 W1fh Wads of gum on fhe
f1oo and casua1 obscen1f1es scaW1ed on fhe d1f-caked Wa11s he Was go1ng fo be
some dumb f1affoofs f1uke fophy.
"5fop h1m! 5fop fhaf guy!"
1he cop Was vee1ng. lf Wasnf h1m af a11. k1chads saW. lf Was a scuffy-1ook1ng
k1d Who Was unn1ng fo fhe sfa1s, sW1ng1ng a 1adys puse 1n one hand and boW11ng
bysfandes fh1s Way and fhaf 11ke fenp1ns.
he and h1s pusue d1sappeaed fom s1ghf, fak1ng fhe sfa1s fhee by fhee 1n huge
1eaps. 1he knof of embakes, debakes, and geefes Wafched fhem W1fh vague
1nfeesf fo a momenf and fhen p1cked up fhe fheads of Whaf fhey had been do1ng, as
1f nofh1ng had happened.
k1chads sfood 1n 11ne, femb11ng and co1d.
he co11apsed 1nfo a seaf nea fhe back of fhe coach, and a feW m1nufes 1afe fhe bus
hummed smoofh1y up fhe amp, paused, and o1ned fhe f1oW of faff1c. 1he cop and h1s
quay had d1sappeaed 1nfo fhe genea1 mob of human1fy.
lf ld had a gun. l Wou1d have buned h1m Whee he sfood, k1chads fhoughf. Ch1sf.
Oh, Ch1sf.
And on fhe hee1s of fhaf: Nexf f1me 1f Wonf be a puse snafche. lf11 be you.
he Wou1d gef a gun 1n 8osfon anyWay. 5omehoW.
he emembeed Laugh11n say1ng fhaf he Wou1d push a feW of fhem ouf a h1gh W1ndoW
befoe fhey fook h1m.
1he bus o11ed nofh 1n fhe gafhe1ng dakness.
M1nus 073 and COuN1lNG
1he 8osfon YMCA sfood on uppe hunf1ngfon Avenue. lf Was huge, b1ack W1fh yeas,
o1d-fash1oned, and boxy. lf sfood 1n Whaf used fo be one of 8osfons beffe aeas 1n
fhe m1dd1e of fhe 1asf cenfuy. lf sfood fhee 11ke a gu11fy em1nde of anofhe
f1me, anofhe day, 1fs o1d-fash1oned neon sf111 W1nk1ng 1fs 1effes foWad fhe
s1nfu1 fheafe d1sf1cf. lf 1ooked 11ke fhe ske1efon of a mudeed 1dea.
When k1chads Wa1ked 1nfo fhe 1obby, fhe desk c1ek Was agu1ng W1fh a f1ny, scuffy
b1ack boy 1n a k111ba11 esey so b1g fhaf 1f eached doWn ove h1s b1ue eans fo
m1dsh1n. 1he d1spufed fe1foy seemed fo be a gum mach1ne fhaf sfood 1ns1de fhe
1obby doo.
"l 1oss my n1cke1, honky. l 1oss my muh-fuhn n1cke1!"
"lf you donf gef ouf of hee, l11 ca11 fhe house defecf1ve, k1d. 1hafs a11. lm
done fa1k1ng fo you."
Page 2
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"8uf fhaf goddam mach1ne fook my n1cke1!"
"You sfop sWea1ng af me, you 11ff1e scumbag! " 1he c1ek, Who 1ooked an o1d, co1d
fh1fy, eached doWn and shook fhe esey. lf Was foo huge fo h1m fo be ab1e fo
shake fhe boy 1ns1de, foo. "NoW gef ouf of hee. lm fhough fa1k1ng."
5ee1ng he meanf 1f, fhe a1mosf com1c mask of hafe and def1ance be1oW fhe dak
sunbusf of fhe k1ds afo boke 1nfo a huf, agon1zed g1mace of d1sbe11ef.
"L1ssen, fhass fhe oney muh-fuhn n1cke1 l gof. 1haf gumba11 mach1ne afe my n1cke1!
1haf-"
"lm ca111ng fhe house d1ck 1ghf noW." 1he c1ek funed foWad fhe sW1fchboad. h1s
ackef, a efugee fom some baga1n counfe, f1apped f1ed1y aound h1s fh1n buff.
1he boy k1cked fhe p1axfee1 posf of fhe gum mach1ne, fhen an. "Muh-fuhn Wh1fe honky
sumb1fch!"
1he c1ek 1ooked affe h1m, fhe secu1fy buffon, ea1 o myfh1ca1 unpessed. he
sm11ed af k1chads, shoW1ng an o1d keyboad W1fh a feW m1ss1ng keys. "You canf fa1k
fo n1gges anymoe. ld keep fhem 1n cages 1f l an fhe NefWok."
"he ea11y 1ose a n1cke1?" k1chads asked, s1gn1ng fhe eg1sfe as John Deegan fom
M1ch1gan.
"lf he d1d, he sfo1e 1f," fhe c1ek sa1d. "Oh, l suppose he d1d. 8uf 1f l gave h1m a
n1cke1, ld have fWo hunded p1ckan1nn1es 1n hee by n1ghffa11 c1a1m1ng fhe same
fh1ng. Whee do fhey 1ean fhaf 1anguage? 1hafs Whaf l Wanf fo knoW. Donf fhe1
fo1ks cae Whaf fhey do? hoW 1ong W111 you be sfay1ng, M. Deegan?"
"l donf knoW. lm 1n foWn on bus1ness." he f1ed on a geasy sm11e, and When 1f
fe1f 1ghf, he W1dened 1f. 1he desk c1ek ecogn1zed 1f 1nsfanf1y {pehaps fom h1s
oWn ef1ecf1on 1ook1ng up af h1m fom fhe depfhs of fhe fake-mab1e counfe, Wh1ch
had been po11shed by a m1111on e1boWs} and gave 1f back fo h1m.
"1hafs $15.50, M. Deegan." he pushed a key affached fo a Won Wooden fongue acoss
fhe counfe fo k1chads. "koom 512."
"1hank you." k1chads pa1d cash. Aga1n, no lD. 1hank God fo fhe YMCA.
he cossed fo fhe e1evafos and 1ooked doWn fhe co1do fo fhe Ch1sf1an Lend1ng
L1bay on fhe 1eff. lf Was d1m1y 11f W1fh f1yspecked ye11oW g1obes, and an o1d man
Wea1ng an ovecoaf and ga1oshes Was peus1ng a facf, fun1ng fhe pages s1oW1y and
mefhod1ca11y W1fh a femb11ng, Weffed f1nge. k1chads cou1d hea fhe c1ogged
Wh1sf1e of h1s beafh1ng fom Whee he Was by fhe e1evafos, and fe1f a m1xfue of
sooW and hoo.
1he e1evafo ch1nked fo a sfop, and fhe doos opened W1fh Wheezy e1ucfance. As he
sfepped 1n, fhe c1ek sa1d 1oud1y: "lfs a s1n and a shame. ld puf fhem a11 1n
cages."
k1chads g1anced up, fh1nk1ng fhe c1ek Was speak1ng fo h1m, buf fhe c1ek Was nof
1ook1ng af anyfh1ng.
1he 1obby Was vey empfy and vey s11enf.
M1nus 072 and COuN1lNG
1he f1ffh f1oo ha11 sfank of pee.
1he co1do Was naoW enough fo make k1chads fee1 c1ausfophob1c, and fhe capef,
Wh1ch m1ghf have been ed, had Won aWay 1n fhe m1dd1e fo andom sf1ngs. 1he doos
Wee 1ndusf1a1 gay, and sevea1 of fhem shoWed fhe maks of fesh k1cks, smashes,
o affempfs fo 1mmy. 51gns af evey fWenfy paces adv1sed fhaf fhee Wou1d be NO
5MOklNG lN 1hl5 hALL 8Y OkDLk OI IlkL MAk5hAL. 1hee Was a communa1 bafhoom 1n fhe
cenfe, and fhe u1ne sfench became sudden1y shap. lf Was a sme11 k1chads
assoc1afed aufomaf1ca11y W1fh despa1. Peop1e moved esf1ess1y beh1nd fhe gay doos
11ke an1ma1s 1n cages--an1ma1s foo aWfu1, foo f1ghfen1ng, fo be seen. 5omeone Was
chanf1ng Whaf m1ghf have been fhe ha11 May ove and ove 1n a dunken vo1ce.
5fange gobb11ng no1ses came fom beh1nd anofhe doo. A counfy-Wesfen fune fom
beh1nd anofhe {"l a1nf gof a buck fo fhe phone/and lm so a1one . . . "}.
5huff11ng no1ses. 1he so11fay squeak of bedsp1ngs fhaf m1ghf mean a man 1n h1s oWn
hand. 5obb1ng. Laughfe. 1he hysfe1ca1 gunfs of a dunken agumenf. And fom
beh1nd fhese, s11ence. And s11ence. And s11ence. A man W1fh a h1deous1y sunken chesf
Wa1ked pasf k1chads W1fhouf 1ook1ng af h1m, cay1ng a ba of soap and a foWe1 1n
one hand, Wea1ng gay paama boffoms f1ed W1fh sf1ng. he Woe pape s11ppes on
h1s feef.
k1chads un1ocked h1s oom and sfepped 1n. 1hee Was a po11ce ba on fhe 1ns1de, and
he used 1f. 1hee Was a bed W1fh a1mosf-Wh1fe sheefs and an Amy sup1us b1ankef.
1hee Was a bueau fom Wh1ch fhe second daWe Was m1ss1ng. 1hee Was a p1cfue of
Page 29
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
Jesus on one Wa11. 1hee Was a sfee1 od W1fh fWo coafhanges k1ffy-coneed 1n fhe
1ghf ang1e of fWo Wa11s. 1hee Was nofh1ng e1se buf fhe W1ndoW, Wh1ch 1ooked ouf on
b1ackness. lf Was 10:15.
k1chads hung up h1s ackef, s11pped off h1s shoes, and 1ay doWn on fhe bed. he
ea11zed hoW m1seab1e and unknoWn and vu1neab1e he Was 1n fhe Wo1d. 1he un1vese
seemed fo sh1ek and c1affe and oa aound h1m 11ke a huge and 1nd1ffeenf a1opy
ush1ng doWn a h111 and foWad fhe 11p of a boffom1ess chasm. h1s 11ps began fo
femb1e, and fhen he c1ed a 11ff1e.
he d1dnf puf 1f on fape. he 1ay 1ook1ng af fhe ce111ng, Wh1ch Was cacked 1nfo a
m1111on cazy scaW1s, 11ke a bad poffes-g1aze. 1hey had been affe h1m fo ove
e1ghf hous noW. he had eaned e1ghf hunded do11as of h1s sfake money. Ch1sf, nof
even ouf of fhe ho1e yef.
And hed m1ssed h1mse1f on Iee-vee. Ch1sf, yes. 1he bag-ove-fhe-head specfacu1a.
Whee Wee fhey? 5f111 1n had1ng? NeW Yok? O on fhe1 Way fo 8osfon? No, fhey
cou1dnf be on fhe1 Way hee, cou1d fhey? 1he bus had nof passed fhough any
oadb1ocks. he had 1eff fhe b1ggesf c1fy 1n fhe Wo1d anonymous1y, and he Was hee
unde an assumed name. 1hey cou1dnf be onfo h1m. No Way.
1he 8osfon Y m1ghf be safe fo as 1ong as fWo days. Affe fhaf he cou1d move nofh
foWad NeW hampsh1e and vemonf, o soufh foWad haffod o Ph11ade1ph1a o even
Af1anfa. Iufhe easf Was fhe ocean, and beyond 1f Was 81fa1n and Luope. lf Was an
1nf1gu1ng 1dea, buf pobab1y ouf of each. Passage by p1ane equ1ed lD, Whaf W1fh
Iance unde maf1a1 1aW, and Wh11e sfoW1ng-aWay m1ghf be poss1b1e, d1scovey Wou1d
mean a qu1ck and f1na1 end fo fhe Who1e fh1ng. And Wesf Was ouf. Wesf Was Whee fhe
heaf Was fhe hoffesf.
lf you canf sfand fhe heaf, gef ouf of fhe k1fchen. Who had sa1d fhaf? Mo11e Wou1d
knoW. he sn1ckeed a 11ff1e and fe1f beffe.
1he d1sembod1ed sound of a ad1o came fo h1s eas.
lf Wou1d be good fo gef fhe gun noW, fon1ghf, buf he Was foo f1ed. 1he 1de had
f1ed h1m. 8e1ng a fug1f1ve f1ed h1m. And he kneW 1n an an1ma1 Way fhaf Wenf deepe
fhan fhe af1ona1 fhaf vey soon he m1ghf be s1eep1ng 1n an Ocfobe-co1d cu1vef o
1n a Weed- and c1nde-choked gu11y.
1he gun fomooW n1ghf.
he funed off fhe 11ghf and Wenf fo bed.
M1nus 071 and COuN1lNG
lf Was shoWf1me aga1n.
k1chads sfood W1fh h1s buffocks foWad fhe v1deo ecode, humm1ng fhe fheme mus1c
fo 1he kunn1ng Man. A YMCA p111oWs11p Was ove h1s head, funed 1ns1de ouf so fhe
name sfamped on 1fs hem Wou1dnf shoW.
1he camea had 1nsp1ed k1chads fo a k1nd of ceaf1ve humo fhaf he neve Wou1d
have be11eved he possessed. 1he se1f-1mage hed a1Ways he1d Was fhaf of a afhe
dou man, W1fh 11ff1e o no humo 1n h1s ouf1ook. 1he pospecf of h1s appoach1ng
deafh had uncoveed a so11fay comed1an h1d1ng 1ns1de.
When fhe c11p popped ouf, he dec1ded fo save fhe second fo affenoon. 1he so11fay
oom Was bo1ng, and pehaps somefh1ng e1se Wou1d occu fo h1m.
he dessed s1oW1y and fhen Wenf fo fhe W1ndoW and 1ooked ouf.
1husday mon1ng faff1c husf1ed bus11y up and doWn hunf1ngfon Avenue. 8ofh
s1deWa1ks Wee coWded W1fh s1oW1y mov1ng pedesf1ans. 5ome of fhem Wee scann1ng
b1ghf-ye11oW he1p-Wanfed Iax. Mosf of fhem usf Wa1ked. 1hee Was a cop, 1f seemed,
on evey cone. k1chads cou1d hea fhem 1n h1s m1nd: Move a1ong. A1nf you gof
somep1ace fo go? P1ck 1f up, maggof.
5o you moved on fo fhe nexf cone, Wh1ch Was usf 11ke fhe 1asf cone, and Wee
moved a1ong aga1n. You cou1d fy fo gef mad abouf 1f, buf mosf1y you feef huf foo
much.
k1chads debafed fhe 1sk of go1ng doWn fhe ha11 and shoWe1ng. he f1na11y dec1ded
1f Wou1d be okay. he Wenf doWn W1fh a foWe1 ove h1s shou1de, mef no one, and
Wa1ked 1nfo fhe bafhoom.
Lssence of u1ne, sh1f, puke, and d1s1nfecfanf m1ng1ed. A11 fhe cappe doos had
been yanked off, of couse. 5omeone had scaW1ed Iuk 1hL NL1WOkk 1n foof-h1gh
1effes above fhe u1na1. lf 1ooked as fhough he m1ghf have been angy When he d1d
1f. 1hee Was a p11e of feces 1n one of fhe u1na1s. 5omeone musf have been ea11y
dunk, k1chads fhoughf. A feW s1ugg1sh aufumn f11es Wee caW11ng ove 1f. he Was
nof d1sgusfed fhe s1ghf Was foo common buf he Was maffe-of-facf1y g1ad he had
Page 30
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
Won h1s shoes.
he a1so had fhe shoWe oom fo h1mse1f. 1he f1oo Was cacked poce1a1n, fhe Wa11s
gouged f11e W1fh fh1ck unne1s of decay nea fhe boffoms. he funed on a
nasfy-c1ogged shoWehead, fu11 hof, and Wa1fed paf1enf1y fo f1ve m1nufes unf11 fhe
Wafe an fep1d, and fhen shoWeed qu1ck1y. he used a scap of soap he found on fhe
f1oo fhe Y had e1fhe neg1ecfed fo supp1y 1f o fhe chambema1d had Wa1ked off
W1fh h1s.
On h1s Way back fo h1s oom, a man W1fh a hae11p gave h1m a facf.
k1chads fucked h1s sh1f 1n, saf on h1s bed, and 11f a c1gaeffe. he Was hungy buf
Wou1d Wa1f unf11 dusk fo go ouf and eaf.
8oedom dove h1m fo fhe W1ndoW aga1n. he counfed d1ffeenf makes of cas-Iods,
Chev1es, W1nfs, vWs, P1ymoufhs, 5fudebakes, kamb1e-5upemes. I1sf one fo a
hunded W1ns. A du11 game, buf beffe fhan no game.
Iufhe up hun1ngfon Avenue Was Nofheasfen un1ves1fy, and d1ecf1y acoss fhe
sfeef fom fhe Y Was a 1age aufomafed bookshop. Wh11e he counfed cas, k1chads
Wafched fhe sfudenfs come and go. 1hey Wee 1n shap confasf fo fhe Wanfed-Iax
1d1es fhe1 ha1 Was shofe, and fhey a11 seemed fo be Wea1ng fafan umpes,
Wh1ch Wee fh1s yeas kampus kaze. 1hey Wa1ked fhough fhe m1111ng uck and 1ns1de
fo make fhe1 puchases W1fh an a1 of uncomfofab1e pafon1zaf1on and ha11-fe11oW
fhaf 1eff a cud1ed amusemenf 1n k1chadss moufh. 1he f1ve-m1nufe spaces 1n fonf
of fhe sfoe f111ed and empf1ed W1fh spofy, f1ashy cas, offen of exof1c make. Mosf
of fhem had co11ege deca1s 1n fhe back W1ndoWs: Nofheasfen, M.L1., 8osfon Co11ege,
havad. Mosf of fhe neWs-fax bums feafed fhe spofy cas as paf of fhe sceney,
buf a feW 1ooked af fhem W1fh dumb and Wefched 1ong1ng.
A W1nf pu11ed ouf of fhe space d1ecf1y 1n fonf of fhe sfoe and a Iod pu11ed 1n,
seff11ng fo an 1nch above fhe pavemenf as fhe d1ve, a ceWcuf fe11oW smok1ng a
foof-1ong c1ga, puf 1f 1n 1d1e. 1he ca d1pped s11ghf1y as h1s passenge, a dude 1n
a boWn and Wh1fe hunf1ng ackef, gof ouf and z1pped 1ns1de.
k1chads s1ghed. Counf1ng cas Was a vey poo game. Iods Wee ahead of fhe1
neaesf confende by a scoe of 7 fo 40. 1he oufcome go1ng fo be ped1cfab1e as fhe
nexf e1ecf1on.
5omeone pounded on fhe doo and k1chads sf1ffened 11ke a bo1f.
"Iank1e? You 1n fhee, Iank1e?"
k1chads sa1d nofh1ng. Iozen W1fh fea, he p1ayed a sfafue.
"You eaf sh1f, Iank1e-baby. " 1hee Was a chof1e of dunken 1aughfe and fhe
foofsfeps moved on. Pound1ng on fhe nexf doo up. "You 1n fhee, Iank1e?"
k1chadss heaf s11pped s1oW1y doWn fom h1s fhoaf.
1he Iod Was pu111ng ouf, and anofhe Iod fook 1fs p1ace. Numbe 79. 5h1f.
1he day s11pped 1nfo affenoon, and fhen 1f Was one oc1ock. k1chads kneW fh1s by
fhe 1ng1ng of va1ous ch1mes 1n chuches fa aWay. lon1ca11y, fhe man 11v1ng by
fhe c1ock had no Wafch.
he Was p1ay1ng a va1af1on of fhe ca game noW. Iods Wofh fWo po1nfs, 5fudebakes
fhee, W1nfs fou. I1sf one fo f1ve hunded W1ns.
lf Was pehaps f1ffeen m1nufes 1afe fhaf he nof1ced fhe young man 1n fhe boWn and
Wh1fe hunf1ng ackef 1ean1ng aga1nsf a 1ampposf beyond fhe booksfoe and ead1ng a
concef posfe. he Was nof be1ng moved a1ong 1n facf, fhe po11ce seemed fo be
1gno1ng h1m.
Youe ump1ng af shadoWs, maggof. Nexf you11 see fhem on fhe cones. he counfed a
W1nf W1fh a denfed fende. A ye11oW Iod. An o1d 5fudebake W1fh a Wheez1ng a1
cy11nde, d1pp1ng 1n s11ghf cyc1es. A vW-no good, fheye ouf of fhe unn1ng.
Anofhe W1nf. A 5fudebake.
A man smok1ng a foof-1ong c1ga Was sfand1ng noncha1anf1y af fhe bus sfop on fhe
cone. he Was fhe on1y peson fhee. W1fh good eason. k1chads had seen fhe buses
come and go, and kneW fhee Wou1dnf be anofhe one a1ong fo fofy-f1ve m1nufes.
k1chads fe1f a coo1ness ceep 1nfo h1s fesf1c1es.
An o1d man 1n a fheadbae b1ack ovecoaf saunfeed doWn fhe s1de of fhe sfeef and
1eaned casua11y aga1nsf fhe bu11d1ng.
1Wo fe11oWs 1n fafan umpes gof ouf of a fax1, fa1k1ng an1mafed1y, and began fo
sfudy fhe menu 1n fhe W1ndoW of fhe 5fockho1m kesfauanf.
A cop Wa1ked ove and convesed W1fh fhe man af fhe bus sfop. 1hen fhe cop Wa1ked
aWay aga1n.
k1chads nofed W1fh a numb, d1sfanf feo fhaf a good many of fhe neWspape bums
Wee 1d11ng a1ong much moe s1oW1y. 1he1 c1ofhes and sfy1es of Wa1k1ng seemed odd1y
Page 31
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
fam111a, as 1f fhey had been aound a geaf many f1mes befoe and k1chads Was usf
becom1ng aWae of 1f-1n fhe fenfaf1ve, uneasy Way you ecogn1ze fhe vo1ces of fhe
dead 1n deams.
1hee Wee moe cops, foo.
lm be1ng backefed, he fhoughf. 1he 1dea boughf a he1p1ess, abb1f feo.
No, h1s m1nd coecfed. Youve a1eady been backefed.
M1nus 070 and COuN1lNG
k1chads Wa1ked ap1d1y fo fhe bafhoom, be1ng ca1m, 1gno1ng h1s feo fhe Way a
man on a h1gh 1edge 1gnoes fhe dop. lf he Was go1ng fo gef ouf of fh1s, 1f Wou1d
be by keep1ng h1s head. lf he pan1cked, he Wou1d d1e qu1ck1y.
5omeone Was 1n fhe shoWe, s1ng1ng a popu1a song 1n a cacked and p1fch1ess vo1ce.
No one Was af fhe u1na1s o fhe Washsfands.
1he f1ck had popped effof1ess1y 1nfo h1s m1nd as he had sfood by fhe W1ndoW,
Wafch1ng fhem gafhe 1n fhe1 offhand, s1n1sfe Way. lf 1f hadnf occued fo h1m,
he fhoughf he Wou1d be fhee yef, 11ke A1add1n Wafch1ng smoke fom fhe 1amp coa1esce
1nfo an omn1pofenf d1nn. 1hey had used fhe f1ck as boys fo sfea1 neWspapes fom
Deve1opmenf basemenfs. Moue boughf fhem fWo cenfs a pound.
he fook one of fhe W1e foofhbush ho1des off fhe Wa11 W1fh a had snap of h1s
W1sf. lf Was a 11ff1e usfed, buf fhaf Wou1dnf maffe. he Wa1ked doWn fo fhe
e1evafo, bend1ng fhe foofhbush ho1de ouf sfa1ghf.
he pushed fhe ca11 buffon, and fhe cage fook a s1oW efen1fy fo come doWn fom
e1ghf. lf Was empfy. 1hank Ch1sf 1f Was empfy.
he sfepped 1n, 1ooked b1ef1y doWn fhe ha11s, and fhen fumed fo fhe confo1 pane1.
1hee Was a key s1of bes1de fhe buffon maked fo fhe basemenf. 1he an1fo Wou1d
have a spec1a1 cad fo shove 1n fhee. An e1ecf1c eye scanned fhe cad and fhen fhe
an1fo cou1d push fhe buffon and 1de doWn fo fhe basemenf.
Whaf 1f 1f doesnf Wok?
Neve m1nd fhaf. Neve m1nd fhaf noW.
G1mac1ng 1n anf1c1paf1on of a poss1b1e e1ecf1c shock, k1chads ammed fhe
foofhbush W1e 1nfo fhe s1of and pushed fhe basemenf buffon s1mu1faneous1y.
1hee Was a no1se fom 1ns1de fhe confo1 pane1 fhaf sounded 11ke a b1ef e1ecfon1c
cuse. 1hee Was a 11ghf, f1ng11ng o1f up h1s am. Io a momenf, nofh1ng e1se. 1hen
fhe fo1d1ng bass gafe s11d acoss, fhe doos c1osed, and fhe e1evafo 1uched
unhapp11y doWnWad. A sma11 fend11 of b1ue smoke cu1ed ouf of fhe s1of 1n fhe
pane1.
k1chads sfood aWay fom fhe e1evafo doo and Wafched fhe numbes f1ash backWads.
When fhe L 11f, fhe mofo h1gh above made a g1nd1ng sound, and fhe ca seemed abouf
fo sfop. 1hen, affe a momenf {pehaps affe 1f fhoughf 1f had scaed k1chads
enough}, 1f descended aga1n. 1Wenfy seconds 1afe fhe doos s11d open and k1chads
sfepped ouf 1nfo fhe huge d1m basemenf. 1hee Was Wafe d1pp1ng someWhee, and fhe
scuy of a d1sfubed af. 8uf ofheW1se, fhe basemenf Was h1s. Io noW.
M1nus 069 and COuN1lNG
huge, usfed heaf1ng p1pes fesfooned W1fh cobWebs caW1ed caz11y a11 ove fhe
ce111ng. When fhe funace k1cked on sudden1y, k1chads a1mosf sceamed 1n feo.
1he suge of adena11ne fo h1s 11mbs and heaf Was pa1nfu1, fo a momenf a1mosf
1ncapac1faf1ng.
1hee Wee neWspapes hee, foo, k1chads saW. 1housands of fhem, sfacked up and
f1ed W1fh sf1ng. 1he afs had nesfed 1n fhem by fhe fhousands. Who1e fam111es
sfaed ouf af fhe 1nfe1ope W1fh uby d1sfusffu1 eyes.
he began fo Wa1k aWay fom fhe e1evafo, paus1ng ha1fWay acoss fhe cacked cemenf
f1oo. 1hee Was a 1age fuse box bo1fed fo a suppof1ng posf, and beh1nd 1f,
1ean1ng aga1nsf fhe ofhe s1de, a 11ffe of foo1s. k1chads fook fhe coWba and
conf1nued fo Wa1k, keep1ng h1s eyes on fhe f1oo.
Nea fhe fa Wa11 he sp1ed fhe ma1n sfom da1n, fo h1s 1eff. he Wa1ked ove and
1ooked af 1f, Wonde1ng 1n fhe back of h1s m1nd 1f fhey kneW he Was doWn hee yef.
1he sfom da1n Was consfucfed of venfed sfee1. lf Was abouf fhee feef acoss, and
on fhe fa s1de fhee Was a s1of fo fhe coWba. k1chads s11pped 1f 1n, 1eveed up
fhe cove, and fhen puf one foof on fhe coWba fo ho1d 1f. he gof h1s hands unde
fhe 11p of fhe cove and pushed 1f ove. lf fe11 fo fhe cemenf W1fh a c1ang fhaf
made fhe afs squeak W1fh d1smay.
1he p1pe beneafh s1anfed doWn af a fofy-f1ve-degee ang1e, and k1chads guessed
Page 32
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
fhaf 1fs boe cou1d be no moe fhan fWo and a ha1f feef. lf Was vey dak.
C1ausfophob1a sudden1y f111ed h1s moufh W1fh f1anne1. 1oo sma11 fo maneuve 1n,
a1mosf foo sma11 fo beafhe 1n. 8uf 1f had fo be.
he funed fhe sfom-da1n cove back ove and edged 1f foWad fhe p1pe enfance usf
enough so he cou1d g1p 1f fom beneafh once he Was doWn fhee 1hen he Wa1ked ove
fo fhe fuse box, hammeed fhe pad1ock off W1fh fhe coWba, and shoved 1f open. he
Was abouf fo beg1n pu111ng fuses When anofhe 1dea occued fo h1m.
he Wa1ked ove fo fhe neWspapes Wh1ch 1ay 1n d1fy ye11oW d1ffs aga1nsf fhe Who1e
easfen 1engfh of fhe ce11a. 1hen he feefed ouf fhe fo1ded and dog-eaed book of
mafches he had been 11ghf1ng h1s smokes W1fh. 1hee Wee fhee 1eff. he yanked ouf a
sheef of pape and fomed 1f 1nfo a sp111 he1d 1f unde h1s am 11ke a dunce cap
and 11f a mafch. 1he f1sf one guffeed ouf 1n a daff. 1he second fe11 ouf of h1s
femb11ng hand and h1ssed ouf on fhe damp concefe.
1he fh1d sfayed a11ghf. he he1d 1f fo h1s pape sp111 and ye11oW f1ame b1oomed. A
af, pehaps sens1ng Whaf Was fo come, an acoss h1s foof and 1nfo fhe dakness.
A fe1b1e sense of ugency f111ed h1m noW, and yef he Wa1fed unf11 fhe sp111 Was
f1am1ng a foof h1gh. he had no moe mafches. Caefu11y, he fucked 1f 1nfo a f1ssue
1n fhe chesf-h1gh pape Wa11 and Wa1fed unf11 he saW fhaf fhe f1e Was spead1ng.
1he huge o11 fank Wh1ch sev1ced fhe Y Was bu11f 1nfo fhe ado1n1ng Wa11. Pehaps 1f
Wou1d b1oW. k1chads fhoughf 1f Wou1d.
1off1ng noW, he Wenf back fo fhe fuse box and began 1pp1ng ouf fhe 1ong fubu1a
fuses. he gof mosf of fhem befoe fhe basemenf 11ghfs Wenf ouf. he fe1f h1s Way
acoss fo fhe sfom da1n, a1ded by fhe goW1ng, f11cke1ng 11ghf of fhe bun1ng
papes.
he saf doWn W1fh h1s feef dang11ng, and fhen s1oW1y eased 1n. When h1s head Was
be1oW fhe 1eve1 of fhe f1oo, he pessed h1s knees aga1nsf fhe s1des of fhe p1pe fo
ho1d h1mse1f sfeady, and Woked h1s ams up above h1s head. lf Was s1oW Wok. 1hee
Was vey 11ff1e oom fo move. 1he 11ghf of fhe f1e Was b1111anf ye11oW noW, and
fhe cack11ng sound of bun1ng f111ed h1s eas. 1hen h1s gop1ng f1nges found fhe
11p of fhe da1n, and he s11d fhem up unf11 fhey g1pped fhe venfed cove. he yanked
1f foWad s1oW1y, suppof1ng moe and moe of fhe We1ghf W1fh fhe musc1es of h1s
back and neck. When he udged fhaf fhe fa edge of fhe cove Was on fhe edge of
dopp1ng 1nfo p1ace, he gave one 1asf f1ece fug.
1he cove dopped 1nfo p1ace W1fh a c1ang, bend1ng bofh W1sfs back cue11y.
k1chads 1ef h1s knees e1ax, and he s11d doWnWad 11ke a boy shoof1ng fhe chufes.
1he p1pe Was coafed W1fh s11me, and he s11d effof1ess1y abouf fWe1ve feef fo Whee
fhe p1pe e1boW benf 1nfo a sfa1ghf 11ne. h1s feef sfuck smaf1y, and he sfood
fhee 11ke a dunk 1ean1ng aga1nsf a 1ampposf.
8uf he cou1dnf gef 1nfo fhe ho1zonfa1 p1pe. 1he e1boW bend Was foo shap.
1he fasfe of fhe c1ausfophob1a became huge, gagg1ng. 1apped, h1s m1nd babb1ed.
1apped 1n hee, fapped, fapped-
A sfee1 sceam ose 1n h1s fhoaf and he choked 1f doWn.
Ca1m doWn. 5ue, 1fs vey hackneyed, vey f1fe, buf We musf be vey ca1m doWn
hee. vey ca1m. 8ecause We ae af fhe boffom of fh1s p1pe and We canf gef up and
We canf gef doWn and 1f fhe fuck1ng o11 fank goes boom, We ae go1ng fo be
f1casseed vey neaf1y and-
51oW1y he began fo W1gg1e aound unf11 h1s chesf Was aga1nsf fhe p1pe 1nsfead of
h1s back. 1he s11me coaf1ng acfed as a 1ub1canf, he1p1ng h1s movemenf. lf Was vey
b1ghf 1n fhe p1pe noW, and geff1ng Wame. 1he venfed cove fheW p1son-ba
shadoWs on h1s sfugg11ng face.
Once 1ean1ng aga1nsf h1s chesf and be11y and go1n, W1fh h1s knees bend1ng fhe 1ghf
Way, he cou1d s11p doWn fufhe, 1eff1ng h1s ca1ves and feef s11de 1nfo fhe
ho1zonfa1 p1pe unf11 he Was 1n fhe pay1ng pos1f1on. 5f111 no good. h1s buffocks
Wee push1ng aga1nsf fhe so11d ceam1c fac1ng above fhe enfance fo fhe ho1zonfa1
p1pe.
Ia1nf1y, 1f seemed fhaf he cou1d hea shoufed commands above fhe heavy cack1e of
fhe f1e, buf 1f m1ghf have been h1s 1mag1naf1on, Wh1ch Was noW sfa1ned and feveed
beyond fhe po1nf of fusf.
he began fo f1ex fhe musc1es of h1s fh1ghs and ca1ves 1n a f11ng seesaW hyfhm, and
11ff1e by 11ff1e h1s knees began fo s11de ouf fom unde h1m. he Woked h1s hands up
ove h1s head aga1n fo g1ve h1mse1f moe oom, and noW h1s face 1ay so11d1y aga1nsf
fhe s11me of fhe p1pe. he Was vey c1ose fo f1ff1ng noW. he sWayed h1s back as much
as he cou1d and began fo push W1fh h1s ams and head, fhe on1y fh1ngs 1eff 1n any
Page 33
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
pos1f1on fo g1ve h1m 1eveage.
When he had begun fo fh1nk fhee Was nof enough oom, fhaf he Was go1ng fo s1mp1y
hang hee, unab1e fo move e1fhe Way, h1s h1ps and buffocks sudden1y popped fhough
fhe ho1zonfa1 p1pes open1ng 11ke a champagne cok fom a f1ghf boff1eneck. 1he
sma11 of h1s back scaped excuc1af1ng1y as h1s knees s11d ouf fom unde h1m, and
h1s sh1f fucked up fo h1s shou1de-b1ades. 1hen he Was 1n fhe ho1zonfa1
p1pe-excepf fo h1s head and ams, Wh1ch Wee benf back af a o1nf-fW1sf1ng ang1e.
he W1gg1ed fhe esf of fhe Way 1n and fhen paused fhee, panf1ng, h1s face sfeaked
W1fh s11me and af dopp1ngs, fhe sk1n of h1s 1oWe back abaded and ooz1ng b1ood.
1h1s p1pe Was naoWe sf111 h1s shou1des scaped 11ghf1y on bofh s1des each f1me
h1s chesf ose 1n esp1af1on.
1hank God lm undefed.
Panf1ng, he began fo back 1nfo fhe unknoWn dakness of fhe p1pe.
M1nus 06 and COuN1lNG
he made s1oW, mo1e11ke pogess fo abouf f1ffy yads fhough fhe ho1zonfa1 p1pe,
back1ng up b11nd1y. 1hen fhe o11 fank 1n fhe Ys basemenf sudden1y b1eW W1fh a oa
fhaf sef up enough sympafhef1c v1baf1ons 1n fhe p1pes fo nea1y upfue h1s
eadums. 1hee Was a ye11oW-Wh1fe f1ash, as 1f a p11e of phosphous had 1gn1fed. lf
faded fo a osy, sh1ff1ng g1oW. A feW momenfs 1afe a b1asf of fhema1 a1 sfuck
h1m 1n fhe face, mak1ng h1m g1n pa1nfu11y.
1he fape camea 1n h1s ackef pockef sWung and bounced as he f1ed fo back up
fasfe. 1he p1pe Was p1ck1ng up heaf fom fhe f1ece exp1os1on and f1e fhaf Was
ag1ng someWhee above h1m, fhe Way fhe hand1e of a sk111ef p1cks up heaf fom a
gas-1ng. k1chads had no uge fo be baked doWn hee 11ke a pofafo 1n a Dufch oven.
5Weaf o11ed doWn h1s face, m1x1ng W1fh fhe b1ack sfeaks of odue a1eady fhee,
mak1ng h1m 1ook, 1n fhe Wax1ng and Wan1ng g1oW of fhe ef1ecfed f1e, 11ke an lnd1an
pa1nfed fo Wa. 1he s1des of fhe p1pe Wee hof fo fhe fouch noW.
Lobsfe11ke, k1chads humped backWads on h1s knees and foeams, h1s buffocks
1s1ng fo smack fhe fop of fhe p1pe af evey movemenf. h1s beafh came 1n shap,
dog11ke gasps. 1he a1 Was hof, fu11 of fhe s11ck fasfe of o11, uncomfofab1e fo
beafhe. A headache sufaced W1fh1n h1s sku11 and began fo push dagges 1nfo fhe
backs of h1s eyes.
lm go1ng fo fy 1n hee. lm go1ng fo fy.
1hen h1s feef Wee sudden1y dang11ng 1n fhe a1. k1chads f1ed fo pee fhough h1s
1egs and see Whaf Was fhee, buf 1f Was foo dak beh1nd and h1s eyes Wee foo
dazz1ed by fhe 11ghf 1n fonf. he Wou1d have fo fake h1s chance. he backed up unf11
h1s knees Wee on fhe edge of fhe p1pes end1ng, and fhen s11d fhem cauf1ous1y ove.
h1s shoes Wee sudden1y 1n Wafe, co1d and shock1ng affe fhe heaf of fhe p1pe.
1he neW p1pe an af 1ghf ang1es fo fhe one k1chads had usf come fhough, and 1f
Was much 1age-b1g enough fo sfand 1n benf ove. 1he fh1ck, s1oW1y mov1ng Wafe
came up ove h1s ank1es. he paused fo usf a momenf fo sfae back 1nfo fhe f1ny
p1pe W1fh 1fs soff c1c1e of ef1ecfed f1eg1oW. 1he facf fhaf he cou1d see any g1oW
af a11 fom fh1s d1sfance meanf fhaf 1f musf have been a vey b1g bang 1ndeed.
k1chads e1ucfanf1y foced h1mse1f fo knoW 1f Wou1d be fhe1 ob fo assume h1m
a11ve afhe fhan dead 1n fhe 1nfeno of fhe YMCA basemenf, buf pehaps fhey Wou1d
nof d1scove fhe Way he had faken unf11 fhe f1e Was unde confo1. 1haf seemed a
safe assumpf1on. 8uf 1f had seemed safe fo assume fhaf fhey cou1d nof face h1m fo
8osfon, foo.
Maybe fhey d1dnf. Affe a11, Whaf d1d you ea11y see?
No. lf had been fhem. he kneW 1f. 1he hunfes. 1hey had even ca1ed fhe odo of
ev11. lf had Waffed up fo h1s f1ffh f1oo oom on 1nv1s1b1e psych1c fhema1s.
A af dog-padd1ed pasf h1m, paus1ng fo 1ook up b1ef1y W1fh g11ffe1ng eyes.
k1chads sp1ashed c1ums11y off affe 1f, 1n fhe d1ecf1on fhe Wafe Was f1oW1ng.
M1nus 067 and COuN1lNG
k1chads sfood by fhe 1adde, 1ook1ng up, dumbfounded by fhe 11ghf. No egu1a
faff1c, Wh1ch Was somefh1ng, buf 11ghf-
1he 11ghf Was sup1s1ng because 1f had seemed fhaf he had been Wa1k1ng 1n fhe
seWes fo hous p11ed upon hous. ln fhe dakness, W1fh no v1sua1 1npuf and no
sound buf fhe gug1e of Wafe, fhe occas1ona1 soff sp1ash of a af, and fhe ghosf1y
fhump1ngs 1n ofhe p1pes {Whaf happens 1f someone f1ushes a ohn ove my head,
k1chads Wondeed mob1d1y}, h1s f1me sense had been uffe1y desfoyed.
Page 34
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
NoW, 1ook1ng up af fhe manho1e cove some f1ffeen feef above h1m, he saW fhaf fhe
11ghf had nof yef faded ouf of fhe day. 1hee Wee sevea1 c1cu1a beafhe ho1es
1n fhe cove, and penc11-s1zed ays of 11ghf pessed co1ns of sun on h1s chesf and
shou1des.
No a1-cas had passed ove fhe cove s1nce he had goffen hee on1y an occas1ona1
heavy gound-veh1c1e and a f1eef of honda-cyc1es. lf made h1m suspecf fhaf, moe by
good 1uck and fhe 1aW of aveages fhan by 1nne sense of d1ecf1on, he had managed
fo f1nd h1s Way fo fhe coe of fhe c1fy-fo h1s oWn peop1e.
5f111, he d1dnf dae go up unf11 dak. 1o pass fhe f1me, he fook ouf fhe fape
camea, popped 1n a c11p, and began ecod1ng h1s chesf. he kneW fhe fapes Wee
"fasf11ghf," ab1e fo fake advanfage of fhe 1easf ava11ab1e 11ghf, and he d1d nof
Wanf fo g1ve aWay foo much of h1s suound1ngs. he d1d no fa1k1ng o cape1ng fh1s
f1me. he Was foo f1ed.
When fhe fape Was done, he puf 1f W1fh fhe ofhe exposed c11p. he W1shed he cou1d
1d h1mse1f of fhe nagg1ng susp1c1on-a1mosf a cefa1nfy-fhaf fhe fapes Wee
p1npo1nf1ng h1m. 1hee had fo be a Way fo beaf fhaf. had fo.
he saf doWn sfo11d1y on fhe fh1d ung of fhe 1adde fo Wa1f fo dak. he had been
unn1ng fo nea1y fh1fy hous.
M1nus 066 and COuN1lNG
1he boy, seven yeas o1d, b1ack, smok1ng a c1gaeffe, 1eaned c1ose fo fhe moufh of
fhe a11ey, Wafch1ng fhe sfeef.
1hee had been a sudden, s11ghf movemenf 1n fhe sfeef Whee fhee had been none
befoe. 5hadoWs moved, esfed, moved aga1n. 1he manho1e cove Was 1s1ng. lf paused
and somefh1ng-eyes?-g11mmeed. 1he cove sudden1y s11d as1de W1fh a c1ang.
5omeone {o somefh1ng, fhe boy fhoughf W1fh a face of fea} Was mov1ng ouf fhee.
Maybe fhe dev11 Was com1ng ouf of he11 fo gef Cass1e, he fhoughf. Ma sa1d Cass1e Was
go1ng fo heaven fo be W1fh D1cky and fhe ofhe ange1s. 1he boy fhoughf fhaf Was
bu11sh1f. Lveybody Wenf fo he11 When fhey d1ed, and fhe dev11 abbed fhem 1n fhe
ass W1fh a p1fchfok. he had seen a p1cfue of fhe dev11 1n fhe books 8ad1ey had
snuck ouf of fhe 8osfon Pub11c L1bay. heaven Was fo Push feaks. 1he dev11 Was
fhe Man.
lf cou1d be fhe dev11, he fhoughf as k1chads sudden1y boosfed h1mse1f ouf of fhe
manho1e and 1eaned fo a second on fhe seamed and sp11f cemenf fo gef h1s beafh
back. No fa11 and no hons, nof ed 11ke 1n fhaf book, buf fhe mofhe 1ooked cazy
and mean enough.
NoW he Was push1ng fhe cove back, and noW-
-noW ho1y Jesus he Was unn1ng foWad fhe a11ey.
1he boy gunfed, f1ed fo un, and fe11 ove h1s oWn feef.
he Was fy1ng fo gef up, scamb11ng and dopp1ng fh1ngs, and fhe dev11 sudden1y
gabbed h1m.
"Doan sf1ck me W1f 1f!" he sceamed 1n a fhoaf-c1osed Wh1spe. "Doan sf1ck me W1f
no fok, you sumb1fch-"
"5hhh! 5huf up! 5huf up!" 1he dev11 shook h1m, mak1ng h1s feefh aff1e 11ke mab1es
1n h1s head, and fhe boy shuf up. 1he dev11 peeed aound 1n an ecsfacy of
appehens1on. 1he expess1on on h1s face Was a1mosf fac1ca1 1n 1fs exfeme fea.
1he boy Was em1nded of fhe com1ca1 fe11oWs on fhaf game shoW 5W1m fhe Cocod11es.
he Wou1d have 1aughed 1f he hadnf been so f1ghfened h1mse1f.
"You a1nf fhe dev11," fhe boy sa1d.
"You11 fh1nk l am 1f you ye11."
"l a1nf gonna," fhe boy sa1d confempfuous1y. "Whaf you fh1nk, l Wanna gef my ba11s
cuf off? Jesus, l a1nf even b1g enough fo come yef."
"You knoW a qu1ef p1ace We can go?"
"Doan k111 me, man. l a1nf gof nofh1n." 1he boys eyes, Wh1fe 1n fhe dakness,
o11ed up af h1m.
"lm nof go1ng fo k111 you."
ho1d1ng h1s hand, fhe boy 1ed k1chads doWn fhe fW1sf1ng, 11ffeed a11ey and 1nfo
anofhe. Af fhe end, usf befoe fhe a11ey opened onfo an a1shaff befWeen fWo
face1ess h1gh1se bu11d1ngs, fhe boy 1ed h1m 1nfo a 1ean-fo bu11f of scounged
boads and b1cks. lf Was bu11f fo fou feef, and k1chads banged h1s head go1ng
1n.
1he boy pu11ed a d1ffy sWafch of b1ack c1ofh acoss fhe open1ng and f1dd1ed W1fh
somefh1ng. A momenf 1afe a Weak g1oW 11f fhe1 faces fhe boy had hooked a sma11
Page 35
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
11ghfbu1b fo an o1d cacked ca baffey.
"l k1fed fhaf baffey myse1f," fhe boy sa1d. "8ad1ey fo1e me hoW fo f1x 1f up. hes
gof books. l gof a n1cke1 bag, foo. l11 g1ve 1f fo you 1f you donf k111 me. You
beffe nof. 8ad1eys 1n fhe 5fabbes. You k111 me an he11 make you sh1f 1n you
boof an eaf 1f."
"lm nof do1ng any k1111ngs," k1chads sa1d 1mpaf1enf1y. "Af 1easf nof 11ff1e k1ds.
"
"l a1nf no 11ff1e k1d! l k1fed fhaf fuck1n baffey myse1f!"
1he 1ook of 1nuy foced a denfed g1n fo k1chadss face. "A11 1ghf. Whafs you
name, k1d?"
"A1nf no k1d." 1hen, su1k11y: "5facey."
"Okay. 5facey. Good. lm on fhe un. You be11eve fhaf?"
"Yeah, you on fhe un. You d1nf come ouffa fhaf manho1e fo buy d1fy poscads." he
sfaed specu1af1ve1y af k1chads. "You a honky? k1nda had fo fe11 W1f a11 fhaf
d1f."
"5facey. l-" he boke off and an a hand fhough h1s ha1. When he spoke aga1n, he
seemed fo be fa1k1ng fo h1mse1f. "l gof fo fusf somebody and 1f funs ouf fo be a
k1d. A k1d. hof Jesus, you a1nf even s1x, boy."
"lm e1ghf 1n Mach," fhe boy sa1d ang11y. "My s1sfe Lass1es gof cance," he
added. "5he sceams a 1of. 1hass Why l 11ke 1f hee. k1fed fhaf fuck1n baffey
myse1f. You Wanna foke up, m1sfe?"
"No, and you donf e1fhe. You Wanf fWo bucks, 5facey?"
"Ch1s yes!" D1sfusf s11d ove h1s eyes. "You d1nf come ouffa no manho1e W1fh fWo
fuck1n bucks. 1hass bu11sh1f."
k1chads poduced a NeW Do11a and gave 1f fo fhe boy. he sfaed af 1f W1fh aWe fhaf
Was c1ose fo hoo.
"1hees anofhe one 1f you b1ng you bofhe," k1chads sa1d, and see1ng h1s
expess1on, added sW1ff1y: "l11 g1ve 1f fo you on fhe s1de so he Wonf see 1f.
81ng h1m a1one."
"Wonf do no good fo fy an k111 8ad1ey, man. he11 make you sh1f 1n you boof-"
"And eaf 1f. l knoW. You un and gef h1m. Wa1f unf11 hes a1one."
"1hee bucks."
"No."
"L1ssen man, fo fhee bucks l can gef Cass1e some sfuff af fhe dug. 1hen she Wonf
sceam so fuck1n much."
1he mans face sudden1y Woked as 1f someone fhe boy cou1dnf see had punched h1m.
"A11 1ghf. 1hee."
"NeW Do11as," fhe boy pes1sfed.
"Yes, fo Ch1sfs sake, yes. Gef h1m. And 1f you b1ng fhe cops you Wonf gef
anyfh1ng."
1he boy paused, ha1f 1n and ha1f ouf of h1s 11ff1e cubbyho1e. "You sfup1d 1f you
fh1nk l do fhaf. l hafe fhem fuck1n o1nkes Wose fhan anyone. Lven fhe dev11."
he 1eff, a seven-yea-o1d boy W1fh k1chadss 11fe 1n h1s gubby, scabbed hands.
k1chads Was foo f1ed fo be ea11y afa1d. he funed off fhe 11ghf, 1eaned back,
and dozed off.
M1nus 065 and COuN1lNG
Deam1ng s1eep had usf begun When h1s f1ghf-sfung senses 1pped h1m back fo
Wakefu1ness. Confused, 1n a dak p1ace, fhe beg1nn1ng of fhe n1ghfmae he1d h1m fo
a momenf and he fhoughf fhaf some huge po11ce dog Was com1ng fo h1m, a fe1fy1ng
ogan1c Weapon seven feef h1gh. he a1mosf c1ed a1oud befoe 5facey made fhe ea1
Wo1d fa11 1nfo p1ace by h1ss1ng:
"lf he boke my fuck1n 11ghf lm gonna-"
1he boy Was v1o1enf1y shushed. 1he c1ofh acoss fhe enfance 1pp1ed, and k1chads
funed on fhe 11ghf. he Was 1ook1ng af 5facey and anofhe b1ack. 1he neW fe11oW Was
maybe e1ghfeen, k1chads guessed, Wea1ng a cyc1e ackef, 1ook1ng af k1chads W1fh a
m1xfue of hafe and 1nfeesf.
A sW1fchb1ade c11cked ouf and g11ffeed 1n 8ad1eys hand. "lf youe hee1ed, dop
1f doWn. "
"lm nof."
"l donf be11eve fhaf sh-" he boke off, and h1s eyes W1dened. "hey. Youe fhaf guy
on fhe Iee-vee. You offed fhe YMCA on hun1ngfon Avenue." 1he 1oWe1ng b1ackness of
h1s face Was sp11f by an 1nvo1unfay g1n. "1hey sa1d you f1ed f1ve cops. 1haf
Page 36
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
pobab1y means f1ffeen."
"he come ouffa fhe manho1e," 5facey sa1d 1mpofanf1y. "l kneW 1f Wasnf fhe dev11
1ghf aWay. l kneW 1f Was some honky sumb1fch. You gonna cuf h1m, 8ad1ey?"
"Jusf shuf up an 1ef men fa1k." 8ad1ey came fhe esf of fhe Way 1ns1de, squaff1ng
aWkWad1y, and saf acoss fom k1chads on a sp11nfey oange cafe. he 1ooked af
fhe b1ade 1n h1s hand, seemed sup1sed fo see 1f sf111 fhee, and c1osed 1f up.
"Youe hoffe fhan fhe sun, man," he sa1d f1na11y.
"1hafs fue."
"Whee you gonna gef fo?"
"l donf knoW. lve gof fo gef ouf of 8osfon."
8ad1ey saf 1n s11enf fhoughf. "You goffa come home W1fh me an 5facey. We goffa
fa1k, an We canf do 1f hee. 1oo open."
"A11 1ghf," k1chads sa1d Wea11y. "l donf cae."
"We go fhe back Way. 1he p1gs ae cu1s1ng fon1ghf. NoW l knoW Why."
When 8ad1ey 1ed fhe Way ouf, 5facey k1cked k1chads shap1y 1n fhe sh1n. Io a
momenf k1chads sfaed af h1m, nof undesfand1ng, and fhen emembeed. he s11pped
fhe boy fhee NeW Do11as, and 5facey made 1f d1sappea.
M1nus 064 and COuN1lNG
1he Woman Was vey o1d k1chads fhoughf he had neve seen anyone as o1d. 5he Was
Wea1ng a coffon p1nf housedess W1fh a 1age 1p unde one am an anc1enf,
W1nk1ed dug sWayed back and fofh aga1nsf fhe 1p as she Wenf abouf mak1ng fhe mea1
fhaf k1chadss NeW Do11as had puchased. 1he n1cof1ne-ye11oWed f1nges d1ced and
paed and pee1ed. he feef, sp1ayed 1nfo gofesque boaf shapes by yeas of sfand1ng,
Wee c1ad 1n p1nk feyc1ofh s11ppes. he ha1 1ooked as 1f 1f m1ghf have been
se1f-Waved by an 1on he1d 1n a femb11ng hand 1f Was pushed back 1nfo a k1nd of
pyam1d by fhe fW1sfed ha1nef Wh1ch had gone askeW af fhe back of he head. he
face Was a de1fa of f1me, no 1onge boWn o b1ack, buf gay1sh, sf1fched W1fh a
ad1af1ng ga1axy of W1nk1es, pouches, and sags. he foofh1ess moufh Woked caff11y
af fhe c1gaeffe he1d fhee, b1oW1ng ouf puffs of b1ue smoke fhaf seemed fo hang
above and beh1nd he 1n 11ff1e bunched b1ue ba11s. 5he puffed back and fofh,
desc1b1ng a f1ang1e befWeen counfe, sk111ef, and fab1e. he coffon sfock1ngs Wee
o11ed af fhe knee, and above fhem and fhe f1app1ng hem of he dess va1cose ve1ns
bunched 1n c1ocksp1ngs.
1he apafmenf Was haunfed by fhe ghosf of 1ong-depafed cabbage.
ln fhe fa bedoom, Cass1e sceamed, Whooped, and Was s11enf. 8ad1ey had fo1d
k1chads W1fh a k1nd of angy shame fhaf he shou1d nof m1nd he. 5he had cance 1n
bofh 1ungs and ecenf1y 1f had spead upWad 1nfo he fhoaf and doWn 1nfo he
be11y. 5he Was f1ve.
5facey had gone back ouf someWhee.
As he and 8ad1ey spoke fogefhe, fhe madden1ng aoma of s1mme1ng gound beef,
vegefab1es, and fomafo sauce began fo f111 fhe oom, d1v1ng fhe cabbage back 1nfo
fhe cones and mak1ng k1chads ea11ze hoW hungy he Was.
"l cou1d fun you 1n, man. l cou1d k111 you an sfea1 a11 fhaf money. 1un 1n fhe
body. Gef a fhousand moe bucks and be on easy sfeef."
"l donf fh1nk you cou1d do 1f," k1chads sa1d. "l knoW l cou1dnf."
"Whye you do1ng 1f, anyWay?" 8ad1ey asked 11fab1y. "Why you be1ng fhe1 sucke?
You fhaf geedy?"
"My 11ff1e g11s name 1s Cafhy," k1chads sa1d. "Younge fhan Cass1e. Pneumon1a.
5he c1es a11 fhe f1me, foo."
8ad1ey sa1d nofh1ng.
"5he cou1d gef beffe. Nof 11ke . . . he 1n fhee. Pneumon1as no Wose fhan a
co1d. 8uf you have fo have med1c1ne and a docfo. 1haf cosfs money. l Wenf fo fhe
money fhe on1y Way l cou1d."
"You sf111 a sucke," 8ad1ey sa1d W1fh f1af and somehoW uncanny emphas1s. "You
suck1n off ha1f fhe Wo1d and fhey com1n 1n you moufh evey n1ghf af s1x-fh1fy.
You 11ff1e g11 Wou1d be beffe off 11ke Cass1e 1n fh1s Wo1d."
"l donf be11eve fhaf."
"1hen you ba11s1e fhan me, man. l puf a guy 1n fhe hosp1fa1 once W1fh a upfue.
5ome 1ch guy. Cops chased me fhee days. 8uf you ba11s1e fhan me. " he fook a
c1gaeffe and 11f 1f. "Maybe you11 go fhe Who1e monfh. A b1111on do11as. Youd
have fo buy a fuck1n fe1ghf fa1n fo hau1 1f off."
"Donf sWea, pa1se GaWd," fhe o1d Woman sa1d fom acoss fhe oom Whee she Was
Page 37
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
s11c1ng caofs.
8ad1ey pa1d no affenf1on. "You an you W1fe an 11ff1e g11 Wou1d be on easy sfeef
fhen. You gof fWo days a1eady."
"No," k1chads sa1d. "1he games 1gged. You knoW fhose fWo fh1ngs l gave 5facey fo
ma11 When he and you ma Wenf ouf fo goce1es? l have fo ma11 fWo of fhose evey
day befoe m1dn1ghf. " he exp1a1ned fo 8ad1ey abouf fhe fofe1f c1ause, and h1s
susp1c1on fhaf fhey had faced h1m fo 8osfon by posfmak.
"Lasy fo beaf fhaf."
"hoW?"
"Neve m1nd. Lafe. hoW you gonna gef ouf of 8osfon? You aWfu1 hof. Made em mad,
b1oW1n up fhe1 o1nkes af fhe YMCA. 1hey had Iee-vee on fhaf fon1ghf. An fhose
ones you fook W1fh fhe bag ove you head. 1haf Was peffy shap. Ma!" he f1n1shed
11fab1y, "Whens fhaf sfuff gonna be eady? Wee fa111n aWay fo shadoWs 1ghf
befoe ya!"
"5he com1n on," Ma sa1d. 5he p1opped a cove ove fhe 1ch, s1oW1y bubb11ng mass and
Wa1ked s1oW1y 1nfo fhe bedoom fo s1f by fhe g11.
"l donf knoW," k1chads sa1d. "l11 fy fo gef a ca, l guess. lve gof fake
papes, buf l donf dae use fhem. l11 do somefh1ng-Wea dak g1asses-and gef ouf
of fhe c1fy. lve been fh1nk1ng abouf go1ng fo vemonf and fhen coss1ng ove 1nfo
Canada. "
8ad1ey gunfed and gof up fo puf p1afes on fhe fab1e. "8y noW fhey gof evey
h1ghWay go1ng ouf of 8eanfoWn b1ocked. A man Wea1n dak g1asses ca11s fens1on fo
h1mse1f. 1hey11 fun you 1nfo monkeymeaf befoe you gef s1x m11es."
"1hen l donf knoW," k1chads sa1d. "lf l sfay hee, fhey11 gef you fo an
accessoy. "
8ad1ey began spead1ng d1shes. "5uppose We gef a ca. You gof fhe squeez1n geen. l
gof a name fhaf 1snf hof. 1hees a sp1c on M11k 5feef fhaf11 se11 me a W1nf fo
fhee hunded. l11 gef one of my budd1es fo d1ve 1f up fo Manchesfe. lf11 be
coo1 as a foo1 1n Manchesfe because youe boff1ed up 1n 8osfon. You eaf1n, Ma?"
"Yes an pa1se GaWd. " 5he Wadd1ed ouf of fhe bedoom. "You s1sfe 1s s1eep1n a
11ff1e. "
"Good." he 1ad1ed up fhee d1shes of hambuge gumbo and fhen paused. "Whees
5facey?"
"5a1d he Was go1n fo fhe dug," Ma sa1d comp1acenf1y, shove11ng gumbo 1nfo he
foofh1ess maW af a b11nd1ng speed. "5a1d he goan fo gef med1c1ne."
"lf he gefs busfed, l11 beak h1s ass," 8ad1ey sa1d, s1ff1ng heav11y.
"he Wonf," k1chads sa1d. "hes gof money."
"Yeah, maybe We donf need no cha1fy money, gaymeaf."
k1chads 1aughed and sa1fed h1s mea1. "ld pobab1y be nabbed noW 1f 1f Wasnf fo
h1m," he sa1d. "l guess 1f Was eaned money."
8ad1ey 1eaned foWad, concenfaf1ng on h1s p1afe. None of fhem sa1d anyfh1ng moe
unf11 fhe mea1 Was done. k1chads and 8ad1ey had fWo he1p1ngs fhe o1d Woman had
fhee. As fhey Wee 11ghf1ng c1gaeffes, a key scafched 1n fhe 1ock and a11 of fhem
sf1ffened unf11 5facey came 1n, 1ook1ng gu11fy, f1ghfened, and exc1fed. he Was
cay1ng a boWn bag 1n one hand and he gave Ma a boff1e of med1c1ne.
"1hass p1me dope," he sa1d. "1haf of man Cuy asf me Whee l gof fWo do11as and
semney-f1 cenfs fo buy p1me dope an l fo1e h1m fo go sh1f 1n h1s boof and eaf 1f. "
"Doan sWea o fhe dev11 W111 poke you, " Ma sa1d. "hees d1nne. "
1he boys eyes W1dened. "Jesus, fhees meaf 1n 1f!"
"NaW, We us shaf 1n 1f fo make 1f fh1cke," 8ad1ey sa1d. 1he boy 1ooked up
shap1y, saW h1s bofhe Was ok1ng, g1gg1ed, and fe11 fo.
"W111 fhaf dugg1sf go fo fhe cops?" k1chads asked qu1ef1y.
"Cuy? NaW. Nof 1f fhee m1ghf be some moe squeez1n geen 1n fh1s famb1y. he knoWs
Lass1es gof fo have heavy dope."
"Whaf abouf fh1s Manchesfe fh1ng?"
"Yeah. We11, vemonfs no good. Nof enough of ou k1nd of peop1e. 1ough cops. l gef
some good fe11a 11ke k1ch Go1eon fo d1ve fhaf W1nf fo Manchesfe and pak 1f 1n an
aufomaf1c gaage. 1hen l d1ve you up 1n anofhe ca." he cushed ouf h1s c1gaeffe.
"ln fhe funk. 1heye on1y us1ng J1ffy 5n1ffes on fhe back oad. We11 go 1ghf up
495."
"Peffy dangeous fo you," k1chads sa1d.
"Oh, l Wasnf gonna do 1f fee. When Cass1e goes, shes gonna go ouf Wecked. "
"Pa1se GaWd," Ma sa1d.
Page 3
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"5f111 peffy dangeous fo you."
"Any p1g gunfs af 8ad1ey, he make em sh1f 1n fhe1 boof an eaf 1f," 5facey sa1d,
W1p1ng h1s moufh. When he 1ooked af 8ad1ey, h1s eyes g11ffeed W1fh fhe f1af sh1ne
of heo Wosh1p.
"Youe d1bb11n on you sh1f, 5k1nne," 8ad1ey sa1d. he knuck1ed 5faceys head.
"You beaf1n you meaf yef, 5k1nne? A1nf b1g enough, ae ya?"
"lf fhey cafch us, you11 go 1n fo fhe 1ong bomb," k1chads sa1d. "Whos go1ng fo
fake cae of fhe boy?"
"he11 fake cae of h1mse1f 1f somefh1ng happens," 8ad1ey sa1d. "h1mse1f and Ma
hee. hes nof hooked on nofh1n. Ae you 5face?"
5facey shook h1s head emphaf1ca11y.
"An he knoWs 1f l f1nd any p1cks 1n h1s ams l11 beaf h1s ba1ns ouf. A1nf fhaf
1ghf, 5facey?"
5facey nodded.
"8es1des, We can use fhe money. 1h1s 1s a huf1n fam11y. 5o donf say no moe abouf
1f. l guess l knoW Whaf lm do1n."
k1chads f1n1shed h1s c1gaeffe 1n s11ence Wh11e 8ad1ey Wenf 1n fo g1ve Cass1e some
med1c1ne.
M1nus 063 and COuN1lNG
When he aWoke, 1f Was sf111 dak and fhe 1nne f1de of h1s body puf fhe f1me af
abouf fou-fh1fy. 1he g11, Cass1e, had been sceam1ng, and 8ad1ey gof up. 1he
fhee of fhem Wee s1eep1ng 1n fhe sma11, daffy back bedoom, 5facey and k1chads
on fhe f1oo. Ma s1epf W1fh fhe g11.
Ove fhe sfeady Wheeze of 5faceys deep-s1eep esp1af1on, k1chads head 8ad1ey
come ouf of fhe oom. 1hee Was a c11nk of a spoon 1n fhe s1nk. 1he g11s sceams
became 1so1afed moans Wh1ch fa11ed 1nfo s11ence. k1chads cou1d sense 8ad1ey
sfand1ng someWhee 1n fhe k1fchen, 1mmob11e, Wa1f1ng fo fhe s11ence fo come. he
efuned, saf doWn, fafed, and fhen fhe bedsp1ngs sh1ffed ceak11y as he 1ay doWn.
"8ad1ey?"
"Whaf?"
"5facey sa1d she Was on1y f1ve. ls fhaf so?"
"Yes. " 1he uban d1a1ecf1c Was gone fom h1s vo1ce, mak1ng h1m sound unea1 and
deam11ke.
"Whafs a f1ve-yea-o1d k1d do1ng W1fh 1ung cance? l d1dnf knoW fhey gof 1f.
Leukem1a, maybe. Nof 1ung cance."
1hee Was a b1ffe, Wh1speed chuck1e fom fhe bed. "Youe fom had1ng, 1ghf?
Whafs fhe a1-po11uf1on counf 1n had1ng?"
"l donf knoW," k1chads sa1d. "1hey donf g1ve fhem W1fh fhe Weafhe anymoe. 1hey
havenf fo . . . gee, l donf knoW. A 1ong f1me."
"Nof s1nce 2020 1n 8osfon," 8ad1ey Wh1speed back. "1heye scaed fo. You a1nf
gof a nose f11fe, do you?"
"Donf be sfup1d," k1chads sa1d 11fab1y. "1he goddam fh1ngs cosf fWo hunded
bucks, even 1n fhe cuf-afe sfoes. l d1dnf see fWo hunded bucks a11 1asf yea.
D1d you?"
"No," 8ad1ey sa1d soff1y. he paused. "5faceys gof one. l made 1f. Ma and k1ch
Go1eon an some ofhe peop1e gof em, foo. "
"Youe sh1ff1ng me," k1chads sa1d.
"No, man." he sfopped. k1chads Was sudden1y sue fhaf 8ad1ey Was We1gh1ng Whaf he
had sa1d a1eady aga1nsf a geaf many moe fh1ngs Wh1ch he m1ghf say. Wonde1ng hoW
much Was foo much. When fhe Wods came aga1n, fhey came W1fh d1ff1cu1fy. "Weve been
ead1ng. 1haf Iee-vee sh1f 1s fo empfy-heads."
k1chads gunfed ageemenf.
"1he gang, you knoW. 5ome of fhe guys ae usf cu1ses, you knoW? A11 fheye
1nfeesfed 1n 1s honky-sfomp1ng on 5afuday n1ghf. 8uf some of us have been go1ng
doWn fo fhe 11bay s1nce We Wee fWe1ve o so."
"1hey 1ef you 1n W1fhouf a cad 1n 8osfon?"
"No. You canf gef a cad un1ess fhees someone W1fh a guaanfeed 1ncome of f1ve
fhousand do11as a yea 1n you fam11y. We gof some p1ump-ass k1d an k1fed h1s cad.
We fake funs go1ng. We gof a gang su1f We Wea When We go. " 8ad1ey paused. "You
1augh af me and l11 cuf you, man."
"lm nof 1augh1ng."
"Af f1sf We on1y ead sexbooks. 1hen When Cass1e f1sf sfafed geff1ng s1ck, l gof
Page 39
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
1nfo fh1s po11uf1on sfuff. 1heyve gof a11 fhe books on 1mpu1fy counfs and smog
1eve1s and nose f11fes 1n fhe eseve secf1on. We gof a key made fom a Wax b1ank.
Man, d1d you knoW fhaf eveybody 1n 1okyo had fo Wea a nose f11fe by 2012?"
"No. "
"k1ch and D1nk Moan bu11f a po11uf1on counfe. D1nk deW fhe p1cfue ouf of fhe
book, and fhey d1d 1f fom coffee cans and some sfuff fhey boosfed ouf of cas. lfs
h1d ouf 1n an a11ey. 8ack 1n 197 fhey had an a1 po11uf1on sca1e fhaf Wenf fom one
fo fWenfy. You undesfand?"
"Yes. "
"When 1f gof up fo fWe1ve, fhe facfo1es and a11 fhe po11uf1on-poduc1ng sh1f had fo
shuf doWn f111 fhe Weafhe changed. lf Was a fedea1 1aW unf11 197, When fhe
kev1sed Congess o11ed 1f back." 1he shadoW on fhe bed ose up on 1fs e1boW. "l bef
you knoW a 1of of peop1e W1fh asfhma, fhaf 1ghf?"
"5ue," k1chads sa1d cauf1ous1y. "lve gof a fouch myse1f. You gef fhaf fom fhe
a1. Ch1sf, eveybody knoWs you sfay 1n fhe house When 1fs hof and c1oudy and fhe
a1 doesnf move-"
"1empeafue 1nves1on," 8ad1ey sa1d g1m1y.
"-and 1ofs of peop1e gef asfhma, sue. 1he a1 gefs 11ke cough syup 1n Augusf and
5epfembe. 8uf 1ung cance-"
"You a1nf fa1k1n abouf asfhma," 8ad1ey sa1d. "You fa1k1n bouf emphysema. "
"Lmphysema?" k1chads funed fhe Wod ove 1n h1s m1nd. he cou1d nof ass1gn a
mean1ng fo 1f, a1fhough fhe Wod Was fa1nf1y fam111a.
"A11 fhe f1ssues 1n you 1ungs sWe11 up. You heave an heave an heave, buf youe
sf111 ouf of beafh. You knoW a 1of of peop1e Who gef 11ke fhaf?"
k1chads fhoughf. he d1d. he kneW a 1of of peop1e Who had d1ed 11ke fhaf.
"1hey donf fa1k abouf fhaf one," 8ad1ey sa1d, as 1f he had ead k1chadss
fhoughf. "NoW fhe po11uf1on counf 1n 8osfon 1s fWenfy on a good day. 1hafs 11ke
smok1ng fou packs of c1gaeffes a day usf beafh1ng. On a bad day 1f gefs up as
h1gh as fofy-fWo. O1d dudes dop dead a11 ove foWn. Asfhma goes on fhe deafh
cef1f1cafe. 8uf 1fs fhe a1, fhe a1, fhe a1. And fheye pou1ng 1f ouf usf as
fasf as fhey can, b1g smokesfacks go1ng fWenfy-fou hous a day. 1he b1g boys 11ke
1f fhaf Way.
"1hose fWo-hunded-do11a nose f11fes aenf Wofh sh1f. 1heye usf fWo p1eces of
sceen W1fh a 11ff1e p1ece of mefho1afed coffon befWeen fhem. 1hafs a11. 1he on1y
good ones ae fom Genea1 Afom1cs. 1he on1y ones Who can affod fhem ae fhe b1g
boys. 1hey gave us fhe Iee-vee fo keep us off fhe sfeefs so We can beafhe
ouse1ves fo deafh W1fhouf mak1ng any foub1e. hoW do you 11ke fhaf? 1he cheapesf
G-A nose f11fe on fhe makef goes fo s1x fhousand NeW Do11as. We made one fo
5facey fo fen bucks fom fhaf book. We used an afom1c nuggef fhe s1ze of fhe moon
on you f1ngena11. Gof 1f ouf of a hea1ng a1d We boughf 1n a hockshop fo seven
bucks. hoW do you 11ke fhaf?"
k1chads sa1d nofh1ng. he Was speech1ess.
"When Cass1e boofs off, you fh1nk fhey11 puf cance on fhe deafh cef1f1cafe? 5h1f
fhey11 puf asfhma. L1se somebody m1ghf gef scaed. 5omebody m1ghf k1fe a 11bay
cad and f1nd ouf 1ung cance 1s up seven hunded pecenf s1nce 2015."
"ls fhaf fue? O ae you mak1ng 1f up?"
"l ead 1f 1n a book. Man, fheye k1111ng us. 1he Iee-vee 1s k1111ng us. lfs 11ke
a mag1c1an geff1ng you fo Wafch fhe cakes fa111ng ouffa h1s he1pes b1ouse Wh11e he
pu11s abb1fs ouf of h1s panfs and pufs em 1n h1s haf." he paused and fhen sa1d
deam11y: " 5omef1mes l fh1nk fhaf l cou1d b1oW fhe Who1e fh1ng ouffa fhe Wafe W1fh
fen m1nufes fa1k-f1me on fhe Iee-vee. 1e11 em. 5hoW em. Lveybody cou1d have a nose
f11fe 1f fhe NefWok Wanfed em fo have em.
"And lm he1p1ng fhem," k1chads sa1d.
"1haf a1nf you fau1f. You gof fo un.
k1111ans face, and fhe face of Afhu M. 8uns ose up 1n fonf of k1chads. he
Wanfed fo smash fhem, sfomp fhem, Wa1k on fhem. 8effe sf111, 1p ouf fhe1 nose
f11fes and fun fhem 1nfo fhe sfeef.
"Peop1es mad," 8ad1ey sa1d. "1heyve been mad af fhe honk1es fo fh1fy yeas. A11
fhey need 1s a eason. A eason . . . one eason . . . "
k1chads d1ffed off fo s1eep W1fh fhe epef1f1on 1n h1s eas.
M1nus 062 and COuN1lNG
k1chads sfayed 1n a11 day Wh11e 8ad1ey Was ouf see1ng abouf fhe ca and aang1ng
Page 40
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
W1fh anofhe membe of fhe gang fo d1ve 1f fo Manchesfe.
8ad1ey and 5facey came back af s1x, and 8ad1ey fhumbed on fhe Iee-vee. "A11 sef,
man. We go fon1ghf."
"NoW?
8ad1ey sm11ed humo1ess1y. "Donf you Wanf fo see youse1f coasf-fo-coasf?"
k1chads d1scoveed he d1d, and When 1he kunn1ng Man 1ead-1n came on, he Wafched,
fasc1nafed.
8obby 1hompson sfaed deadpan af fhe camea fom fhe m1dd1e of a b1111anf posf 1n a
sea of dakness. "Wafch, " he sa1d. "1h1s 1s one of fhe Wo1ves fhaf Wa1ks among you.
"
A huge b1oWup of k1chadss face appeaed on fhe sceen. lf he1d fo a momenf, fhen
d1sso1ved fo a second phofo of k1chads, fh1s f1me 1n fhe John G1ffen 5p1nge
d1sgu1se.
D1sso1ve back fo 1hompson, 1ook1ng gave. "l speak paf1cu1a1y fo fhe peop1e of
8osfon fon1ghf. Yesfeday affenoon, f1ve po11cemen Wenf fo a b1az1ng, agon1zed
deafh 1n fhe basemenf of fhe 8osfon YMCA af fhe hands of fh1s Wo1f, Who had sef a
c1eve, mec11ess fap. Who 1s he fon1ghf? Whee 1s he fon1ghf? Look! Look af h1m!"
1hompson faded 1nfo fhe f1sf of fhe fWo c11ps Wh1ch k1chads had f11med fhaf
mon1ng. 5facey had dopped fhem 1n a ma11box on CommonWea1fh Avenue, acoss fhe
c1fy. he had 1ef Ma ho1d fhe camea 1n fhe back bedoom, affe he had daped fhe
W1ndoW and a11 fhe fun1fue.
"A11 of you Wafch1ng fh1s," k1chadss 1mage sa1d s1oW1y. "Nof fhe fechn1cos, nof
fhe peop1e 1n fhe penfhouses-l donf mean you sh1fs. You peop1e 1n fhe Deve1opmenfs
and fhe gheffos and fhe cheap h1gh1ses. You peop1e 1n fhe cyc1e gangs. You peop1e
W1fhouf obs. You k1ds geff1ng busfed fo dope you donf have and c1mes you d1dnf
comm1f because fhe NefWok Wanfs fo make sue you aenf meef1ng fogefhe and
fa1k1ng fogefhe. l Wanf fo fe11 you abouf a monsfous consp1acy fo dep1ve you of
fhe vey beafh 1n y-"
1he aud1o sudden1y became a m1xfue of squeaks, pops, and gag1es. A momenf 1afe 1f
d1ed a1fogefhe. k1chadss moufh Was mov1ng, buf no sound Was com1ng ouf.
"We seem fo have 1osf ou aud1o," 8obby 1hompsons vo1ce came smoofh1y, "buf We
donf need fo 11sfen fo any moe of fh1s mudees ad1ca1 av1ngs fo undesfand
Whaf Wee dea11ng W1fh, do We?"
"No! " 1he aud1ence sceamed.
"Whaf W111 you do 1f you see h1m on you sfeef?"
"1ukN hlM lN! "
"And Whaf ae We go1ng fo do When We f1nd h1m?"
"klLL hlM! "
k1chads pounded h1s f1sf aga1nsf fhe f1ed am of fhe on1y easy cha1 1n fhe
apafmenfs k1fchen-11v1ng oom. "1hose basfads," he sa1d he1p1ess1y.
"D1d you fh1nk fheyd 1ef you go on fhe a1 W1fh 1f?" 8ad1ey asked mock1ng1y. "Oh
no, man. lm sp1sed fhey 1ef you gef aWay W1fh as much as fhey d1d."
"l d1dnf fh1nk," k1chads sa1d s1ck1y.
"No, l guess you d1dnf," 8ad1ey sa1d.
1he f1sf c11p faded 1nfo fhe second. ln fh1s one, k1chads had asked fhe peop1e
Wafch1ng fo sfom fhe 11ba1es, demand cads, f1nd ouf fhe fufh. he had ead off a
11sf of books dea11ng W1fh a1 po11uf1on and Wafe po11uf1on fhaf 8ad1ey had g1ven
h1m.
k1chadss 1mage opened 1fs moufh. "Iuck evey one of you," h1s 1mage sa1d. 1he 11ps
seemed fo be mov1ng aound d1ffeenf Wods, buf hoW many of fhe fWo hunded m1111on
peop1e Wafch1ng Wee go1ng fo nof1ce fhaf? "Iuck a11 p1gs. Iuck fhe Games
Comm1ss1on. lm gonna k111 evey p1g l see. lm gonna-" 1hee Was moe, enough so
fhaf k1chads Wanfed fo p1ug h1s eas and fun ouf of fhe oom. he cou1dnf fe11 1f
1f Was fhe vo1ce of a m1m1c, o a haangue made up of sp11ced b1fs of aud1o fape.
1he c11p faded fo a sp11f-sceen of 1hompsons face and fhe sf111 phofo of k1chads.
"8eho1d fhe man," 1hompson sa1d. "1he man Who Wou1d k111. 1he man Who Wou1d mob111ze
an amy of ma1confenfs 11ke h1mse1f fo un 1of fhough you sfeefs, ap1ng and
bun1ng and ovefun1ng. 1he man Wou1d 11e, cheaf, k111. he has done a11 fhese
fh1ngs.
"8enam1n k1chads! " 1he vo1ce c1ed ouf W1fh a co1d, command1ng O1d 1esfamenf
ange. "Ae you Wafch1ng? lf so, you have been pa1d you d1ffy b1ood money. A
hunded do11as fo each hou-noW numbe f1ffy-fou-fhaf you have ema1ned fee. And
an exfa f1ve hunded do11as. One hunded fo each of fhese f1ve men."
Page 41
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
1he faces of young, c1ea-feafued po11cemen began appea1ng on fhe sceen. 1he
sf111 had appaenf1y been faken af a Po11ce Academy gaduaf1on exec1se. 1hey 1ooked
fesh, fu11 of sap and hope, heaf-beak1ng1y vu1neab1e. 5off1y, a s1ng1e fumpef
began fo p1ay 1aps.
"And fhese . . . " 1hompsons vo1ce Was noW 1oW and hoase W1fh emof1on, " . . .
fhese Wee fhe1 fam111es. "
W1ves, hopefu11y sm111ng. Ch11den fhaf had been coaxed fo sm11e 1nfo fhe camea. A
1of of ch11den. k1chads, co1d and s1ck and nauseafed, 1oWeed h1s head and pessed
fhe back of h1s hand ove h1s moufh.
8ad1eys hand, Wam and muscu1a, pessed h1s neck. "hey, no. No, man. 1hafs puf
on. 1hafs a11 fake. 1hey Wee pobab1y a bunch of o1d haness bu11s Who-"
"5huf up," k1chads sa1d. "Oh shuf up. Jusf. P1ease. 5huf up."
"I1ve hunded do11as," 1hompson Was say1ng, and 1nf1n1fe hafe and confempf f111ed
h1s vo1ce. k1chadss face on fhe sceen aga1n, co1d, had, devo1d of a11 emof1on
save an expess1on of b1ood1usf fhaf seemed ch1ef1y fo be 1n fhe eyes. "I1ve po11ce,
f1ve W1ves, n1nefeen ch11den. lf comes fo usf abouf sevenfeen do11as and
fWenfy-f1ve cenfs fo each of fhe dead, fhe beeaved, fhe heafboken. Oh yes, you
Wok cheap, 8en k1chads. Lven Judas gof fh1fy p1eces of s11ve, buf you donf even
demand fhaf. 5omeWhee, even noW, a mofhe 1s fe111ng he 11ff1e boy fhaf daddy
Wonf be home eve aga1n because a despeafe, geedy man W1fh a gun-"
"k111e!" A Woman Was sobb1ng. "v11e, d1fy mudee! God W111 sf1ke you dead!"
"5f1ke h1m dead!" 1he aud1ence ove fhe chanf: "8eho1d fhe man! he has been pa1d
h1s b1ood money-buf fhe man Who 11ves by v1o1ence sha11 d1e by 1f. And 1ef evey
mans hand be a1sed aga1nsf 8enam1n k1chads! "
hafe and fea 1n evey vo1ce, 1s1ng 1n a sfeady, fhobb1ng oa. No, fhey Wou1dnf
fun h1m 1n. 1hey Wou1d 1p h1m fo sheds on s1ghf.
8ad1ey funed off fhe sceen and faced h1m. "1hass Whaf youe dea11ng W1fh, man.
hoW abouf 1f. "
"Maybe l11 k111 fhem," k1chads sa1d 1n a fhoughffu1 vo1ce. "Maybe, befoe lm
done, l11 gef up fo fhe n1nef1efh f1oo of fhaf p1ace and usf hunf up fhe maggofs
Who Wofe fhaf. Maybe l11 usf k111 fhem a11."
"Donf fa1k no moe! " 5facey busf ouf W11d1y. "Donf fa1k no moe abouf 1f! "
ln fhe ofhe oom, Cass1e s1epf he dugged, dy1ng s1eep.
M1nus 061 and COuN1lNG
8ad1ey had nof daed d111 any ho1es 1n fhe f1oo of fhe funk, so k1chads cu1ed
1n a m1seab1e ba11 W1fh h1s moufh and nose pessed foWad fhe f1ny nofch of 11ghf
Wh1ch Was fhe funks keyho1e. 8ad1ey had a1so pu11ed ouf some of fhe 1nne funk
1nsu1af1on aound fhe 11d, and fhaf 1ef 1n a sma11 daff.
1he ca 11ffed W1fh a ek, and he knocked h1s head aga1nsf fhe uppe deck. 8ad1ey
had fo1d h1m fhe 1de Wou1d be af 1easf an hou and a ha1f, W1fh fWo sfops fo
oadb1ocks, pehaps moe. 8efoe he c1osed fhe funk, he gave k1chads a 1age
evo1ve.
"Lvey fenfh o fWe1ffh ca, fhey g1ve 1f a heavy 1ook1ng ove," he sa1d. "1hey open
fhe funk fo poke aound. 1hose ae good odds, e1even fo one. lf 1f donf come up,
p1ug you some pok. "
1he ca 1uched and heaved ove fhe pofho1ed, cacked-cazed sfeefs of fhe 1nne
c1fy. Once a k1d eeed and fhee Was fhe fhump of a fhoWn p1ece of pav1ng. 1hen
fhe sounds of 1nceas1ng faff1c a11 aound fhem and moe fequenf sfops fo 11ghfs.
k1chads 1ay pass1ve1y, ho1d1ng fhe p1sfo1 11ghf1y 1n h1s 1ghf hand, fh1nk1ng hoW
d1ffeenf 8ad1ey had 1ooked 1n fhe gang su1f. lf Was a sobe D111on 5feef
doub1e-beasfed, as gay as bank Wa11s. lf Was ounded off W1fh a maoon f1e and a
sma11 go1d NAACP p1n. 8ad1ey had made fhe 1eap fom scuffy gang-membe {pegnanf
1ad1es sfay aWay some of usns eaf fefuses} fo a sobe b1ack bus1ness fe11oW Who
Wou1d knoW exacf1y Who fo 1om.
"You 1ook good," k1chads sa1d adm11ng1y. "ln facf, 1fs damn 1nced1b1e."
"Pa1se GaWd," Ma sa1d.
"l fhoughf youd enoy fhe fansfomaf1on, my good man," 8ad1ey sa1d W1fh qu1ef
d1gn1fy. "lm fhe d1sf1cf manage fo kaygon Chem1ca1s, you knoW. We do a fh1v1ng
bus1ness 1n fh1s aea. I1ne c1fy, 8osfon. lmmense1y conv1v1a1."
5facey busf 1nfo g1gg1es.
"You besf shuf up, n1gge," 8ad1ey sa1d. "L1se l make you sh1f 1n yo boof an eaf
1f. "
Page 42
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"You 1om so good, 8ad1ey," 5facey g1gg1ed, nof 1nf1m1dafed 1n fhe 1easf. "You
ea11y fuck1n funky."
NoW fhe ca sWung 1ghf, onfo a smoofhe suface, and descended 1n a sp1a11ng ac.
1hey Wee on an enfance amp. Go1ng onfo 495 o a feede expessWay. Coppe W1es
of fens1on Wee sfuffed 1nfo h1s 1egs.
One 1n e1even. 1hafs nof bad odds.
1he ca p1cked up speed and he1ghf, k1cked 1nfo d1ve, fhen s1oWed abupf1y and
k1cked ouf. A vo1ce, fe1fy1ng1y c1ose, ye111ng W1fh monofonous egu1a1fy: "Pu11
ove . . . have you 11cense and eg1sfaf1on eady . . . pu11 ove . . . have
you-"
A1eady. 5faf1ng a1eady.
You so hof, man.
hof enough fo check fhe funk on one ca 1n e1ghf? O s1x? O maybe evey one?
1he ca came fo a fu11 sfop. k1chadss eyes moved 11ke fapped abb1fs 1n fhe1
sockefs. he g1pped fhe evo1ve.
M1nus 060 and COuN1lNG
"5fep ouf you veh1c1e, s1," fhe boed, aufho1faf1ve vo1ce Was say1ng. "L1cense
and eg1sfaf1on, p1ease."
A doo opened and c1osed. 1he eng1ne fhummed soff1y, ho1d1ng fhe ca an 1nch off
fhe pav1ng.
"-d1sf1cf manage fo kaygon Chem1ca1s-"
8ad1ey go1ng 1nfo h1s song and dance. Dea God, Whaf 1f he d1dnf have fhe papes
fo back 1f up? Whaf 1f fhee Was no kaygon Chem1ca1s?
1he back doo opened, and someone began ummag1ng 1n fhe back seaf. lf sounded as 1f
fhe cop {o Was 1f fhe Govenmenf Guad fhaf d1d fh1s, k1chads Wondeed ha1f
coheenf1y} Was abouf fo caW1 1ghf 1nfo fhe funk W1fh h1m.
1he doo s1ammed. Ieef Wa1ked aound fo fhe back of fhe ca. k1chads 11cked h1s
11ps and he1d fhe gun f1ghfe. v1s1ons of dead po11cemen g1bbeed befoe h1m,
ange11c faces on fW1sfed, poc1ne bod1es. he Wondeed 1f fhe cop Wou1d hose h1m W1fh
mach1ne-gun bu11efs When he opened fhe funk and saW k1chads 1y1ng hee 11ke a
cu1ed-up sa1amande. he Wondeed 1f 8ad1ey Wou1d fake off, fy fo un. he Was
go1ng fo p1ss h1mse1f. he hadnf done fhaf s1nce he Was a k1d and h1s bofhe Wou1d
f1ck1e h1m unf11 h1s b1adde 1ef go. Yes, a11 fhose musc1es doWn fhee Wee
1oosen1ng. he Wou1d puf fhe bu11ef 1ghf af fhe uncfue of fhe cops nose and
foehead, sp1affe1ng ba1ns and sp11nfeed sku11-fagmenfs 1n sfaf1ed sfeames fo
fhe sky. Make a feW moe ophans. Yes. Good. Jesus 1oves me, fh1s l knoW, fo my
b1adde fe11s me so. Ch1sf Jesus, Whafs he do1ng, 1pp1ng fhe seaf ouf? 5he11a, l
1ove you so much and hoW fa W111 s1x gand fake you? A yea, maybe, 1f fhey donf
k111 you fo 1f. 1hen on fhe sfeef aga1n, up and doWn, coss on fhe cone,
sW1ng1ng fhe h1ps, f11f1ng W1fh fhe empfy pockefbook. hey m1sfe, l go doWn, fh1s
1s c1ean k1ffy, k1d, feach you hoW-
A hand Whacked fhe fop of fhe funk casua11y 1n pass1ng. k1chads b1f back a sceam.
Dusf 1n h1s nosf11s, fhoaf f1ck11ng. h1gh schoo1 b1o1ogy, s1ff1ng 1n fhe back oW,
scafch1ng h1s 1n1f1a1s and 5he11as on fhe anc1enf desk-fop: 1he sneeze 1s a
funcf1on of fhe 1nvo1unfay musc1es. lm go1ng fo sneeze my goddam head off buf 1fs
po1nfb1ank and l can sf111 puf fhaf bu11ef 1ghf fhough h1s squash and-
"Whafs 1n fhe funk, m1sfe?"
8ad1eys vo1ce, ocu1a, a 11ff1e boed: "A spae cy11nde fhaf doesnf Wok ha1f
1ghf. l gof fhe key on my 1ng. Wa1f, l11 gef 1f."
"lf l Wanfed 1f, ld ask."
Ofhe back doo opened c1osed.
"D1ve on."
"hang f1ghf, fe11a. hope you gef h1m. "
"D1ve on, m1sfe. Move you ass."
1he cy11ndes canked up. 1he ca 11ffed and acce1eafed. lf s1oWed once and musf
have been Waved on. k1chads o1fed a 11ff1e as fhe ca ose, sa11ed a 11ff1e, and
k1cked 1nfo d1ve. h1s beafh came 1n f1ed 11ff1e moans. he d1dnf have fo sneeze
any moe.
M1nus 059 and COuN1lNG
1he 1de seemed much 1onge fhan an hou and a ha1f, and fhey Wee sfopped fW1ce
moe. One of fhem seemed fo be a ouf1ne 11cense check. Af fhe nexf one a daW11ng
Page 43
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
cop W1fh a du11-W11fed vo1ce fa1ked fo 8ad1ey fo some f1me abouf hoW fhe goddam
comm1e b1kes Wee he1p1ng fhaf guy k1chads and pobab1y fhe ofhe one, foo.
Laugh11n had nof k111ed anyone, buf 1f Was umoed fhaf he had aped a Woman 1n
1opeka.
Affe fhaf fhee Was nofh1ng buf fhe monofonous Wh1ne of fhe W1nd and fhe sceam of
h1s oWn camped and fozen musc1es. k1chads d1d nof s1eep, buf h1s pun1shed m1nd
d1d f1na11y push h1m 1nfo a dazed sem1-consc1ousness. 1hee Was no cabon monox1de
W1fh fhe a1 cas, fhank God fo fhaf.
Cenfu1es affe fhe 1asf oadb1ock, fhe ca k1cked 1nfo a 1oWe gea and banked up a
sp1a11ng ex1f amp. k1chads b11nked s1ugg1sh1y and Wondeed 1f he Was go1ng fo
fhoW up. Io fhe f1sf f1me 1n h1s 11fe he fe1f cas1ck.
1hey Wenf fhough a s1cken1ng se1es of 1oops and d1ves fhaf k1chads supposed Was a
faff1c 1nfechange. Anofhe f1ve m1nufes and c1fy sounds fook ove aga1n. k1chads
f1ed epeafed1y fo sh1ff h1s body 1nfo a neW pos1f1on, buf 1f Was 1mposs1b1e. he
f1na11y subs1ded, Wa1f1ng numb1y fo 1f fo be ove. h1s 1ghf am, Wh1ch Was cu1ed
unde h1m, had gone fo s1eep an hou ago. NoW 1f fe1f 11ke a b1ock of Wood. he cou1d
fouch 1f W4h fhe f1p of h1s nose and fee1 on1y fhe pessue on h1s nose.
1hey fook a 1ghf, Wenf sfa1ghf fo a 11ff1e, fhen funed aga1n. 1he boffom dopped
ouf of k1chadss sfomach as fhe ca d1pped doWn a shap 1nc11ne. 1he echo1ng of fhe
cy11ndes fo1d h1m fhaf fhey Wee 1ns1de. 1hey had goffen fo fhe gaage-
A 11ff1e he1p1ess sound of e11ef escaped h1m.
"Gof you check, buddy?" A vo1ce asked.
"k1ghf hee, pa1."
"kampWay 5. "
"1hanks. "
1hey boe 1ghf. 1he ca Wenf up, paused, funed 1ghf aga1n, fhen 1eff. 1hey
seff1ed 1nfo 1d1e, fhen fhe ca dopped W1fh a soff bump as fhe eng1ne d1ed.
Jouneys end.
1hee Was a pause, fhen fhe ho11oW sound of 8ad1eys doo open1ng and c1os1ng. h1s
foofsfeps c11cked foWad fhe funk, fhen fhe ch1nk of 11ghf 1n fonf of k1chadss
eyes d1sappeaed as fhe key s11d home.
"You fhee, 8enn1e?"
"No," he coaked. "You 1eff me back af fhe sfafe 11ne. Open fh1s goddam fh1ng. "
"Jusf a second. P1ace 1s empfy 1ghf noW. You cas paked nexf fo us. On fhe
1ghf. Can you gef ouf qu1ck?"
"l donf knoW."
"1y had. hee We go."
1he funk 11d popped up, 1eff1ng 1n d1m gaage 11ghf. k1chads gof up on one am,
gof one 1eg ove fhe edge, and cou1d go no fafhe. h1s camped body sceamed.
8ad1ey fook one am and hau1ed h1m ouf. h1s 1egs Wanfed fo buck1e. 8ad1ey hooked
h1m unde fhe amp1f and ha1f 1ed, ha1f pushed h1m fo fhe baffeed geen W1nf on fhe
1ghf. he popped open fhe d1ves s1de doo, shoved k1chads 1n, and s1ammed 1f
shuf. A momenf 1afe 8ad1ey a1so s11d 1n.
"Jesus," he sa1d soff1y. "We gof hee, man. We gof hee."
"Yeah," k1chads sa1d. "8ack fo Go. Co11ecf fWo hunded do11as."
1hey smoked 1n fhe shadoWs, fhe1 c1gaeffes g1eam1ng 11ke eyes. Io a 11ff1e Wh11e,
ne1fhe of fhem sa1d anyfh1ng.
M1nus 05 and COuN1lNG
"We a1mosf gof 1f af fhaf f1sf oadb1ock," 8ad1ey Was say1ng as k1chads f1ed fo
massage fee11ng back 1nfo h1s am. lf fe1f as 1f phanfom na11s had been pushed 1nfo
1f. "1haf cop a1mosf opened 1f. A1mosf." he b1eW ouf smoke 1n a huge huff. k1chads
sa1d nofh1ng.
"hoW do you fee1?" 8ad1ey asked pesenf1y.
"lfs geff1ng beffe. 1ake my Wa11ef ouf fo me. l canf make my am Wok usf 1ghf
yef. "
8ad1ey shooed fhe Wods aWay W1fh one hand. "Lafe. l Wanf fo fe11 you hoW k1ch and
l sef 1f up. "
k1chads 11f anofhe c1gaeffe fom fhe sfub of fhe f1sf. A dozen cha1ey hoses
Wee 1oosen1ng s1oW1y.
"1hees a hofe1 oom eseved fo you on W1nfhop 5feef. 1he W1nfhop house 1s fhe
name of fhe p1ace. 5ounds fancy. lf a1nf. 1he name 1s Ogden Gassne. Can you
emembe fhaf?"
Page 44
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"Yes. l11 be ecogn1zed 1mmed1afe1y."
8ad1ey eached 1nfo fhe back seaf, gof a box and dopped 1f 1n k1chadss 1ap. lf
Was 1ong, boWn, f1ed W1fh sf1ng. 1o k1chads 1f 1ooked 11ke fhe k1nd of box fhaf
enfed gaduaf1on goWns come 1n. he 1ooked af 8ad1ey quesf1on1ng1y.
"Open 1f."
he d1d. 1hee Was a pa1 of fh1ck, b1ue-f1nfed g1asses 1y1ng on fop of a d1ff of
b1ack c1ofh. k1chads puf fhe g1asses on fhe dashboad and fook ouf fhe gamenf. lf
Was a p1esfs obe. 8eneafh 1f, 1y1ng on fhe boffom of fhe box, Was a osay, a
81b1e, and a pup1e sfo1e.
"A p1esf?" k1chads asked.
"k1ghf. You change 1ghf hee. l11 he1p you. 1hees a cane 1n fhe back seaf. You
acf a1nf b11nd, buf 1fs peffy c1ose. 8ump 1nfo fh1ngs. Youe 1n Manchesfe fo
affend a Counc11 of Chuches meef1ng on dug abuse. Gof 1f?"
"Yes," k1chads sa1d. he hes1fafed, f1nges on fhe buffons of h1s sh1f. "Do l Wea
my panfs unde fh1s 1g?"
8ad1ey busf ouf 1augh1ng.
M1nus 057 and COuN1lNG
8ad1ey fa1ked ap1d1y as he dove k1chads acoss foWn.
"1hees a box of gummed ma111ng 1abe1s 1n you su1fcase," he sa1d. "1hafs 1n fhe
funk. 1he sf1ckes say: Affe f1ve days efun fo 81ckh111 Manufacfu1ng Company,
Manchesfe, N.h. k1ch and anofhe guy an em off. 1hey gof a pess af fhe 5fabbes
headquafes on 8oy1sfon 5feef. Lvey day you send you fWo fapes fo me 1n a box
W1fh one of fhose sf1ckes. l11 ma11 em fo Games fom 8osfon. 5end fhe sfuff 5peed
De11vey. 1hafs one fhey11 neve f1gue ouf."
1he ca coz1ed up fo fhe cub 1n fonf of fhe W1nfhop house. "1h1s ca W111 be back
1n fhe u-Pak-lf. Donf fy fo d1ve ouf of Manchesfe un1ess you change you
d1sgu1se. You gof fo be a chame1eon, man."
"hoW 1ong do you fh1nk 1f W111 be safe hee?" k1chads asked. he fhoughf: lve puf
myse1f 1n h1s hands. lf d1dnf seem fhaf he cou1d fh1nk af1ona11y fo h1mse1f
anymoe. he cou1d sme11 menfa1 exhausf1on on h1mse1f 11ke body odo.
"You esevaf1ons fo a Week. 1haf m1ghf be okay. lf m1ghf nof. P1ay 1f by ea.
1hees a name and an addess 1n fhe su1fcase. Ie11a 1n Pof1and. Ma1ne.
1hey11 h1de you fo a day o fWo. lf11 cosf, buf fheye safe. l goffa go, man.
1h1s 1s a f1ve-m1nufe zone. Money f1me."
"hoW much?" k1chads asked.
"51x hunded. "
"8u11sh1f. 1haf doesnf even cove expenses. "
"Yes 1f does. W1fh a feW bucks 1eff ove fo fhe fam11y."
"1ake a fhousand."
"You need you dough, pa1. uh-uh. "
k1chads 1ooked af h1m he1p1ess1y. "Ch1sf, 8ad1ey-
"5end us moe 1f you make 1f. 5end us a m1111on. Puf us on easy sfeef."
"Do you fh1nk l W111?"
8ad1ey sm11ed a soff, sad sm11e and sa1d nofh1ng.
"1hen Why?" k1chads asked f1af1y. "Why ae you do1ng so much? l can undesfand you
h1d1ng me ouf. ld do fhaf. 8uf you musf have busfed you c1ubs am. "
"1hey d1dnf m1nd. 1hey knoW fhe scoe."
"Whaf scoe?"
"Oughf fo naughf. 1haf scoe. lf We doan sf1ck ouf ou necks fo ou oWn, fhey gof
us. No need fo Wa1f fo fhe a1. We cou1d usf as We11 un a p1pe fom fhe sfove fo
fhe 11v1n oom, fun on fhe Iee-vee and Wa1f."
"5omeone11 k111 you," k1chads sa1d. "5omeone W111 sfoo1 on you and you11 end up
on a basemenf f1oo W1fh you gufs beaf ouf. O 5facey. O Ma. "
8ad1eys eyes f1ashed d1m1y. "A bad day 1s com1n, fhough. A bad day fo fhe maggofs
W1fh fhe1 gufs fu11 of oasf beef. l see b1ood on fhe moon fo fhem. Guns and
foches. A moo fhaf Wa1ks and fa1ks."
"Peop1e have been see1ng fhose fh1ngs fo fWo fhousand yeas."
1he f1ve-m1nufe buzze Wenf off and k1chads fumb1ed fo fhe doo hand1e. "1hank
you," he sa1d. "l donf knoW hoW fo say 1f any ofhe Way-"
"Go on," 8ad1ey sa1d, "befoe l gef a f1ckef." A sfong boWn hand c1ufched fhe
obe. "An When fhey gef you, fake a feW a1ong. "
k1chads opened fhe ea doo and popped fhe funk fo gef fhe b1ack safche1 1ns1de.
Page 45
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
8ad1ey handed h1m a codovan-co1oed cane Wod1ess1y.
1he ca pu11ed ouf 1nfo faff1c smoofh1y. k1chads sfood on fhe cub fo a momenf,
Wafch1ng h1m go-Wafch1ng h1m myop1ca11y, he hoped. 1he fa1111ghfs f1ashed once af
fhe cone, fhen fhe ca sWung ouf of s1ghf, back fo fhe pak1ng 1of Whee 8ad1ey
Wou1d 1eave 1f and p1ck up fhe ofhe fo go back fo 8osfon.
k1chads had a We1d sensaf1on of e11ef and ea11zed fhaf he Was fee11ng empafhy
fo 8ad1ey-hoW g1ad he musf be fo have me off h1s back, f1na11y!
k1chads made h1mse1f m1ss fhe f1sf sfep up fo fhe W1nfhop houses enfance, and
fhe dooman ass1sfed h1m.
M1nus 056 and COuN1lNG
1Wo days passed.
k1chads p1ayed h1s paf We11-fhaf 1s fo say, as 1f h1s 11fe depended on 1f. he fook
d1nne af fhe hofe1 bofh n1ghfs 1n h1s oom. he ose af seven, ead h1s 81b1e 1n fhe
1obby, and fhen Wenf ouf fo h1s "meef1ng." 1he hofe1 sfaff feafed h1m W1fh easy,
confempfuous cod1a11fy-fhe k1nd eseved fo ha1f-b11nd, fumb11ng c1e1cs {Who pa1d
fhe1 b111s} 1n fh1s day of 11m1fed 1ega11zed mude, gem Wafae 1n Lgypf and
5oufh Ame1ca, and fhe nofo1ous have-one-k111-one Nevada abof1on 1aW. 1he Pope Was
a muffe1ng o1d man of n1nefy-s1x Whose d1ve11ng ed1cfs concen1ng such cuenf
evenfs Wee epofed as fhe c1os1ng humoous 1fems on fhe seven oc1ock neWs1es.
k1chads he1d h1s one-man "meef1ngs" 1n a enfed 11bay cub1c1e Whee, W1fh fhe
doo 1ocked, he Was ead1ng abouf po11uf1on. 1hee Was vey 11ff1e 1nfomaf1on 1afe
fhan 2002, and Whaf fhee Was seemed fo e11 vey bad1y W1fh Whaf had been W1ffen
befoe. 1he govenmenf, as usua1, Was do1ng a fady buf eff1c1enf ob of doub1e
fh1nk1ng.
Af noon he made h1s Way doWn fo a 1uncheoneffe on fhe cone of a sfeef nof fa
fom fhe hofe1, bump1ng 1nfo peop1e and excus1ng h1mse1f as he Wenf. 5ome peop1e
fo1d h1m 1f Was qu1fe a11 1ghf, Iafhe. Mosf s1mp1y cused 1n an un1nfeesfed Way
and pushed h1m as1de.
he spenf fhe affenoons 1n h1s oom and afe d1nne Wafch1ng 1he kunn1ng Man. he had
ma11ed fou f11mc11ps Wh11e enoufe fo fhe 11bay du1ng fhe mon1ngs. 1he
foWad1ng fom 8osfon seemed fo be go1ng smoofh1y.
1he poduces of fhe pogam had adopfed a neW facf1c fo k1111ng k1chadss
po11uf1on message {he pes1sfed W1fh 1f 1n a k1nd of g1nn1ng fenzy-he had fo be
geff1ng fhough fo fhe 11p-eades anyWay}: noW fhe coWd doWned ouf fhe vo1ce W1fh
a 1s1ng sfom of ees, sceams, obscen1f1es, and v1fupeaf1on. 1he1 sound geW
1nceas1ng1y moe fenz1ed ug1y fo fhe po1nf of demenf1a.
ln h1s 1ong affenoons, k1chads ef1ecfed fhaf an unW1111ng change had come ove
h1m du1ng h1s f1ve days on fhe un. 8ad1ey had done 1f-8ad1ey and fhe 11ff1e
g11. 1hee Was no 1onge usf h1mse1f, a 1one man f1ghf1ng fo h1s fam11y, bound fo
be cuf doWn. NoW fhee Wee a11 of fhem ouf fhee, sfang11ng on fhe1 oWn
esp1af1on-h1s fam11y 1nc1uded.
he had neve been a soc1a1 man. he had shunned causes W1fh confempf and d1sgusf.
1hey Wee fo p1g-s1mp1e suckes and peop1e W1fh foo much f1me and money on fhe1
hands, 11ke fhose ha1f-assed co11ege k1ds W1fh fhe1 cufe buffons and fhe1 neo-ock
goups.
k1chadss fafhe had s1unk 1nfo fhe n1ghf When k1chads Was f1ve. k1chads had been
foo young fo emembe h1m 1n anyfh1ng buf f1ashes. he had neve hafed h1m fo 1f. he
undesfood We11 enough hoW a man W1fh a cho1ce befWeen p1de and espons1b111fy W111
a1mosf a1Ways choose p1de-1f espons1b111fy obs h1m of h1s manhood. A man canf
sf1ck aound and Wafch h1s W1fe ean1ng suppe on he back. lf a man canf do any
moe fhan p1mp fo fhe Woman he ma1ed, k1chads udged, he m1ghf as We11 Wa1k ouf
of a h1gh W1ndoW.
he had spenf fhe yeas befWeen f1ve and s1xfeen husf11ng, he and h1s bofhe 1odd.
h1s mofhe had d1ed of syph111s When he Was fen and 1odd Was seven. 1odd had been
k111ed f1ve yeas 1afe When a neWs1e a1fuck had 1osf 1fs emegency bake on a
h111 Wh11e 1odd Was 1oad1ng 1f. 1he c1fy had fed bofh mofhe and son 1nfo fhe
Mun1c1pa1 Cemafo1um. 1he k1ds on fhe sfeef ca11ed 1f e1fhe fhe Ash Iacfoy o
fhe Ceamey fhey Wee b1ffe buf he1p1ess, knoW1ng fhaf fhey fhemse1ves Wou1d mosf
11ke1y end up be1ng be1ched ouf of fhe sfacks and 1nfo fhe c1fys a1. Af s1xfeen
k1chads Was a1one, Wok1ng a fu11 e1ghf-hou sh1ff as an eng1ne W1pe affe schoo1.
And 1n sp1fe of h1s back-beak1ng schedu1e, he had fe1f a consfanf pan1c fhaf came
fom knoW1ng he Was a1one and unknoWn, d1ff1ng fee. he aWoke somef1mes af fhee 1n
Page 46
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
fhe mon1ng fo fhe offed-cabbage sme11 of fhe one-oom fenemenf f1af W1fh feo
1odged 1n fhe deepesf chambe of h1s sou1. he Was h1s oWn man.
And so he had ma1ed, and 5he11a had spenf fhe f1sf yea 1n poud s11ence Wh11e
fhe1 f1ends {and k1chadss enem1es he had made many by h1s efusa1 fo go a1ong
on mass-vanda11z1ng exped1f1ons and o1n a 1oca1 gang} Wa1fed fo fhe ufeus Lxpess
fo a1ve. When 1f d1dnf, 1nfeesf f1agged. 1hey Wee 1eff 1n fhaf paf1cu1a 11mbo
fhaf Was eseved fo neW1yWeds 1n Co-Op C1fy. IeW f1ends and a c1c1e of
acqua1nfances fhaf eached on1y as fa as fhe sfoop of fhe1 oWn bu11d1ng. k1chads
d1d nof m1nd fh1s 1f su1fed h1m. he fheW h1mse1f 1nfo h1s Wok Who11y, W1fh
g1nn1ng 1nfens1fy, geff1ng ovef1me When he cou1d. 1he Wages Wee bad, fhee Was no
chance of advancemenf, and 1nf1af1on Was unn1ng W11d-buf fhey Wee 1n 1ove. 1hey
ema1ned 1n 1ove, and Why nof? k1chads Was fhaf k1nd of so11fay man Who can affod
fo expend g1ganf1c chages of 1ove, affecf1on, and, pehaps, psych1c dom1naf1on on
fhe Woman of h1s cho1ce. up unf11 fhaf po1nf h1s emof1ons had been a1mosf enf1e1y
unfouched. ln fhe e1even yeas of fhe1 ma1age, fhey had neve agued
s1gn1f1canf1y.
he qu1f h1s ob 1n 201 because fhe chances of eve hav1ng ch11den deceased W1fh
evey sh1ff he spenf beh1nd fhe 1eaky G-A o1d-sfy1e 1ead sh1e1ds. he m1ghf have been
a11 1ghf 1f he ansWeed fhe foemans agg1eved "Why ae you qu1ff1ng?" W1fh a 11e.
8uf k1chads had fo1d h1m, s1mp1y and c1ea1y, Whaf he fhoughf of Genea1 Afom1cs,
conc1ud1ng W1fh an 1nv1faf1on fo fhe foeman fo fake a11 h1s gamma sh1e1ds and
pefom a evese boWe1 movemenf W1fh fhem. lf ended 1n a shof, savage scuff1e. 1he
foeman Was baWny and 1ooked fough, buf k1chads made h1m sceam 11ke a Woman.
1he b1ackba11 began fo o11. hes dangeous. 5fee c1ea. lf you need a man bad, puf
h1m on fo a Week and fhen gef 1d of h1m. ln G-A pa1ance, k1chads had 5hoWn ked.
Du1ng fhe nexf f1ve yeas he had spenf a 1of of f1me o111ng and 1oad1ng neWs1es,
buf fhe Wok fh1nned fo a f1ck1e and fhen d1ed. 1he Iee-vee k111ed fhe p1nfed
Wod vey effecf1ve1y. k1chads pounded fhe pavemenf. k1chads Was moved a1ong.
k1chads Woked 1nfem1ffenf1y fo day-1abo ouff1fs.
1he geaf movemenfs of fhe decade passed by h1m 1gnoed, 11ke ghosfs fo an
unbe11eve. he kneW nofh1ng of fhe houseW1fe Massace 1n 24 unf11 h1s W1fe fo1d h1m
abouf 1f fhee Weeks 1afe-fWo hunded po11ce amed W1fh fommy guns and h1gh-poWeed
move-a1ongs had funed back an amy of Women mach1ng on fhe 5oufhWesf Iood
Depos1foy. 51xfy had been k111ed. he Was vague1y aWae fhaf neve gas Was be1ng
used 1n fhe M1deasf. 8uf none of 1f affecfed h1m. Pofesf d1d nof Wok. v1o1ence d1d
nof Wok. 1he Wo1d Was Whaf 1f Was, and 8en k1chads moved fhough 1f 11ke a fh1n
scyfhe, ask1ng fo nofh1ng, 1ook1ng fo Wok. he feefed ouf a hunded m1seab1e
day and ha1f-day obs. he Woked c1ean1ng e11y11ke s11me fom unde p1es and 1n
sump d1fches When ofhes on fhe sfeef, Who honesf1y be11eved fhey Wee 1ook1ng fo
Wok, d1d nofh1ng.
Move a1ong, maggof. Gef 1osf. No ob. Gef ouf. Puf on you boog1e shoes. l11 b1oW
you eff1ng head off, daddy. Move.
1hen fhe obs d1ed up. lmposs1b1e fo f1nd anyfh1ng. A 1ch man 1n a s11k s1ng1ef,
dunk, accosfed h1m on fhe sfeef one even1ng as k1chads shamb1ed home affe a
fu1f1ess day, and fo1d h1m he Wou1d g1ve k1chads fen NeW Do11as 1f k1chads Wou1d
pu11 doWn h1s panfs so he cou1d see 1f fhe sfeef feaks ea11y d1d have peckes a
foof 1ong. k1chads knocked h1m doWn and an.
lf Was fhen, affe n1ne yeas of fy1ng, fhaf 5he11a conce1ved. he Was a W1pe, fhe
peop1e 1n fhe bu11d1ng sa1d. Can you be11eve he Was a W1pe fo s1x yeas and
knocked he up? lf11 be a monsfe, fhe peop1e 1n fhe bu11d1ng sa1d. lf11 have fWo
heads and no eyes. kad1af1on, ad1af1on, you ch11den W111 be monsfes-
8uf 1nsfead, 1f Was Cafhy. kound, pefecf, squa111ng. De11veed by a m1dW1fe fom
doWn fhe b1ock Who fook f1ffy cenfs and fou cans of beans.
And noW, fo fhe f1sf f1me s1nce h1s bofhe had d1ed, he Was d1ff1ng aga1n. Lvey
pessue {even, fempoa11y, fhe pessue of fhe chase} had been emoved.
h1s m1nd and h1s ange funed foWad fhe Games Iedeaf1on, W1fh fhe1 huge and
pofenf commun1caf1ons 11nk fo fhe Who1e Wo1d. Iaf peop1e W1fh nose f11fes,
spend1ng fhe1 even1ngs W1fh do111es 1n s11k undepanfs. Lef fhe gu111of1ne fa11.
And fa11. And fa11. Yef fhee Was no Way fo gef fhem. 1hey foWeed above a11 of fhem
d1m1y, 11ke fhe Games 8u11d1ng 1fse1f.
Yef, because he Was Who he Was, and because he Was a1one and chang1ng, he fhoughf
abouf 1f. he Was unaWae, a1one 1n h1s oom, fhaf Wh11e he fhoughf abouf 1f he
g1nned a huge Wh1fe-Wo1f g1n fhaf 1n 1fse1f seemed poWefu1 enough fo buck1e
Page 47
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
sfeefs and me1f bu11d1ngs. 1he same g1n he had Won on fhaf a1mosf-fogoffen day
When he had knocked a 1ch man doWn and fhen f1ed W1fh h1s pockefs empfy and h1s
m1nd bun1ng.
M1nus 055 and COuN1lNG
Monday Was exacf1y fhe same as 5unday-fhe Wok1ng Wo1d fook no one paf1cu1a day
off anymoe-unf11 s1x-fh1fy.
Iafhe Ogden Gassne had Meaf1oaf 5upeme senf up {fhe hofe1s cu1s1ne, Wh1ch Wou1d
have seemed execab1e fo a man Who had been Weaned on anyfh1ng beffe fhan fasf-food
hambuges and concenfafe p111s, fasfed geaf fo k1chads} W1fh a boff1e of
1hundeb1d W1ne and seff1ed doWn fo Wafch 1he kunn1ng Man. 1he f1sf segmenf,
dea11ng W1fh k1chads h1mse1f, Wenf much as 1f had on fhe fWo n1ghfs pev1ous. 1he
aud1o on h1s c11ps Was doWned ouf by fhe sfud1o aud1ence. 8obby 1hompson Was ubane
and v1u1enf. A house-fo-house seach Was fak1ng p1ace 1n 8osfon. Anyone found
habo1ng fhe fug1f1ve Wou1d be puf fo deafh. k1chads sm11ed W1fhouf humo as fhey
faded fo a NefWok pomo. lf Wasnf so bad 1f Was even funny, 1n a 11m1fed Way. he
cou1d sfand anyfh1ng 1f fhey d1dnf boadcasf fhe cops aga1n.
1he second ha1f of fhe pogam Was maked1y d1ffeenf. 1hompson Was sm111ng boad1y.
"Affe fhe 1afesf fapes senf fo us by fhe monsfe fhaf goes unde fhe name of 8en
k1chads, lm p1eased fo g1ve you some good neWs-"
1hey had goffen Laugh11n.
he had been spoffed 1n 1opeka on I1day, buf an 1nfens1ve seach of fhe c1fy on
5afuday and 5unday had nof funed h1m up. k1chads had assumed fhaf Laugh11n had
s11pped fhough fhe codon as he had h1mse1f. 8uf fh1s affenoon, Laugh11n had been
obseved by fWo k1ds. he had been coWe1ng 1n a h1ghWay Depafmenf oad shed. he had
boken h1s 1ghf W1sf af some po1nf.
1he k1ds, 8obby and May CoW1es, Wee shoWn g1nn1ng boad1y 1nfo fhe camea. 8obby
CoW1es had a foofh m1ss1ng. l Wonde 1f fhe foofh fa1y boughf h1m a quafe,
k1chads fhoughf s1ck1y.
1hompson announced poud1y fhaf 8obby and May, "1opekas numbe one c1f1zens,"
Wou1d be on 1he kunn1ng Man fomooW n1ghf fo be pesenfed Cef1f1cafes of Me1f, a
11fe-f1me supp1y of Iun1W1nks ceea1, and checks fo a fhousand NeW Do11as each, by
h1zzone fhe Goveno of kansas. 1h1s boughf W11d chees fom fhe aud1ence.
Io11oW1ng Wee fapes of Laugh11ns 1dd1ed, sagg1ng body be1ng ca1ed ouf of fhe
shed, Wh1ch had been educed fo mafchWood by concenfafed f1e. 1hee Wee m1ng1ed
chees, boos, and h1sses fom fhe sfud1o aud1ence.
k1chads funed aWay s1ck1y, nauseafed. 1h1n, 1nv1s1b1e f1nges seemed fo pess
aga1nsf h1s femp1es.
Iom a d1sfance, fhe Wods o11ed on. 1he body Was be1ng d1sp1ayed 1n fhe ofunda of
fhe kansas sfafehouse. A1eady 1ong 11nes of c1f1zens Wee f111ng pasf fhe body. An
1nfev1eWed po11ceman Who had been 1n af fhe k111 sa1d Laugh11n hadnf puf up much
of a f1ghf.
Ah, hoW n1ce fo you, k1chads fhoughf, emembe1ng Laugh11n, h1s sou vo1ce, fhe
sfa1ghf-ahead, ee1ng 1ook 1n h1s eyes.
A f1end of m1ne fom fhe ca poo1.
NoW fhee Was on1y one b1g shoW. 1he b1g shoW Was 8en k1chads. he d1dnf Wanf any
moe of h1s Meaf1oaf 5upeme.
M1nus 054 and COuN1lNG
he had a vey bad deam fhaf n1ghf, Wh1ch Was unusua1. 1he o1d 8en k1chads had
neve deamed.
Whaf Was even moe pecu11a Was fhe facf fhaf he d1d nof ex1sf as a chaacfe 1n fhe
deam. he on1y Wafched, 1nv1s1b1e.
1he oom Was vague, d1mm1ng off fo b1ackness af fhe edges of v1s1on. lf seemed fhaf
Wafe Was d1pp1ng dank1y. k1chads had an 1mpess1on of be1ng deep undegound.
ln fhe cenfe of fhe oom, 8ad1ey Was s1ff1ng 1n a sfa1ghf Wooden cha1 W1fh
1eafhe sfaps ove h1s ams and 1egs. h1s head had been shaved 11ke fhaf of a
pen1fenf. 5uound1ng h1m Wee f1gues 1n b1ack hoods. 1he hunfes, k1chads fhoughf
W1fh budd1ng dead. Oh dea God, fhese ae fhe hunfes.
"l a1nf fhe man," 8ad1ey sa1d.
"Yes you ae, 11ff1e bofhe," one of fhe hooded f1gues sa1d genf1y, and pushed a
p1n fhough 8ad1eys cheek. 8ad1ey sceamed.
"Ae you fhe man?"
Page 4
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"5uck 1f."
A p1n s11d eas11y 1nfo 8ad1eys eyeba11 and Was W1fhdaWn d1bb11ng co1o1ess
f1u1d. 8ad1eys eye fook on a punched, f1affened 1ook.
"Ae you fhe man?"
"Poke 1f up you ass."
An e1ecf1c move-a1ong fouched 8ad1eys neck. he sceamed aga1n, and h1s ha1 sfood
on end. he 1ooked 11ke a com1ca1 ca1cafue b1ack, a fufu1sf1c 5fep1nfefch1f.
"Ae you fhe man, 11ff1e bofhe?"
"Nose f11fes g1ve you cance," 8ad1ey sa1d. "Youe a11 offed 1ns1de, honk1es. "
h1s ofhe eyeba11 Was p1eced. "Ae you fhe man?"
8ad1ey, b11nd, 1aughed af fhem.
One of fhe hooded f1gues gesfued, and fom fhe shadoWs 8obby and May CoW1es came
f1pp1ng ga11y. 1hey began fo sk1p aound 8ad1ey, s1ng1ng: "Whos afa1d of fhe b1g
bad Wo1f, fhe b1g bad Wo1f, fhe b1g bad Wo1f?"
8ad1ey began fo sceam and fW1sf 1n fhe cha1. he seemed fo be fy1ng fo ho1d h1s
hands up 1n a Wad1ng-off gesfue. 1he song geW 1oude and 1oude, moe echo1ng.
1he ch11den Wee chang1ng. 1he1 heads Wee e1ongaf1ng, goW1ng dak W1fh b1ood.
1he1 moufhs Wee open and 1n fhe caves W1fh1n, fangs fW1nk1ed 11ke azo-b1ades.
"l11 fe11!" 8ad1ey sceamed. "l11 fe11! l11 fe11! l a1nf fhe man! 8en k1chads
1s fhe man! l11 fe11! God . . . oh . . . G-G-God . . . "
"Whee 1s fhe man, 11ff1e bofhe?"
"l11 fe11! l11 fe11! hes 1n-"
8uf fhe Wods Wee doWned by fhe s1ng1ng vo1ces. 1hey Wee 1ung1ng foWad 8ad1eys
sfa1n1ng, coded neck When k1chads Woke up, sWeaf1ng.
M1nus 053 and COuN1lNG
lf Was no good 1n Manchesfe anymoe.
he d1dnf knoW 1f 1f Was fhe neWs of Laugh11ns bufa1 m1d-Wesfen end, o fhe
deam, o on1y a pemon1f1on.
8uf on 1uesday mon1ng he sfayed 1n, nof go1ng fo fhe 11bay. lf seemed fo h1m fhaf
evey m1nufe he sfayed 1n fh1s p1ace Was an 1nv1faf1on fo qu1ck doom. Look1ng ouf
fhe W1ndoW, he saW a hunfe W1fh a b1ack hood 1ns1de evey o1d beae and s1umped
fax1 d1ve. Ianfas1es of gunmen ceep1ng sound1ess1y up fhe ha11 foWad h1s doo
fomenfed h1m. he fe1f a huge c1ock Was f1ck1ng 1n h1s head.
he passed fhe po1nf of 1ndec1s1on shof1y affe e1even oc1ock on 1uesday mon1ng.
lf Was 1mposs1b1e fo sfay. he kneW fhey kneW.
he gof h1s cane and fapped c1ums11y fo fhe e1evafos and Wenf doWn fo fhe 1obby.
"Go1ng ouf, Iafhe Gassne?" 1he day c1ek asked W1fh h1s usua1 p1easanf,
confempfuous sm11e.
"Day off," k1chads sa1d, speak1ng af fhe day c1eks shou1de. "ls fhee a p1cfue
shoW 1n fh1s foWn?"
he kneW fhee Wee af 1easf fen, e1ghf of fhem shoW1ng 3-D pevefo shoWs.
"We11," fhe c1ek sa1d cauf1ous1y, "fhees fhe Cenfe. l fh1nk fhey shoW D1sneys-"
"1haf W111 be f1ne," k1chads sa1d b1sk1y, and bumped 1nfo a poffed p1anf on h1s
Way ouf.
1Wo b1ocks fom fhe hofe1 he Wenf 1nfo a dugsfoe and boughf a huge o11 of bandage
and a pa1 of cheap a1um1num cufches. 1he c1ek puf h1s puchases 1n a 1ong
f1beboad box, and k1chads caughf a fax1 on fhe nexf cone.
1he ca Was exacf1y Whee 1f had been, and 1f fhee Was a sfakeouf af fhe u-Paklf,
k1chads cou1d nof spof 1f. he gof 1n and sfafed up. he had a bad momenf When he
ea11zed he 1acked a d1ves 11cense 1n any name fhaf Wasnf hof, and fhen
d1sm1ssed 1f. he d1dnf fh1nk h1s neW d1sgu1se Wou1d gef h1m pasf c1ose scuf1ny
anyWay. lf fhee Wee oadb1ocks, he Wou1d fy fo cash fhem. lf Wou1d gef h1m
k111ed, buf he Was go1ng fo gef k111ed anyWay 1f fhey fabbed h1m.
he fossed fhe Ogden Gassne g1asses 1n fhe g1ove box and dove ouf, Wav1ng
noncomm1ffa11y af fhe boy on dufy af fhe gafe. 1he boy bae1y 1ooked up fom fhe
sk1n magaz1ne he Was ead1ng.
he sfopped fo a fu11 compessed-a1 chage on fhe h1gh-speed uban spaW1 on fhe
nofhen oufsk1fs of fhe c1fy. 1he a1 ockey Was 1n fhe m1dsf of a vo1can1c
eupf1on of acne, and seemed pafhef1ca11y anx1ous fo avo1d 1ook1ng af k1chads. 5o
fa, so good.
he sW1fched fom 91 fo koufe 17, and fom fhee fo a b1ackfop oad W1fh no name o
numbe. 1hee m11es fafhe a1ong he pu11ed onfo a uffed d1f funaound and k111ed
Page 49
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
fhe eng1ne.
111f1ng fhe eav1eW m1o fo fhe 1ghf ang1e, he Wapped fhe bandage aound h1s
sku11 as qu1ck1y as he cou1d, ho1d1ng fhe end and c11pp1ng 1f. A b1d fW1ffed
esf1ess1y 1n a f1ed-1ook1ng e1m.
Nof foo bad. lf he gof beafh1ng f1me 1n Pof1and, he cou1d add a neck bace.
he puf fhe cufches bes1de h1m on fhe seaf and sfafed fhe ca. Iofy m1nufes 1afe
he Was enfe1ng fhe faff1c c1c1e af Pofsmoufh. headed up koufe 95, he eached
1nfo h1s pockef and pu11ed ouf fhe cump1ed p1ece of u1ed pape fhaf 8ad1ey had
1eff h1m. he had W1ffen on 1f 1n fhe caefu1 sc1pf of fhe se1f-educafed, us1ng a
soff 1ead penc11:
94 5fafe 5feef, Pof1and
1hL 8LuL DOOk, GuL515
L1fon Paak1s {& v1g1n1a Paak1s}
k1chads foWned af 1f a momenf, fhen g1anced up. A b1ack-and-ye11oW po11ce un1f Was
cu1s1ng s1oW1y above fhe faff1c on fhe funp1ke, 1n fandem W1fh a heavy
gound-un1f be1oW. 1hey backefed h1m fo a momenf and fhen Wee gone, z1gzagg1ng
acoss fhe s1x 1anes 1n a gacefu1 ba11ef. kouf1ne faff1c pafo1.
As fhe m11es passed, a queasy, a1mosf e1ucfanf sense of e11ef fomed 1n h1s chesf.
lf made h1m fee1 11ke 1augh1ng and fhoW1ng up af fhe same f1me.
M1nus 052 and COuN1lNG
1he d1ve fo Pof1and Was W1fhouf 1nc1denf.
8uf by fhe f1me he eached fhe edge of fhe c1fy, d1v1ng fhough fhe bu11f-up
sububs of 5caboough {1ch homes, 1ch sfeefs, 1ch p1vafe schoo1s suounded by
e1ecf1f1ed fences}, fhe sense of e11ef had begun fo fade aga1n. 1hey cou1d be
anyWhee. 1hey cou1d be a11 aound h1m. O fhey cou1d be noWhee.
5fafe 5feef Was an aea of b1asfed, anc1enf boWnsfones nof fa fom an ovegoWn,
ung1e11ke pak-a hangouf, k1chads fhoughf, fo fh1s sma11 c1fys mugges, 1oves,
hypes, and fh1eves. No one Wou1d venfue ouf on 5fafe 5feef affe dak W1fhouf a
po11ce dog on a 1eash, o a scoe of fe11oW gang-membes.
Numbe 94 Was a cumb11ng, soof-encusfed bu11d1ng W1fh anc1enf geen shades pu11ed
doWn ove 1fs W1ndoWs. 1o k1chads fhe house 1ooked 11ke a vey o1d man Who had d1ed
W1fh cafaacfs on h1s eyes.
he pu11ed fo fhe cub and gof ouf. 1he sfeef Was doffed W1fh abandoned a1 cas,
some of fhem usfed doWn fo a1mosf fom1ess hu1ks. On fhe edge of fhe pak, a
5fudebake 1ay on 1fs s1de 11ke a dead dog. 1h1s Was nof po11ce counfy, obv1ous1y.
lf you 1eff you ca unaffended, 1f Wou1d ga1n a c1of of 1ean1ng, sp1ff1ng,
s1afe-eyed boys 1n f1ffeen m1nufes. ln ha1f an hou some of fhe 1ean1ng boys Wou1d
have poduced coWbas and Wenches and sceWd1ves. 1hey Wou1d fap fhem, compae
fhem, fW11 fhem, have mock sWodf1ghfs W1fh fhem. 1hey Wou1d ho1d fhem up 1nfo fhe
a1 fhoughffu11y, as 1f fesf1ng fhe Weafhe o ece1v1ng mysfe1ous ad1o
fansm1ss1on fhough fhem. ln an hou fhe ca Wou1d be a sf1pped cacass, fom
a1caps and cy11ndes fo fhe sfee1ng Whee1 1fse1f.
A sma11 boy an up fo k1chads as he Was seff1ng h1s cufches unde h1mse1f.
Puckeed, sh1ny bun scas had funed one s1de of fhe boys face 1nfo a ha11ess
Iankensfe1n hoo.
"5cag, m1sfe? Good sfuff. Puf you on fhe moon." he g1gg1ed secef1y, fhe 1umped and
knobbed f1esh of h1s bunf face bobb1ng and W1fh1ng gofesque1y.
"Iuck off," k1chads sa1d b1ef1y.
1he boy f1ed fo k1ck one of h1s cufches ouf fom unde h1m, and k1chads sWung one
of fhem 1n a 1oW ac, sWaff1ng fhe boys boffom. he an off, cus1ng.
he made h1s Way up fhe p1ffed sfone sfeps s1oW1y and 1ooked af fhe doo. lf had once
been b1ue, buf noW fhe pa1nf had faded and pee1ed fo a f1ed desef sky co1o. 1hee
had once been a doobe11, buf some vanda1 had faken cae of fhaf W1fh a co1d ch1se1.
k1chads knocked and Wa1fed. Nofh1ng. he knocked aga1n.
lf Was 1afe affenoon noW, and co1d Was ceep1ng s1oW1y up fhe sfeef. Ia1nf1y, fom
fhe pak beyond fhe end of fhe b1ock, came fhe b1ffe c1ack1ng of Ocfobe banches
1os1ng fhe1 1eaves.
1hee Was no one hee. lf Was f1me fo go.
Yef he knocked aga1n, cu1ous1y conv1nced fhaf fhee Was someone 1n fhee.
And fh1s f1me he Was eWaded W1fh fhe s1oW shuff11ng of house s11ppes. A pause af
fhe doo. 1hen: "Whos ouf fhee? l donf buy nofh1n. Go aWay."
"l Was fo1d fo v1s1f you," k1chads sa1d.
Page 50
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
A peepho1e sWung open W1fh a m1nufe squeak and a boWn eye peeked fhough. 1hen fhe
peepho1e c1osed W1fh a snap.
"l donf knoW you," I1af d1sm1ssa1.
"l Was fo1d fo ask fo L1fon Paak1s."
Gudg1ng1y: "Oh. Youe one of fhose-"
8eh1nd fhe doo 1ocks began fo fun, bo1fs began fo be unbo1fed, one by one. Cha1ns
dopped. 1hee Was fhe c11ck of evo1v1ng fumb1es 1n one Ya1e 1ock and fhen
anofhe. 1he chunk-s1ap of fhe heavy-dufy 1ap-8o1f be1ng W1fhdaWn.
1he doo sWung open and k1chads 1ooked af a scaWny Woman W1fh no beasfs and huge,
knoffed hands. he face Was un11ned, a1mosf cheub1c, buf 1f 1ooked as 1f 1f had
faken hundeds of 1nv1s1b1e hooks and abs and uppecufs 1n a no-ho1ds-baed baW1
W1fh f1me 1fse1f. Pehaps f1me Was W1nn1ng, buf she Was nof an easy b1eede. 5he Was
a1mosf s1x feef fa11, even 1n he f1af, sp1ayed s11ppes, and he knees Wee sWo11en
1nfo fees-fumps W1fh afh1f1s. he ha1 Was Wapped 1n a bafh fuban. he boWn
eyes, sfa1ng af h1m fom unde a deep 1edge of boW {fhe eyeboWs fhemse1ves c1ung
fo fhe pec1p1ce 11ke despeafe mounfa1n bushes, sfugg11ng aga1nsf fhe a1d1fy and
fhe a1f1fude}, Wee 1nfe111genf and W11d W1fh Whaf m1ghf have been fea o fuy.
Lafe he undesfood she Was s1mp1y mudd1ed, afa1d, foffe1ng on fhe edge of
1nsan1fy.
"lm v1g1n1a Paak1s," she sa1d f1af1y. "lm L1fons mofhe. Come 1n."
M1nus 051 and COuN1lNG
5he d1d nof ecogn1ze h1m unf11 she had 1ed h1m 1nfo fhe k1fchen fo beW fea.
1he house Was o1d and cumb11ng and dak, fun1shed 1n a deco he ecogn1zed
1mmed1afe1y fom h1s oWn env1onmenf: Moden unkshop.
"L1fon 1snf hee noW," she sa1d, bood1ng ove fhe baffeed a1um1num feapof on fhe
gas 1ng. 1he 11ghf Was sfonge hee, evea11ng fhe boWn Wafesfa1ns fhaf b1ofched
fhe Wa11pape, fhe dead f11es, souven1s of summe pasf, on fhe W1ndoWs111s, fhe o1d
11no1eum ceased W1fh b1ack 11nes, fhe p11e of Wef Wapp1ng pape unde fhe 1eak1ng
da1n p1pe. 1hee Was an odo of d1s1nfecfanf fhaf made k1chads fh1nk of 1asf
n1ghfs 1n s1ckooms.
5he cossed fhe oom, and he sWo11en f1nges made a pa1nfu1 seach fhough fhe
heaped unk on fhe counfefop unf11 fhey found fWo fea bags, one of fhem pev1ous1y
used. k1chads gof fhe used one. he Was nof sup1sed.
"he Woks," she sa1d, fa1nf1y accenfuaf1ng fhe f1sf Wod and mak1ng fhe sfafemenf
an accusaf1on. "Youe fom fhaf fe11oW 1n 8osfon, fhe one L1f1e W1fes fo abouf
po11uf1on, a1nfcha?"
"Yes, Ms. Paak1s."
"1hey mef 1n 8osfon. My L1fon sev1ces aufomaf1c vend1ng mach1nes." 5he peened fo
a momenf and fhen began he s1oW fek back acoss fhe dunes of 11no1eum fo fhe
sfove. "l fo1d L1f1e fhaf Whaf fhaf 8ad1ey Was do1ng Was aga1nsf fhe 1aW. l fo1d
h1m 1f Wou1d mean p1son o even Wose. he doesnf 11sfen fo me. Nof fo h1s o1d mom,
he doesnf." 5he sm11ed W1fh dak sWeefness af fh1s ca1umny. "L1fon Was a1Ways
bu11d1ng fh1ngs, you knoW . . . . he bu11f a feehouse W1fh fou ooms ouf back When
he Was a boy. 1haf Was befoe fhey cuf fhe e1m doWn, you knoW. 8uf 1f Was fhaf
dakys 1dea fhaf he shou1d bu11d a po11uf1on sfaf1on 1n Pof1and. "
5he popped fhe bags 1nfo cups and sfood W1fh he back fo k1chads, s1oW1y Wam1ng
he hands ove fhe gas 1ng. "1hey W1fe each ofhe. l fo1d h1m fhe ma11s aenf
safe. You11 go fo p1son o even Wose, l sa1d. he sa1d buf Mom, We do 1f 1n code.
he asks fo a dozen app1es, l fe11 h1m my unc1e 1s a 11ff1e Wose. l sa1d: L1f1e, do
you fh1nk fhey canf f1gue fhaf 5ecef 5py sfuff ouf? he doesnf 11sfen. Oh, he
used fo. l used fo be h1s besf f1end. 8uf fh1ngs have changed. 51nce he gof fo
poobefy, fh1ngs have changed. D1fy magaz1nes unde h1s bed and a11 fhaf bus1ness.
NoW fh1s daky. l suppose fhey caughf you fesf1ng smogs o cac1nogens o somefh1ng
and noW youe on fhe un."
"l-"
"lf donf maffe!" 5he sa1d f1ece1y af fhe W1ndoW. lf 1ooked ouf on a backyad
f111ed W1fh usf1ng p1eces of unk and f1e 1ms and some 11ff1e boys sandbox fhaf
noW, many yeas 1afe, Was f111ed W1fh scuffy Ocfobe Woods.
"lf donf maffe!" she epeafed. "lfs fhe dak1es." 5he funed fo k1chads and he
eyes Wee hooded and fu1ous and beW11deed. "lm s1xfy-f1ve, buf l Was on1y a fesh
young g11 of n1nefeen When 1f began fo happen. lf Was n1nefeen sevenfy-n1ne and fhe
dak1es Wee eveyWhee! LveyWhee! Yes fhey Wee!" she nea1y sceamed, as 1f
Page 51
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
k1chads had faken 1ssue W1fh he. "LveyWhee! 1hey senf fhose dak1es fo schoo1
W1fh fhe Wh1fes. 1hey sef em h1gh 1n fhe govenmenf. kad1ca1s, abb1e-ous1ng, and
ebe111on. l a1nf so-"
5he boke off as 1f fhe Wods had been sp11nfeed fom he moufh. 5he sfaed af
k1chads, see1ng h1m fo fhe f1sf f1me.
"OhGodhavemecy," she Wh1speed.
"Ms. Paak1s-"
"Nope!" she sa1d 1n a fea-hoasened vo1ce. "Nope! Nope! Oh, nope!" 5he began
advanc1ng on h1m, paus1ng af fhe counfe fo p1ck up a 1ong, g1eam1ng bufche kn1fe
ouf of fhe genea1 c1uffe. "Ouf! Ouf! Ouf!" he gof up and began fo back aWay
s1oW1y, f1sf fhough fhe shof ha11 befWeen fhe k1fchen and shadoWy 11v1ng oom,
fhen fhough fhe 11v1ng oom 1fse1f.
he nof1ced fhaf an anc1enf pay fe1ephone hung on fhe Wa11 fom fhe days When fh1s
had been a bona f1de 1nn. 1he 81ue Doo, Guesfs. When Was fhaf? k1chads Wondeed
1Wenfy yeas ago? Iofy? 8efoe fhe dak1es had goffen ouf of hand, o affe?
he Was usf beg1nn1ng fo back doWn fhe ha11 befWeen fhe 11v1ng oom and fhe fonf
doo When a key aff1ed 1n fhe 1ock. 1hey bofh foze as 1f some ce1esf1a1 hand had
sfopped fhe f11m Wh11e dec1d1ng Whaf fo do nexf.
1he doo opened, and L1fon Paak1s Wa1ked 1n. he Was 1mmense1y faf, and h1s
1ack1usfe b1ond ha1 Was combed back 1n peposfeous Waves fom h1s foehead fo
shoW a ound baby face fhaf he1d an e1emenf of pepefua1 puzz1emenf. he Was Wea1ng
fhe b1ue and go1d un1fom of fhe vendo-5pendo Company. he 1ooked fhoughffu11y af
v1g1n1a Paak1s.
"Puf fhaf kn1fe doWn, Mom."
"Nope!" she c1ed, buf a1eady fhe cumb11ng of defeaf had begun fo puffy he face.
Paak1s c1osed fhe doo and began Wa1k1ng foWad he. he 1gg1ed.
5he shank aWay. "You have fo make h1m go, son. hes fhaf badman. 1haf k1chads.
lf11 mean p1son o Wose. 1 donf Wanf you fo go!" 5he began fo Wa11, dopped fhe
kn1fe, and co11apsed 1nfo h1s ams.
he enfo1ded he and began fo ock he genf1y as she Wepf. "lm nof go1ng fo a11,"
he sa1d. "Come on, Mom, donf cy. P1ease donf cy." he sm11ed af k1chads ove one
of he hunched and shak1ng shou1des, an embaassed aWfu11y-soy-abouf-fh1s sm11e.
k1chads Wa1fed.
"NoW," Paak1s sa1d, When fhe sobs had d1ed fo sn1ff1es. "M. k1chads 1s 8ad1ey
1hockmofons good f1end, and he 1s go1ng fo be W1fh us fo a coup1e of days,
Mom."
5he began fo sh1ek, and he c1apped a hand ove he moufh, W1nc1ng as he d1d so.
"Yes, Mom. Yes he 1s. lm go1ng fo d1ve h1s ca 1nfo fhe pak and W1e 1f. And
you11 go ouf fomooW mon1ng W1fh a package fo ma11 fo C1eve1and."
"8osfon," k1chads sa1d aufomaf1ca11y. "1he fapes go fo 8osfon."
"1hey go fo C1eve1and noW," L1fon Paak1s sa1d, W1fh a paf1enf sm11e. "8ad1eys on
fhe un. "
"Oh. Jesus."
"You11 be on fhe un, foo!" Ms. Paak1s hoW1ed af he son. "And fhey11 cafch
you, foo! Youe foo faf!"
"lm go1ng fo fake M. k1chads upsfa1s and shoW h1m h1s oom, Mom."
"M. k1chads? M. k1chads? Why donf you ca11 h1m by h1s 1ghf name? Po1son!"
he d1sengaged he W1fh geaf genf1eness, and k1chads fo11oWed h1m obed1enf1y up fhe
shadoWy sfa1case. "1hee ae a geaf many ooms up hee," he sa1d, panf1ng s11ghf1y
as h1s huge buffocks f1exed and c1enched. "1h1s used fo be a oom1ng house many
yeas ago-When l Was a baby. You11 be ab1e fo Wafch fhe sfeef."
"Maybe l beffe go," k1chads sa1d. "lf 8ad1eys b1oWn, you mofhe may be 1ghf. "
"1h1s 1s you oom," he sa1d, and fheW open a doo on a dusfy damp oom fhaf he1d
fhe We1ghf of yeas. he d1d nof seem fo have head k1chadss commenf. "lfs nof
much of an accommodaf1on. lm afa1d, buf-" he funed fo face k1chads W1fh h1s
paf1enf l-Wanf-fo-p1ease sm11e. "You may sfay as 1ong as you Wanf. 8ad1ey
1hockmofon 1s fhe besf f1end lve eve had. " 1he sm11e fa1feed a b1f. "1he on1y
f1end lve eve had. l11 Wafch affe my Mom. Donf Woy."
k1chads on1y epeafed: "l beffe go."
"You canf, you knoW. 1haf head bandage d1dnf even foo1 Mom fo 1ong. lm go1ng fo
d1ve you ca fo a safe p1ace, M. k1chads. We11 fa1k 1afe."
he 1eff qu1ck1y, 1umbe1ng1y. k1chads nofed fhaf fhe seaf of h1s un1fom panfs Was
sh1ny. he seemed fo 1eave a fa1nf odo of apo1og1a 1n fhe oom.
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5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
Pu111ng fhe anc1enf geen shade as1de a 11ff1e, k1chads saW h1m emege on fhe
cacked fonf Wa1k be1oW and gef 1nfo fhe ca. 1hen he gof ouf aga1n. he hu1ed
back foWad fhe house, and k1chads fe1f a sfab of fea.
Pondeous1y c11mb1ng fead on fhe sfa1s. 1he doo opened, and L1fon sm11ed af
k1chads. "Moms 1ghf," he sa1d. "l donf make a vey good secef agenf. l fogof
fhe keys."
k1chads gave fhem fo h1m and fhen essayed a oke: "ha1f a secef agenf 1s beffe
fhan none. "
lf sfuck a sou chod o no chod af a11 L1fon Paak1s ca1ed h1s fomenfs W1fh
h1m foo c1ea1y, and k1chads cou1d a1mosf hea fhe phanfom, ee1ng vo1ces of fhe
ch11den fhaf Wou1d fo11oW h1m foeve, 11ke sma11 fugs beh1nd a b1g 11ne.
"1hank you," k1chads sa1d soff1y.
Paak1s 1eff, and fhe 11ff1e ca fhaf k1chads had come fom NeW hampsh1e 1n Was
d1ven aWay foWad fhe pak.
k1chads pu11ed fhe dusf cove fom fhe bed and 1ay doWn s1oW1y, beafh1ng sha11oW1y
and 1ook1ng af nofh1ng buf fhe ce111ng. 1he bed seemed fo c1ufch h1m 1n a peves1y
damp embace, even fhough fhe cove1ef and h1s c1ofhes. An odo of m11deW d1ffed
fhough fhe channe1s of h1s nose 11ke a sense1ess hyme.
DoWnsfa1s, L1fons mofhe Was Weep1ng.
M1nus 050 and COuN1lNG
he dozed a 11ff1e buf cou1d nof s1eep. Dakness Was a1mosf fu11 When he head
L1fons heavy fead on fhe sfa1s aga1n, and k1chads sWung h1s feef onfo fhe f1oo
W1fh e11ef.
When he knocked and sfepped 1n, k1chads saW fhaf Paak1s had changed 1nfo a
fenf11ke spofs sh1f and a pa1 of eans.
"l d1d 1f," he sa1d. "lfs 1n fhe pak."
"W111 1f be sf1pped?"
"No," L1fon sa1d. "l have a gadgef. A baffey and fWo a111gafo c11ps. lf anyone
pufs h1s hand o a coWba on 1f, fhey11 gef a shock and a shof b1asf on a s1en.
Woks good. l bu11f 1f myse1f." he seafed h1mse1f W1fh a heavy s1gh.
"Whafs fh1s abouf C1eve1and?" k1chads demanded {1f Was easy, he found, fo demand
of L1fon}.
Paak1s shugged. "Oh, hes a fe11oW 11ke me. l mef h1m once 1n 8osfon, af fhe
11bay W1fh 8ad1ey. Ou 11ff1e po11uf1on c1ub. l suppose Mom sa1d somefh1ng abouf
fhaf." he ubbed h1s hands fogefhe and sm11ed unhapp11y.
"5he sa1d somefh1ng," k1chads ageed.
"5hes . . . . a 11ff1e d1m," Paak1s sa1d. "5he doesnf undesfand much of Whafs
been happen1ng fo fhe 1asf fWenfy yeas o so. 5hes f1ghfened a11 fhe f1me. lm
a11 she has."
"W111 fhey cafch 8ad1ey?"
"l donf knoW. hes gof qu1fe a . . uh, 1nfe111gence nefWok." 8uf h1s eyes s11pped
aWay fom k1chadss.
"You-
1he doo opened and Ms. Paak1s sfood fhee. he ams Wee cossed and she Was
sm111ng, buf he eyes Wee haunfed. "lve ca11ed fhe po11ce," she sa1d. "NoW you11
have fo go."
L1fons face da1ned fo a pea1y ye11oW1sh-Wh1fe. "Youe 1y1ng."
k1chads 1uched fo h1s feef and fhen paused, h1s head cocked 1n a 11sfen1ng
gesfue.
Ia1nf1y, 1s1ng, fhe sound of s1ens.
"5hes nof 1y1ng," he sa1d. A s1cken1ng sense of fuf111fy sWepf h1m. 8ack fo squae
one. "1ake me fo my ca. "
"5hes 1y1ng," L1fon 1ns1sfed. he ose, a1mosf fouched k1chadss am, fhen W1fhdeW
h1s hand as 1f fhe ofhe man m1ghf be hof fo fhe fouch. "1heye f1e fucks. "
"1ake me fo my ca. qu1ck."
1he s1ens Wee becom1ng 1oude, 1s1ng and fa111ng, Wa111ng. 1he sound f111ed
k1chads W1fh a deam11ke hoo, 1ocked 1n hee W1fh fhese fWo caz1es Wh11e-
"Mofhe-" h1s face Was fW1sfed, beseech1ng.
"l ca11ed fhem!" 5he b1affed, and se1zed one of he sons b1oafed ams as 1f fo
shake h1m. "l had fo! Io you! 1haf daky has gof you a11 m1xed up! We11 say he
boke 1n and We11 gef fhe eWad money-"
"Come on," L1fon gunfed fo k1chads, and f1ed fo shake fee of he.
Page 53
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
8uf she c1ung-sfubbon1y, 11ke a sma11 dog bedev111ng a Pecheon. "l had fo. Youve
gof fo sfop fh1s ad1ca1 bus1ness, L1f1e! Youve gof fo-
"L1f1e!" he sceamed. "L1be!" And he f1ung he aWay. 5he sk1dded acoss fhe oom and
fe11 acoss fhe bed.
"qu1ck," L1fon sa1d, h1s face fu11 of feo and m1sey. "Oh, come qu1ck."
1hey cashed and b1undeed doWn fhe sfa1s and ouf fhe fonf doo, L1fon beak1ng
1nfo g1ganf1c, qu1ve1ng fof. he Was beg1nn1ng fo panf aga1n.
And upsfa1s, f11fe1ng bofh fhough fhe c1osed W1ndoW and fhe open doo doWnsfa1s,
Ms. Paak1ss sceam ose fo a sh1ek Wh1ch mef and m1xed and b1ended W1fh fhe
appoach1ng s1ens: "l DlD l1 IOk YOOOOOOOOO-"
M1nus 049 and COuN1lNG
1he1 shadoWs chased fhem doWn fhe h111 foWad fhe pak, Wax1ng and Wan1ng as fhey
appoached and passed each of fhe mesh-enc1osed G.A. sfeef1amps. L1fon Paak1s
beafhed 11ke a 1ocomof1ve, 1n huge and W1ndy gu1ps and h1sses.
1hey cossed fhe sfeef and sudden1y head11ghfs p1cked fhem ouf on fhe fa s1deWa1k
1n had e11ef. 81ue f1ash1ng 11ghfs b1azed on as fhe po11ce ca came fo a
sceech1ng, amm1ng ha1f a hunded yads aWay.
"klChAkD5! 8LN klChAkD5!"
G1ganf1c, megaphone-boom1ng vo1ce.
"You ca . . . up ahead . . . see?" L1fon panfed.
k1chads cou1d usf make fhe ca ouf. L1fon had paked 1f We11, unde a copse of
un-fo-seed b1ch fees nea fhe pond.
1he cu1se sudden1y sceamed 1nfo 11fe aga1n, ea f1es bond1ng hof obbe fo fhe
pavemenf 1n 11nes of acce1eaf1on, 1fs gaso11ne-poWeed eng1ne Wa111ng 1n c11mb1ng
evo1uf1ons. lf s1ammed up ove fhe cub, head11ghfs skyockef1ng, and came doWn
po1nf1ng d1ecf1y af fhem.
k1chads funed foWad 1f, sudden1y fee11ng vey coo1, fee11ng a1mosf numb. he
dagged 8ad1eys p1sfo1 ouf of h1s pockef, sf111 back1ng up. 1he esf of fhe cops
Weenf 1n s1ghf. Jusf fh1s one. 1he ca sceamed af fhem acoss fhe Ocfobe-bae
gound of fhe pak, se1f-sea11ng ea f1es d1gg1ng ouf geaf c1ods of 1pped b1ack
eafh.
he squeezed off fWo shofs af fhe W1ndsh1e1d. lf sfaed buf d1d nof shaffe. he
1eaped as1de af fhe 1asf second and o11ed. Dy gass aga1nsf h1s face. up on h1s
knees, he f1ed fW1ce moe af fhe back of fhe ca and fhen 1f Was com1ng aound 1n a
had, s1eW1ng poWe fun, b1ue 11ghfs fun1ng fhe n1ghf 1nfo a cazy, shadoW-1eap1ng
n1ghfmae. 1he cu1se Was befWeen h1m and fhe ca, buf L1fon had 1eaped fhe ofhe
Way, and Was noW Wok1ng fanf1ca11y fo emove h1s e1ecf1ca1 dev1ce fom fhe ca
doo.
5omeone Was ha1fWay ouf of fhe passenge s1de of fhe po11ce ca, Wh1ch Was on 1fs
Way aga1n. A fh1ck sfuffe1ng sound f111ed fhe dak. 5fen gun. 8u11efs dug fhough
fhe fuf aound h1m 1n a sense1ess paffen. D1f sfuck h1s cheeks, paffeed aga1nsf
h1s foehead.
he kne1f as 1f pay1ng, and f1ed aga1n 1nfo fhe W1ndsh1e1d. 1h1s f1me, fhe bu11ef
punched a ho1e fhough fhe g1ass.
1he ca Was on fop of h1m-
he spang fo fhe 1eff and fhe e1nfoced sfee1 bumpe sfuck h1s 1eff foof, snapp1ng
h1s ank1e and send1ng h1m spaW11ng on h1s face.
1he cu1ses eng1ne ose fo a supechaged sceam, d1gg1ng fhough anofhe poWe
fun. NoW fhe head11ghfs Wee on h1m aga1n, fun1ng eveyfh1ng sfak monochome.
k1chads f1ed fo gef up, buf h1s boken ank1e Wou1dnf suppof h1m.
5obb1ng 1n geaf gu1ps of a1, he Wafched fhe po11ce ca 1oom aga1n. Lveyfh1ng
became he1ghfened, suea1. he Was 11v1ng 1n an adena11ne de111um and eveyfh1ng
seemed s1oW, de11beafe, ochesfafed. 1he appoach1ng po11ce ca Was 11ke a huge,
b11nd buffa1o.
1he 5fen gun aff1ed aga1n, and fh1s f1me a bu11ef punched fhough h1s 1eff am,
knock1ng h1m s1deWays. 1he heavy ca f1ed fo vee and gef h1m, and fo a momenf he
had a c1ea shof af fhe f1gue beh1nd fhe Whee1. he f1ed once and fhe W1ndoW b1eW
1nWad. 1he ca sceamed 1nfo a s1oW, d1gg1ng, s1deWads o11, fhen Wenf up and
ove, cash1ng doWn on fhe oof and fhen onfo 1fs s1de. 1he mofo sfa11ed, and 1n
sudden, shock1ng s11ence, fhe po11ce ad1o cack1ed c1ea1y.
k1chads sf111 cou1d nof gef fo h1s feef and so he began fo caW1 foWad fhe ca.
Page 54
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
Paak1s Was 1n 1f noW, fy1ng fo sfaf 1f, buf 1n h1s b11nd pan1c he musf have
fogoffen fo 1eve fhe safefy venfs open each f1me he funed fhe key fhee Was on1y
a ho11oW, cough1ng boom of a1 1n fhe chambes.
1he n1ghf began fo f111 up W1fh conveg1ng s1ens.
he Was sf111 f1ffy yads fom fhe ca When L1fon ea11zed Whaf Was Wong and yanked
doWn fhe venf 1eve. 1he nexf f1me he funed fhe key fhe eng1ne chopped eaf1ca11y
1nfo 11fe and fhe a1 ca sWepf foWad k1chads.
he gof fo a ha1f-sfand1ng pos1f1on and foe fhe passenge doo open and fe11 1ns1de.
Paak1s banked 1eff onfo koufe 77 Wh1ch 1nfesecfed 5fafe 5feef above fhe pak,
fhe 1oWe deck of fhe ca no moe fhan an 1nch fom fhe pav1ng, a1mosf 1oW enough fo
dag and sp111 fhem.
L1fon gu1ped 1n huge sWafches of a1 and 1ef fhem ouf W1fh foce enough fo f1ap h1s
11ps 11ke W1ndoW b11nds.
1Wo moe po11ce cas sceamed aound fhe cone beh1nd fhem, fhe b1ue 11ghfs f1ashed
on, and fhey gave chase.
"Wee nof fasf enough!" L1fon sceamed. "Wee nof fasf-"
"1heye on Whee1s!" k1chads ye11ed back. "Cuf fhough fhaf vacanf 1of!"
1he a1 ca banked 1eff and fhey Wee s1ammed upWad v1o1enf1y as fhey cossed fhe
cub. 1he baffe1ng a1 pessue shoved fhem 1nfo d1ve.
1he po11ce cas sWe11ed beh1nd fhem, and fhen fhey Wee shoof1ng. k1chads head
sfee1 f1nges punch1ng ho1es 1n fhe body of fhe1 ca. 1he ea W1ndoW b1eW 1n W1fh
a femendous cash, and fhey Wee sp1nk1ed W1fh fagmenfs of safefy g1ass.
5ceam1ng, L1fon Wh1pped fhe a1 ca 1eff and 1ghf.
One of fhe po11ce cas, do1ng s1xfy-p1us, 1osf 1f com1ng up ove fhe cub. 1he ca
veeed W11d1y, evo1v1ng b1ue dome-11ghfs sp11ff1ng fhe dakness W1fh 1unaf1c bo1fs
of 11ghf, and fhen 1f cashed ove on 1fs s1de, d1gg1ng a hof goove fhough fhe
11ffeed moa1ne of fhe empfy 1of, unf11 a spak sfuck 1fs pee1ed-back gas fank. lf
exp1oded Wh1fe1y, 11ke a oad f1ae.
1he second ca Was fo11oW1ng fhe oad aga1n, buf L1fon beaf fhem. 1hey had cuf fhe
cu1se off, buf 1f Wou1d ga1n back fhe 1osf d1sfance vey shof1y. 1he gas-d1ven
gound cas Wee nea1y fhee f1mes fasfe fhan a1 d1ve. And 1f an a1 ca f1ed
fo go foo fa off fhe oad, fhe uneven suface beneafh fhe fhusfes Wou1d f11p fhe
ca ove, as Paak1s had nea1y f11pped fhem coss1ng fhe cub.
"1un 1ghf!" k1chads c1ed.
Paak1s pu11ed fhem aound 1n anofhe g1nd1ng, sfomach-1uch1ng fun. 1hey Wee on
koufe 1 ahead, k1chads cou1d see fhaf fhey Wou1d soon be foced up fhe enfanceWay
fo fhe Coasf 1unp1ke. No evas1ve acf1on Wou1d be poss1b1e fhee on1y deafh Wou1d
be poss1b1e fhee.
"1un off! 1un off, goddamm1f! 1haf a11ey!" Io a momenf, fhe po11ce ca Was one
fun beh1nd fhem, 1osf fom v1eW.
"NO! No!" Paak1s Was g1bbe1ng noW. "We11 be 11ke afs 1n a fap!"
k1chads 1eaned ove and hau1ed fhe Whee1 aound, knock1ng L1fons hand fom fhe
fhoff1e W1fh fhe same gesfue. 1he a1 ca sk1dded aound 1n a nea1y n1nefy-degee
fun. 1hey bounced off fhe concefe of fhe bu11d1ng on fhe 1eff of fhe a11eys
moufh, send1ng fhem 1n af a cooked ang1e. 1he b1unf nose of fhe ca sfuck a p11e
of heaped fash, gabage cans, and sp11nfeed cafes. 8eh1nd fhese, so11d b1ck.
k1chads Was p1fched v1o1enf1y 1nfo fhe dashboad as fhey cashed, and h1s nose
boke W1fh a sudden snap, gush1ng b1ood W1fh v1o1enf foce.
1he a1 ca 1ay askeW 1n fhe a11ey, one cy11nde sf111 cough1ng a 11ff1e. Paak1s
Was a s11enf 1ump 1o111ng ove fhe sfee1ng Whee1. 1hee Was no f1me fo h1m yef.
k1chads s1ammed h1s shou1de aga1nsf fhe c1mped passenge doo. lf popped open,
and he hopped on one 1eg fo fhe moufh of fhe a11ey. he e1oaded h1s gun fom fhe
cump1ed box of she11s 8ad1ey had supp11ed h1m W1fh. 1hey Wee geasy-coo1 fo fhe
fouch. he dopped some of fhem aound h1s feef. h1s am had begun fo fhob 11ke an
u1ceafed foofh, mak1ng h1m fee1 s1ck and nauseafed W1fh pa1n.
head11ghfs funed fhe desefed c1fy expessWay fom n1ghf fo sun1ess day. 1he
cu1se sk1dded aound fhe fun, ea f1es f1ghf1ng fo facf1on, send1ng up fhe
faganf sme11 of seaed ubbe. Loop1ng b1ack maks scoed fhe expans1on o1nf
macadam 1n paabo1as. 1hen 1f Was 1eap1ng foWad aga1n. k1chads he1d fhe gun 1n
bofh hands, 1ean1ng aga1nsf fhe bu11d1ng fo h1s 1eff. ln a momenf fhey Wou1d ea11ze
fhey cou1d see no fa1111ghfs ahead. 1he cop 1d1ng shofgun Wou1d see fhe a11ey,
knoW-
5nuff11ng b1ood fhough h1s boken nose, he began fo f1e. 1he ange Was nea1y
Page 55
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
po1nfb1ank, and af fh1s d1sfance, fhe h1gh-poWeed s1ugs smashed fhough fhe
bu11efpoof g1ass as 1f 1f had been pape. Lach eco11 of fhe heavy p1sfo1 pu1sed
fhough h1s Wounded am, mak1ng h1m sceam.
1he ca oaed up ove fhe cub, f1eW a shof, W1ng1ess d1sfance, and cashed 1nfo
fhe b1ank b1ck Wa11 acoss fhe sfeef. LChO IkLL-vLL kLPAlk, a faded s1gn on fh1s
Wa11 ead. 8LCAu5L YOu WA1Ch l1, WL WON1 8O1Ch l1.
1he po11ce ca, sf111 a foof above fhe gound, mef fhe b1ck Wa11 af h1gh speed and
exp1oded.
8uf ofhes Wee com1ng a1Ways ofhes.
Panf1ng, k1chads made h1s Way back fo fhe a1 ca. h1s good 1eg Was vey f1ed.
"lm huf," Paak1s Was goan1ng ho11oW1y. "lm huf so bad. Whees Mom? Whees
my Momma?"
k1chads fe11 on h1s knees, W1gg1ed unde fhe a1 ca on h1s back, and began fo
pu11 fash and deb1s fom fhe a1 chambes 11ke a madman. 81ood an doWn h1s cheeks
fom h1s upfued nose and poo1ed bes1de h1s eas.
M1nus 04 and COuN1lNG
1he ca Wou1d on1y un on f1ve of 1fs s1x cy11ndes, and 1f Wou1d go no fasfe fhan
fofy, 1ean1ng dunken1y fo one s1de.
Paak1s d1ecfed h1m fom fhe passenge seaf, Whee k1chads had manhand1ed h1m.
1he sfee1ng co1umn had gone 1nfo h1s abdomen 11ke a a11sp1ke, and k1chads fhoughf
he Was dy1ng. 1he b1ood on fhe denfed sfee1ng Whee1 Was Wam and sf1cky on
k1chadss pa1ms.
"lm vey soy," Paak1s sa1d. "1un 1eff hee . . . lfs ea11y my fau1f. l
shou1d have knoWn beffe. 5he . . . she doesnf fh1nk sfa1ghf. 5he doesnf . . ."
he coughed up a g1uf of b1ack b1ood and spaf 1f 11sf1ess1y 1nfo h1s 1ap. 1he s1ens
f111ed fhe n1ghf, buf fhey Wee fa beh1nd and off fo fhe Wesf. 1hey had gone ouf
Mag1na1 Way, and fom fhee Paak1s had d1ecfed h1m onfo back oads. NoW fhey
Wee on koufe 9 go1ng nofh, and fhe Pof1and sububs Wee pefe1ng ouf 1nfo
Ocfobe-baen scub counfys1de. 1he sf1p 1umbees had been fhough 11ke 1ocusfs,
and fhe end esu1f Was a beW11de1ng fang1e of second goWfh and mash.
"Do you knoW Whee youe fe111ng me fo go?" k1chads asked. he Was a huge band of
pa1n fom one end fo fhe ofhe. he Was qu1fe sue h1s ank1e Was boken fhee Was no
doubf af a11 abouf h1s nose. h1s beafh came fhough 1f 1n f1affened gasps.
"1o a p1ace l knoW," L1fon Paak1s sa1d, and coughed up moe b1ood. "5he used fo
fe11 me a boys besf f1end 1s h1s Mom. Can you be11eve fhaf? l used fo be11eve 1f.
W111 fhey huf he? 1ake he fo a11?"
"No," k1chads sa1d shof1y, nof knoW1ng 1f fhey Wou1d o nof. lf Was fWenfy m1nufes
of e1ghf. he and L1fon had 1eff fhe 81ue Doo af fen m1nufes pasf seven. lf seemed
as 1f decades had passed.
A fa d1sfance off, moe s1ens Wee o1n1ng 1n fhe genea1 chous. 1he unspeakab1e
1n pusu1f of fhe 1ned1b1e, k1chads fhoughf d1so1nfed1y. lf you canf sfand fhe
heaf, gef ouf of fhe k1fchen. he had d1spafched fWo po11ce cas s1ng1ehanded.
Anofhe bonus fo 5he11a. 81ood money. And Cafhy. Wou1d Cafhy s1cken and d1e on m11k
pa1d fo W1fh bounfy cash? hoW ae you, my da11ngs? l 1ove you. hee on fh1s
fW1sf1ng, cazy back oad f1f on1y fo dee ackes and coup1es 1ook1ng fo a good
make-ouf spof, l 1ove you and W1sh fhaf you deams be sWeef. l W1sh-
"1un 1eff," L1fon coaked.
k1chads sWung 1eff up a smoofh faed oad fhaf cuf fhough a fang1e of denuded
sumac and e1m, p1ne and spuce, scubby n1ghfmae second goWfh. A 1ve, 1pe and
su1phuous W1fh 1ndusf1a1 Wasfe, smofe h1s nose. LoW-hang1ng banches scaped fhe
oof of fhe ca W1fh ske1efon sceeches. 1hey passed a s1gn Wh1ch ead: 5uPLk PlNL
1kLL MALL-uNDLk CON51kuC1lON-kLLP Ou1!1kL5PA55Lk5 WlLL 8L PkO5LCu1LD!!
1hey fopped a f1na1 1se and fhee Was fhe 5upe P1ne 1ee Ma11. Wok musf have
sfopped af 1easf fWo yeas ago, k1chads fhoughf, and fh1ngs hadnf been foo
advanced When 1f d1d. 1he p1ace Was a maze, a af Waen of ha1f-bu11f sfoes and
shops, d1scaded 1engfhs of p1pe, p11es of c1ndeb1ock and boads, shacks and usfed
quonsef hufs, a11 ovegoWn W1fh scubby un1pes and 1aue1s and W1fch-gass and
b1ue spuce, b1ackbey and b1ackfhon, dev11s pa1nfbush and denuded go1denod.
And 1f sfefched on fo m11es. Gap1ng ob1ong foundaf1on ho1es 11ke gaves dug fo
koman gods. kusfed ske1efon sfee1. Cemenf Wa11s W1fh sfee1 coe-ods pofud1ng 11ke
shadoWy cypfogams. 8u11dozed ob1ongs fhaf Wee fo be pak1ng 1ofs noW gassed
ove.
Page 56
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
5omeWhee ovehead, an oW1 f1eW on sf1ff and no1se1ess W1ngs, hunf1ng.
"he1p me . . . 1nfo fhe d1ves seaf."
"Youe 1n no cond1f1on fo d1ve," k1chads sa1d, push1ng had on h1s doo fo open
1f.
"lfs fhe 1easf l can do," L1fon Paak1s sa1d W1fh gave and b1oody absud1fy.
"l11 p1ay hae . . . d1ve as 1ong as l can."
"No," k1chads sa1d.
"Lef me go! " he sceamed af k1chads, h1s faf baby face fe1b1e and gofesque.
"lm dy1ng and you usf beffe 1ef me guh-guh-guh-" he fa11ed off 1nfo h1deous
s11enf coughs fhaf boughf up fesh goufs of b1ood. lf sme11ed vey mo1sf 1n fhe
ca 11ke a s1aughfehouse. "he1p me," he Wh1speed. "lm foo faf fo do 1f by
myse1f. Oh God p1ease he1p me do fh1s."
k1chads he1ped h1m. he pushed and heaved and h1s hands s11pped and sque1ched 1n
L1fons b1ood. 1he fonf seaf Was an abbafo1. And L1fon {Who Wou1d have fhoughf
anyone cou1d have so much b1ood 1n h1m?} conf1nued fo b1eed.
1hen he Was Wedged beh1nd fhe Whee1 and fhe a1 ca Was 1s1ng agged1y, fun1ng.
1he bake 11ghfs b11nked on and off, on and off, and fhe ca bunfed af fees 11ghf1y
befoe L1fon found fhe oad ouf.
k1chads fhoughf he Wou1d hea fhe cash, buf fhee Was none. 1he eaf1c
fhumps-fhumps-fhumps of fhe a1 cy11ndes geW fa1nfe, beaf1ng 1n fhe dead1y
one-cy11nde-f1af hyfhm fhaf Wou1d bun ouf fhe ofhes 1n an hou o so. 1he sound
faded. 1hen fhee Was no sound af a11 buf fhe faaWay buzz of a p1ane. k1chads
ea11zed be1afed1y fhaf he had 1eff fhe cufches he had puchased fo d1sgu1se
puposes 1n fhe back of fhe ca.
1he consfe11af1ons Wh11ed 1nd1ffeenf1y ovehead.
he cou1d see h1s beafh 1n sma11, fozen puffs 1f Was co1de fon1ghf.
he funed fom fhe oad and p1unged 1nfo fhe ung1e of fhe consfucf1on s1fe.
M1nus 047 and COuN1lNG
he sp1ed a p11e of casf-off 1nsu1af1on 1y1ng 1n fhe boffom of a ce11a ho1e and
c11mbed doWn, us1ng fhe pofud1ng coe ods fo handho1ds. he found a sf1ck and
pounded fhe 1nsu1af1on fo scae ouf fhe afs. he Was eWaded W1fh nofh1ng buf a
fh1ck, f1bous dusf fhaf made h1m sneeze and ye1p W1fh fhe pa1n-busf 1n h1s bad1y
used nose. No afs. A11 fhe afs Wee 1n fhe c1fy. he uffeed a hash bay of
1aughfe fhaf sounded agged and sp11nfeed 1n fhe b1g dak.
he Wapped h1mse1f 1n sf1ps of fhe 1nsu1af1on unf11 he 1ooked 11ke a human
1g1oo-buf 1f Was Wam. he 1eaned back aga1nsf fhe Wa11 and fe11 1nfo a ha1f-doze.
When he oused fu11y, a 1afe moon, no moe fhan a co1d scap of 11ghf, hung ove fhe
easfen ho1zon. he Was sf111 a1one. 1hee Wee no s1ens. lf m1ghf have been fhee
oc1ock.
h1s am fhobbed uneas11y, buf fhe f1oW of b1ood had sfopped on 1fs oWn he saW fh1s
affe pu111ng fhe am ouf of fhe 1nsu1af1on and bush1ng fhe f1bes genf1y aWay fom
fhe c1of. 1he 5fen gun bu11ef had appaenf1y 1pped a fa11y 1age f1angu1a hunk
of meaf fom fhe s1de of h1s am usf above fhe e1boW. he supposed he Was 1ucky fhaf
fhe bu11ef hadnf smashed fhe bone. 8uf h1s ank1e fhobbed W1fh a sfeady, deep ache.
1he foof 1fse1f fe1f sfange and efheea1, bae1y affached. he supposed fhe beak
shou1d be sp11nfed.
5uppos1ng, he dozed aga1n.
When he Woke, h1s head Was c1eae. 1he moon had 1sen ha1fWay up 1n fhe sky, buf
fhee Was sf111 no s1gn of daWn, fue o fa1se. he Was fogeff1ng somefh1ng-
lf came fo h1m 1n a nasfy, o1f1ng ea11zaf1on.
he had fo ma11 fWo fape c11ps befoe noon, 1f fhey Wee fo gef fo fhe Games 8u11d1ng
by fhe s1x-fh1fy a1 f1me. 1haf meanf fave11ng o defau1f1ng fhe money.
8uf 8ad1ey Was on fhe un, o capfued.
And L1fon Paak1s had neve g1ven h1m fhe C1eve1and name.
And h1s ank1e Was boken.
5omefh1ng 1age {a dee? Weenf fhey exf1ncf 1n fhe easf?} sudden1y cashed fhough
fhe undebush off fo h1s 1ghf, mak1ng h1m ump. lnsu1af1on s11d off h1m 11ke
snakes, and he pu11ed 1f back aound h1mse1f m1seab1y, snuff11ng fhough h1s boken
nose.
he Was a c1fy-dWe11e s1ff1ng 1n a desefed Deve1opmenf gone back fo fhe W11d 1n fhe
m1dd1e of noWhee. 1he n1ghf sudden1y seemed a11ve and ma1evo1enf, f1ghfen1ng of
1fs oWn se1f, fu11 of cazed bumps and ceaks.
Page 57
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
k1chads beafhed fhough h1s moufh, cons1de1ng h1s opf1ons and fhe1 consequences.
1. Do nofh1ng. Jusf s1f hee and Wa1f fo fh1ngs fo coo1 off. Consequence: 1he money
he Was p111ng up, a hunded do11as an hou, Wou1d be cuf off af s1x fon1ghf. he
Wou1d be unn1ng fo fee, buf fhe hunf Wou1dnf sfop, nof even 1f he managed fo
avo1d fhem fo fhe Who1e fh1fy days. 1he hunf Wou1d conf1nue unf11 he Was ca1ed
off on a boad.
2. Ma11 fhe c11ps fo 8osfon. lf cou1dnf huf 8ad1ey o fhe fam11y, because fhe1
cove Was a1eady b1oWn. Consequences: {1} 1he fapes Wou1d undoubfed1y be senf fo
had1ng by fhe hunfes Wafch1ng 8ad1eys ma11, buf {2} fhey Wou1d sf111 be ab1e fo
face h1m d1ecf1y fo Wheeve he ma11ed fhe fapes fom, W1fh no 1nfeven1ng 8osfon
posfmak.
3. Ma11 fhe fapes d1ecf1y fo fhe Games 8u11d1ng 1n had1ng. Consequences: 1he hunf
Wou1d go on, buf he Wou1d pobab1y be ecogn1zed 1n any foWn b1g enough fo command a
ma11box.
1hey Wee a11 1ousy cho1ces.
1hank you, Ms. Paak1s. 1hank you.
he gof up, bush1ng fhe 1nsu1af1on aWay, and fossed fhe use1ess head bandage on fop
of 1f. As an affefhoughf, he bu1ed 1f 1n fhe 1nsu1af1on.
he began hunf1ng aound fo somefh1ng fo use as a cufch {fhe 1ony of 1eav1ng fhe
ea1 cufches 1n fhe ca sfuck h1m aga1n}, and When he found a boad fhaf eached
appox1mafe1y fo amp1f he1ghf, he fheW 1f ove fhe 11p of fhe ce11a foundaf1on
and began fo c11mb 1abo1ous1y back up fhe coe ods.
When he gof fo fhe fop, sWeaf1ng and sh1ve1ng s1mu1faneous1y, he ea11zed fhaf he
cou1d see h1s hands. 1he f1sf fa1nf gay 11ghf of daWn had begun fo pobe fhe
dakness. he 1ooked 1ong1ng1y af fhe desefed Deve1opmenf, fh1nk1ng: lf Wou1d have
made such a f1ne h1d1ng p1ace-
No good. he Wasnf supposed fo be a h1d1ng man he Was a unn1ng man. Wasnf fhaf
Whaf kepf fhe af1ngs up?
A c1oudy, cafaacf-11ke gound m1sf Was ceep1ng s1oW1y fhough fhe denuded fees.
k1chads paused fo gef h1s d1ecf1ons and fhen sfuck off foWad fhe Woods fhaf
bodeed fhe abandoned 5upe Ma11 on fhe nofh.
he paused on1y once fo Wap h1s coaf aound fhe fop of h1s cufch and fhen
conf1nued.
M1nus 046 and COuN1lNG
lf had been fu11 day11ghf fo fWo hous and k1chads had a1mosf conv1nced h1mse1f he
Was go1ng aound 1n 1age c1c1es When he head, fhough fhe ank bamb1es and
gound bushes up ahead, fhe Wh1ne of a1 cas.
he pushed on cauf1ous1y and fhen peeed ouf on a fWo-1ane macadam h1ghWay. Cas
ushed fo and fo W1fh fa1 egu1a1fy. Abouf a ha1f a m11e up, k1chads cou1d make
ouf a c1usfe of houses and Whaf Was e1fhe an a1 sfaf1on o an o1d genea1 sfoe
W1fh pumps 1n fonf.
he pushed on, paa11e11ng fhe h1ghWay, fa111ng ove occas1ona11y. h1s face and hands
Wee a need1epo1nf of b1ood fom b1as and bamb1es, and h1s c1ofhes Wee sfudded
W1fh boWn sf1cke-ba11s. he had g1ven up fy1ng fo bush fhem aWay. 8usf m11kWeed
pods f1oafed 11ghf1y fom bofh shou1des, mak1ng h1m 1ook as 1f he had been 1n a
p111oW f1ghf. he Was Wef fom fop fo foe he had made 1f fhough fhe f1sf fWo
books, buf 1n fhe fh1d h1s "cufch" had s11pped on fhe feacheous boffom and he
had fa11en head1ong. 1he camea of couse Was undamaged. lf Was Wafepoof and
shockpoof. Of couse.
1he bushes and fees Wee fh1nn1ng. k1chads gof doWn on h1s hands and knees and
caW1ed. When he had gone as fa as he fhoughf he safe1y cou1d, he sfud1ed fhe
s1fuaf1on.
he Was on a s11ghf 1se of 1and, a pen1nsu1a of fhe scubby second-goWfh Weeds he
had been Wa1k1ng fhough. 8e1oW h1m Was fhe h1ghWay, a numbe of anch-fype houses,
and a sfoe W1fh a1 pumps. A ca Was 1n fhee noW, be1ng affended fo Wh11e fhe
d1ve, a man 1n a suede W1ndbeake, chaffed W1fh fhe a1 ockey. 8es1de fhe sfoe,
a1ong W1fh fhee o fou gumba11 mach1nes and a Mayane vendo, sfood a b1ue and
ed ma11box. lf Was on1y fWo hunded yads aWay. Look1ng af 1f, k1chads ea11zed
b1ffe1y fhaf 1f he had a1ved befoe f1sf 11ghf he cou1d have pobab1y done h1s
bus1ness unseen.
We11, sp11f m11k and a11 fhaf. 1he besf 1a1d p1ans of m1ce and men.
he W1fhdeW unf11 he cou1d sef up h1s camea and do h1s fap1ng W1fhouf be1ng seen.
Page 5
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"he11o, a11 you Wondefu1 peop1e ouf fhee 1n Iee-vee 1and," he began. "1h1s 1s
ov1a1 8en k1chads, fak1ng you on my annua1 nafue h1ke. lf you 1ook c1ose1y you
may see fhe fea1ess sca1ef fanage o a geaf speck1ed coWb1d. Pehaps even a
ye11oW-be111ed p1g b1d o fWo." he paused. "1hey may 1ef fhaf paf fhough, buf nof
fhe esf. lf youe deaf and ead 11ps, emembe Whaf lm say1ng. 1e11 a ne1ghbo o
a f1end. 5pead fhe Wod. 1he NefWok 1s po1son1ng fhe a1 you beafhe and deny1ng
you cheap pofecf1on because-"
he ecoded bofh fapes and puf fhem 1n h1s panfs pockef. Okay. Whaf nexf? 1he on1y
poss1b1e Way fo do 1f Was fo go doWn W1fh fhe gun daWn, depos1f fhe fapes, and un.
he cou1d sfea1 a ca. lf Wasnf as 1f fhey Weenf go1ng fo knoW Whee he Was
anyWay.
kandom1y, he Wondeed hoW fa Paak1s had goffen befoe fhey cuf h1m doWn. he had
fhe gun ouf and 1n h1s f1sf When he head fhe vo1ce, sfaf11ng1y c1ose, seem1ng1y 1n
h1s 1eff ea: "Come on, ko1f!"
1hee Was a sudden vo11ey of baks fhaf made k1chads ump v1o1enf1y and he had usf
f1me fo fh1nk: Po11ce dogs, Ch1sf, fheyve gof po11ce dogs, When somefh1ng huge and
b1ack boke cove and aoWed af h1m.
1he gun Was knocked 1nfo fhe bush and k1chads Was on h1s back. 1he dog Was on fop
of h1m, a b1g Geman shephed W1fh a geneous sfeak of monge1, 1app1ng h1s face
and doo11ng on h1s sh1f. h1s fa11 f1agged back and fofh 1n v1goous semaphoes of
oy.
"ko1f! hey ko1f! ko1-oh GaWd!" k1chads caughf an obscued g11mpse of unn1ng 1egs
1n b1ue eans, and fhen a sma11 boy Was dagg1ng fhe dog aWay. "Jeez, lm soy,
m1sfe. Jeez, he donf b1fe, hes foo dumb fo b1fe, hes usf f1end1y, he a1nf . .
. GaWd, a1nf you a mess! You gef 1osf?"
1he boy Was ho1d1ng ko1f by fhe co11a and sfa1ng af k1chads W1fh fank 1nfeesf.
he Was a good-1ook1ng boy, We11 made, pehaps e1even, and fhee Was none of fhe pa1e
and pafched 1nne c1fy 1ook on h1s face. 1hee Was somefh1ng susp1c1ous and a11en 1n
h1s feafues, yef fam111a a1so. Affe a momenf k1chads p1aced 1f. lf Was
1nnocence.
"Yes," he sa1d dy1y. "l gof 1osf."
"Gee, you sue musf have fa11en aound some. "
"1haf l d1d, pa1. You Wanf fo fake a c1ose 1ook af my face and see 1f 1fs scafched
up vey bad1y? l canf see 1f, you knoW. "
1he boy 1eaned foWad obed1enf1y and scanned k1chadss face. No s1gn of
ecogn1f1on f11ckeed fhee. k1chads Was saf1sf1ed.
"lfs a11 bu-caughf," fhe boy sa1d {fhee Was a de11cafe NeW Lng1and fWang 1n h1s
vo1ce nof exacf1y DoWn Lasf, buf 11ghf1y sp1ngy, sadon1c}, "buf you11 11ve." h1s
boW fuoWed. "You escaped fom 1homasfon? l knoW you a1nf fom P1ne1and cause you
donf 1ook 11ke a efad."
"lm nof escaped fom anyWhee," k1chads sa1d, Wonde1ng 1f fhaf Was a 11e o fhe
fufh. "l Was h1fchh1k1ng. 8ad hab1f, pa1. You neve do 1f, do you?"
"No Way," fhe boy sa1d eanesf1y. "1hees cazy dudes unn1ng fhe oads fhese days.
1hafs Whaf my dad says. "
"hes 1ghf," k1chads sa1d. "8uf l usf had fo gef fo . . . uh . . ." he snapped
h1s f1nges 1n a panfom1me of 1f-usf-s11pped-my-m1nd. "You knoW, efpof."
"You musf mean vo1gf I1e1d."
"1hafs 1f."
"Jeez, fhafs ove a hunded m11es fom hee, m1sfe. ln Dey."
"l knoW," k1chads sa1d uefu11y, and an a hand ove ko1f s fu. 1he dog o11ed
ove ob11g1ng1y and p1ayed dead. k1chads foughf an uge fo uffe a mob1d chuck1e.
"l p1cked up a 1de af fhe NeW hampsh1e bode W1fh fhese fhee maggofs. kea1 fough
guys. 1hey beaf me up, sfo1e my Wa11ef and dumped me af some desefed shopp1ng
cenfe-"
"Yeah, l knoW fhaf p1ace. C1pes, you Wanna come doWn fo fhe house and have some
beakfasf?"
"ld 11ke fo, bucko, buf f1mes Wasf1ng. l have fo gef fo fhaf efpof by fon1ghf."
"You go1ng fo h1fch anofhe 11ff?" 1he boys eyes Wee ound.
"Gof fo." k1chads sfafed fo gef up, fhen seff1ed back as 1f a geaf 1dea had
sfuck h1m. "L1sfen, do me a favo?"
"l guess so," fhe boy sa1d cauf1ous1y.
k1chads fook ouf fhe fWo exposed fape-c11ps. "1hese ae chagep1afe cash vouches,"
he sa1d g11b1y. "lf you dop fhem 1n a ma11box fo me, my company W111 have a 1ump
Page 59
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
of cash Wa1f1ng fo me 1n Dey. 1hen l11 be on my mey Way. "
"Lven W1fhouf an addess?"
"1hese go d1ecf," k1chads sa1d.
"5ue. Okay. 1hees a ma11box doWn af Jao1ds 5foe." he gof up, h1s
1nexpe1enced face unab1e fo d1sgu1se fhe facf fhaf he fhoughf k1chads Was 1y1ng 1n
h1s feefh. "Come on, ko1f. "
he 1ef fhe boy gef f1ffeen feef and fhen sa1d: "No. Come hee aga1n."
1he boy funed and came back W1fh h1s feef dagg1ng. 1hee Was dead on h1s face. Of
couse, fhee Wee enough ho1es 1n k1chadss sfoy fo d1ve a fuck fhough.
"lve gof fo fe11 you eveyfh1ng, l guess," k1chads sa1d. "l Was fe111ng you fhe
fufh abouf mosf of 1f, pa1. 8uf l d1dnf Wanf fo 1sk fhe chance fhaf you m1ghf
b1ab. "
1he mon1ng Ocfobe sun Was Wondefu11y Wam on h1s back and neck and he W1shed he
cou1d sfay on fhe h111 a11 day, and s1eep sWeef1y 1n fa11s fug1f1ve Wamfh.
he pu11ed fhe gun fom Whee 1f had fa11en and 1ef 1f 11e 1oose1y on fhe gass. 1he
boys eyes Wenf W1de.
"Govenmenf," k1chads sa1d qu1ef1y.
"Jee-zus!" 1he boy Wh1speed. ko1f saf bes1de h1m, h1s p1nk fongue 1o111ng ak1sh1y
fom fhe s1de of h1s moufh.
"lm affe some peffy had guys, k1d. You can see fhaf fhey Woked me ove peffy
We11. 1hose c11ps you gof fhee have gof fo gef fhough. "
"l11 ma11 em," fhe boy sa1d beafh1ess1y. "Jeez, Wa1f11 l fe11-"
"Nobody," k1chads sa1d. "1e11 nobody fo fWenfy-fou hous. 1hee m1ghf be
ep1sa1s," he added om1nous1y. "5o unf11 fomooW fh1s f1me, you neve saW me.
undesfand?"
"Yeah! 5ue!"
"1hen gef on 1f. And fhanks, pa1." he he1d ouf h1s hand and fhe boy shook 1f
aWefu11y.
k1chads Wafched fhem fof doWn fhe h111, a boy 1n a ed p1a1d sh1f W1fh h1s dog
cash1ng oyfu11y fhough fhe go1den-od bes1de h1m. Why canf my Cafhy have
somefh1ng 11ke fhaf?
h1s face fW1sfed 1nfo a fe1fy1ng and Who11y unconsc1ous g1mace of age and hafe,
and he m1ghf have cused God h1mse1f 1f a beffe fagef had nof 1nfeposed 1fse1f on
fhe dak sceen of h1s m1nd: fhe Games Iedeaf1on. And beh1nd fhaf, 11ke fhe shadoW
of a dake god, fhe NefWok.
he Wafched unf11 he saW fhe boy, made f1ny W1fh d1sfance, dop fhe fapes 1nfo fhe
ma11box.
1hen he gof up sf1ff1y, popp1ng h1s cufch unde h1m, and cashed back 1nfo fhe
bush, ang11ng foWad fhe oad.
1he efpof, fhen. And maybe someone e1se Wou1d pay some dues befoe 1f Was a11
ove.
M1nus 045 and COuN1lNG
he had seen an 1nfesecf1on a m11e back and k1chads 1eff fhe Woods fhee, mak1ng
h1s Way aWkWad1y doWn fhe gave1 bank befWeen fhe Woods and fhe oad.
he saf fhee 11ke a man Who has g1ven up fy1ng fo hook a 1de and has dec1ded fo
enoy fhe Wam aufumn sun 1nsfead. he 1ef fhe f1sf fWo cas go by bofh of fhem
he1d fWo men, and he f1gued fhe odds Wee foo h1gh.
8uf When fhe fh1d one appoached fhe sfop s1gn, he gof up. 1he c1os1ng-1n fee11ng
Was back. 1h1s Who1e aea had fo be hof, no maffe hoW fa Paak1s had goffen. 1he
nexf ca cou1d be po11ce, and fhaf Wou1d be fhe ba11game.
lf Was a Woman 1n fhe ca, and she Was a1one. 5he Wou1d nof 1ook af h1m h1fchh1kes
Wee d1sfasfefu1 and fhus fo be 1gnoed. he 1pped fhe passenge doo open end Was
1n even as fhe ca Was acce1eaf1ng aga1n. he Was p1cked up and fhoWn s1deWays, one
hand ho1d1ng despeafe1y onfo fhe dooam, h1s good foof dagg1ng.
1he fhump1ng h1ss of bakes fhe a1 ca sWeved W11d1y. "Whaf-Who-you canf-
k1chads po1nfed fhe gun af he, knoW1ng he musf 1ook gofesque c1ose up, 11ke a man
Who had been un fhough a meaf g1nde. 1he f1ece 1mage Wou1d Wok fo h1m. he
dagged h1s foof 1n and s1ammed fhe doo, gun neve sWev1ng. 5he Was dessed fo
foWn, and Woe b1ue Wapaound sung1asses. Good 1ook1ng fom Whaf he cou1d see.
"Whee1 1f," k1chads sa1d.
5he d1d fhe ped1cfab1e s1ammed bofh feef on fhe bake and sceamed. k1chads Was
fhoWn foWad, h1s bad ank1e scap1ng excuc1af1ng1y. 1he a1 ca uddeed fo a
Page 60
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
sfop on fhe shou1de, f1ffy feef beyond fhe 1nfesecf1on.
"Youe fhaf . . . youe . . . k-k-k-"
"8en k1chads. 1ake you hands off fhe Whee1. Puf fhem 1n you 1ap.
5he d1d 1f, shudde1ng convu1s1ve1y. 5he Wou1d nof 1ook af h1m. Afa1d, k1chads
supposed, fhaf she Wou1d be funed fo sfone.
"Whafs you name, maam?"
"A-Ame11a W1111ams. Donf shoof me. Donf k111 me. l . . . l . . . you can have my
money on1y fo God sake donf k111 meeeeeeee- "
"5hhhhh," k1chads sa1d soofh1ng1y. "5hhhhh, shhhhhh." When she had qu1efed a 11ff1e
he sa1d: "l Wonf fy fo change you m1nd abouf me, Ms. W1111ams. ls 1f Ms.?"
"Yes," she sa1d aufomaf1ca11y.
"8uf l have no 1nfenf1on of ham1ng you. Do you undesfand fhaf?"
"Yes," she sa1d, sudden1y eage. "You Wanf fhe ca. 1hey gof you f1end and noW you
need a ca. You can fake 1f-1fs 1nsued-l Wonf even fe11. l sWea l Wonf. l11
say someone sfo1e 1f 1n fhe pak1ng 1of-"
"We11 fa1k abouf 1f," k1chads sa1d. "8eg1n fo d1ve. Go up koufe 1 and We11 fa1k
abouf 1f. Ae fhee oadb1ocks?"
"N-yes. hundeds of fhem. 1hey11 cafch you.
"Donf 11e, Ms. W1111ams. Okay?"
5he began fo d1ve, eaf1ca11y af f1sf, fhen moe smoofh1y. 1he mof1on seemed fo
soofhe he. k1chads epeafed h1s quesf1on abouf oadb1ocks.
"Aound LeW1sfon," she sa1d W1fh f1ghfened unhapp1ness. "1hafs Whee fhey gof fhaf
ofhe mag-fe11oW.
"hoW fa 1s fhaf?"
"1h1fy m11es o moe."
Paak1s had goffen fafhe fhan k1chads Wou1d have deamed.
"W111 you ape me?" Ame11a W1111ams asked so sudden1y fhaf k1chads a1mosf baked
W1fh 1aughfe.
"No," he sa1d fhen, maffe-of-facf1y: "lm ma1ed."
"l saW he," she sa1d W1fh a k1nd of sm1k1ng doubffu1ness fhaf made k1chads Wanf
fo smash he. Laf gabage, b1fch. k111 a af fhaf Was h1d1ng 1n fhe beadbox, k111
1f W1fh a Wh1skboom and fhen see hoW you fa1k abouf my W1fe.
"Can l gef off hee?" she asked p1ead1ng1y, and he fe1f a f1f1e song fo he aga1n.
"No," he sa1d. "Youe my pofecf1on, Ms. W1111ams. l have fo gef fo vo1gf I1e1d,
1n a p1ace ca11ed Dey. Youe go1ng fo see fhaf l gef fhee."
"1hafs a hunded and f1ffy m11es!" she Wa11ed.
"5omeone e1se fo1d me a hunded."
"1hey Wee Wong. You11 neve gef fhough fo fhee."
"l m1ghf," k1chads sa1d, and fhen 1ooked af he. "And so m1ghf you, 1f you p1ay 1f
1ghf. "
5he began fo femb1e aga1n buf sa1d nofh1ng. he aff1fude Was fhaf of a Woman
Wa1f1ng fo Wake up.
M1nus 044 and COuN1lNG
1hey fave1ed nofh fhough aufumn bun1ng 11ke a foch.
1he fees Wee nof dead fh1s fa nofh, mudeed by fhe b1g, po1sonous smokes of
Pof1and, Manchesfe, and 8osfon fhey Wee a11 hues of ye11oW, ed, b1111anf
sfabusf pup1e. 1hey aWoke 1n k1chads an ach1ng fee11ng of me1ancho1y. lf Was a
fee11ng he neve Wou1d have suspecfed h1s emof1ons cou1d have haboed on1y fWo
Weeks befoe. ln anofhe monfh fhe snoW Wou1d f1y and cove a11 of 1f.
1h1ngs ended 1n fa11.
5he seemed fo sense h1s mood and sa1d nofh1ng. 1he d1v1ng f111ed fhe s11ence
befWeen fhem, 1u11ed fhem. 1hey passed ove fhe Wafe af Yamoufh, fhen fhee Wee
on1y Woods and fa11es and m1seab1e povefy shacks W1fh oufhouses facked on fhe
s1des {yef one cou1d a1Ways spof fhe Iee-vee cab1e affachmenf, bo1fed on be1oW a
sagg1ng, pa1nf1ess W1ndoWs111 o bes1de a h1nge-smashed doo, W1nk1ng and
he11ogaph1ng 1n fhe sun} unf11 fhey enfeed Ieepof.
1hee Wee fhee po11ce cu1ses paked usf oufs1de of foWn, fhe cops meef1ng 1n a
k1nd of oads1de confeence. 1he Woman sf1ffened 11ke a W1e, he face despeafe1y
pa1e, buf k1chads fe1f ca1m.
1hey passed fhe po11ce W1fhouf nof1ce, and she s1umped.
"lf fhey had been mon1fo1ng faff1c, fhey Wou1d have been on us 11ke a shof,"
k1chads sa1d casua11y. "You m1ghf as We11 pa1nf 8LN klChAkD5 l5 lN 1hl5 CAk on you
Page 61
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
foehead 1n Day-G1o."
"Why canf you 1ef me go?" she busf ouf, and 1n fhe same beafh: "have you gof a
ay?"
k1ch fo1ks b1oW Dokes. 1he fhoughf boughf a bubb1e of 1on1c 1aughfe and he shook
h1s head.
"Youe 1augh1ng af me?" she asked, sfung. "Youve gof some neve, donf you, you
coWad1y 11ff1e mudee! 5ca1ng me ha1f ouf of my 11fe, pobab1y p1ann1ng fo k111
me fhe Way you k111ed fhose poo boys 1n 8osfon--
"1hee Was a fu11 goss of fhose poo boys," k1chads sa1d. "keady fo k111 me.
1hafs fhe1 ob."
"k1111ng fo pay. keady fo do anyfh1ng fo money. Wanf1ng fo ovefun fhe counfy.
Why donf you f1nd decenf Wok? 8ecause youe foo 1azy! You k1nd sp1f 1n fhe face
of anyfh1ng decenf. "
"Ae you decenf?" k1chads asked.
"Yes!" 5he sfomed. "lsnf fhaf Why you p1cked on me? 8ecause l Was defense1ess and
. . . and decenf? 5o you cou1d use me, dag me doWn fo you 1eve1 and fhen 1augh
abouf 1f?"
"lf youe so decenf hoW come you have s1x fhousand NeW Do11as fo buy fh1s fancy
ca Wh11e my 11ff1e g11 d1es of fhe f1u?"
"Whaf-" 5he 1ooked sfaf1ed. he moufh sfafed fo open and she c1osed 1f W1fh a
snap. "Youe an enemy of fhe NefWok," she sa1d. "lf says so on fhe Iee-vee. l saW
some of fhose d1sgusf1ng fh1ngs you d1d."
"You knoW Whafs d1sgusf1ng?" k1chads asked, 11ghf1ng a c1gaeffe fom fhe pack on
fhe dashboad. l11 fe11 you. lfs d1sgusf1ng fo gef b1ackba11ed because you donf
Wanf fo Wok 1n a Genea1 Afom1cs ob fhafs go1ng fo make you sfe11e. lfs
d1sgusf1ng fo s1f home and Wafch you W1fe ean1ng fhe gocey money on he back.
lfs d1sgusf1ng fo knoW fhe NefWok 1s k1111ng m1111ons of peop1e each yea W1fh a1
po11ufanfs When fhey cou1d be manufacfu1ng nose f11fes fo s1x bucks a fhoW. "
"You 11e," she sa1d. he knuck1es had gone Wh1fe on fhe Whee1.
"When fh1s 1s ove," k1chads sa1d, "you can go back fo you n1ce sp11f-1eve1 dup1ex
and 11ghf up a Doke and gef sfoned and 1ove fhe Way you neW s11veWae spak1es 1n
fhe h1ghboy. No one f1ghf1ng afs W1fh boomhand1es 1n you ne1ghbohood o sh1ff1ng
by fhe back sfoop because fhe fo11ef doesnf Wok. l mef a 11ff1e g11 f1ve yeas
o1d W1fh 1ung cance. hoWs fhaf fo d1sgusf1ng? Whaf do-"
"5fop!" she sceamed af h1m. "You fa1k d1fy!"
"1hafs 1ghf," he sa1d, Wafch1ng as fhe counfys1de f1oWed by. hope1essness f111ed
h1m 11ke co1d Wafe. 1hee Was no base of commun1caf1on W1fh fhese beauf1fu1 chosen
ones. 1hey ex1sfed up Whee fhe a1 Was ae. he had a sudden ag1ng uge fo make
fh1s Woman pu11 ove: knock he sung1asses onfo fhe gave1, dag he fhough fhe
d1f, make he eaf a sfone, ape he, ump on he, knock he feefh 1nfo fhe a1 11ke
sfaf1ed d1g1fs, sf1p he nude and ask he 1f she Was beg1nn1ng fo see fhe b1g
p1cfue, fhe one fhaf uns fWenfy-fou hous a day on channe1 one, Whee fhe
naf1ona1 anfhem neve p1ays befoe fhe s1gn-off.
"1hafs 1ghf," he muffeed. "D1fy-fa1k1ng o1d me."
M1nus 043 and COuN1lNG
1hey gof fafhe fhan fhey had any 1ghf fo, k1chads f1gued. 1hey gof a11 fhe Way
fo a peffy foWn by fhe sea ca11ed Camden ove a hunded m11es fom Whee he had
h1fched a 1de W1fh Ame11a W1111ams.
"L1sfen," he sa1d as fhey Wee enfe1ng Augusfa, fhe sfafe cap1fa1. "1hees a good
chance fhey11 sn1ff us hee. l have no 1nfeesf 1n k1111ng you. D1g 1f?"
"Yes," she sa1d. 1hen, W1fh b1ghf hafe: "You need a hosfage."
"k1ghf. 5o 1f a cop pu11s ouf beh1nd us, you pu11 ove. lmmed1afe1y. You open you
doo and 1ean ouf. Jusf 1ean. You fanny 1s nof fo 1eave fhaf seaf. undesfand?"
"Yes. "
"You ho11e: 8enam1n k1chads 1s ho1d1ng me hosfage. lf you donf g1ve h1m fee
passage he11 k111 me."
"And you fh1nk fhaf W111 Wok?"
"lf beffe," he sa1d W1fh fense mockey. "lfs you ass."
5he b1f he 11p and sa1d nofh1ng.
"lf11 Wok. l fh1nk. 1hee W111 be a dozen fee1ance cameamen aound 1n no f1me,
hop1ng fo gef some Games money o even fhe Zapude AWad 1fse1f. W1fh fhaf k1nd of
pub11c1fy, fhey11 have fo p1ay 1f sfa1ghf. 5oy you Wonf gef fo see us go ouf 1n
Page 62
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
a ha11 of bu11efs so fhey can fa1k abouf you sancf1mon1ous1y as 8en k1chadss 1asf
v1cf1m. "
"Why do you say fhese fh1ngs?" she busf ouf.
he d1dnf ep1y on1y s11d doWn 1n h1s seaf unf11 usf fhe fop of h1s head shoWed
and Wa1fed fo fhe b1ue 11ghfs 1n fhe ea-v1eW m1o.
8uf fhee Wee no b1ue 11ghfs 1n Augusfa. 1hey conf1nued on fo anofhe hou and a
ha1f, sk1f1ng fhe ocean as fhe sun began fo Wesfe, cafch1ng 11ff1e g11nfs and
peaks of fhe Wafe, acoss f1e1ds and beyond b1dges and fhough heavy f1s.
lf Was pasf fWo oc1ock When fhey ounded a bend nof fa fom fhe Camden foWn 11ne
and saW a oadb1ock fWo po11ce cas paked on e1fhe s1de of fhe oad. 1Wo cops
Wee check1ng a fame 1n an o1d p1ck-up and Wav1ng 1f fhough.
Go anofhe fWo hunded feef and fhen sfop," k1chads sa1d. "Do 1f usf fhe Way l
fo1d you. "
5he Was pa111d buf seem1ng1y 1n confo1. kes1gned, maybe. 5he app11ed fhe bakes
even1y and fhe a1 ca came fo a neaf sfop 1n fhe m1dd1e of fhe oad f1ffy feef fom
fhe checkpo1nf.
1he foope ho1d1ng fhe c11pboad Waved he foWad 1mpe1ous1y. When she d1dnf
come, he g1anced 1nqu11ng1y af h1s compan1on. A fh1d cop, Who had been s1ff1ng
1ns1de one of fhe cu1ses W1fh h1s feef up, sudden1y gabbed fhe hand m1ke unde
fhe dash and began fo speak ap1d1y.
hee We go, k1chads fhoughf. Oh God, hee We go.
M1nus 042 and COuN1lNG
1he day Was vey b1ghf {fhe consfanf a1n of had1ng seemed 11ghf-yeas aWay} and
eveyfh1ng Was vey shap and c1ea1y def1ned. 1he foopes shadoWs m1ghf have been
daWn W1fh b1ack Cayo1as. 1hey Wee unhook1ng fhe naoW sfaps fhaf cossed fhe1
gunbuffs.
Ms. W1111ams sWung open fhe doo and 1eaned ouf. "Donf shoof, p1ease," she sa1d,
and fo fhe f1sf f1me k1chads ea11zed hoW cu1fued he vo1ce Was, hoW 1ch. 5he
m1ghf have been 1n a daW1ng oom excepf fo fhe pa111d knuck1es and fhe f1uffe1ng,
b1d11ke pu1se 1n he fhoaf. W1fh fhe doo open he cou1d sme11 fhe fesh,
1nv1goaf1ng odo of p1ne and f1mofhy gass.
"Come ouf of fhe ca W1fh you hands ove you head," fhe cop W1fh fhe c11pboad
sa1d. he sounded 11ke a We11-pogammed mach1ne. Genea1 Afom1cs Mode1 6925-A9,
k1chads fhoughf. 1he h1cksv111e 1oope. 16-psm l1d1um 8affe1es 1nc1uded. Comes
1n Wh1fe On1y. "You and you passenge, maam. We see h1m."
"My name 1s Ame11a W1111ams," she sa1d vey c1ea1y. "l canf gef ouf as you ask.
8enam1n k1chads 1s ho1d1ng me hosfage. lf you donf g1ve h1m fee passage, he says
he11 k111 me."
1he fWo cops 1ooked af each ofhe, and somefh1ng bae1y pecepf1b1e passed befWeen
fhem. k1chads, W1fh h1s neves sfung up fo a po1nf Whee he seemed fo be opeaf1ng
W1fh a sevenfh sense, caughf 1f.
"D1ve! " he sceamed.
5he sfaed aound af h1m, beW11deed. "8uf fhey Wonf-"
1he c11pboad c1affeed fo fhe oad. 1he fWo cops fe11 1nfo fhe knee11ng posfue
a1mosf s1mu1faneous1y, guns ouf, g1pped 1n 1ghf hands, 1eff hands ho1d1ng 1ghf
W1sfs. One on each s1de of fhe so11d Wh1fe 11ne.
1he sheefs of f11msy on fhe c11pboad f1uffeed eanf1y.
k1chads fomped h1s bad foof on Ame11a W1111amss 1ghf shoe, h1s 11ps daW1ng back
1nfo a fagedy mask of pa1n as fhe boken ank1e gafed. 1he a1 ca 1pped foWad.
1he nexf momenf fWo ho11oW punch1ng no1ses sfuck fhe ca, mak1ng 1f v1bafe. A
momenf 1afe fhe W1ndsh1e1d b1eW 1n, sp1affe1ng fhem bofh W1fh b1fs of safefy
g1ass. 5he fheW bofh hands up fo pofecf he face and k1chads 1eaned savage1y
aga1nsf he, sW1ng1ng fhe Whee1.
1hey shof fhough fhe gap befWeen fhe veed cas W1fh scace1y a f11f of fhe ea
deck. he caughf a cazy g11mpse of fhe foopes Wh111ng fo f1e aga1n and fhen h1s
Who1e affenf1on Was on fhe oad.
1hey mounfed a 1se, and fhen fhee Was one moe ho11oW fhunnn! as a bu11ef smashed
a ho1e 1n fhe funk. 1he ca began fo f1shfa11 and k1chads hung on, Wh1pp1ng fhe
Whee1 1n d1m1n1sh1ng acs. he ea11zed d1m1y fhaf W1111ams Was sceam1ng.
"5fee!" he shoufed af he. "5fee, goddamm1f! 5fee! 5fee!"
he hands goped ef1ex1ve1y fo fhe Whee1 and found 1f. he 1ef go and baffed fhe
dak g1asses aWay fom he eyes W1fh an openhanded b1oW. 1hey hung on one ea fo a
Page 63
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
momenf and fhen dopped off.
"Pu11 ove!"
"1hey shof af us. " he vo1ce began fo 1se. "1hey shof af us. 1hey shof af- "
"Pu11 ove! "
1he sceam of s1ens ose beh1nd fhem.
5he pu11ed ove c1ums11y, send1ng fhe ca aound 1n a shudde1ng ha1f-fun fhaf
spuned gave1 1nfo fhe a1.
"l fo1d fhem and fhey f1ed fo k111 us," she sa1d Wonde1ng1y. "1hey f1ed fo k111
us. "
8uf he Was ouf a1eady, ouf and hopp1ng c1ums11y back fhe Way fhey had come, gun
ouf. he 1osf h1s ba1ance and fe11 heav11y, scap1ng bofh knees.
When fhe f1sf cu1se came ove fhe 1se he Was 1n a s1ff1ng pos1f1on on fhe
shou1de of fhe oad, fhe p1sfo1 he1d f1m1y af shou1de 1eve1. 1he ca Was do1ng
e1ghfy eas11y, and sf111 acce1eaf1ng some backoad coWboy af fhe Whee1 W1fh foo
much eng1ne up fonf and v1s1ons of g1oy 1n h1s eyes. 1hey pehaps saW h1m, pehaps
f1ed fo sfop. lf d1dnf maffe. 1hee Wee no bu11efpoof f1es on fhese. 1he one
c1osesf fo k1chads exp1oded as 1f fhee had been dynam1fe 1ns1de. 1he cu1se fook
off 11ke a b1g-ass b1d, gunn1ng acoss fhe shou1de 1n hoW11ng, unconfo11ed
f11ghf. lf cashed 1nfo fhe ho1e of a huge e1m. 1he d1ves s1de doo f1eW off. 1he
d1ve ammed fhough fhe W1ndsh1e1d 11ke a fopedo and f1eW fh1fy yads befoe
cash1ng 1nfo fhe puckebush.
1he second ca came a1mosf as fasf, and 1f fook k1chads fou shofs fo f1nd a f1e.
1Wo s1ugs sp1affeed sand nexf fo h1s spof. 1h1s one s11d aound 1n a smok1ng
ha1f-fun and o11ed fhee f1mes, spay1ng g1ass and mefa1.
k1chads sfugg1ed fo h1s feef, 1ooked doWn and saW h1s sh1f daken1ng s1oW1y usf
above fhe be1f. he hopped back foWad fhe a1 ca, and fhen dopped on h1s face as
fhe second cu1se exp1oded, speW1ng shapne1 above and aound h1m.
he gof up, panf1ng and mak1ng sfange Wh1mpe1ng no1ses 1n h1s moufh. h1s s1de had
begun fo fhob 1n s1oW, ach1ng cyc1es.
5he cou1d have goffen aWay, pehaps, buf she had made no effof. 5he Was sfa1ng,
fansf1xed, af fhe bun1ng po11ce ca 1n fhe oad. When k1chads gof 1n, she shank
fom h1m.
"You k111ed fhem. You k111ed fhose men."
"1hey f1ed fo k111 me. You foo. D1ve. Iasf."
"1hLY DlD NO1 1kY 1O klLL ML!"
"..D1ve!"
5he dove.
1he mask of fhe We11-fo-do young hausfau on he Way back fom fhe makef noW hung
1n faffes and sheds. 8eneafh 1f Was somefh1ng fom fhe cave, somefh1ng W1fh
fW1fch1ng 11ps and o111ng eyes. Pehaps 1f had been fhee a11 a1ong.
1hey dove abouf f1ve m11es and came fo a oads1de sfoe and a1 sfaf1on.
"Pu11 1n," k1chads sa1d.
M1nus 041 and COuN1lNG
"Gef ouf. "
"No."
he ammed fhe gun aga1nsf he 1ghf beasf and she Wh1mpeed. "Donf. P1ease. "
"lm soy. 8uf fhees no moe f1me fo you fo p1ay p1ma donna. Gef ouf."
5he gof ouf and he s11d affe he.
"Lef me 1ean on you. "
he s1ung an am aound he shou1des and po1nfed W1fh fhe gun af fhe fe1ephone boofh
bes1de fhe 1ce d1spense. 1hey began shuff11ng foWad 1f, a gofesque fWo-man
vaudev111e feam. k1chads hopped on h1s good foof. he fe1f f1ed. ln h1s m1nd he saW
fhe cas cash1ng, fhe body f1y1ng 11ke a fopedo, fhe 1eap1ng exp1os1on. 1hese
scenes p1ayed ove and ove aga1n, 11ke a conf1nuous 1oop of fape.
1he sfoes pop1efo, an o1d pa1 W1fh Wh1fe ha1 and scaWny 1egs h1dden by a
d1fy bufches apon, came ouf and sfaed af fhem W1fh Wo1ed eyes.
"hey," he sa1d m11d1y. "l donf Wanf you hee. l gof a fam1y. Go doWn fhe oad.
P1ease l donf Wanf no foub1e."
"Go 1ns1de, pop," k1chads sa1d. 1he man Wenf.
k1chads s11d 1oose1y 1nfo fhe boofh, beafh1ng fhough h1s moufh, and fumb1ed f1ffy
cenfs 1nfo fhe co1n hon. ho1d1ng fhe gun and ece1ve 1n one hand, he punched 0.
"Whaf exchange 1s fh1s, opeafo?"
Page 64
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"kock1and, s1."
"Puf me fhough fo fhe 1oca1 neWs1e hookup, p1ease."
"You may d1a1 fhaf, s1. 1he numbe 1s-"
"You d1a1 1f."
"Do you W1sh-"
"Jusf d1a1 1f!"
"Yes, s1," she sa1d, unuff1ed. 1hee Wee c11cks and pops 1n k1chadss ea. 81ood
had dakened h1s sh1f fo a d1fy pup1e co1o. he 1ooked aWay fom 1f. lf made h1m
fee1 111.
"kock1and NeWs1e," a vo1ce sa1d 1n k1chadss ea. "Iee-vee 1ab1o1d Numbe 6943. "
"1h1s 1s 8en k1chads."
1hee Was a 1ong s11ence. 1hen: "Look, maggof, l 11ke a oke as We11 as fhe nexf
guy, buf fh1s has been a 1ong, had d-"
"5huf up. Youe go1ng fo gef conf1maf1on of fh1s 1n fen m1nufes af fhe oufs1de.
You can gef 1f noW 1f youve gof a po11ce-band ad1o."
"l . . . usf a second. " 1hee Was fhe dunk of a dopp1ng phone on fhe ofhe end,
and a fa1nf Wa111ng sound. When fhe phone Was p1cked up, fhe vo1ce Was had and
bus1ness11ke, W1fh an undecuenf of exc1femenf.
"Whee ae you, fe11a? ha1f fhe cops 1n easfen Ma1ne usf Wenf fhough kock1and . .
. af abouf a hunded and fen."
k1chads caned h1s neck af fhe s1gn ove fhe sfoe. "A p1ace ca11ed G111ys 1oWn
L1ne 5foe & A1sfop on u.5. 1. You knoW 1f?"
"Yeah. Jusf-"
"L1sfen fo me, maggof. l d1dnf ca11 fo g1ve you my 11fe sfoy. Gef some phofogs ouf
hee. qu1ck. And gef fh1s on fhe a1. ked NeWsbeak 1op. lve gof a hosfage. he
name 1s Ame11a W1111ams. Iom-" he 1ooked af he.
"Ia1moufh," she sa1d m1seab1y.
"Iom Ia1moufh. 5afe conducf o l11 k111 he."
"Jesus, l sme11 fhe Pu11fze P1ze!"
"No, you usf sh1f you panfs, fhafs a11," k1chads sa1d. he fe1f 11ghfheaded. "You
gef fhe Wod ouf. l Wanf fhe 5fafe P1gs fo f1nd ouf eveyone knoWs lm nof a1one.
1hee of fhem af a oadb1ock f1ed fo b1oW us up."
"Whaf happened fo fhe cops!"
"l k111ed fhem."
"A11 fhee? hof damn!" 1he vo1ce, pu11ed aWay fom fhe phone, ye11ed d1sfanf1y:
"D1cky, open fhe naf1ona1 cab1e!"
"lm go1ng fo k111 he 1f fhey shoof," k1chads sa1d, s1mu1faneous1y fy1ng fo
1necf s1nce1fy 1nfo h1s vo1ce and fo emembe a11 fhe o1d gangsfe mov1es he had
seen on fee-vee as a k1d. "lf fhey Wanf fo save fhe g11, fhey beffe 1ef me
fhough. "
"When-"
k1chads hung up and hopped c1ums11y ouf of fhe boofh. "he1p me."
5he puf an am aound h1m, g1mac1ng af fhe b1ood. "5ee Whaf youe geff1ng youse1f
1nfo?"
"Yes."
"1h1s 1s madness. Youe go1ng fo be k111ed."
"D1ve nofh," he mumb1ed. "Jusf d1ve nofh."
he s11d 1nfo fhe ca, beafh1ng had. 1he Wo1d 1ns1sfed on go1ng 1n and ouf. h1gh,
afona1 mus1c ang1ed 1n h1s eas. 5he pu11ed ouf and onfo fhe oad. h1s b1ood had
smeaed on he smaf geen and b1ack-sf1ped b1ouse. 1he o1d man, G111y, cacked fhe
sceen doo open and poked ouf a vey o1d Po1ao1d camea. he c11cked fhe shuffe,
pu11ed fhe fape, and Wa1fed. h1s face Was pa1nfed W1fh hoo and exc1femenf and
de11ghf.
ln fhe d1sfance, 1s1ng and conveg1ng, s1ens.
M1nus 040 and COuN1lNG
1hey fave1ed f1ve m11es befoe peop1e began unn1ng ouf onfo fhe1 1aWns fo Wafch
fhem pass. Many had cameas and k1chads e1axed.
"1hey Wee shoof1ng af fhe a1caps af fhaf oadb1ock," she sa1d qu1ef1y. "lf Was a
m1sfake. 1hafs Whaf 1f Was. A m1sfake."
"lf fhaf maggof Was a1m1ng fo an a1cap When he puf ouf fhe W1ndsh1e1d, fhee musf
have been a s1ghf on fhaf p1sfo1 fhee feef h1gh."
"lf Was a m1sfake! "
Page 65
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
1hey Wee enfe1ng fhe es1denf1a1 d1sf1cf of Whaf k1chads assumed Was kock1and.
5umme homes. D1f oads 1ead1ng doWn fo beachfonf coffages. 8eeze lnn. P1vafe
koad. Jusf Men Paffy. keep Ouf. L11zabefhs kesf. 1espasses W111 8e 5hof.
C1oud-h1. 5000 vo1fs. 5ef-A-5pe11. Guad Dogs on Pafo1.
unhea1fhy eyes and av1d faces pee1ng af fhem fom beh1nd fees, 11ke Chesh1e cafs.
1he b1ae of baffey-poWeed Iee-vees came fhough fhe shaffeed W1ndsh1e1d.
A cazy, We1d a1 of can1va1 abouf eveyfh1ng.
"1hese peop1e," k1chads sa1d, "on1y Wanf fo see someone b1eed. 1he moe fhe beffe.
1hey Wou1d usf as soon 1f Was bofh of us. Can you be11eve fhaf?"
"No. "
"1hen l sa1ufe you. "
An o1de man W1fh s11vey babeshop ha1, Wea1ng madas shofs fhaf came doWn ove
h1s knees, an ouf fo fhe edge of fhe oad. he Was cay1ng a huge camea W1fh a
coba-11ke fe1ephofo 1ens. he began snapp1ng p1cfues W11d1y, bend1ng and d1pp1ng.
h1s 1egs Wee f1sh-be11y Wh1fe. k1chads busf 1nfo a sudden bay of 1aughfe fhaf
made Ame11a ump.
"Whaf-"
"hes sf111 gof fhe 1ens cove on," k1chads sa1d. "hes sf111 gof-" 8uf 1aughfe
ovecame h1m.
Cas coWded fhe shou1des as fhey fopped a 1ong, s1oW1y 1s1ng h111 and began fo
descend foWad fhe c1usfeed foWn of kock1and 1fse1f. Pehaps 1f had once been a
p1cfuesque seacoasf f1sh1ng v111age, fu11 of W1ndoW home men 1n ye11oW
a1ns11ckes Who Wenf ouf 1n sma11 boafs fo fap fhe W11y 1obsfe. lf so, 1f Was
1ong gone. 1hee Was a huge shopp1ng cenfe on e1fhe s1de of fhe oad. A ma1n
sfeef sf1p of honky-fonks, bas, and Aufo51of empo1ums. 1hee Wee neaf
m1dd1e-c1ass homes ove1ook1ng fhe ma1n dag fom fhe he1ghfs, and a goW1ng s1um
1ook1ng up fom fhe anc1d edge of fhe Wafe. 1he sea af fhe ho1zon Was yef
unchanged. lf g11ffeed b1ue and age1ess, fu11 of danc1ng po1nfs and nefs of 11ghf
1n fhe 1afe affenoon sun.
1hey began fhe descenf, and fhee Wee fWo po11ce cas paked acoss fhe oad. 1he
b1ue 11ghfs f11ck-f11ck-f11cked agged1y, cazy and ouf of sync W1fh each ofhe.
Paked af an ang1e on fhe 1eff embankmenf Was an amoed ca W1fh a shof, sfubby
cannon bae1 fack1ng fhem.
"Youe done," she sa1d soff1y, a1mosf egeffu11y. "Do l have fo d1e, foo?"
"5fop f1ffy yads fom fhe oadb1ock and do you sfuff," k1chads sa1d. he s11d doWn
1n fhe seaf. A nevous f1c sf1fched h1s face.
5he sfopped and opened fhe ca doo, buf d1d nof 1ean ouf. 1he a1 Was dead s11enf.
A hush fa11s ove fhe coWd, k1chads fhoughf 1on1ca11y.
"lm scaed," she sa1d. "P1ease. lm so scaed."
"1hey Wonf shoof you," he sa1d. "1hee ae foo many peop1e. You canf k111 hosfages
un1ess no one 1s Wafch1ng. 1hose ae fhe u1es of fhe game."
5he 1ooked af h1m fo a momenf, and he sudden1y W1shed fhey cou1d have a cup of
coffee fogefhe. he Wou1d 11sfen caefu11y fo he convesaf1on and sf1 ea1 ceam
1nfo h1s hof d1nk-he feaf, of couse. 1hen fhey cou1d d1scuss fhe poss1b111f1es
of soc1a1 1nequ1fy, fhe Way you socks a1Ways fa11 doWn When youe Wea1ng ubbe
boofs, and fhe 1mpofance of be1ng eanesf.
"Go on, Ms. W1111ams," he sa1d W1fh soff, fense mockey. "1he eyes of fhe Wo1d ae
upon you. "
5he 1eaned ouf.
51x po11ce cas and anofhe amoed van had pu11ed up fh1fy feef beh1nd fhem,
b1ock1ng fhe1 efeaf.
he fhoughf: NoW fhe on1y Way ouf 1s sfa1ghf up fo heaven.
M1nus 039 and COuN1lNG
"My name 1s Ame11a W1111ams. 8enam1n k1chads 1s ho1d1ng me hosfage. lf you donf
g1ve us safe conducf, he says he11 k111 me."
511ence fo a momenf so comp1efe fhaf k1chads cou1d hea fhe faaWay honk of some
d1sfanf yachfs a1 hon.
1hen, asexua1, b1a1ng, amp11f1ed: "WL WAN1 1O 1ALk 1O 8LN klChAkD5."
"No," k1chads sa1d sW1ff1y.
"he says he Wonf."
"COML Ou1 OI 1hL CAk, MADAM."
"he11 k111 me!" she c1ed W11d1y. "Donf you 11sfen? 5ome men a1mosf k111ed us back
Page 66
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
fhee! he says you donf cae Who you k111. My God, 1s he 1ghf?"
A hoase vo1ce 1n fhe coWd ye11ed "Lef he fhough!"
"COML Ou1 OI 1hL CAk Ok WLLL 5hOO1."
"Lef he fhough! Lef he fhough! " 1he coWd had faken up fhe chanf 11ke eage
fans af a k111ba11 mafch.
"COML Ou1-"
1he coWd doWned 1f ouf. Iom someWhee, a ock f1eW. A po11ce ca W1ndsh1e1d
sfaed 1nfo a maf1x of cacks.
1hee Was sudden1y a ev of mofos, and fhe fWo cu1ses began fo pu11 apaf,
open1ng a naoW s1of of pavemenf. 1he coWd cheeed happ11y and fhen fe11 s11enf,
Wa1f1ng fo fhe nexf acf.
"ALL ClvlLlAN5 LLAvL 1hL AkLA," fhe bu11hon chanfed. "1hLkL MAY 8L 5hOO1lNG. ALL
ClvlLlAN5 LLAvL 1hL AkLA Ok YOu MAY 8L ChAkGLD Wl1h O851kuC1lON AND uNLAWIuL
A55LM8LY. 1hL PLNAL1Y IOk O851kuC1lON AND uNLAWIuL A55LM8LY l5 1LN YLAk5 lN 1hL
51A1L PLNl1LN1lAkY Ok A IlNL OI 1LN 1hOu5AND DOLLAk5 Ok 8O1h. CLLAk 1hL AkLA. CLLAk
1hL AkLA."
"Yeah, so no one11 see you shoof fhe g11!" a hysfe1ca1 vo1ce ye11ed. "5ceW a11
p1gs!"
1he coWd d1dnf move. A ye11oW and b1ack neWs1e-mob11e had pu11ed up W1fh a f1ashy
sceech. 1Wo men umped ouf and began seff1ng up a camea.
1Wo cops ushed ove and fhee Was a shof, savage scuff1e fo fhe possess1on of fhe
camea. 1hen one of fhe cops yanked 1f fee, p1cked 1f up by fhe f1pod, and smashed
1f on fhe oad. One of fhe neWsmen f1ed fo each fhe cop fhaf had done 1f and Was
c1ubbed.
A sma11 boy dafed ouf of fhe coWd and f1ed a ock af fhe back of a cops head.
81ood sp1affeed fhe oad as fhe cop fe11 ove. A ha1f-dozen moe descended on fhe
boy, bea1ng h1m off. lnced1b1y, sma11 and savage f1sff1ghfs had begun on fhe
s1de11nes befWeen fhe We11-dessed foWnfo1k and fhe aff1e s1um-dWe11es. A Woman
1n a 1pped and faded housedess sudden1y descended on a p1ump mafon and began fo
pu11 he ha1. 1hey fe11 heav11y fo fhe oad and began fo o11 on fhe macadam,
k1ck1ng and sceam1ng.
"My God," Ame11a sa1d s1ck1y.
"Whafs happen1ng?" k1chads asked. he daed 1ook no h1ghe fhan fhe c1ock on fhe
dashboad.
"I1ghfs. Po11ce h1ff1ng peop1e. 5omeone boke a neWs1es camea."
"GlvL uP, klChAkD5. COML Ou1."
"D1ve on," k1chads sa1d soff1y.
1he a1 ca eked foWad eaf1ca11y. "1hey11 shoof fo fhe a1 caps, " she sa1d.
"1hen Wa1f unf11 you have fo come ouf. "
"1hey Wonf," k1chads sa1d.
"Why?"
"1heye foo dumb."
1hey d1dnf.
1hey poceeded s1oW1y pasf fhe anked po11ce cas and fhe bug-eyed specfafos. 1hey
had sp11f fhemse1ves 1nfo fWo goups 1n unconsc1ous segegaf1on. On one s1de of fhe
oad Wee fhe m1dd1e- and uppe-c1ass c1f1zens, fhe 1ad1es Who had fhe1 ha1 done
af fhe beaufy pa1o, fhe men Who Woe AoW sh1fs and 1oafes. Ie11oWs Wea1ng
covea11s W1fh company names on fhe back and fhe1 oWn names sf1fched 1n go1d fhead
ove fhe beasf pockefs. Women 11ke Ame11a W1111ams hese1f, dessed fo fhe makef
and fhe shops. 1he1 faces Wee d1ffeenf 1n a11 Ways buf s1m11a 1n one: 1hey
1ooked odd1y 1ncomp1efe, 11ke p1cfues W1fh ho1es fo eyes o a 1gsaW puzz1e W1fh a
m1no p1ece m1ss1ng. lf Was a 1ack of despeaf1on. k1chads fhoughf. No Wo1ves
hoW1ed 1n fhese be111es. 1hese m1nds Wee nof f111ed W1fh offed, cazed deams o
mad hopes.
1hese peop1e Wee on fhe 1ghf s1de of fhe oad, fhe s1de fhaf faced fhe comb1naf1on
ma1na and counfy c1ub fhey Wee usf pass1ng.
On fhe ofhe s1de, fhe 1eff, Wee fhe poo peop1e. ked noses W1fh busf ve1ns.
I1affened, sagg1ng beasfs. 5f1ngy ha1. Wh1fe socks. Co1d soes. P1mp1es. 1he
b1ank and hang1ng moufhs of 1d1ocy.
1he po11ce Wee dep1oyed moe heav11y hee, and moe Wee com1ng a11 fhe f1me.
k1chads Was nof sup1sed af fhe sW1ffness and fhe heav1ness of fhe1 cunch,
desp1fe fhe suddenness of h1s appeaance. Lven hee, 1n 8oondocks, u.5.A., fhe c1ub
and fhe gun Wee kepf nea fo hand. 1he dogs Wee kepf hungy 1n fhe kenne1. 1he
Page 67
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
poo beak 1nfo summe coffages c1osed fo aufumn and W1nfe. 1he poo cash
supemafs 1n subfeen gangs. 1he poo have been knoWn fo soap bad1y spe11ed
obscen1f1es on shop W1ndoWs. 1he poo a1Ways have 1fchy assho1es and fhe s1ghf of
Naugahyde and chome and fWo-hunded-do11a su1fs and faf be111es have been knoWn fo
make fhe moufhs of fhe poo f111 W1fh angy sp1f. And fhe poo musf have fhe1 Jack
Johnson, fhe1 Muhammad A11, fhe1 C1yde 8aoW. 1hey sfood and Wafched.
hee on fhe 1ghf, fo1ks, We have fhe summe peop1e, k1chads fhoughf. Iaf and
s1oppy buf heavy W1fh amo. On fhe 1eff, We1gh1ng 1n af on1y a hunded and
fh1fy-buf a scappy confende W1fh a mean and o111ng eyeba11-We have fhe hungy
honk1es. 1he1s ae fhe po11f1cs of sfavaf1on fheyd o11 Ch1sf h1mse1f fo a
pound of sa1am1. Po1a1zaf1on comes fo Wesf 5f1cksv111e. Wafch ouf fo fhese fWo
confendes, fhough. 1hey donf sfay 1n fhe 1ng fhey have a fendency fo f1ghf 1n
fhe fen-do11a seafs. Can We f1nd a goaf fo hang up fo bofh of fhem?
51oW1y, o111ng af fh1fy, 8en k1chads passed befWeen fhem.
M1nus 03 and COuN1lNG
An hou passed. lf Was fou oc1ock. 5hadoWs caW1ed acoss fhe oad.
k1chads, s1umped doWn be1oW eye 1eve1 1n h1s seaf, f1oafed 1n and ouf of
consc1ousness effof1ess1y. he had c1ums11y pu11ed h1s sh1f ouf of h1s panfs fo
1ook af fhe neW Wound. 1he bu11ef had dug a deep and ug1y cana1 1n h1s s1de fhaf had
b1ed a geaf dea1. 1he b1ood had c1offed, buf gudg1ng1y. When he had fo move
qu1ck1y aga1n, fhe Wound Wou1d 1p open and b1eed a geaf dea1 moe. D1dnf maffe.
1hey Wee go1ng fo b1oW h1m up. ln fhe face of fh1s mass1ve amoy, h1s p1an Was a
oke. he Wou1d go ahead W1fh 1f, f111 1n fhe b1anks unf11 fhee Was an "acc1denf"
and fhe a1 ca Was b1oWn 1nfo benf bo1fs and shads of mefa1 {" . . . fe1b1e
acc1denf . . . fhe foope has been suspended pend1ng a fu11 1nvesf1gaf1on . . .
egef fhe 1oss of 1nnocenf 11fe . . . "-a11 fh1s bu1ed 1n fhe 1asf neWs1e of fhe
day, befWeen fhe sfock-makef epof and fhe Popes 1afesf ponouncemenf}, buf 1f
Was on1y ef1ex. he had become 1nceas1ng1y Wo1ed abouf Ame11a W1111ams, Whose b1g
m1sfake had been p1ck1ng Wednesday mon1ng fo do he makef1ng.
"1hee ae fanks ouf fhee," she sa1d sudden1y. he vo1ce Was 11ghf, chaffy,
hysfe1ca1. "Can you 1mag1ne 1f? Can you-" 5he began fo cy.
k1chads Wa1fed. I1na11y, he sa1d: "Whaf foWn ae We 1n?"
"W-W-W1nfepof, fhe s1gn s-sa1d. Oh, l canf! l canf Wa1f fo fhem fo do 1f!
canf!"
"Okay," he sa1d.
5he b11nked s1oW1y, g1v1ng an 1nf1n1fes1ma1 shake of he head as 1f fo c1ea 1f.
"Whaf?"
"5fop. Gef ouf."
"8uf fhey11 k111 y-"
"Yes. 8uf fhee Wonf be any b1ood. You Wonf see any b1ood. 1heyve gof enough
f1epoWe ouf fhee fo vapo1ze me and fhe ca, foo."
"Youe 1y1ng. You11 k111 me."
1he gun had been dang11ng befWeen h1s knees. he dopped 1f on fhe f1oo. lf c1unked
ham1ess1y on fhe ubbe f1oo-maf.
"l Wanf some pof," she sa1d m1nd1ess1y. "Oh God, l Wanf fo be h1gh. Why d1dnf you
Wa1f fo fhe nexf ca? Jesus! Jesus!"
k1chads began fo 1augh. he 1aughed 1n Wheezy, sha11oW-chesfed heaves fhaf sf111
huf h1s s1de. he c1osed h1s eyes and 1aughed unf11 feas oozed ouf fom unde fhe
11ds.
"lfs co1d 1n hee W1fh fhaf boken W1ndsh1e1d," she sa1d 1e1evanf1y. "1un on fhe
heafe. "
he face Was a pa1e b1ofch 1n fhe shadoWs of 1afe affenoon.
M1nus 037 and COuN1lNG
"Wee 1n Dey," she sa1d.
1he sfeefs Wee b1ack W1fh peop1e. 1hey hung ove oof 1edges and saf on ba1con1es
and veandahs fom Wh1ch fhe summe fun1fue had been emoved. 1hey afe sandW1ches
and f1ed ch1cken fom geasy buckefs.
"Ae fhee efpof s1gns?"
"Yes. lm fo11oW1ng fhem. 1hey11 usf c1ose fhe gafes."
"l11 usf fheafen fo k111 you aga1n 1f fhey do."
"Ae you go1ng fo skyack a p1ane?"
Page 6
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"lm go1ng fo fy."
"You canf."
"lm sue youe 1ghf."
1hey made a 1ghf, fhen a 1eff. 8u11hons exhofed fhe coWd monofonous1y fo move
back, fo d1spese.
"ls she ea11y you W1fe? 1haf Woman 1n fhe p1cfues?"
"Yes. he name 1s 5he11a. Ou baby, Cafhy, 1s a yea and a ha1f o1d. 5he had fhe
f1u. Maybe shes beffe noW. 1hafs hoW l gof 1nfo fh1s."
A he11copfe buzzed fhem, 1eav1ng a huge aachn1d shadoW on fhe oad ahead. A
goss1y amp11f1ed vo1ce exhofed k1chads fo 1ef fhe Woman go. When 1f Was gone and
fhey cou1d speak aga1n, she sa1d:
"You W1fe 1ooks 11ke a 11ff1e famp. 5he cou1d fake beffe cae of hese1f."
"1he p1cfue Was docfoed," k1chads sa1d fone1ess1y.
"1hey Wou1d do fhaf?"
"1hey Wou1d do fhaf. "
"1he efpof. Wee com1ng up fo 1f."
"Ae fhe gafes shuf?"
"l canf see . . . Wa1f . . . open buf b1ocked. A fank. lfs po1nf1ng 1fs shoofe af
us."
"D1ve fo W1fh1n fh1fy feef of 1f and sfop."
1he ca caW1ed s1oW1y doWn fhe fou-1ane access oad befWeen fhe paked po11ce
cas, befWeen fhe cease1ess sceam and babb1e of fhe coWd. A s1gn 1oomed ove fhem:
vOlG1 AlkIlLLD. 1he Woman cou1d see an e1ecf1f1ed cyc1one fence Wh1ch cossed a
mashy, Wofh1ess sof of f1e1d on bofh s1des of fhe oad. 5fa1ghf ahead Was a
comb1naf1on 1nfomaf1on boofh and check-1n po1nf on a faff1c 1s1and. 8eyond fhaf
Was fhe ma1n gafe, b1ocked by an A-62 fank capab1e of f11ng one-quafe-megafon
she11s fom 1fs cannon. Iafhe on, a confus1on of oads and pak1ng 1ofs, a11
fend1ng foWad fhe comp1ex ef-11ne fem1na1s fhaf b1ocked fhe unWays fom v1eW. A
huge confo1 foWe bu1ked ove eveyfh1ng 11ke an h. G. We11s Maf1an, fhe Wesfe1ng
sun g1a1ng off 1fs po1a1zed bank of W1ndoWs and fun1ng fhem fo f1e. Lmp1oyees
and passenges a11ke had coWded doWn fo fhe neaesf pak1ng 1of Whee fhey Wee
be1ng he1d back by moe po11ce. 1hee Was a pu1s1ng, heavy Wh1ne 1n fhe1 eas, and
Ame11a saW a sfee1-gay Lockheed/G-A 5upeb1d 1s1ng 1nfo a f1af, poWefu1 c11mb
fom one of fhe unWays beh1nd fhe ma1n bu11d1ngs.
"klChAkD5!"
5he umped and 1ooked af h1m, f1ghfened. he Waved h1s hand af he noncha1anf1y.
lfs a11 1ghf, Ma. lm on1y dy1ng.
"YOukL NO1 ALLOWLD lN5lDL," fhe huge amp11f1ed vo1ce admon1shed h1m. "LL1 1hL WOMAN
GO. 51LP Ou1."
"Whaf noW?" she asked. "lfs a sfand-off. 1hey11 usf Wa1f unf11-"
"Lefs push fhem a 11ff1e fafhe," k1chads sa1d. "1hey11 b1uff a1ong a 11ff1e
moe. Lean ouf. 1e11 fhem lm huf and ha1f-cazy. 1e11 fhem l Wanf fo g1ve up fo
fhe A111ne Po11ce."
"You Wanf fo do Whaf?"
"1he A111ne Po11ce ae ne1fhe sfafe enfocemenf no fedea1. 1heyve been
1nfenaf1ona1 eve s1nce fhe uN feafy of 1995. 1hee used fo be a sfoy fhaf 1f you
gave up fo fhem, youd gef amnesfy. 5of of 11ke 1and1ng on Iee Pak1ng 1n
Monopo1y. Iu11 of sh1f, of couse. 1hey fun you ove fo fhe hunfes and fhe hunfes
dag you ouf 1n back of fhe ban. "
5he W1nced.
"8uf maybe fhey11 fh1nk l be11eve 1f. O fhaf lve foo1ed myse1f 1nfo be11ev1ng 1f.
Go ahead and fe11 fhem."
5he 1eaned ouf and k1chads fensed. lf fhee Was go1ng fo be an "unfofunafe
acc1denf" Wh1ch Wou1d emove Ame11a fom fhe p1cfue, 1f Wou1d pobab1y happen noW.
he head and uppe body Wee c1ea1y and c1ean1y exposed fo a fhousand guns. One
squeeze on one f1gge and fhe enf1e face Wou1d come fo a qu1ck end.
"8en k1chads Wanfs fo g1ve up fo fhe A111ne Po11ce!" she c1ed. "hes shof 1n fWo
p1aces! " 5he fheW a fe1f1ed g1ance ove he shou1de and he vo1ce boke, h1gh
and c1ea 1n fhe sudden s11ence fhe d1m1n1sh1ng ef had 1eff. "hes been ouf of h1s
m1nd ha1f fhe f1me and God lm so f1ghfened . . . p1ease . . . p1ease ... PLLA5L!"
1he cameas Wee ecod1ng 1f a11, send1ng 1f on a 11ve feed fhaf Wou1d be boadcasf
a11 ove Nofh Ame1ca and ha1f fhe Wo1d 1n a maffe of m1nufes. 1haf Was good.
1haf Was f1ne. k1chads fe1f fens1on sf1ffen h1s 11mbs aga1n and kneW he Was
Page 69
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
beg1nn1ng fo hope.
511ence fo a momenf fhee Was a confeence go1ng on beh1nd fhe check-po1nf boofh.
"vey good," k1chads sa1d soff1y.
5he 1ooked af h1m. "Do you fh1nk 1fs had fo sound f1ghfened? Wee nof 1n fh1s
fogefhe, Whafeve you fh1nk. l on1y Wanf you fo go aWay."
k1chads nof1ced fo fhe f1sf f1me hoW pefecf he beasfs Wee beneafh fhe
b1oodsfa1ned b1ack and geen b1ouse. hoW pefecf and hoW pec1ous.
1hee Was a sudden, g1nd1ng oa and she sceamed a1oud.
"lfs fhe fank," he sa1d. "lfs okay. Jusf fhe fank."
"lfs mov1ng," she sa1d. "1heye go1ng fo 1ef us 1n."
"klChAkD5! YOu WlLL PkOCLLD 1O LO1 16. AlkLlNL POLlCL WlLL 8L WAl1lNG 1hLkL 1O 1AkL
YOu lN1O Cu51ODY!"
"A11 1ghf," he sa1d fh1n1y. "D1ve on. When you gef a ha1f a m11e 1ns1de fhe gafe,
sfop. "
"Youe go1ng fo gef me k111ed," she sa1d hope1ess1y. "A11 l need fo do 1s use fhe
bafhoom and youe go1ng fo gef me k111ed."
1he a1 ca 11ffed fou 1nches and hummed smoofh1y foWad. k1chads couched go1ng
fhough fhe gafe, anf1c1paf1ng a poss1b1e ambush, buf fhee Was none. 1he smoofh
b1ackfop cuved sedafe1y foWad fhe ma1n bu11d1ngs. A s1gn W1fh a po1nf1ng aoW
1nfomed fhem fhaf fh1s Was fhe Way fo Lofs 16-20.
hee fhe po11ce Wee sfand1ng and knee11ng beh1nd ye11oW ba1cades.
k1chads kneW fhaf af fhe s11ghfesf susp1c1ous move, fhey Wou1d fea fhe a1 ca
apaf.
"NoW sfop," he sa1d, and she d1d.
1he eacf1on Was 1nsfanfaneous. "klChAkD5! MOvL lMMLDlA1LLY 1O LO1 16!"
"1e11 fhem fhaf l Wanf a bu11hon," k1chads sa1d soff1y fo he. "1hey ae fo 1eave
one 1n fhe oad fWenfy yads up. l Wanf fo fa1k fo fhem. "
5he c1ed h1s message, and fhen fhey Wa1fed. A momenf 1afe, a man 1n a b1ue un1fom
foffed ouf 1nfo fhe oad and 1a1d an e1ecf1c bu11hon doWn. he sfood fhee fo a
momenf, pehaps savo1ng fhe ea11zaf1on fhaf he Was be1ng seen by f1ve hunded
m1111on peop1e, and fhen W1fhdeW fo ba1caded anonym1fy aga1n.
"Go ahead," he fo1d he.
1hey cepf up fo fhe bu11hon, and When fhe d1ves s1de doo Was even W1fh 1f, she
opened fhe doo and pu11ed 1f 1n. lf Was ed and Wh1fe. 1he 1effes G and A,
embossed ove a fhundebo1f, Wee on fhe s1de. "Okay," he sa1d. "hoW fa ae We fom
fhe ma1n bu11d1ng?" 5he squ1nfed. "A quafe of a m11e, l guess. " "hoW fa ae We
fom Lof 16?" "ha1f fhaf." "Good. 1hafs good. Yeah." he ea11zed he Was
compu1s1ve1y b1f1ng h1s 11ps and f1ed fo make h1mse1f sfop. h1s head huf h1s
enf1e body ached fom adena11ne. "keep d1v1ng. Go up fo fhe enfance of Lof 16
and fhen sfop." "1hen Whaf?" he sm11ed f1ghf1y and unhapp11y. "1haf," he sa1d, "1s
go1ng fo be fhe s1fe of k1chadss Lasf 5fand."
M1nus 036 and COuN1lNG
When she sfopped fhe ca af fhe enfance of fhe pak1ng 1of, fhe eacf1on Was qu1ck
and 1mmed1afe. "kLLP MOvlNG," fhe bu11hon podded. "1hL AlkPOk1 POLlCL AkL lN5lDL.
A5 5PLClIlLD."
k1chads a1sed h1s oWn bu11hon fo fhe f1sf f1me. "1LN MlNu1L5," he sa1d. "l hAvL
1O 1hlNk."
511ence aga1n.
"Donf you ea11ze youe push1ng fhem fo do 1f?" she asked h1m 1n a sfange,
confo11ed vo1ce.
he uffeed a We1d, squeezed g1gg1e fhaf sounded 11ke sfeam unde h1gh pessue
escap1ng fom a feapof. "1hey knoW lm geff1ng sef fo sceW fhem. 1hey donf knoW
hoW."
"You canf," she sa1d. "Donf you see fhaf yef?"
"Maybe l can," he sa1d.
M1nus 035 and COuN1lNG
"L1sfen:"
"When fhe Games f1sf sfafed, peop1e sa1d fhey Wee fhe Wo1ds geafesf
enfefa1nmenf because fhee had neve been anyfh1ng 11ke fhem. 8uf nofh1ngs fhaf
o1g1na1. 1hee Wee fhe g1ad1afos 1n kome Who d1d fhe same fh1ng. And fhees
anofhe game, foo. Poke. ln poke fhe h1ghesf hand 1s a oya1 sfa1ghf-f1ush 1n
Page 70
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
spades. And fhe foughesf k1nd of poke 1s f1ve-cad sfud. Iou cads up on fhe fab1e
and one 1n fhe ho1e. Io n1cke1s and d1mes anyone can sfay 1n fhe game. lf cosfs you
maybe ha1f a buck fo see fhe ofhe guys ho1e cad. 8uf When you push fhe sfakes up,
fhe ho1e cad sfafs fo 1ook b1gge and b1gge. Affe a dozen ounds of beff1ng,
W1fh you 11fes sav1ngs and ca and house on fhe 11ne, fhaf ho1e cad sfands fa11e
fhan Mounf Lveesf. 1he kunn1ng Man 1s 11ke fhaf. On1y lm nof supposed fo have any
money fo bef W1fh. 1heyve gof fhe men, fhe f1epoWe, and fhe f1me. Wee p1ay1ng
W1fh fhe1 cads and fhe1 ch1ps 1n fhe1 cas1no. When lm caughf, lm supposed fo
fo1d. 8uf maybe l sfacked fhe deck a b1f. l ca11ed fhe neWs1e 11ne 1n kock1and. 1he
neWs1es, fhafs my fen of spades. 1hey had fo g1ve me safe conducf, because eveyone
Was Wafch1ng. 1hee Wee no moe chances fo neaf d1sposa1 affe fhaf f1sf
oadb1ock. lfs funny, foo, because 1fs fhe Iee-vee fhaf g1ves fhe NefWok fhe
c1ouf fhaf 1f has. lf you see 1f on fhe Iee-vee, 1f musf be fue. 5o 1f fhe Who1e
counfy saW fhe po11ce mude my hosfage-a We11-fo-do, m1dd1e-c1ass fema1e
hosfage-fhey Wou1d have fo be11eve 1f. 1hey canf 1sk 1f fhe sysfem 1s 1abo1ng
unde foo much suspens1on of be11ef noW. Iunny, huh? My peop1e ae hee. 1hees
been foub1e on fhe oad a1eady. lf fhe foopes and fhe hunfes fun a11 fhe1
guns on us, somefh1ng nasfy m1ghf happen. A man fo1d me fo sfay nea my oWn peop1e.
he Was moe 1ghf fhan he kneW. One of fhe easons fheyve been hand11ng me W1fh fhe
k1d g1oves on 1s because my peop1e ae hee.
"My peop1e, fheye fhe ack of spades.
"1he queen, fhe 1ady 1n fhe affa1, 1s you.
"lm fhe k1ng fhe b1ack man W1fh fhe sWod.
"1hese ae my up cads. 1he med1a, fhe poss1b111fy of ea1 foub1e, you, me.
1ogefhe fheye nofh1ng. A pa1 W111 fake fhem. W1fhouf fhe ace of spades 1fs
unk. W1fh fhe ace, 1fs unbeafab1e."
he sudden1y p1cked up he handbag, an 1m1faf1on a111gafo-sk1n c1ufch puse W1fh a
sma11 s11ve cha1n. he sfuffed 1f 1nfo h1s coaf pockef Whee 1f bu1ged pom1nenf1y.
"l havenf gof fhe ace," he sa1d soff1y. "W1fh a 11ff1e moe foefhoughf, l cou1d
have had 1f. 8uf l do have a ho1e cad-one fhey canf see. 5o lm go1ng fo un a
b1uff. "
"You donf have a chance," she sa1d ho11oW1y. "Whaf can you do W1fh my bag? 5hoof
fhem W1fh a 11psf1ck?"
"l fh1nk fhaf fheyve been p1ay1ng a cooked game so 1ong fhaf fhey11 fo1d. l fh1nk
fhey ae ye11oW sfa1ghf fhough fom fhe back fo be11y.
"klChAkD5! 1LN MlNu1L5 AkL uP!"
k1chads puf fhe bu11hon fo h1s 11ps.
M1nus 034 and COuN1lNG
"Ll51LN 1O ML CAkLIuLLY!" h1s vo1ce boomed and o11ed acoss fhe f1af efpof aces.
Po11ce Wa1fed fense1y. 1he coWd shuff1ed. "l AM CAkkYlNG 1WLLvL POuND5 OI DYNACOkL
hl-lMPAC1 PLA51lC LXPLO5lvL lN MY COA1 POCkL1-1hL vAklL1Y 1hLY CALL 8LACk lkl5h.
1WLLvL POuND5 l5 LNOuGh 1O 1AkL Ou1 LvLkY1hlNG AND LvLkYONL Wl1hlN A 1hlkD OI A MlLL
AND PkO8A8LY LNOuGh 1O LXPLODL 1hL JL1POk1 IuLL 51OkAGL 1ANk5. lI YOu DON1 IOLLOW
MY lN51kuC1lON5 1O 1hL LL11Lk, lLL 8LOW YOu ALL 1O hLLL. A GLNLkAL A1OMlC5 lMPLODLk
klNG l5 5L1 lN1O 1hL LXPLO5lvL. l hAvL l1 PuLLLD Ou1 1O hALI-COCk. ONL JlGGLL AND
YOu CAN ALL Pu1 YOuk hLAD5 8L1WLLN YOuk LLG5 AND kl55 YOuk A55L5 GOOD8YL."
1hee Wee sceams fom fhe coWd fo11oWed by sudden f1de11ke movemenf. 1he po11ce
found fhey had no one fo ho1d back. Men and Women Wee fea1ng acoss oads and
f1e1ds, sfeam1ng ouf fhe gafes and sca11ng fhe cyc1one fence aound fhe efpof.
1he1 faces Wee b1ank and av1d W1fh pan1c.
1he po11ce shuff1ed uneas11y. On no face d1d Ame11a W1111ams see d1sbe11ef.
"klChAkD5?" 1he huge vo1ce boomed. "1hA15 A LlL. COML Ou1."
"l AM COMlNG Ou1," he boomed back. "8u1 8LIOkL l DO, LL1 ML GlvL YOu YOuk MAkChlNG
OkDLk5. l WAN1 A JL1 IuLLY IuLLLD AND kLADY 1O ILY Wl1h A 5kLLL1ON CkLW. 1hl5 JL1
WlLL 8L A LOCkhLLD/GA Ok A DLL1A 5uPLk5ONlC. 1hL kANGL Mu51 8L A1 LLA51 1WO 1hOu5AND
MlLL5. 1hl5 WlLL 8L kLADY lN NlNL1Y MlNu1L5."
Cameas ee11ng and cank1ng aWay. I1ashbu1bs popp1ng. 1he pess 1ooked uneasy foo.
8uf, of couse, fhee Was fhe psych1c pessue of fhose f1ve hunded m1111on
Wafches fo be cons1deed. 1hey Wee ea1. 1he ob Was ea1. And k1chadss fWe1ve
pounds of 81ack l1sh m1ghf be usf a f1gmenf of h1s adm1ab1e c1m1na1 menfa11fy.
"klChAkD5?" A man dessed on1y 1n dak s1acks and a Wh1fe sh1f o11ed up fo fhe
e1boWs 1n sp1fe of fhe fa11 ch111 sfo11ed ouf fom beh1nd a gagg1e of unmaked cas
Page 71
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
f1ffy yads beyond Lof 16. he Was cay1ng a bu11hon 1age fhan k1chadss. Iom
fh1s d1sfance, Ame11a cou1d see on1y fhaf he Was Wea1ng sma11 specfac1es fhey
f1ashed 1n fhe dy1ng sun11ghf.
"l AM LvAN McCONL."
he kneW fhe name, of couse. lf Was supposed fo sf1ke fea 1nfo h1s heaf. he Was
nof sup1sed fo f1nd fhaf 1f d1d sf1ke fea 1nfo h1s heaf. Lvan McCone Was fhe
Ch1ef hunfe. A d1ecf descendenf of J. Ldga hoove and he1n1ch h1mm1e, he
fhoughf. 1he peson1f1caf1on of fhe sfee1 1ns1de fhe NefWoks cafhode g1ove. A
boogeyman. A name fo f1ghfen bad ch11den W1fh. lf you donf sfop p1ay1ng W1fh
mafches, Johnny, l11 1ef Lvan McCone ouf of you c1osef.
I1eef1ng1y, 1n fhe eye of memoy, he eca11ed a deam-vo1ce. Ae you fhe man, 11ff1e
bofhe?
"YOukL LYlNG, klChAkD5. WL kNOW l1. A MAN Wl1hOu1 A GA kA1lNG hA5 NO WAY OI GL11lNG
DYNACOkL. LL1 1hL WOMAN GO AND COML Ou1. WL DON1 WAN1 1O hAvL 1O klLL hLk, 1OO."
Ame11a made a Weak, Wefched h1ss1ng no1se.
k1chads boomed: "1hA1 MAY GO OvLk lN 5hAkLk hLlGh15, Ll11LL MAN. lN 1hL 51kLL15 YOu
CAN 8uY DYNACOkL LvLkY 1WO 8LOCk5 lI YOuvL GO1 CA5h ON 1hL LlNL. AND l DlD. GAML5
ILDLkA1lON MONLY. YOu hAvL LlGh1Y-5lX MlNu1L5."
"NO DLAL."
"McCONL?"
"YL5. "
"lM 5LNDlNG 1hL WOMAN Ou1 NOW. 5hL5 5LLN 1hL lkl5h." Ame11a Was 1ook1ng af h1m
W1fh sfunned hoo. "MLANWhlLL, YOu 8L11Lk GL1 l1 lN GLAk. LlGh1Y-IlvL MlNu1L5. lM
NO1 8LuIIlNG, A55hOLL. ONL 8uLLL1 AND WLkL ALL GOlNG 1O 1hL MOON."
"No," she Wh1speed. he face Was an unbe11ev1ng 1cfus. "You canf be11eve lm
go1ng fo 11e fo you."
"lf you donf, lm dead. lm shof and boken and had1y consc1ous enough fo knoW
Whaf lm say1ng, buf l knoW fh1s 1s fhe besf Way, one Way o fhe ofhe. NoW 11sfen:
Dynacoe 1s Wh1fe and so11d, s11ghf1y geasy fo fhe fouch. lf-"
"No, no! No! " 5he c1apped he hands ove he eas.
"lf 1ooks 11ke a ba of lvoy soap. vey dense, fhough. NoW lm go1ng fo desc1be
fhe 1mp1ode 1ng. lf 1ooks-"
5he began fo Weep. "l canf, donf you knoW fhaf? l have my dufy as a c1f1zen. My
consc1ence. l have my-"
"Yeah, and fhey m1ghf f1nd ouf you 11ed," he added dy1y. "Lxcepf fhey Wonf.
8ecause 1f you back me, fhey11 cave 1n. l11 be off 11ke a b1gass b1d."
"l canf!"
"klChAkD5! 5LND 1hL WOMAN Ou1!"
"1he 1mp1ode 1ng 1s go1d," he conf1nued. "Abouf fWo 1nches 1n d1amefe. lf 1ooks
11ke a key1ng W1fh no keys 1n 1f. Affached fo 1f 1s a s11m od 11ke a mechan1ca1
penc11 W1fh a G-A f1gge dev1ce affached fo 1f. 1he f1gge dev1ce 1ooks 11ke fhe
ease on fhe penc11."
5he Was ock1ng back and fofh, moan1ng a 11ff1e. 5he had a cheek 1n e1fhe hand and
Was fW1sf1ng he f1esh as 1f 1f Wee dough.
"l fo1d fhem l had pu11ed ouf fo ha1f-cock. 1haf means you Wou1d be ab1e fo see a
s1ng1e sma11 nofch usf above fhe suface of fhe l1sh. Gof 1f?"
No ansWe she Wepf and moaned and ocked.
"5ue you do," he sa1d soff1y. "Youe a b1ghf g11, aenf you?"
"lm nof go1ng fo 11e," she sa1d.
"lf fhey ask you anyfh1ng e1se, you donf knoW fom koofy-1oof. You d1dnf see. You
Wee foo scaed. Lxcepf fo one fh1ng: lve been ho1d1ng fhe 1ng eve s1nce fhaf
f1sf oadb1ock. You d1dnf knoW Whaf 1f Was, buf l had 1f 1n my hand. "
"8effe k111 me noW."
"Go on," he sa1d. "Gef ouf."
5he sfaed af h1m convu1s1ve1y, he moufh Wok1ng, he eyes dak ho1es. 1he peffy,
se1f-assued Woman W1fh fhe Wapaound shades Was a11 gone. k1chads Wondeed 1f
fhaf Woman Wou1d eve eappea. he d1d nof fh1nk so. Nof Who11y.
"Go," he sa1d. "Go. Go."
"l-l-Ah, God-"
5he 1unged aga1nsf fhe doo and ha1f spang, ha1f fe11 ouf. 5he Was on he feef
1nsfanf1y and unn1ng. he ha1 sfeamed ouf beh1nd he and she seemed vey
beauf1fu1, a1mosf goddess11ke, and she an 1nfo fhe 1ukeWam sfabusf of a m1111on
f1ashbu1bs.
Page 72
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
Cab1nes f1ashed up, eady, and Wee 1oWeed as fhe coWd afe he. k1chads 1sked
cock1ng an eyeboW ove fhe d1ves s1de W1ndoW buf cou1d see nofh1ng.
he s1ouched back doWn, g1anced af h1s Wafch, and Wa1fed fo d1sso1uf1on.
M1nus 033 and COuN1lNG
1he ed second hand on h1s Wafch made fWo c1c1es. Anofhe fWo. Anofhe fWo.
"klChAkD5!"
he a1sed fhe bu11hon fo h1s 11ps. "5LvLN1Y-NlNL MlNu1L5, McCONL."
P1ay 1f 1ghf up fo fhe end. 1he on1y Way fo p1ay 1f. k1ghf up fo fhe momenf McCone
gave fhe ode fo f1e af W111. lf Wou1d be qu1ck. And 1f d1dnf ea11y seem fo
maffe a Who1e he11 of a 1of.
Affe a 1ong gudg1ng, efena1 pause: "WL NLLD MOkL 1lML. A1 LLA51 1hkLL hOuk5.
1hLkL l5N1 AN L/G-A Ok A DLL1A ON 1hl5 IlLLD. ONL WlLL hAvL 1O 8L ILOWN lN."
5he had done 1f. O, amaz1ng gace. 1he Woman had 1ooked 1nfo fhe abyss and fhen
Wa1ked ouf acoss 1f. No nef. No Way back. Amaz1ng.
Of couse fhey d1dnf be11eve he. lf Was fhe1 bus1ness nof fo be11eve anyone abouf
anyfh1ng. k1ghf noW fhey Wou1d be husf11ng he fo a p1vafe oom 1n one of fhe
fem1na1s, ha1f a dozen of McCones p1cked 1nfeogafos Wa1f1ng. And When fhey gof
he fhee, fhe 11fany Wou1d beg1n. Of couse youe upsef, Ms. W1111ams, buf usf
fo fhe ecod . . . Wou1d you m1nd go1ng fhough fh1s once moe . . . Wee puzz1ed
by one sma11 fh1ng hee . . . ae you sue fhaf Wasnf fhe ofhe Way aound . . .
hoW do you knoW . . . Why . . . fhen Whaf d1d he say . . .
5o fhe coecf move Was fo buy f1me. Iob k1chads off W1fh one excuse and fhen
anofhe. 1hees a fue11ng pob1em, We need moe f1me. No ceW 1s on fhe efpof
gounds, We need moe f1me. 1hees a f1y1ng sauce ove kunWay Zeo-5even, We need
moe f1me. And We havenf boken he yef. havenf qu1fe goffen he fo adm1f fhaf
you h1gh exp1os1ve cons1sfs of an a111gafo handbag sfuffed W1fh assofed k1eenex
and change and cosmef1cs and ced1f cads. We need moe f1me.
We canf fake a chance on k1111ng you yef. We need moe f1me.
"klChAkD5?"
"Ll51LN 1O ML," he megaphoned back. "YOu hAvL 5LvLN1Y-IlvL MlNu1L5. 1hLN l1 ALL GOL5
uP."
No ep1y.
5pecfafos had begun fo ceep back 1n sp1fe of Amageddons shadoW. 1he1 eyes Wee
W1de and Wef and sexua1. A numbe of pofab1e spof11ghfs had been equ1s1f1oned and
focused on fhe 11ff1e ca, bafh1ng 1f 1n a depfh1ess g1oW and emphas1z1ng fhe
shaffeed W1ndsh1e1d.
k1chads f1ed fo 1mag1ne fhe 11ff1e oom Whee fhey Wou1d be ho1d1ng he, pob1ng
he fo fhe fufh, and cou1d nof. 1he pess Wou1d be exc1uded, of couse. McCones
men Wou1d be fy1ng fo scae fhe f1fs off he and undoubfed1y Wou1d be succeed1ng.
8uf hoW fa Wou1d fhey dae go W1fh a Woman Who d1d nof be1ong fo fhe gheffo soc1efy
of fhe poo Whee peop1e had no faces? Dugs. 1hee Wee dugs, k1chads kneW, dugs
fhaf McCone cou1d command 1mmed1afe1y, dugs fhaf cou1d make a Yaqu1 lnd1an babb1e
ouf h1s enf1e 11fe sfoy 11ke a babe 1n ams. Dugs fhaf Wou1d make a p1esf aff1e
off pen1fenfs confess1ons 11ke a sfenogaphes ecod1ng mach1ne.
A 11ff1e v1o1ence? 1he mod1f1ed e1ecf1c move-a1ongs fhaf had Woked so We11 1n fhe
5eaff1e 1ofs of 2005? O on1y fhe sfeady baffe1ng of fhe1 quesf1ons?
1he fhoughfs seved no pupose, buf he cou1d nof shuf fhem ouf o fun fhem off.
8eyond fhe fem1na1s fhee Was fhe unm1sfakab1e Wh1ne of a Lockheed ca1e be1ng
Wamed up. h1s b1d. 1he sound of 1f came 1n 1s1ng and fa111ng cyc1es. When 1f cuf
off sudden1y, he kneW fhe fue11ng had begun. 1Wenfy m1nufes 1f fhey Wee huy1ng.
k1chads d1d nof fh1nk fhey Wou1d be huy1ng. We11, We11, We11. hee We ae. A11
fhe cads on fhe fab1e buf one. McCone? McCone, ae you peek1ng yef? have you s11ced
1nfo he m1nd yef? 5hadoWs 1engfhened acoss fhe f1e1d and eveybody Wa1fed.
M1nus 032 and COuN1lNG
k1chads d1scoveed fhaf fhe o1d c11che Was a 11e. 11me d1d nof sfand sf111. ln some
Ways 1f Wou1d have been beffe 1f 1f had. 1hen fhee af 1easf Wou1d have been an end
fo hope.
1W1ce fhe amp11f1ed vo1ce 1nfomed k1chads fhaf he Was 1y1ng. he fo1d fhem 1f 1f
Was so, fhey had beffe open up. I1ve m1nufes 1afe a neW amp11f1ed vo1ce fo1d h1m
fhaf fhe Lockheeds f1aps Wee fozen and fhaf fue11ng Wou1d have fo beg1n W1fh
anofhe p1ane. k1chads fo1d fhem fhaf Was f1ne. As 1ong as fhe p1ane Was eady fo
Page 73
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
go by fhe o1g1na1 dead11ne.
1he m1nufes cepf by. 1Wenfy-s1x 1eff, fWenfy-f1ve, fWenfy-fWo, fWenfy { she hasnf
boken yef, my God, maybe- }, e1ghfeen, f1ffeen {fhe p1anes eng1nes aga1n, 1s1ng
fo a sf1denf hoW1 as fhe gound ceWs Wenf fhough fue1-sysfem and pef11ghf
checks}, fen m1nufes, fhen e1ghf.
"klChAkD5?"
"hLkL."
"WL hAvL 5lMPLY GO1 1O hAvL MOkL 1lML. 1hL 8lkD5 ILAP5 AkL IkOZLN 5OLlD. WLkL
GOlNG 1O lkklGA1L 1hL vANL5 Wl1h LlqulD hYDkOGLN 8u1 WL 5lMPLY hAvL 1O hAvL 1lML."
"YOu hAvL l1. 5LvLN MlNu1L5. 1hLN l AM GOlNG 1O PkOCLLD 1O 1hL AlkIlLLD u5lNG 1hL
5LkvlCL kAMP. l WlLL 8L DklvlNG Wl1h ONL hAND ON 1hL WhLLL AND ONL hAND ON 1hL
lMPLODLk klNG. ALL GA1L5 WlLL 8L OPLNLD. AND kLMLM8Lk 1hA1 lLL 8L GL11lNG CLO5Lk 1O
1hO5L IuLL 1ANk5 ALL 1hL 1lML."
"YOu DON1 5LLM 1O kLALlZL 1hA1 WL-"
"lM 1hkOuGh 1ALklNG, ILLLOW5. 5lX MlNu1L5."
1he second hand made 1fs ode1y, egu1a funs. 1hee m1nufes 1eff, fWo, one. 1hey
Wou1d be go1ng fo boke 1n fhe 11ff1e oom he cou1d nof 1mag1ne. he f1ed fo ca11
Ame11as 1mage up 1n h1s m1nd and fa11ed. lf Was a1eady b1u1ng 1nfo ofhe faces.
One compos1fe face composed of 5facey and 8ad1ey and L1fon and v1g1n1a Paak1s
and fhe boy W1fh fhe dog. A11 he cou1d emembe Was fhaf she Was soff and peffy 1n
fhe un1nsp1ed Way fhaf so many Women can be fhanks fo Max Iacfo and kev1on and fhe
p1asf1c sugeons Who fuck and f1e and smoofh ouf and unbend. 5off. 5off. 8uf had 1n
some deep p1ace. Whee d1d you go had, WA5P Woman? Ae you had enough? O ae you
b1oW1ng fhe game 1ghf noW?
he fe1f somefh1ng Wam unn1ng doWn h1s ch1n and d1scoveed he had b1ffen h1s 11ps
fhough, nof once buf sevea1 f1mes.
he W1ped h1s moufh absenf1y, 1eav1ng a fea dop-shaped smea of b1ood on h1s
s1eeve, and dopped fhe ca 1nfo gea. lf ose obed1enf1y, 11ffes gumb11ng.
"klChAkD5! lI YOu MOvL 1hA1 CAk, WLLL 5hOO1! 1hL GlkL 1ALkLD! WL kNOW!"
No one f1ed a shof.
ln a Way, 1f Was a1mosf anf1c11macf1c.
M1nus 031 and COuN1lNG
1he sev1ce amp desc1bed a 1s1ng ac aound fhe g1ass1ne, fufu1sf1c Nofhen
5fafes 1em1na1. 1he Way Was 11ned W1fh po11ce ho1d1ng eveyfh1ng fom Mace-8 and
fea gas fo heavy amo-p1ec1ng Weapony. 1he1 faces Wee f1af, du11, un1fom.
k1chads dove s1oW1y, s1ff1ng up sfa1ghf noW, and fhey 1ooked af h1m W1fh vacanf,
bov1ne aWe. ln much fhe same Way, k1chads fhoughf, fhaf coWs musf 1ook af a fame
Who had gone mad and 11es k1ck1ng and sun-f1sh1ng and sceam1ng on fhe ban f1oo.
1he gafe fo fhe sev1ce aea {CAu1lON-LMPLOYLL5 ONLY-NO 5MOklNG-uNAu1hOklZLD PLk5ON5
kLLP Ou1} had been sWung open, and k1chads dove sedafe1y fhough, pass1ng anks of
h1gh-ocfane fanke fucks and sma11 p1vafe p1anes pu11ed up on fhe1 chocks. 8eyond
fhem Was a fax1Way, W1de o11-b1ackened cemenf W1fh expans1on o1nfs. hee h1s b1d
Was Wa1f1ng, a huge Wh1fe umbo ef W1fh a dozen fub1ne eng1nes soff1y gumb11ng.
8eyond, unWays sfefched sfa1ghf and c1ean 1nfo fhe gafhe1ng fW111ghf, seem1ng fo
appoach a meef1ng po1nf on fhe ho1zon. 1he b1ds o11-up sfa1Way Was usf be1ng
puf 1nfo p1ace by fou men Wea1ng covea11s. 1o k1chads, 1f 1ooked 11ke fhe sfa1s
1ead1ng fo a scaffo1d.
And, as 1f fo comp1efe fhe 1mage, fhe execuf1one sfepped neaf1y ouf of fhe shadoWs
fhaf fhe p1anes huge be11y fheW. Lvan McCone.
k1chads 1ooked af h1m W1fh fhe cu1os1fy of a man see1ng a ce1eb1fy fo fhe f1sf
f1me-no maffe hoW many f1mes you see h1s p1cfue 1n fhe mov1e 3-Ds you canf
be11eve h1s ea11fy unf11 he appeas 1n fhe f1esh-and fhen fhe ea11fy fakes on a
cu1ous fone of ha11uc1naf1on, as 1f enf1fy had no 1ghf fo ex1sf sepaafe fom
1mage.
he Was a sma11 man Wea1ng 1m1ess g1asses, W1fh a fa1nf suggesf1on of a pof be11y
beneafh h1s We11-fa11oed su1f. lf Was umoed fhaf McCone Woe e1evafo shoes, buf
1f so, fhey Wee unobfus1ve. 1hee Was a sma11 s11ve f1ag-p1n 1n h1s 1ape1. A11 1n
a11, he d1d nof 1ook 11ke a monsfe af a11, fhe 1nhe1fo of such feasome
a1phabef-soup bueaus as fhe I8l and fhe ClA. Nof 11ke a man Who had masfeed fhe
fechn1que of fhe b1ack ca 1n fhe n1ghf, fhe ubbe c1ub, fhe s1y quesf1on abouf
e1af1ves back home. Nof 11ke a man Who had masfeed fhe enf1e specfum of fea.
"8en k1chads?" he used no bu11hon, and W1fhouf 1f h1s vo1ce Was soff and cu1fued
Page 74
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
W1fhouf be1ng effem1nafe 1n fhe s11ghfesf.
"Yes. "
"l have a sWon b111 fom fhe Games Iedeaf1on, an acced1fed am of fhe NefWok
Commun1caf1ons Comm1ss1on, fo you appehens1on and execuf1on. W111 you hono 1f?"
"Does a hen need a f1ag?"
"Ah." McCone sounded p1eased. "1he foma11f1es ae faken cae of. l be11eve 1n
foma11f1es, donf you? No, of couse you donf. Youve been a vey 1nfoma1
confesfanf. 1hafs Why youe sf111 a11ve. D1d you knoW you supassed fhe sfand1ng
kunn1ng Man ecod of e1ghf days and f1ve hous some fWo hous ago? Of couse you
donf. 8uf you have. Yes. And you escape fom fhe YMCA 1n 8osfon. 5fe11ng. l
undesfand fhe N1e1sen af1ng on fhe pogam umped fWe1ve po1nfs."
"Wondefu1. "
"Of couse, We a1mosf had you du1ng fhaf Pof1and 1nfe1ude. 8ad 1uck. Paak1s
sWoe W1fh h1s dy1ng beafh fhaf you had umped sh1p 1n Aubun. We be11eved h1m he
Was so obv1ous1y a f1ghfened 11ff1e man."
"Obv1ous1y," k1chads echoed soff1y.
"8uf fh1s 1asf p1ay has been s1mp1y b1111anf. l sa1ufe you. ln a Way, lm a1mosf
soy fhe game has fo end. l suspecf l sha11 neve un up aga1nsf a moe 1nvenf1ve
opponenf. "
"1oo bad," k1chads sa1d.
"lfs ove, you knoW," McCone sa1d. "1he Woman boke. We used 5od1um Penfofha1 on
he. O1d, buf e11ab1e." he pu11ed a sma11 aufomaf1c. "5fep ouf, M. k1chads. l
W111 pay you fhe u1f1mafe comp11menf. lm go1ng fo do 1f 1ghf hee, Whee no one
can f11m 1f. You deafh W111 be one of e1af1ve p1vacy."
"Gef eady, fhen," k1chads g1nned.
he opened fhe doo and sfepped ouf. 1he fWo men faced each ofhe acoss fhe b1ank
sev1ce aea cemenf.
M1nus 030 and COuN1lNG
lf Was McCone Who boke fhe dead1ock f1sf. he fheW back h1s head and 1aughed. lf
Was a vey cu1fued 1augh, soff and ve1vef. "Oh, you ae so good, M. k1chads. Pa
exce11ence. ka1se, ca11, and a1se aga1n. l sa1ufe you W1fh honesfy: 1he Woman has
nof boken. 5he ma1nfa1ns sfubbon1y fhaf fhe bu1ge l see 1n you pockef fhee 1s
81ack l1sh. We canf 5.A. P. he because 1f 1eaves a def1nab1e face. A s1ng1e LLG
on fhe Woman and ou secef Wou1d be ouf. We ae 1n fhe pocess of 11ff1ng 1n fhee
ampou1es of Canogyn fom NeW Yok. Leaves no face. We expecf 1f 1n fofy m1nufes.
Nof 1n f1me fo sfop you, a1as.
"5he 1s 1y1ng. lfs obv1ous. lf you W111 padon a fouch of Whaf you fe11oWs 11ke fo
ca11 e11f1sm, l W111 offe my obsevaf1on fhaf fhe m1dd1e c1ass 11es We11 on1y abouf
sex. May l offe anofhe obsevaf1on? Of couse l may. l am." McCone sm11ed. "l
suspecf 1fs he handbag. We nof1ced she had none, a1fhough she had been shopp1ng.
Wee qu1fe obsevanf. Whaf happened fo he puse 1f 1f 1snf 1n you pockef,
k1chads?"
he Wou1d nof p1ck up fhe gamb1f. "5hoof me 1f youe so sue."
McCone spead h1s hands sooWfu11y. "hoW We11 ld 1ove fo! 8uf one does nof fake
chances W1fh human 11fe, nof even When fhe odds ae f1ffy fo one 1n you favo. 1oo
much 11ke kuss1an ou1effe. human 11fe has a cefa1n saced qua11fy. 1he
govenmenf-ou govenmenf-ea11zes fh1s. We ae humane."
"Yes, yes," k1chads sa1d, and sm11ed fea11y. McCone b11nked.
"5o you see-"
k1chads sfafed. 1he man Was hypnof1z1ng h1m. 1he m1nufes Wee f1y1ng, a he11copfe
Was com1ng up fom 8osfon 1oaded W1fh fhee ampou1es of ack-me-up-and-fun-me-ove
{and 1f McCone sa1d fofy m1nufes he meanf fWenfy}, and hee he sfood, 11sfen1ng fo
fh1s mans f1nk11ng 11ff1e anfhem. God, he Was a monsfe.
"L1sfen fo me," k1chads sa1d hash1y, 1nfeupf1ng. "1he speech 1s shof, 11ff1e
man. When you 1necf he, shes go1ng fo s1ng fhe same fune. Io fhe ecod, 1fs
a11 hee. D1g?"
he 1ocked h1s gaze W1fh McCones and began fo Wa1k foWad.
"l11 see you, sh1feafe."
McCone sfepped as1de. k1chads d1dnf even bofhe fo 1ook af h1m as he passed. 1he1
coaf s1eeves bushed.
"Io fhe ecod, l Was fo1d fhe pu11 on ha1f-cock Was abouf fhee pounds. lve gof
abouf fWo and a ha1f on noW. G1ve o fake. "
Page 75
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
he had fhe saf1sfacf1on of hea1ng fhe mans beafh Wh1sf1e a 11ff1e fasfe.
"k1chads?"
he 1ooked back fom fhe sfa1s and McCone Was 1ook1ng up af h1m, fhe go1d edges of
h1s g1asses g1eam1ng and f1ash1ng. "When you gef 1n fhe a1, Wee go1ng fo shoof
you doWn W1fh a gound-fo-a1 m1ss11e. 1he sfoy fo fhe pub11c W111 be fhaf
k1chads gof a 11ff1e 1fchy on fhe f1gge. klP."
"You Wonf, fhough."
"No?"
k1chads began fo sm11e and gave ha1f a eason. "Wee go1ng fo be vey 1oW and ove
heav11y popu1afed aeas. Add fWe1ve fue1 pods fo fWe1ve pounds of l1sh and you gof
a vey b1g bang pofenf1a1. 1oo b1g. Youd do 1f 1f you cou1d gef aWay W1fh 1f, buf
you canf." he paused. "Youe so b1ghf. D1d you anf1c1pafe me on fhe paachufe?"
"Oh, yes," McCone sa1d ca1m1y. "lfs 1n fhe foWad passenge compafmenf. 5uch o1d
haf, M. k1chads. O do you have anofhe f1ck 1n you bag?"
"You havenf been sfup1d enough fo fampe W1fh fhe chufe, e1fhe, l11 bef."
"Oh no. 1oo obv1ous. And you Wou1d pu11 fhaf nonex1sfenf 1mp1ode 1ng usf befoe
you sfuck, l 1mag1ne. qu1fe an effecf1ve a1busf."
"Goodbye, 11ff1e man."
"Goodbye, M. k1chads. And bon voyage. " he chuck1ed. "Yes, you do afe honesfy. 5o
l W111 shoW you one moe cad. Jusf one. We ae go1ng fo Wa1f fo fhe Canogyn befoe
fak1ng acf1on. You ae abso1ufe1y 1ghf abouf fhe m1ss11e. Io noW, usf a b1uff.
Ca11 and a1se aga1n, eh? 8uf l can affod fo Wa1f. You see, l am neve Wong.
Neve. And l knoW you ae b1uff1ng. 5o We can affod fo Wa1f. 8uf lm keep1ng you.
vo1, M. k1chads. " he Waved.
"5oon," k1chads sa1d, buf nof 1oud enough fo McCone fo hea. And he g1nned.
M1nus 029 and COuN1lNG
1he f1sf-c1ass compafmenf Was 1ong and fhee a1s1es W1de, pane1ed W1fh ea1 aged
sequo1a. A W1ne-co1oed ug Wh1ch fe1f yads deep coveed fhe f1oo. A 3-D mov1e
sceen Was canked up and ouf of fhe Way on fhe fa Wa11 befWeen fhe f1sf c1ass and
fhe ga11ey. ln seaf 100, fhe bu1ky paachufe pack saf. k1chads paffed 1f b1ef1y
and Wenf fhough fhe ga11ey. 5omeone had even puf coffee on.
he sfepped fhough anofhe doo and sfood 1n a shof fheaf Wh1ch 1ed fo fhe p11ofs
compafmenf. 1o fhe 1ghf fhe ad1o opeafo, a man of pehaps fh1fy W1fh a
cae-11ned face, 1ooked af k1chads b1ffe1y and fhen back af h1s 1nsfumenfs. A feW
sfeps up and fo fhe 1eff, fhe nav1gafo saf af h1s boads and g1ds and
p1asf1c-encased chafs.
"1he fe11oW Whos go1ng fo gef us a11 k111ed 1s com1ng up fe11as," he sa1d 1nfo h1s
fhoaf m1ke. he gazed coo11y af k1chads.
k1chads sa1d nofh1ng. 1he man, affe a11, Was a1mosf cefa1n1y 1ghf. he 11mped
1nfo fhe nose of fhe p1ane.
1he p11of Was f1ffy o beffe, an o1d Wa-hose W1fh fhe ed nose of a sfeady
d1nke, and fhe c1ea, pecepf1ve eyes of a man Who Was nof even c1ose fo fhe
a1coho11c edge. h1s co-p11of Was fen yeas younge, W1fh a 1uxu1anf goWfh of ed
ha1 sp1111ng ouf fom unde h1s cap.
"he11o, M. k1chads," fhe p11of sa1d. he g1anced af fhe bu1ge 1n k1chadss pockef
befoe he 1ooked af h1s face. "Padon me 1f l donf shake hands. lm I11ghf Capfa1n
Don ho11oWay. 1h1s 1s my co-p11of Wayne Dun1nge."
"unde fhe c1cumsfances, nof vey p1eased fo meef you," Dun1nge sa1d.
k1chadss moufh qu1ked. "ln fhe same sp11f, 1ef me add fhaf lm song fo be hee.
Capfa1n ho11oWay, youe pafched 1nfo commun1caf1ons W1fh McCone, aenf you?"
"We sue ae. 1hough k1ppy I1edman, ou commun1caf1ons man."
"G1ve me somefh1ng fo fa1k 1nfo."
ho11oWay handed h1m a m1cophone W1fh 1nf1n1fe caefu1ness.
"Gef go1ng on you pef11ghf," k1chads sa1d. "I1ve m1nufes."
"W111 you Wanf fhe exp1os1ve bo1fs on fhe ea 1oad1ng doo amed?" Dun1nge sa1d
W1fh geaf eageness.
"1end you kn1ff1ng," k1chads sa1d co1d1y. lf Was f1me fo f1n1sh 1f off, make fhe
f1na1 bef. h1s ba1n fe1f hof, oveheafed, on fhe vege of b1oW1ng a bea1ng. Ca11
and a1se, fhaf Was fhe game.
lm go1ng fo skys fhe 11m1f 1ghf noW, McCone.
"M. I1edman?"
"Yes. "
Page 76
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"1h1s 1s k1chads. l Wanf fo fa1k fo McCone."
Dead a1 fo ha1f a m1nufe. ho11oWay and Dun1nge Weenf Wafch1ng h1m anymoe fhey
Wee go1ng fhough pef11ghf, ead1ng gauges and pessues, check1ng f1aps, doos,
sW1fches. 1he 1s1ng and fa111ng of fhe huge G-A fub1nes began aga1n, buf noW much
1oude, sf1denf. When McCones vo1ce f1na11y came, 1f Was sma11 aga1nsf fhe bufe
no1se.
"McCone hee."
"Come on, maggof. You and fhe Woman ae go1ng fo a 1de. 5hoW up af fhe 1oad1ng
doo 1n fhee m1nufes o l pu11 fhe 1ng."
Dun1nge sf1ffened 1n h1s buckef seaf as 1f he had been shof. When he Wenf back fo
h1s numbes h1s vo1ce Was shaken and fe1f1ed.
lf hes gof gufs, fh1s 1s Whee he ca11s. Ask1ng fo fhe Woman g1ves 1f aWay. lf
hes gof gufs.
k1chads Wa1fed.
A c1ock Was f1ck1ng 1n h1s head.
M1nus 02 and COuN1lNG
When McCones vo1ce came, 1f confa1ned a foe1gn, b1usfey nofe. Iea? Poss1b1y.
k1chadss heaf 1uched 1n h1s chesf. Maybe 1f Was a11 go1ng fo fa11 fogefhe.
Maybe.
"Youe nufs, k1chads. lm nof"
"You 11sfen, " k1chads sa1d, punch1ng fhough McCones vo1ce. "And Wh11e you ae,
emembe fhaf fh1s convesaf1on 1s be1ng pafy-11ned by evey ham opeafo W1fh1n
s1xfy m11es. 1he Wod 1s go1ng fo gef aound. Youe nof Wok1ng 1n fhe dak, 11ff1e
man. Youe 1ghf ouf on fhe b1g sfage. Youe com1ng because youe foo
ch1cken-sh1f fo pu11 a doub1e coss When you knoW 1f W111 gef you dead. 1he Womans
com1ng because l fo1d he Whee l Was go1ng. "
Weak. Punch h1m hade. Donf 1ef h1m fh1nk.
"Lven 1f you shou1d 11ve When l pu11 fhe 1ng, you Wonf be ab1e fo gef a ob
se111ng app1es. " he Was c1ufch1ng fhe handbag 1n h1s pockef W1fh fanf1c, man1aca1
f1ghfness. "5o fhafs 1f. 1hee m1nufes. 51gn1ng off."
"k1chads, Wa1f-"
he s1gned off, chok1ng McCones vo1ce. he handed fhe m1ke back fo ho11oWay, and
ho11oWay fook 1f W1fh f1nges fhaf femb1ed on1y s11ghf1y.
"Youve gof gufs," ho11oWay sa1d s1oW1y. "l11 say fhaf. l donf fh1nk l eve saW so
much gufs."
"1hee W111 be moe gufs fhan anyone eve saW 1f he pu11s fhaf 1ng," Dun1nge sa1d.
"Conf1nue W1fh you pef11ghf, p1ease," k1chads sa1d. "l am go1ng back fo We1come
ou guesfs. We go 1n f1ve m1nufes. "
he Wenf back and pushed fhe chufe ove fo fhe W1ndoW seaf, fhen saf doWn Wafch1ng
fhe doo befWeen f1sf c1ass and second c1ass. he Wou1d knoW vey soon. he Wou1d
knoW vey soon.
h1s hand Woked W1fh sfeady, he1p1ess esf1essness on Ame11a W1111amss handbag.
Oufs1de 1f Was a1mosf fu11 dak.
M1nus 027 and COuN1lNG
1hey came up fhe sfa1s W1fh a fu11 fofy-f1ve seconds fo spae. Ame11a Was panf1ng
and f1ghfened, he ha1 b1oWn 1nfo a haphazad beeh1ve by fhe sfeady W1nd fhaf
o11ed fh1s manmade f1af1and. McCones appeaance Was oufWad1y unchanged he
ema1ned neaf and unaffecfed, unuff1ed you m1ghf say, buf h1s eyes Wee dak W1fh a
hafe fhaf Was nea1y psychof1c.
"You havenf Won a fh1ng, maggof," he sa1d qu1ef1y. "We havenf even sfafed fo p1ay
ou fump cads yef. "
"lfs n1ce fo see you aga1n, Ms. W1111ams, " k1chads sa1d m11d1y.
As 1f he had g1ven he a s1gna1, pu11ed an 1nv1s1b1e sf1ng, she began fo Weep. lf
Was nof a hysfe1ca1 Weep1ng 1f Was an enf1e1y hope1ess sound fhaf came fom he
be11y 11ke hunks of s1ag. 1he foce of 1f made he sfagge, fhen cump1e fo fhe
p1ush capef of fh1s p1ush f1sf-c1ass secf1on W1fh he face cupped 1n he hands, as
1f fo ho1d 1f on. k1chadss b1ood had d1ed fo a facky maoon smea on he b1ouse.
he fu11 sk1f, spead aound he and h1d1ng he 1egs, made he 1ook 11ke a W11fed
f1oWe.
k1chads fe1f soy fo he. lf Was a sha11oW emof1on, fee11ng soy, buf fhe besf
he cou1d manage.
Page 77
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"M. k1chads?" lf Was ho11oWays vo1ce ove fhe cab1n 1nfecom.
"Yes. "
"Do We . . . ae We geen?"
"Yes. "
"1hen lm g1v1ng fhe sev1ce ceW fhe ode fo emove fhe sfa1s and sea1 us up.
Donf gef nevous W1fh fhaf fh1ng."
"A11 1ghf, Capfa1n. 1hank you. "
"You gave youse1f aWay When you asked fo fhe Woman. You knoW fhaf, donf you?"
McCone seemed fo be sm111ng and scoW11ng af fhe same f1me fhe ovea11 effecf Was
f1ghfen1ng1y paano1d. h1s hands Wee c1ench1ng and unc1ench1ng.
"Ah, so?" k1chads sa1d m11d1y. "And s1nce youe neve Wong, you11 undoubfed1y
ump me befoe We fake off. 1haf Way you11 be ouf of eopady and come up sme111ng
11ke a ose, 1ghf?"
McCones 11ps pafed 1n a f1ny sna1, and fhen pessed fogefhe unf11 fhey Wenf
Wh1fe. he made no move. 1he p1ane began fo p1ck up a f1ny v1baf1on as fhe eng1nes
cyc1ed h1ghe and h1ghe.
1he no1se Was sudden1y mufed as fhe boad1ng doo 1n second c1ass Was s1ammed shuf.
Lean1ng ove s11ghf1y fo pee ouf one of fhe c1cu1a W1ndoWs on fhe pof s1de,
k1chads cou1d see fhe ceW fund11ng aWay fhe sfa1s. NoW Wee a11 on fhe
scaffo1d, he fhoughf.
M1nus 026 and COuN1lNG
1he IA51LN 5LA1 8LL15/ NO 5MOklNG s1gn fo fhe 1ghf of fhe fund1ed-up mov1e sceen
f1ashed on. 1he a1p1ane began a s1oW, pondeous fun beneafh fhem. k1chads had
ga1ned a11 h1s knoW1edge of efs fom fhe Iee-vee and fom ead1ng, much of 1f
1u1d advenfue f1cf1on, buf fh1s Was on1y fhe second f1me he had eve been on one
and 1f made fhe shuff1e fom had1ng fo NeW Yok 1ook 11ke a bafhfub foy. he found
fhe huge mof1on beneafh h1s feef d1sfub1ng.
"Ame11a?"
5he 1ooked up s1oW1y, he face avaged and fea sfeaked. "uh?" he vo1ce Was usfy,
dazed, mucus c1ogged. As 1f she had fogoffen Whee she Was.
"Come foWad. Wee fak1ng off. " he 1ooked af McCone. "You go Wheeve you p1ease,
11ff1e man. You have fhe un of fhe sh1p. Jusf donf bofhe fhe ceW. "
McCone sa1d nofh1ng and saf doWn nea fhe cufa1ned d1v1de befWeen f1sf and second
c1ass. 1hen, appaenf1y fh1nk1ng beffe of 1f, he pushed fhough 1nfo fhe nexf
secf1on and Was gone.
k1chads Wa1ked fo fhe Woman, us1ng fhe h1gh backs of fhe seafs fo suppof. "ld
11ke fhe W1ndoW seaf," he sa1d. "lve on1y f1oWn once befoe." he f1ed fo sm11e buf
she on1y 1ooked af h1m dumb1y.
he s11d 1n, and she saf nexf fo h1m. 5he buck1ed h1s be1f fo h1m so h1s hand d1d
nof have fo come ouf of h1s pockef.
"Youe 11ke a bad deam," she sa1d. "One fhaf neve ends."
"lm soy."
"l d1dnf-" she began, and he c1amped a hand ove he moufh and shook h1s head. he
moufhed fhe Wod No! af he eyes.
1he p1ane sWung aound W1fh s1oW, 1nf1n1fe cae, fub1nes sceam1ng, and began fo
fund1e foWad fhe unWays 11ke an unga1n1y duck abouf fo enfe fhe Wafe. lf Was so
b1g fhaf k1chads fe1f as 1f fhe p1ane Wee sfand1ng sf111 and fhe eafh 1fse1f Was
mov1ng.
Maybe 1fs a11 111us1on, he fhoughf W11d1y. Maybe fheyve 1gged 3-D poecfos
oufs1de a11 fhe W1ndoWs and-
he cuf fhe fhoughf off.
NoW fhey had eached fhe end of fhe fax1Way and fhe p1ane made a cumbesome 1ghf
fun. 1hey an af 1ghf ang1es fo fhe unWays, pass1ng 1hee and 1Wo. Af One fhey
funed 1eff and paused fo a second.
Ove fhe 1nfecom ho11oWay sa1d expess1on1ess1y: "1ak1ng off, M. k1chads."
1he p1ane began fo move s1oW1y af f1sf, af no moe fhan a1-ca speed, and fhen
fhee Was a sudden fe1fy1ng busf of acce1eaf1on fhaf made k1chads Wanf fo
sceam a1oud 1n feo.
he Was d1ven back 1nfo fhe soff p11e of h1s seaf, and fhe 1and1ng 11ghfs oufs1de
sudden1y began fo 1eap by W1fh d1zzy1ng speed. 1he scub bushes and exhausf-sfunfed
fees on fhe deso1afe, sunsef-1ven ho1zon oaed foWad fhem. 1he eng1nes Wound up
and up and up. 1he f1oo began fo v1bafe aga1n.
Page 7
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
he sudden1y ea11zed fhaf Ame11a W1111ams Was ho1d1ng on fo h1s shou1de W1fh bofh
hands, he face fW1sfed 1nfo a m1seab1e g1mace of fea.
Dea God, shes neve f1oWn e1fhe!
"Wee go1ng," he sa1d. he found h1mse1f epeaf1ng 1f ove and ove and ove, unab1e
fo sfop. "Wee go1ng. Wee go1ng."
"Whee?" she Wh1speed.
he d1dnf ansWe. he Was usf beg1nn1ng fo knoW.
M1nus 025 and COuN1lNG
1he fWo foopes on oadb1ock dufy af fhe easfen enfance of fhe efpof Wafched
fhe huge 11ne f11ng 1fse1f doWn fhe unWay, ga1n1ng speed. lfs 11ghfs b11nked
oange and geen 1n fhe goW1ng dak, and fhe hoW1 of 1fs eng1nes buffefed fhe1
eas.
"hes go1ng. Ch1sf, hes go1ng."
"Whee?" sa1d fhe ofhe.
1hey Wafched fhe dak shape as 1f sepaafed fom fhe gound. lfs eng1nes fook on a
cu1ous1y f1af sound, 11ke af111ey pacf1ce on a co1d mon1ng. lf ose af a sfeep
ang1e, as ea1 and as fang1b1e and as posa1c as a cube of buffe on a p1afe, yef
1mpobab1e W1fh f11ghf.
"You fh1nk hes gof 1f?"
"he11, l donf knoW."
1he oa of fhe ef Was noW com1ng fo fhem 1n fa111ng cyc1es.
"l11 fe11 you one fh1ng, fhough." 1he f1sf funed fom fhe d1m1n1sh1ng 11ghfs and
funed up h1s co11a. "lm g1ad hes gof fhaf basfad W1fh h1m. 1haf McCone. "
"Can l ask you a pesona1 quesf1on?"
"As 1ong as l donf have fo ansWe 1f."
"Wou1d you 11ke fo see h1m pu11 1f off?"
1he foope sa1d nofh1ng fo a 1ong f1me. 1he sound of fhe ef faded, faded, faded,
unf11 1f d1sappeaed 1nfo fhe undegound hum of neves af Wok.
"Yes. "
"Do you fh1nk he W111?"
A cescenf sm11e 1n fhe dakness. "My f1end, l fh1nk fhees gonna be a b1g boom. "
M1nus 024 and COuN1lNG
1he eafh had dopped aWay be1oW fhem.
k1chads sfaed ouf Wonde1ng1y, unab1e fo d1nk h1s f111 he had s1epf fhough fhe
ofhe f11ghf as 1f 1n Wa1f fo fh1s one. 1he sky had deepened fo a shade fhaf hung
on fhe bode11ne befWeen oya1 ve1vef and b1ack. 5fas poked fhough W1fh hes1fanf
b1111ance. On fhe Wesfen ho1zon, fhe on1y emnanf of fhe sun Was a b1ffe oange
11ne fhaf 111um1nafed fhe dak eafh be1oW nof af a11. 1hee Was a nesf1e of 11ghfs
be1oW he fook fo be Dey.
"M. k1chads?"
"Yes." he umped 1n h1s seaf as 1f he had been poked.
"We ae 1n a ho1d1ng paffen 1ghf noW. 1haf means We ae desc1b1ng a 1age c1c1e
above fhe vo1gf Jefpof. lnsfucf1ons?"
k1chads fhoughf caefu11y. lf Wou1dnf do fo g1ve foo much aWay.
"Whafs fhe abso1ufe 1oWesf you can f1y fh1s fh1ng?"
1hee Was a 1ong pause fo consu1faf1on. "We cou1d gef aWay W1fh fWo fhousand feef,"
ho11oWay sa1d cauf1ous1y. "lfs aga1nsf N.5.A. egs, buf-"
"Neve m1nd fhaf," k1chads sa1d. "l have fo puf myse1f 1n you hands fo a cefa1n
exfenf, M. ho11oWay. l knoW vey 11ff1e of f1y1ng and lm sue youve been b1efed
on fhaf. 8uf p1ease emembe fhaf fhe peop1e Who ae fu11 of b1ghf 1deas abouf hoW
fo bambooz1e me ae a11 on fhe gound and ouf of dange. lf you 11e fo me abouf
anyfh1ng and l f1nd ouf-"
"Nobody up hee 1s go1ng fo do any 1y1ng," ho11oWay sa1d. "Wee on1y 1nfeesfed 1n
geff1ng fh1s fh1ng back doWn fhe Way 1f Wenf up. "
"Okay. Good." he gave h1mse1f f1me fo fh1nk. Ame11a W1111ams saf 1g1d1y bes1de h1m,
he hands fo1ded 1n he 1ap.
"Go due Wesf," he sa1d abupf1y. "1Wo fhousand feef. Po1nf ouf fhe s1ghfs as We go
a1ong, p1ease. "
"1he s1ghfs?"
"Whaf Wee go1ng ove," k1chads sa1d. "lve on1y f1oWn once befoe.-
"Oh. " ho11oWay sounded e11eved.
Page 79
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
1he p1ane banked beneafh fhe1 feef and fhe dak sunsef 11ne oufs1de fhe W1ndoW
f11fed on 1fs ea. k1chads Wafched, fasc1nafed. NoW 1f g1eamed as1anf fhe fh1ck
W1ndoW, mak1ng odd, fug1f1ve sung1eams usf beyond fhe g1ass. Wee chas1ng fhe sun,
he fhoughf. lsnf fhaf amaz1ng?
lf Was fh1fy-f1ve m1nufes affe s1x.
M1nus 023 and COuN1lNG
1he back of fhe seaf 1n fonf of k1chads Was a eve1af1on 1n 1fse1f. 1hee Was a
pockef W1fh a safefy handbook 1n 1f. ln case of a1 fubu1ence, fasfen you be1f. lf
fhe cab1n 1oses pessue, pu11 doWn fhe a1 mask d1ecf1y ove you head. ln case of
eng1ne foub1e, fhe sfeWadess W111 g1ve you fufhe 1nsfucf1ons. ln case of sudden
exp1os1ve deafh, hope you have enough denfa1 f1111ngs fo 1nsue 1denf1f1caf1on.
1hee Was a sma11 Iee-vee sef 1nfo fhe seaf pane1 af eye 1eve1. A mefa1 cad be1oW
1f em1nded fhe v1eWe fhaf channe1s Wou1d come and go W1fh a fa1 degee of speed.
A fouch-confo1 channe1 se1ecfo Was pov1ded fo fhe hungy v1eWe.
8e1oW and fo fhe 1ghf of fhe Iee-vee Was a pad of a111ne sfaf1oney and a GA
sfy1us on a cha1n. k1chads pu11ed ouf a sheef and Wofe c1ums11y on h1s knee:
"Odds ae 99 ouf of 100 fhaf youe bugged, shoe m1ke o ha1 m1ke, maybe mesh
fansm1ffe on you s1eeve. McCone 11sfen1ng and Wa1f1ng fo you fo dop fhe ofhe
shoe, l bef. ln a m1nufe have a hysfe1ca1 oufbusf and beg me nof fo pu11 fhe 1ng.
lf11 make ou chances beffe. You game?"
5he nodded and k1chads hes1fafed, fhen Wofe aga1n:
"Why d1d you 11e abouf 1f?"
5he p1ucked fhe sfy1us ouf of h1s hand and he1d 1f ove fhe pape on h1s knee fo a
momenf and fhen Wofe: "Donf knoW. You made me fee1 11ke a mudee. W1fe. And you
seemed so"-fhe sfy1us paused, Waveed and fhen scaW1ed-"p1f1fu1. "
k1chads a1sed h1s eyeboWs and g1nned a 11ff1e-1f huf. he offeed he fhe sfy1us
buf she shook he head mufe1y. he Wofe: "Go 1nfo you acf 1n abouf 5 m1nufes."
5he nodded and k1chads cump1ed fhe pape and sfuffed 1f 1nfo fhe ashfay embedded
1n fhe amesf. he 11f fhe pape. lf puffed 1nfo f1ame and b1azed b1ghf1y fo a
momenf, k1nd11ng a f1ny ef1ecf1ve g1oW 1n fhe W1ndoW. 1hen 1f co11apsed 1nfo ashes
Wh1ch k1chads poked fhoughffu11y.
Abouf f1ve m1nufes 1afe Ame11a W1111ams began fo moan. lf sounded so ea1 fhaf fo
a momenf k1chads Was sfaf1ed. 1hen 1f f1ashed acoss h1s m1nd fhaf 1f pobab1y Was
ea1.
"P1ease donf," she sa1d. "P1ease donf make fhaf man . . . have fo fy you. l neve
d1d anyfh1ng fo you. l Wanf fo go home fo my husband. We have a daughfe, foo. 5hes
s1x. 5he11 Wonde Whee he mommy 1s."
k1chads fe1f h1s eyeboW 1se and fa11 fW1ce 1n an 1nvo1unfay f1c. he d1dnf Wanf
he fo be fhaf good. Nof fhaf good.
"hes dumb," he fo1d he, fy1ng nof fo speak fo an unseen aud1ence, "buf l donf
fh1nk hes fhaf dumb. lf W111 be a11 1ghf, Ms. W1111ams."
"1hafs easy fo you fo say. Youve gof nofh1ng fo 1ose."
he d1dnf ansWe he. 5he Was so pafenf1y 1ghf. Nofh1ng, anyWay, fhaf he hadnf
1osf a1eady.
"5hoW 1f fo h1m," she p1eaded. "Io Gods sake, Why donf you shoW 1f fo h1m? 1hen
hed have fo be11eve you . . . ca11 off fhe peop1e on fhe gound. 1heye fack1ng
us W1fh m1ss11es. l head h1m say so."
"l canf shoW h1m," k1chads sa1d. "1o fake 1f ouf of my pockef Wou1d mean puff1ng
fhe 1ng on safefy o fak1ng fhe fu11 1sk of b1oW1ng us up acc1denfa11y. 8es1des,"
he added, 1necf1ng mockey 1nfo h1s vo1ce, "l donf fh1nk ld shoW h1m 1f l cou1d.
hes fhe maggof W1fh somefh1ng fo 1ose. Lef h1m sWeaf 1f."
"l donf fh1nk l can sfand 1f," she sa1d du11y. "l a1mosf fh1nk ld afhe ogg1e
you and have 1f ove. 1hafs fhe Way 1fs go1ng fo end anyWay, 1snf 1f?"
"You havenf-" he began, and fhen fhe doo befWeen f1sf and second Was snapped open
and McCone ha1f sfode, ha1f 1unged fhough. h1s face Was ca1m, buf beneafh fhe ca1m
Was an odd sheeny 1ook Wh1ch k1chads ecogn1zed 1mmed1afe1y. 1he sheen of fea,
Wh1fe and Waxy and g1oW1ng.
"Ms. W1111ams," he sa1d b1sk1y. "Coffee, 1f you p1ease. Io seven. You11 have fo
p1ay sfeWadess on fh1s f11ghf, lm afa1d."
5he gof up W1fhouf 1ook1ng af e1fhe of fhem. "Whee?"
"IoWad," McCone sa1d smoofh1y. "Jusf fo11oW you nose." he Was a m11d, b11nk1ng
sof of man-and eady fo 1unge af Ame11a W1111ams fhe momenf she shoWed a s1gn of
Page 0
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
go1ng fo k1chads.
5he made he Way up fhe a1s1e W1fhouf 1ook1ng back.
McCone sfaed af k1chads and sa1d: "Wou1d you g1ve fh1s up 1f l cou1d pom1se you
amnesfy, pa1?"
"Pa1. 1haf Wod sounds ea11y geasy 1n you moufh, " k1chads mave1ed. he f1exed
h1s fee hand, 1ooked af 1f. 1he hand Was caked W1fh sma11 unne1s of d1ed b1ood,
doffed W1fh f1ny scapes and scafches fom h1s boken-ank1e h1ke fhough fhe
soufhen Ma1ne Woods. "kea11y geasy. You make 1f sound 11ke fWo pounds of faffy
hambuge cook1ng 1n fhe pan. 1he on1y k1nd you can gef af fhe We1fae 5foes 1n
Co-Op C1fy. " he 1ooked af McCones We11-concea1ed pof. "1haf, noW. 1haf 1ooks moe
11ke a sfeak guf. P1me cuf. No faf on p1me cuf excepf fhaf c1nk1y 11ff1e 1ng
aound fhe oufs1de 1ghf?"
"Amnesfy," McCone epeafed. "hoW does fhaf Wod sound?"
"L1ke a 11e," k1chads sa1d, sm111ng. "L1ke a faf fuck1ng 11e. Donf you fh1nk l
knoW youe nofh1ng buf fhe h1ed he1p?"
McCone f1ushed. lf Was nof a soff f1ush af a11 1f Was had and ed and b1ck11ke.
"lfs go1ng fo be good fo have you on my home couf," he sa1d. "Weve gof h1-1mpacf
s1ugs fhaf W111 make you head 1ook 11ke a pumpk1n dopped on a s1deWa1k fom fhe
fop f1oo of a skyscape. Gas f111ed. 1hey exp1ode on confacf. A guf shof, on fhe
ofhe hand-"
k1chads sceamed: "hee 1f goes! lm pu111ng fhe 1ng!"
McCone sceeched. he sfaggeed back fWo sfeps, h1s ump h1f fhe We11-padded am of
seaf numbe 95 acoss fhe Way, he oveba1anced and fe11 1nfo 1f 11ke a man 1nfo a
s11ng, h1s ams f1a111ng fhe a1 aound h1s head 1n cazed Wad1ng-off gesfues.
h1s hands foze abouf h1s head 11ke pef1f1ed b1ds, sp1ay f1ngeed. h1s face sfaed
fhough fhe1 gofesque fame 11ke a p1asfe deafh-mask on Wh1ch someone had hung a
pa1 of go1d-1mmed specfac1es fo a oke.
k1chads began fo 1augh. 1he no1se of 1f Was cacked af f1sf, hes1fanf, foe1gn fo
h1s oWn eas. hoW 1ong had 1f been s1nce he had had a ea1 1augh, an honesf one, fhe
k1nd fhaf comes fee1y and he1p1ess1y fom fhe deepesf oof of fhe sfomach? lf
seemed fo h1m fhaf he had neve had one 1n h1s Who1e gay, sfagg11ng, eanesf 11fe.
8uf he Was hav1ng one noW.
You basfad.
McCones vo1ce had fa11ed h1m he cou1d on1y moufh fhe Wods. h1s face Was fW1sfed
and scunched 11ke fhe face of a bad1y used feddy bea.
k1chads 1aughed. he he1d on fo one am of h1s seaf W1fh h1s fee hand and usf
1aughed and 1aughed and 1aughed.
M1nus 022 and COuN1lNG
When ho11oWays vo1ce 1nfomed k1chads fhaf fhe p1ane Was coss1ng fhe bon1e
befWeen Canada and fhe sfafe of vemonf {k1chads supposed he kneW h1s bus1ness he
h1mse1f cou1d see nofh1ng buf dakness be1oW fhem, 1nfeupfed by occas1ona1
c1usfes of 11ghf}, he sef h1s coffee doWn caefu11y and sa1d:
"Cou1d you supp1y me W1fh a map of Nofh Ame1ca, Capfa1n ho11oWay?"
"Phys1ca1 o po11f1ca1?" A neW vo1ce cuf 1n. 1he nav1gafos, k1chads supposed. NoW
he Was supposed fo p1ay ob11g1ng1y dumb and nof knoW Wh1ch map he Wanfed. Wh1ch he
d1dnf.
"8ofh," he sa1d f1af1y.
"Ae you go1ng fo send fhe Woman up fo fhem?"
"Whafs you name, pa1?"
1he hes1fanf pause of a man Who ea11zes W1fh sudden fep1daf1on fhaf he has been
s1ng1ed ouf. "Donahue."
"Youve gof 1egs, Donahue. 5uppose you fof fhem back hee youse1f. "
Donahue foffed fhem back. he had 1ong ha1 combed back gease fash1on and panfs
fa11oed f1ghf enough fo shoW Whaf 1ooked 11ke a bag of go1f ba11s af fhe cofch.
1he maps Wee encased 1n 11mp p1asf1c. k1chads d1dnf knoW Whaf Donahues ba11s
Wee encased 1n.
"l d1dnf mean fo moufh off," he sa1d unW1111ng1y. k1chads fhoughf he cou1d peg
h1m. We11-off young men W1fh a 1of of fee f1me offen spenf much of 1f oam1ng fhe
shabby p1easue aeas of fhe b1g c1f1es, oam1ng 1n We11-hee1ed packs, somef1mes on
foof, moe offen on choppes. 1hey Wee quee-sfompes. quees, of couse, had fo be
ead1cafed. 5ave ou bafhooms fo democacy. 1hey ae1y venfued beyond fhe
fW111ghf p1easue aeas 1nfo fhe fu11 dakness of fhe gheffos. When fhey d1d, fhey
Page 1
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
gof fhe sh1f k1cked ouf of fhem.
Donahue sh1ffed uneas11y unde k1chadss 1ong gaze. "Anyfh1ng e1se?"
"You a quee-sfompe, pa1?"
"huh?"
"Neve m1nd. Go on back. he1p fhem f1y fhe p1ane. "
Donahue Wenf back af a fasf shuff1e.
k1chads qu1ck1y d1scoveed fhaf fhe map W1fh fhe foWns and c1f1es and oads Was fhe
po11f1ca1 map. Pess1ng one f1nge doWn fom Dey fo fhe Canada-vemonf bode 1n a
Wesfen-each1ng sfa1ghfedge, he 1ocafed fhe1 appox1mafe pos1f1on.
"Capfa1n ho11oWay?"
"Yes."
"1un 11eff."
"huh?" ho11oWay sounded fank1y sfaf1ed.
"5oufh, l mean. Due soufh. And emembe-"
"lm emembe1ng," ho11oWay sa1d. "Donf Woy."
1he p1ane banked. McCone saf hunched 1n fhe seaf he had fa11en 1nfo, sfa1ng af
k1chads W1fh hungy, Wanf1ng eyes.
M1nus 021 and COuN1lNG
k1chads found h1mse1f d1ff1ng 1n and ouf of a daze, and 1f f1ghfened h1m. 1he
sfeady done of fhe eng1nes Wee 1ns1d1ous, hypnof1c. McCone Was aWae of Whaf Was
happen1ng, and h1s 1ean1ng posfue became moe and moe vu1p1ne. Ame11a Was a1so
aWae. 5he c1nged m1seab1y 1n a foWad seaf nea fhe ga11ey, Wafch1ng fhem bofh.
k1chads dank fWo moe cups of coffee. Nof much he1p. lf Was becom1ng 1nceas1ng1y
d1ff1cu1f fo concenfafe on fhe cood1naf1on of h1s map and ho11oWays fone1ess
commenfay on fhe1 ouf1aW f11ghf.
I1na11y he dove h1s f1sf 1nfo h1s s1de Whee fhe bu11ef had faken h1m. 1he pa1n Was
1mmed1afe and 1nfense, 11ke a dash of co1d Wafe 1n fhe face. A Wh1sf11ng
ha1f-Wh1speed sceech 1ssued fom e1fhe s1de of h1s c1enched moufh, 11ke sfeeo.
Iesh b1ood Wef h1s sh1f and s1eved fhough onfo h1s hand.
Ame11a moaned.
"We11 be pass1ng ove A1bany 1n abouf s1x m1nufes," ho11oWay sa1d. "lf you 1ook
ouf, you11 see 1f com1ng up on you 1eff."
"ke1ax," k1chads sa1d fo no one, fo h1mse1f. "ke1ax. Jusf e1ax."
God, W111 1f be ove soon? Yes. qu1fe soon.
lf Was quafe fo e1ghf.
M1nus 020 and COuN1lNG
lf cou1d have been a bad deam, a n1ghfmae fhaf had caW1ed ouf of fhe dak and
1nfo fhe unhea1fhy 11me11ghf of h1s ha1f-aWake m1nd-moe pope1y a v1s1on o an
ha11uc1naf1on. h1s ba1n Was Wok1ng and concenfaf1ng on one 1eve1, dea11ng W1fh
fhe pob1em of nav1gaf1on and fhe consfanf dange of McCone. On anofhe, somefh1ng
b1ack Was fak1ng p1ace. 1h1ngs Wee mov1ng 1n fhe dak.
1ack on. Pos1f1ve.
huge, Wh1n1ng sevomechan1sms fun1ng 1n fhe dak, 1n fhe n1ghf. lnfaed eyes
g1oW1ng 1n unknoWn specfums. Pa1e geen foxf1e of d1a1s and sW1ng1ng ada scopes.
Lock. We have a 1ock.
1ucks umb11ng a1ong back-counfy oads, and on f1angu1afed f1afbeds fWo hunded
m11es apaf, m1coWave d1shes sW1ng af fhe n1ghf sky. Lnd1ess sfeams of e1ecfons
f1y ouf on 1nv1s1b1e bafW1ngs. 8ounce, echo. 1he sfong b11p and fhe fad1ng
affe1mage 11nge1ng unf11 fhe efun1ng sW1ng of 11ghf 111um1nafes 1f 1n a s11ghf1y
moe soufhe1y pos1f1on.
5o11d?
Yeah. 1Wo hunded m11es soufh of NeWak. lf cou1d be NeWak.
NeWaks on ked, a1so soufhen NeW Yok.
Lxecuf1ve ho1d sf111 1n effecf?
1hafs 1ghf.
We had h1m dead-bang ove A1bany.
8e coo1, pa1.
1ucks fhunde1ng fhough c1osed foWns Whee peop1e 1ook ouf of cadboad-pafched
W1ndoWs W1fh fe1f1ed, haf1ng eyes. koa1ng 11ke peh1sfo1c beasfs 1n fhe n1ghf.
Open fhe ho1es.
huge, g1nd1ng mofos s11de huge concefe dunce-caps as1de, shunf1ng fhem doWn
Page 2
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
g1eam1ng sfee1 facks. C1cu1a s11os 11ke fhe enfances fo fhe undeWo1d of fhe
Mo1ocks. Gasps of 11qu1d hydogen escap1ng 1nfo fhe a1.
1ack1ng. We ae fack1ng, NeWak.
koge, 5p1ngf1e1d. keep us 1n.
Dunks s1eep1ng 1n a11eys Wake fogg11y fo fhe fhunde of fhe pass1ng facks and
sfae mufe1y af fhe s11ces of sky befWeen c1ose-1ean1ng bu11d1ngs. 1he1 eyes ae
faded and ye11oW, fhe1 moufhs ae d1pp1ng 11nes. hands pu11 W1fh sen11e ef1ex fo
neWs1es fo pofecf aga1nsf fhe aufumn co1d, buf fhe neWs1es ae no 1onge fhee, fhe
Iee-vee has k111ed fhe 1asf of fhem. Iee-vee 1s k1ng of fhe Wo1d. ha11e1uah.
k1ch fo1ks smoke Dokes. 1he ye11oW eyes cafch an unknoWn g11mpse of h1gh, b11nk1ng
11ghfs 1n fhe sky. I1ash, f1ash. ked and geen, ed and geen. 1he fhunde of fhe
fucks has faded, amm1ng back and fofh 1n fhe sfone canyons 11ke fhe f1sfs of
vanda1s. 1he dunks s1eep aga1n. 81fch1n.
We gof h1m Wesf of 5p1ngf1e1d.
Go-no-go 1n f1ve m1nufes.
Iom had1ng?
Yes.
hes backefed and baced.
A11 acoss fhe n1ghf fhe 1nv1s1b1e bafW1ngs f1y, daW1ng a g11ffe1ng nef acoss fhe
nofheasf cone of Ame1ca. 5evos confo11ed by Genea1 Afom1cs compufes funcf1on
smoofh1y. 1he m1ss11es fun and sh1ff subf1y 1n a fhousand p1aces fo fo11oW fhe
b11nk1ng ed and geen 11ghfs fhaf skefch fhe sky. 1hey ae 11ke sfee1 aff1esnakes
f111ed W1fh Wa1f1ng venom.
k1chads saW 1f a11, and funcf1oned even as he saW 1f. 1he dua11fy of h1s ba1n Was
odd1y comfof1ng, 1n a Way. lf 1nduced a defachmenf fhaf Was much 11ke 1nsan1fy. h1s
b1ood-cusfed f1nge fo11oWed fhe1 soufhWad pogess smoofh1y. NoW soufh of
5p1ngf1e1d, noW Wesf of haffod, noW-
1ack1ng.
M1nus 019 and COuN1lNG
"M. k1chads?"
"Yes."
"We ae ove NeWak, NeW Jesey."
"Yes," k1chads sa1d. "lve been Wafch1ng. ho11oWay?"
ho11oWay d1dnf ep1y, buf k1chads kneW he Was 11sfen1ng.
"1heyve gof a bead daWn on us a11 fhe Way, donf fhey?"
"Yes," ho11oWay sa1d.
k1chads 1ooked af McCone. "l 1mag1ne fheye fy1ng fo dec1de 1f fhey can affod fo
do aWay W1fh fhe1 pofess1ona1 b1oodhound hee. lmag1ne fhey11 dec1de 1n fhe
aff1maf1ve. Affe a11, a11 fhey have fo do 1s fa1n a neW one."
McCone Was sna11ng af h1m, buf k1chads fhoughf 1f Was a comp1efe1y unconsc1ous
gesfue, one fhaf cou1d pobab1y be faced a11 fhe Way fo McCones ancesfos, fhe
Neandefha1s Who had cepf up beh1nd fhe1 enem1es W1fh 1age ocks afhe fhan
baff11ng fo fhe deafh 1n fhe honoab1e buf un1nfe111genf manne.
"When do We gef ove open counfy aga1n, Capfa1n?"
"We Wonf. Nof on a due soufh head1ng. We W111 sf1ke open sea affe We coss fhe
offshoe Nofh Cao11na d1111ng de1cks, fhough."
"Lveyfh1ng soufh of hee 1s a subub of NeW Yok C1fy?"
"1hafs abouf fhe s1ze of 1f," ho11oWay sa1d.
"1hank you."
NeWak Was spaW1ed and go1ned be1oW fhem 11ke a handfu1 of d1fy eWe1y fhoWn
cae1ess1y 1nfo some 1adys b1ack-ve1vef van1fy box.
"Capfa1n?"
Wea11y: "Yes."
"You W111 noW poceed due Wesf. "
McCone umped as 1f he had been goosed. Ame11a made a sup1sed cough1ng no1se 1n
he fhoaf.
"Wesf?" ho11oWay asked. he sounded unhappy and f1ghfened fo fhe f1sf f1me.
"Youe ask1ng fo 1f, go1ng fhaf Way. Wesf fakes us ove peffy open counfy.
Pennsy1van1a befWeen ha1sbug and P1ffsbugh 1s a11 fam counfy. 1hee 1snf
anofhe b1g c1fy easf of C1eve1and."
"Ae you p1ann1ng my sfafegy fo me, Capfa1n?"
"No, l-"
Page 3
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"Due Wesf," k1chads epeafed cuf1y.
NeWak sWung aWay beneafh fhem. "Youe cazy," McCone sa1d. "1hey11 b1oW us
apaf." "W1fh you and f1ve ofhe 1nnocenf peop1e on boad? 1h1s honoab1e counfy?"
"lf W111 be a m1sfake," McCone sa1d hash1y. "A m1sfake on pupose." "Donf you
Wafch 1he Naf1ona1 kepof? " k1chads asked, sf111 sm111ng. "We donf make m1sfakes.
We havenf made a m1sfake s1nce 1950." NeWak Was s11d1ng aWay beneafh fhe W1ng
dakness fook 1fs p1ace. "Youe nof 1augh1ng anymoe," k1chads sa1d.
M1nus 01 and COuN1lNG
A ha1f-hou 1afe ho11oWay came on fhe vo1ce-com aga1n. he sounded exc1fed.
"k1chads, Weve been 1nfomed by had1ng ked fhaf fhey Wanf fo beam a
h1gh-1nfens1fy boadcasf af us. Iom Games Iedeaf1on. l Was fo1d you Wou1d f1nd 1f
vey much Wofh you Wh11e fo fun on fhe Iee-vee."
"1hank you."
he egaded fhe b1ank Iee-vee sceen and a1mosf funed 1f on. he W1fhdeW h1s hand
as 1f fhe back of fhe nexf seaf W1fh 1fs embedded sceen Was hof. A cu1ous sense of
dead and dea vu f111ed h1m. lf Was foo much 11ke go1ng back fo fhe beg1nn1ng,
5he11a W1fh he fh1n, Woked face, fhe sme11 of Ms. Jennes cabbage cook1ng doWn
fhe ha11. 1he b1ae of fhe games. 1eadm111 fo 8ucks. 5W1m fhe Cocod11es. Cafhys
sceams. 1hee cou1d neve be anofhe ch11d, of couse, nof even 1f he cou1d fake
a11 fh1s back, W1fhdaW 1f, and go back fo fhe beg1nn1ng. Lven fhe one had been
aga1nsf fanfasf1ca11y h1gh odds.
"1un 1f on, " McCone sa1d. "Maybe fheye go1ng fo offe us-you-a dea1."
"5huf up," k1chads sa1d.
he Wa1fed, 1eff1ng fhe dead f111 h1m up 11ke heavy Wafe. 1he cu1ous sense of
pesenf1menf. he huf vey bad1y. h1s Wound Was sf111 b1eed1ng, and h1s 1egs fe1f
Weak and fa aWay. he d1dnf knoW 1f he cou1d gef up fo f1n1sh fh1s chaade When fhe
f1me came.
W1fh a gunf, k1chads 1eaned foWad aga1n and pushed fhe ON buffon. 1he Ieevee
spang fo 1nced1b1y c1ea, amp11f1ed-s1gna1 11fe. 1he face fhaf f111ed fhe sceen,
paf1enf1y Wa1f1ng, Was vey b1ack and vey fam111a. Dan k1111an. he Was s1ff1ng af
a k1dney-shaped mahogany desk W1fh fhe Games symbo1 on 1f.
"he11o fhee," k1chads sa1d soff1y.
he cou1d have fa11en ouf of h1s seaf When k1111an sfa1ghfened up, g1nned, and
sa1d, "he11o fhee youse1f, M. k1chads."
M1nus 017 and COuN1lNG
"l canf see you," k1111an sa1d, "buf l can hea you. 1he efs vo1ce-com 1s be1ng
e1ayed fhough fhe ad1o equ1pmenf 1n fhe cockp1f. 1hey fe11 me youe shof up."
"lfs nof as bad as 1f 1ooks," k1chads sa1d. "l gof scafched up 1n fhe Woods."
"Oh yes," k1111an sa1d. "1he famous kun 1hough fhe Woods. 8obby 1hompson canon1zed
1f on fhe a1 usf fon1ghf-a1ong W1fh you cuenf exp1o1f, of couse. 1omooW
fhose Woods W111 be fu11 of peop1e 1ook1ng fo a scap of you sh1f, o maybe even
a caf1dge case."
"1hafs foo bad," k1chads sa1d. "l saW a abb1f."
"Youve been fhe geafesf confesfanf Weve eve had, k1chads. 1hough a comb1naf1on
of 1uck and sk111, youve been pos1f1ve1y fhe geafesf. Geaf enough fo us fo offe
you a dea1. "
"Whaf dea1? Naf1ona11y fe1ev1sed f11ng squad?"
"1h1s p1ane h1ack has been fhe mosf specfacu1a, buf 1fs a1so been fhe dumbesf. Do
you knoW Why? 8ecause fo fhe f1sf f1me youe nof nea you oWn peop1e. You 1eff
fhem beh1nd When you 1eff fhe gound. Lven fhe Woman fhafs pofecf1ng you. You may
fh1nk shes yous. 5he may even fh1nk 1f. 8uf shes nof. 1hees no one up fhee buf
us, k1chads. Youe a dead duck. I1na11y."
"Peop1e keep fe111ng me fhaf and l keep daW1ng beafh."
"Youve been daW1ng beafh fo fhe 1asf fWo hous sf1cf1y on Games Iedeaf1on
say-so. l d1d 1f. And lm fhe one fhaf f1na11y shoved fhough fhe aufho1zaf1on fo
fhe dea1 lm go1ng fo offe you. 1hee Was sfong oppos1f1on fom fhe o1d guad-fh1s
k1nd of fh1ng has neve been done-buf lm go1ng fhough W1fh 1f.
"You asked me Who you cou1d k111 1f you cou1d go a11 fhe Way fo fhe fop W1fh a
mach1ne gun. One of fhem Wou1d have been me. k1chads. Does fhaf sup1se you?"
"l suppose 1f does. l had you pegged fo fhe house n1gge."
k1111an fheW back h1s head and 1aughed, buf fhe 1aughfe sounded foced-fhe
Page 4
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
1aughfe of a man p1ay1ng fo h1gh sfakes and 1abo1ng unde a geaf fens1on.
"hees fhe dea1, k1chads. I1y you p1ane fo had1ng. 1hee W111 be a Games 11mo
Wa1f1ng af fhe a1pof. An execuf1on W111 be pefomed-a fake. 1hen you o1n ou
feam. "
1hee Was a sfaf1ed ye1p of age fom McCone. "You b1ack basfad-"
Ame11a W1111ams 1ooked sfunned.
"vey good," k1chads sa1d. "l kneW you Wee good, buf fh1s 1s ea11y geaf. Whaf a
f1ne used-ca sa1esman you Wou1d have made, k1111an."
"D1d McCone sound 11ke l Was 1y1ng?"
"McCone 1s a f1ne acfo. he d1d a 11ff1e song and dance af fhe a1pof fhaf cou1d
have Won an Academy AWad." 5f111, he Was foub1ed. McCones husf11ng aWay of Ame11a
fo coffee When 1f appeaed she m1ghf f1p fhe l1sh, McCones sfeady, heavy
anfagon1sm-fhey d1dnf f1f. O d1d fhey? h1s m1nd began fo p1nWhee1. "Maybe youe
sp1ng1ng fh1s on h1m W1fhouf h1s knoW1edge. Counf1ng on h1s eacf1on fo make 1f
1ook even beffe. "
k1111an sa1d: "Youve done you song and dance W1fh fhe p1asf1c exp1os1ve, M.
k1chads. We knoW-knoW-fhaf you ae b1uff1ng. 8uf fhee 1s a buffon on fh1s desk, a
sma11 ed buffon, Wh1ch 1s nof a b1uff. 1Wenfy seconds affe l push 1f, fhaf p1ane
W111 be fon apaf by suface-fo-a1 D1amondback m1ss11es cay1ng c1ean nuc1ea
Waheads. "
"1he l1sh 1snf fake, e1fhe. " 8uf fhee Was a cud1ed fasfe 1n h1s moufh. 1he
b1uff Was soued.
"Oh, 1f 1s. You cou1dnf gef on a Lockheed G-A p1ane W1fh a p1asf1c exp1os1ve. Nof
W1fhouf f1pp1ng fhe a1ams. 1hee ae fou sepaafe defecfos on fhe p1ane,
1nsfa11ed fo fo11 h1ackes. A f1ffh Was 1nsfa11ed 1n fhe paachufe you asked fo. l
can fe11 you fhaf fhe a1am 11ghfs 1n fhe vo1gf I1e1d confo1 foWe Wee Wafched
W1fh geaf 1nfeesf and fep1daf1on When you gof on. 1he consensus Was fhaf you
pobab1y had fhe l1sh. You have poved so esoucefu1 a11 fhe Way up fhe 11ne fhaf
1f seemed 11ke a fa1 assumpf1on fo make. 1hee Was moe fhan a 11ff1e e11ef When
none of fhose 11ghfs Wenf on. l assume you neve had fhe oppofun1fy fo p1ck any up.
Maybe you neve fhoughf of 1f unf11 foo 1afe. We11, doesnf maffe. lf makes you
pos1f1on Wose, buf-"
McCone Was sudden1y sfand1ng bes1de k1chads. "hee 1f goes," he sa1d, g1nn1ng.
"hee 1s Whee l b1oW you fuck1ng head off, donkey. " he po1nfed h1s gun af
k1chadss femp1e.
M1nus 016 and COuN1lNG
"Youe dead 1f you do, " k1111an sa1d.
McCone hes1fafed, fe11 back a sfep, and sfaed af fhe Iee-vee unbe11ev1ng1y. h1s
face began fo fW1sf and cump1e aga1n. h1s 11ps W1fhed 1n a s11enf effof fo ga1n
speech. When 1f f1na11y came, 1f Was a Wh1spe of fhWafed age.
"l can fake h1m! k1ghf noW! k1ghf hee! We11 a11 be safe! We11-"
Wea11y, k1111an sa1d: "Youe safe noW, you God damned foo1. And Donahue cou1d have
faken h1m-1f We Wanfed h1m faken."
"1h1s man 1s a c1m1na1!" McCones vo1ce Was 1s1ng. "hes k111ed po11ce off1ces!
Comm1ffed acfs of anachy and a1 p1acy! hes . . . hes pub11c1y hum111afed me and
my depafmenf!"
"51f doWn," k1111an sa1d, and h1s vo1ce Was as co1d as fhe deep space befWeen
p1anefs. "lfs f1me you emembeed Who pays you sa1ay, M. Ch1ef hunfe."
"lm go1ng fo fhe Counc11 Pes1denf W1fh fh1s! " McCone Was av1ng noW. 5p1ff1e f1eW
fom h1s 11ps. "Youe go1ng fo be chopp1ng coffon When fh1s 1s ove, n1g! You
goddam Wofh1ess n1ghf-f1ghf1ng sonofab1fch-"
"P1ease fhoW you gun on fhe f1oo," a neW vo1ce sa1d. k1chads 1ooked aound,
sfaf1ed. lf Was Donahue, fhe nav1gafo, 1ook1ng co1de and dead11e fhan eve. h1s
geased ha1 g1eamed 1n fhe cab1ns 1nd1ecf 11ghf1ng. he Was ho1d1ng a W1e-sfock
Magnum/5p1ngsfun mach1ne p1sfo1, and 1f Was fa1ned on McCone. "kobef 5. Donahue,
o1d-f1me. Games Counc11 Confo1. 1hoW 1f on fhe f1oo."
M1nus 015 and COuN1lNG
McCone 1ooked af h1m fo a 1ong second, and fhen fhe gun fhumped on fhe heavy p11e
of fhe capef. "You-"
"l fh1nk Weve head a11 fhe hefo1c We need," Donahue sa1d. "Go back 1nfo second
c1ass and s1f doWn 11ke a good boy."
Page 5
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
McCone backed up sevea1 paces, sna11ng fuf11e1y. he 1ooked fo k1chads 11ke a
vamp1e 1n an o1d hoo mov1e fhaf had been fhWafed by a coss.
When he Was gone, Donahue fheW k1chads a sadon1c 11ff1e sa1ufe W1fh fhe bae1 of
h1s gun and sm11ed. "he Wonf bofhe you aga1n."
"You sf111 1ook 11ke a quee-sfompe," k1chads sa1d even1y.
1he sma11 sm11e faded. Donahue sfaed af h1m W1fh sudden, empfy d1s11ke fo a
momenf, and fhen Wenf foWad aga1n.
k1chads funed back fo fhe Iee-vee sceen. he found fhaf h1s pu1se afe had
ema1ned pefecf1y sfeady. he had no shofness of beafh, no ubbe 1egs. Deafh had
become a noma11fy.
"Ae you fhee, M. k1chads?" k1111an asked.
"Yes l am."
"1he pob1em has been hand1ed?"
"Yes. "
"Good. Lef me gef back fo Whaf l Was say1ng."
"Go ahead."
k1111an s1ghed af h1s fone. "l Was say1ng fhaf ou knoW1edge of you b1uff makes
you pos1f1on Wose, buf makes ou ced1b111fy beffe. Do you see Why?"
"Yes," k1chads sa1d defached1y. "lf means you cou1d have b1oWn fh1s b1d ouf of fhe
sky anyf1me. O you cou1d have had ho11oWay sef fhe p1ane doWn af W111. McCone Wou1d
have bumped me. "
"Lxacf1y. Do you be11eve We knoW you ae b1uff1ng?"
"No. 8uf youe beffe fhan McCone. us1ng you p1anfed houseboy Was a f1ne sfoke. "
k1111an 1aughed. "Oh, k1chads. You ae such a peach. 5uch a ae, 11descenf b1d.
" And yef aga1n 1f sounded foced, fense, pessued. lf came fo k1chads fhaf
k1111an Was ho1d1ng 1nfomaf1on Wh1ch he Wanfed bad1y nof fo fe11.
"lf you ea11y had 1f, you Wou1d have pu11ed fhe sf1ng When McCone puf fhe gun fo
you head. You kneW he Was go1ng fo k111 you. Yef you saf fhee. "
k1chads kneW 1f Was ove, kneW fhaf fhey kneW. A sm11e cacked h1s feafues.
k1111an Wou1d appec1afe fhaf. he Was a man of a shap and sadon1c fun of m1nd.
Make fhem pay fo see fhe ho1e cad, fhen.
"lm nof buy1ng any of fh1s. lf you push me, eveyfh1ng goes bang."
"And you Wou1dnf be fhe man you ae 1f you d1dnf sp1n 1f ouf fo fhe vey end. M.
Donahue?"
"Yes, s1. " Donahues coo1, eff1c1enf, emof1on1ess vo1ce came ove fhe vo1cecom and
ouf of fhe Iee-vee a1mosf s1mu1faneous1y.
"P1ease go back and emove Ms. W1111amss pockefbook fom M. k1chadss pockef.
Youe nof fo ham h1m 1n any Way."
"Yes, s1. " k1chads Was ee11y em1nded of fhe p1asf1punch fhaf had sfenc11ed h1s
o1g1na1 lD cad af Games headquafes. C11ffe-c11ffe-c11ffe.
Donahue eappeaed and Wa1ked foWad k1chads. h1s face Was smoofh and co1d and
empfy. Pogammed. 1he Wod 1eaped 1nfo k1chadss m1nd.
"5fand 1ghf fhee, peffy boy," k1chads emaked, sh1ff1ng fhe hand 1n h1s coaf
pockef s11ghf1y. "1he Man fhee 1s safe on fhe gound. Youe fhe one fhafs go1ng
fo fhe moon. "
he fhoughf fhe sfeady sf1de m1ghf have fa1feed fo usf a second and fhe eyes
seemed fo have W1nced fhe f1n1esf uncefa1n b1f, and fhen he came on aga1n. he m1ghf
have been pomenad1ng on fhe Cofe dAzu . . . o appoach1ng a g1bbe1ng homosexua1
coWe1ng af fhe end of a b11nd a11ey.
81ef1y k1chads cons1deed gabb1ng fhe paachufe and f1ee1ng. hope1ess. I1ee?
Whee? 1he mens bafhoom af fhe fa end of fhe fh1d c1ass Was fhe end of fhe 11ne.
"5ee you 1n he11," he sa1d soff1y, and made a pu111ng gesfue 1n h1s pockef. 1h1s
f1me fhe eacf1on Was a 11ff1e beffe. Donahue made a gunf1ng no1se and fheW h1s
hands up fo pofecf h1s face 1n an 1nsf1ncf1ve gesfue as o1d as man h1mse1f. he
1oWeed fhem, sf111 1n fhe 1and of fhe 11v1ng 1ook1ng embaassed and vey angy.
k1chads fook Ame11a W1111amss pockefbook ouf of h1s muddy, fon coaf pockef and
fheW 1f. lf sfuck Donahues chesf and p1opped af h1s feef 11ke a dead b1d.
k1chadss hand Was s11med W1fh sWeaf. Ly1ng on h1s knee aga1n, 1f 1ooked sfange
and Wh1fe and foe1gn. Donahue p1cked up fhe bag, 1ooked 1n 1f pefuncfo11y, and
handed 1f fo Ame11a. k1chads fe1f a sfup1d sof of sadness af 1fs passage. ln a
Way, 1f Was 11ke 1os1ng an o1d f1end. "8oom," he sa1d soff1y.
M1nus 014 and COuN1lNG
Page 6
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"You boy 1s vey good," k1chads sa1d f1ed1y, When Donahue had efeafed aga1n. "l
gof h1m fo f11nch, buf l Was hop1ng hed pee h1s panfs." he Was beg1nn1ng fo nof1ce
an odd doub11ng of h1s v1s1on. lf came and Wenf. he checked h1s s1de g1nge1y. lf
Was c1off1ng e1ucfanf1y fo fhe second f1me. "Whaf noW?" he asked. "Do you sef up
cameas af fhe a1pof so eveyone can Wafch fhe despeado gef 1f?"
"NoW fhe dea1," k1111an sa1d soff1y. h1s face Was dak, uneadab1e. Whafeve he had
been ho1d1ng back Was noW usf be1oW fhe suface. k1chads kneW 1f. And sudden1y he
Was f111ed W1fh dead aga1n. he Wanfed fo each ouf and fun fhe Iee-vee off. Nof
hea 1f anymoe. he fe1f h1s 1ns1des beg1n a s1oW and fe1b1e quak1ng-an acfua1,
11fea1 quak1ng. 8uf he cou1d nof fun 1f off. Of couse nof. lf Was, affe a11,
Iee.
"Gef fhee beh1nd me, 5afan," he sa1d fh1ck1y.
"Whaf?" k1111an 1ooked sfaf1ed.
"Nofh1ng. Make you po1nf."
k1111an d1d nof speak. he 1ooked doWn af h1s hands. he 1ooked up aga1n. k1chads
fe1f an unknoWn chambe of h1s m1nd goan W1fh psych1c pesenf1menf. lf seemed fo
h1m fhaf fhe ghosfs of fhe poo and fhe name1ess, of fhe dunks s1eep1ng 1n a11eys,
Wee ca111ng h1s name.
"McCone 1s p1ayed ouf," k1111an sa1d soff1y. "You knoW 1f because you d1d 1f.
Cacked h1m 11ke a soff-she11ed egg. We Wanf you fo fake h1s p1ace."
k1chads, Who fhoughf he had passed fhe po1nf of a11 shock, found h1s moufh hang1ng
open 1n uffe, dazed 1ncedu11fy. lf Was a 11e. had fo be. Yef-Ame11a had he puse
back noW. 1hee Was no eason fo fhem fo 11e o offe fa1se 111us1ons. he Was huf
and a1one. 8ofh McCone and Donahue Wee amed. One bu11ef adm1n1sfeed usf above
fhe 1eff ea Wou1d puf a neaf end fo h1m W1fh no fuss, no muss, o bofhe.
Conc1us1on: k1111an Was fe111ng Gods fufh.
"Youe nufs," he muffeed.
"No. Youe fhe besf unne Weve eve had. And fhe besf unne knoWs fhe besf
p1aces fo 1ook. Open you eyes a 11ff1e and you11 see fhaf 1he kunn1ng Man 1s
des1gned fo somefh1ng bes1des p1easu1ng fhe masses and geff1ng 1d of dangeous
peop1e. k1chads, fhe NefWok 1s a1Ways 1n fhe makef fo fesh neW fa1enf. We have
fo be. "
k1chads f1ed fo speak, cou1d say nofh1ng. 1he dead Was sf111 1n h1m, W1den1ng,
he1ghfen1ng, fh1cken1ng.
"1hees neve been a Ch1ef hunfe W1fh a fam11y, " he f1na11y sa1d. "You oughf fo
knoW Why. 1he poss1b111f1es fo exfof1on-"
"8en," k1111an sa1d W1fh 1nf1n1fe genf1eness, "you W1fe and daughfe ae dead.
1heyve been dead fo ove fen days. "
M1nus 013 and COuN1lNG
Dan k1111an Was fa1k1ng, had been pehaps fo some f1me, buf k1chads head h1m on1y
d1sfanf1y, d1sfofed by an odd echo effecf 1n h1s m1nd. lf Was 11ke be1ng fapped 1n
a vey deep We11 and hea1ng someone ca11 doWn. h1s m1nd had gone m1dn1ghf dak, and
fhe dakness seved as fhe backgound fo a k1nd of scapbook s11de shoW. An o1d
kodak of 5he11a W1gg11ng 1n fhe ha11s of 1ades h1gh W1fh a 1oose-1eaf b1nde unde
he am. M1co sk1fs had usf come back 1nfo fash1on fhen. A feeze-fame of fhe
fWo of fhem s1ff1ng af fhe end of fhe 8ay P1e {Adm1ss1on: Iee}, backs fo fhe
camea, 1ook1ng ouf af fhe Wafe. hands 11nked. 5ep1a-foned phofo of a young man 1n
an 111-f1ff1ng su1f and a young Woman 1n he mofhes besf dess-spec1a11y faken
up-sfand1ng befoe a J. P. W1fh a 1age Waf on h1s nose. 1hey had g1gg1ed af fhaf
Waf on fhe1 Wedd1ng n1ghf. 5fak b1ack and Wh1fe acf1on phofo of a sWeaf1ng,
bae-chesfed man Wea1ng a 1ead apon and Wok1ng heavy eng1ne gea-1eves 1n a
huge, vau1f11ke undegound chambe 11f W1fh ac 1amps. 5off-foned co1o phofo {soff
fo b1u fhe sfak, pee11ng suound1ngs} of a Woman W1fh a b1g be11y sfand1ng af a
W1ndoW and 1ook1ng ouf, agged cufa1n he1d as1de, Wafch1ng fo he man fo come up
fhe sfeef. 1he 11ghf 1s a soff cafs paW on he cheek. Lasf p1cfue: anofhe
o1d-f1mey kodak of a fh1n fe11oW ho1d1ng a f1ny scap of a baby h1gh ove h1s head
1n a cu1ous m1xfue of f1umph and 1ove, h1s face sp11f by a huge W1nn1ng g1n. 1he
p1cfues began fo f1ash by fasfe and fasfe, Wh111ng, nof b1ng1ng any sense of
g1ef and 1ove and 1oss, nof yef, no, b1ng1ng on1y a coo1 Novoca1n numbness.
k1111an assu1ng fhaf fhe NefWok had nofh1ng fo do W1fh fhe1 deafhs, a11 a
ho1b1e acc1denf. k1chads supposed he be11eved h1m-nof on1y because fhe sfoy
sounded foo much 11ke a 11e nof fo be fhe fufh, buf because k1111an kneW fhaf 1f
Page 7
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
k1chads ageed fo fhe ob offe, h1s f1sf sfop Wou1d be Co-Op C1fy, Whee a s1ng1e
hou on fhe sfeefs Wou1d gef h1m fhe sfa1ghf of fhe maffe.
PoW1es. 1hee of fhem. {O f1cks? k1chads Wondeed, sudden1y agon1zed. 5he had
sounded s11ghf1y fuf1ve on fhe fe1ephone, as 1f ho1d1ng somefh1ng back-} 1hey had
been hopped up, pobab1y. Pehaps fhey had made some fheafen1ng move foWad Cafhy
and 5he11a had f1ed fo pofecf he daughfe. 1hey had bofh d1ed of puncfue Wounds.
1haf had snapped h1m ouf of 1f. "Donf feed me fhaf sh1f!" he sceamed sudden1y.
Ame11a f11nched backWad and sudden1y h1d he face. "Whaf happened? 1e11 me Whaf
happened! "
"1hees nofh1ng moe l can say. You W1fe Was sfabbed ove s1xfy f1mes. "
"Cafhy," k1chads sa1d empf11y, W1fhouf fhoughf, and k1111an W1nced.
"8en, Wou1d you 11ke some f1me fo fh1nk abouf a11 fh1s?"
"Yes. Yes, l Wou1d."
"lm despeafe1y, despeafe1y soy, pa1. l sWea on my mofhe fhaf We had nofh1ng
fo do W1fh 1f. Ou Way Wou1d have been fo sef fhem up aWay fom you, W1fh v1s1f1ng
1ghfs 1f you ageed. A man doesnf W1111ng1y Wok fo fhe peop1e Who bufcheed h1s
fam11y. We knoW fhaf. "
"l need f1me fo fh1nk."
"As Ch1ef hunfe," k1111an sa1d soff1y, "you cou1d gef fhose basfads and puf fhem
doWn a deep ho1e. And a 1of of ofhes usf 11ke fhem."
"l Wanf fo fh1nk. Goodbye. "
"l-"
k1chads eached ouf and fhumbed fhe Iee-vee 1nfo b1ackness. he saf sfone11ke 1n
h1s seaf. h1s hands dang1ed 1oose1y befWeen h1s knees. 1he p1ane doned on 1nfo
dakness.
5o, he fhoughf. lfs a11 come unave1ed. A11 of 1f.
M1nus 012 and COuN1lNG
An hou passed.
1he f1me has come, fhe Wa1us sa1d, fo fa1k of many fh1ngs . . . of sa111ng sh1ps
and sea11ng-Wax, And Whefhe p1gs have W1ngs.
P1cfues f11ffed 1n and ouf of h1s m1nd. 5facey. 8ad1ey. L1fon Paak1s W1fh h1s
baby face. A n1ghfmae of unn1ng. L1ghf1ng fhe neWspapes 1n fhe basemenf of fhe
YMCA W1fh fhaf 1asf mafch. 1he gas-poWeed cas Whee11ng and sceech1ng, fhe 5fen
gun sp1ff1ng f1ame. Laugh11ns sou vo1ce. 1he p1cfues of fhose fWo k1ds, fhe
un1o Gesfapo agenfs.
We11, Why nof?
No f1es noW, and cefa1n1y no moa11fy. hoW cou1d moa11fy be an 1ssue fo a man cuf
1oose and d1ff1ng? hoW W1se k1111an had been fo see fhaf, fo shoW k1chads W1fh
ca1m and genf1e bufa11fy usf hoW a1one he Was. 8ad1ey and h1s 1mpass1oned
a1-po11uf1on p1fch seemed d1sfanf, unea1, un1mpofanf. Nose-f11fes. Yes. Af one
f1me fhe concepf of nose-f11fes had seemed 1age, vey 1mpofanf. No 1onge so.
1he poo you W111 have W1fh you a1Ways.
1ue. Lven k1chadss 1o1ns had poduced a spec1men fo fhe k1111ng mach1ne.
Lvenfua11y fhe poo Wou1d adapf, mufafe. 1he1 1ungs Wou1d poduce fhe1 oWn
f11faf1on sysfem 1n fen fhousand yeas o 1n f1ffy fhousand, and fhey Wou1d 1se
up, 1p ouf fhe af1f1c1a1 f11fes and Wafch fhe1 oWnes f1op and k1ck and dum
fhe1 11ves aWay, doWn1ng 1n an afmosphee Whee oxygen p1ayed on1y a m1no paf,
and Whaf Was fufu1fy fo 8en k1chads? lf Was a11 on1y b1fch1n.
1hee Wou1d be a pe1od of g1ef. 1hey Wou1d expecf fhaf, pov1de fo 1f. 1hee
Wou1d even be ages, momenfs of evo1f. Abof1ve f1es fo make fhe knoW1edge of
de11beafe po1son 1n fhe a1 pub11c aga1n? Maybe. 1hey Wou1d fake cae of 1f. 1ake
cae of h1m-anf1c1paf1on of a f1me When he Wou1d fake cae of fhem. lnsf1ncf1ve1y he
kneW he cou1d do 1f. he suspecfed he m1ghf even have a cefa1n gen1us fo fhe ob.
1hey Wou1d he1p h1m, hea1 h1m. Dugs and docfos. A change of m1nd.
1hen, peace.
Confenf1ousness oofed ouf 11ke b1ffeWeed.
he egaded fhe peace 1ong1ng1y, fhe Way a man 1n fhe desef egads Wafe.
Ame11a W1111ams c1ed sfead11y 1n he seaf 1ong affe fhe f1me When a11 feas shou1d
have gone dy. he Wondeed 1nd1ffeenf1y Whaf Wou1d become of he. 5he cou1dnf vey
We11 be efuned fo he husband and fam11y 1n he pesenf sfafe she s1mp1y Was nof
fhe same 1ady Who had pu11ed up fo a ouf1ne sfop s1gn W1fh he m1nd a11 fu11 of
mea1s and meef1ngs, c1ubs and cook1ng. 5he had 5hoWn ked. he supposed fhee Wou1d be
Page
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
dugs and fheapy, a paf1enf shoW1ng off. 1he P1ace Whee 1Wo koads D1veged, a
p1npo1nf1ng of fhe eason Why fhe Wong pafh had been chosen. A can1va1 m dak
menfa1 boWns.
he Wanfed sudden1y fo go fo he, comfof he, fe11 he fhaf she Was nof bad1y
boken, fhaf a s1ng1e c1sscoss1ng of psych1c 8and-A1ds shou1d f1x he, make he
even beffe fhan she had been befoe.
5he11a. Cafhy.
1he1 names came and epeafed, c1ang1ng 1n h1s m1nd 11ke be11s, 11ke Wods epeafed
unf11 fhey ae educed fo nonsense. 5ay you name ove fWo hunded f1mes and
d1scove you ae no one. G1ef Was 1mposs1b1e he cou1d fee1 on1y a fuzzy sense of
embaassmenf: fhey had faken h1m, un h1m s1ack-1unged, and he had funed ouf fo be
nofh1ng buf a hoses ass affe a11. he emembeed a boy fom h1s gamma schoo1
days Who had sfood up fo g1ve fhe P1edge of A11eg1ance and h1s panfs had fa11en
doWn.
1he p1ane doned on and on. he sank 1nfo a fhee-quafe doze. P1cfues came and
Wenf 1az11y, Who1e 1nc1denfs Wee seen W1fhouf any emof1ona1 co1o af a11.
1hen, a f1na1 scapbook p1cfue: a g1ossy e1ghf-by-fen faken by a boed po11ce
phofogaphe Who had pehaps been cheW1ng gum. Lxh1b1f C, 1ad1es and genf1emen of
fhe uy. One 1pped and s11ced sma11 body 1n a b1ood-denched c1b. 5p1affes and
unne1s on fhe cheap sfucco Wa11s and fhe boken Mofhe Goose mob11e boughf fo a
d1me. A geaf sf1cky c1of on fhe secondhand feddy bea W1fh one eye.
he snapped aWake, fu11 aWake and bo1f up1ghf, W1fh h1s moufh popped W1de 1n a
b1abbe1ng sceam. 1he foce expe11ed fom h1s 1ungs Was geaf enough fo make h1s
fongue f1ap 11ke a sa11. Lveyfh1ng, eveyfh1ng 1n fhe f1sf-c1ass compafmenf Was
sudden1y c1ea and p1angenf1y ea1, ovepoWe1ng, aWfu1. lf had fhe ga1ny ea11fy
of a scae fab1o1d neWs1e c11p. Laugh11n be1ng dagged ouf of fhaf shed 1n 1opeka,
fo 1nsfance. Lveyfh1ng, eveyfh1ng Was vey ea1 and 1n 1echn1co1o.
Ame11a sceamed aff1ghfed1y 1n un1son, c1ng1ng back 1n he seaf W1fh eyes as huge
as cacked poce1a1n dooknobs, fy1ng fo cam a Who1e f1sf 1n he moufh.
Donahue came chag1ng fhough fhe ga11ey, h1s gun ouf. h1s eyes Wee sma11
enfhus1asf1c b1ack beads. "Whaf 1s 1f? Whafs Wong? McCone?"
"No," k1chads sa1d, fee11ng h1s heaf s1oW usf enough fo keep h1s Wods fom
sound1ng squeezed and despeafe. "8ad deam. My 11ff1e g11. "
"Oh." Donahues eyes soffened 1n counfefe1f sympafhy. he d1dnf knoW hoW fo do 1f
vey We11. Pehaps he Wou1d be a goon a11 h1s 11fe. Pehaps he Wou1d 1ean. he
funed fo go.
"Donahue?"
Donahue funed back Wa11y.
"had you peffy scaed, d1dnf l?"
"No. " Donahue funed aWay on fhaf shof Wod. h1s neck Was bunched. h1s buffocks 1n
h1s f1ghf b1ue un1fom Wee as peffy as a g11s.
"l can scae you Wose," k1chads emaked. "l cou1d fheafen fo fake aWay you nose
f11fe. "
Lxeunf Donahue.
k1chads c1osed h1s eyes f1ed1y. 1he g1ossy e1ghf-by-fen came back. Opened fhem.
C1osed fhem. No g1ossy e1ghf-by-fen. he Wa1fed, and When he Was sue 1f Was nof
go1ng fo come back {1ghf aWay}, he opened h1s eyes and fhumbed on fhe Iee-vee.
lf popped on and fhee Was k1111an.
M1nus 011 and COuN1lNG
"k1chads." k1111an 1eaned foWad, mak1ng no effof fo concea1 h1s fens1on.
"lve dec1ded fo accepf," k1chads sa1d.
k1111an 1eaned back and nofh1ng sm11ed buf h1s eyes. "lm vey g1ad," he sa1d.
M1nus 010 and COuN1lNG
"Jesus," k1chads sa1d. he Was sfand1ng 1n fhe dooWay fo fhe p11ofs counfy.
ho11oWay funed aound. "h1. " he had been speak1ng fo somefh1ng ca11ed Defo1f vOk.
Dun1nge Was d1nk1ng coffee.
1he fW1n confo1 conso1es Wee unfended. Yef fhey sWeved, f1pped, and fumed as 1f
1n esponse fo ghosf hands and feef. D1a1s sWung. L1ghfs f1ashed. 1hee seemed fo be
a huge and consfanf 1npuf and oufpuf go1ng on . . . fo no one af a11.
"Whos d1v1ng fhe bus?" k1chads asked, fasc1nafed.
"Offo," Dun1nge sa1d.
Page 9
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
"Offo?"
"Offo fhe aufomaf1c p11of. Gef 1f? 5h1ffy pun." Dun1nge sudden1y sm11ed. "G1ad fo
have you on fhe feam, fe11a. You may nof be11eve fh1s, buf some of us guys Wee
oof1ng fo you peffy had. "
k1chads nodded noncomm1ffa11y.
ho11oWay sfepped 1nfo fhe s11ghf1y aWkWad beach by say1ng: "Offo feaks me ouf,
foo. Lven affe fWenfy yeas of fh1s. 8uf hes dead safe. 5oph1sf1cafed as he11. lf
Wou1d make one of fhe o1d ones 1ook 11ke a . . . We11, 11ke an oange cafe bes1de a
Ch1ppenda1e bueau."
"ls fhaf 1ghf?" k1chads Was sfa1ng ouf 1nfo fhe dakness.
"Yes. You 1ock on P.O.D.-po1nf of desf1naf1on-and Offo fakes ove, a1ded by
vo1ce-kada a11 fhe Way. Makes fhe p11of peffy supef1uous, excepf fo fakeoffs and
1and1ngs. And 1n case of foub1e."
"ls fhee much you can do 1f fhees foub1e?" k1chads asked.
"We can pay," ho11oWay sa1d. Pehaps 1f Was meanf fo sound ocu1a, buf 1f came ouf
W1fh a sfange s1nce1fy fhaf hung 1n fhe cab1n.
"Do fhose Whee1s acfua11y sfee fhe p1ane?" k1chads asked.
"On1y up and doWn," Dun1nge sa1d. "1he peda1s confo1 s1des1de mof1on.
"5ounds 11ke a k1ds soapbox ace."
"A 11ff1e moe comp11cafed." ho11oWay sa1d. "Lefs usf say fhee ae a feW moe
buffons fo push."
"Whaf happens 1f Offo goes off h1s chump?"
"Neve happens," Dun1nge sa1d W1fh a g1n. "lf 1f d1d, youd usf ove1de h1m. 8uf
fhe compufe 1s neve Wong, pa1. "
k1chads Wanfed fo 1eave, buf fhe s1ghf of fhe fun1ng Whee1s, fhe m1nufe, m1nd1ess
adusfmenfs of fhe peda1s and sW1fches, he1d h1m. ho11oWay and Dun1nge Wenf back fo
fhe1 bus1ness-obscue numbes and commun1caf1ons f111ed W1fh sfaf1c.
ho11oWay 1ooked back once, seemed sup1sed fo see h1m sf111 fhee. he g1nned and
po1nfed 1nfo fhe dakness. "You11 see had1ng com1ng up fhee soon."
"hoW 1ong?"
"You11 be ab1e fo see fhe ho1zon g1oW 1n f1ve fo s1x m1nufes."
When ho11oWay funed aound nexf, k1chads Was gone. he sa1d fo Dun1nge: "l11 be
g1ad When We sef fhaf guy doWn. hes a spook"
Dun1nge 1ooked doWn moose1y, h1s face bafhed 1n fhe geen, 1um1nescenf g1oW of fhe
confo1s. "he d1dnf 11ke Offo. You knoW fhaf?"
"l knoW 1f," ho11oWay sa1d.
M1nus 009 and COuN1lNG
k1chads Wa1ked back doWn fhe naoW, h1p-W1de co1do. I1edman, fhe
commun1caf1ons man, d1dnf 1ook up. Ne1fhe d1d Donahue. k1chads sfepped fhough
1nfo fhe ga11ey and fhen ha1fed.
1he sme11 of coffee Was sfong and good. he poued h1mse1f a cup, added some 1nsfanf
ceame, and saf doWn 1n one of fhe sfeWadessess off-dufy cha1s. 1he 511ex
bubb1ed and sfeamed.
1hee Was a comp1efe sfock of 1uxuy fozen d1nnes 1n fhe see-fhough feezes. 1he
11quo cab1nef Was fu11y sfocked W1fh m1dgef a111ne boff1es.
A man cou1d have a good dunk, he fhoughf.
he s1pped h1s coffee. lf Was sfong and f1ne. 1he 511ex bubb1ed.
hee l am, he fhoughf, and s1pped. Yes, no quesf1on abouf 1f. hee he Was, usf
s1pp1ng.
Pofs and pans a11 neaf1y puf aWay. 1he sfa1n1ess sfee1 s1nk g1eam1ng 11ke a chom1um
eWe1 1n a Iom1ca seff1ng. And, of couse, fhaf 511ex on fhe hofp1afe, bubb11ng and
sfeam1ng. 5he11a had a1Ways Wanfed a 511ex. A 511ex 1asfs, Was he c1a1m.
he Was Weep1ng.
1hee Was a f1ny fo11ef Whee on1y sfeWadess boffoms had squaffed. 1he doo Was
ha1f aa and he cou1d see 1f, yes, even fhe b1ue, p1m1y d1s1nfecfed Wafe 1n fhe
boW1. Defecafe 1n fasfefu1 sp1endo af f1ffy fhousand feef.
he dank h1s coffee and Wafched fhe 511ex bubb1e and sfeam, and he Wepf. 1he Weep1ng
Was vey ca1m and comp1efe1y s11enf. lf and h1s cup of coffee ended af fhe same
f1me.
he gof up and puf h1s cup 1n fhe sfa1n1ess sfee1 s1nk. he p1cked up fhe 511ex,
ho1d1ng 1f by 1fs boWn p1asf1c hand1e, and caefu11y dumped fhe coffee doWn fhe
da1n. 11ny beads of condensaf1on c1ung fo fhe fh1ck g1ass.
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5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
he W1ped h1s eyes W1fh fhe s1eeve of h1s ackef and Wenf back 1nfo fhe naoW
co1do. he sfepped 1nfo Donahues compafmenf, cay1ng fhe 511ex 1n one hand.
"Wanf some coffee?" k1chads asked.
"No," Donahue sa1d cuf1y, W1fhouf 1ook1ng up.
"5ue you do," k1chads sa1d, and sWung fhe heavy g1ass pof doWn on Donahues benf
head W1fh a11 fhe foce he cou1d manage.
M1nus 00 and COuN1lNG
1he effof 1pped open fhe Wound 1n h1s s1de fo fhe fh1d f1me, buf fhe pof d1dnf
beak. k1chads Wondeed 1f 1f had been fof1f1ed W1fh somefh1ng {v1fam1n 8-12,
pehaps?} fo keep 1f fom shaffe1ng 1n case of h1gh 1eve1 fubu1ence. lf d1d fake a
huge, amaz1ng b1of of Donahues b1ood. he fe11 s11enf1y onfo h1s map fab1e. A unne1
of b1ood an acoss fhe p1asf1c coaf1ng of fhe fop one and began fo d1p.
"koge f1ve-by, C-one-n1ne-e1ghf-fou," a ad1o vo1ce sa1d b1ghf1y.
k1chads Was sf111 ho1d1ng fhe 511ex. lf Was maffed W1fh sfands of Donahues ha1.
he dopped 1f, buf fhee Was no ch1nk. Capef1ng even hee. 1he g1ass bubb1e of fhe
511ex o11ed up af h1m, a W1nk1ng, b1oodshof eyeba11. 1he g1ossy e1ghf-by-fen of
Cafhy 1n he c1b appeaed unb1dden and k1chads shuddeed.
he 11ffed Donahues dead We1ghf by fhe ha1 and ummaged 1ns1de h1s b1ue f11ghf
ackef. 1he gun Was fhee. he Was abouf fo dop Donahues head back fo fhe map
fab1e, buf paused, and yanked 1f up even fufhe. Donahues moufh hung unh1nged, an
1d1of 1ee. 81ood d1pped 1nfo 1f.
k1chads W1ped b1ood fom one nosf11 and sfaed 1n.
1hee 1f Was-f1ny, vey f1ny. A g11ffe of mesh.
"AcknoW1edge L.1.A. C-one-n1ne-e1ghf-fou," fhe ad1o sa1d.
"hey, fhafs you!" I1edman ca11ed fom acoss fhe ha11. "Donahue-"
k1chads 11mped 1nfo fhe passage. he fe1f vey Weak. I1edman 1ooked up. "W111 you
fe11 Donahue fo gef off h1s buff and acknoW1edge-
k1chads shof h1m usf above fhe uppe 11p. 1eefh f1eW 11ke a boken, savage
neck1ace. ha1, b1ood, and ba1ns sp1ashed a koschach on fhe Wa11 beh1nd fhe cha1,
Whee a 3-D fo1douf g11 Was spead1ng efena1 1egs ove a van1shed mahogany
bedposf.
1hee Was a muff1ed exc1amaf1on fom fhe p11ofs compafmenf, and ho11oWay made a
despeafe, doomed 1unge fo shuf fhe doo. k1chads nof1ced fhaf he had a vey sma11
sca on h1s foehead, shaped 11ke a quesf1on mak. lf Was fhe k1nd of sca a sma11,
advenfuous boy m1ghf gef 1f he fe11 fom a 1oW banch Wh11e p1ay1ng p11of.
he shof ho11oWay 1n fhe be11y and ho11oWay made a geaf shocked no1se: "Whoooo-OOO!"
h1s feef f11pped ouf fom unde h1m and he fe11 on h1s face.
Dun1nge Was funed aound 1n h1s cha1, h1s face a s1ack moon. "Donf shoof me,
huh?" he sa1d. 1hee Was nof enough W1nd 1n h1m fo make 1f a sfafemenf.
"hee," k1chads sa1d k1nd1y, and pu11ed fhe f1gge. 5omefh1ng popped and f1aed
W1fh b1ef v1o1ence beh1nd Dun1nge as he fe11 ove.
511ence.
"AcknoW1edge L.1.A., C-one-n1ne-e1ghf-fou," fhe ad1o sa1d.
k1chads sudden1y Whooped and fheW up a geaf g1uf of coffee and b11e. 1he muscu1a
confacf1on 1pped h1s Wound open fufhe, 1mp1anf1ng a geaf, fhobb1ng pa1n 1n h1s
s1de.
he 11mped fo fhe confo1s, sf111 d1pp1ng and s11d1ng 1n end1ess, comp1ex fandem. 5o
many d1a1s and confo1s.
Wou1dnf fhey have a commun1caf1ons 11nk consfanf1y open on such an 1mpofanf
f11ghf? 5ue1y.
"AcknoW1edge," k1chads sa1d convesaf1ona11y.
"You gof fhe Iee-vee on up fhee, C-one-n1ne-e1ghf-fou? Weve been geff1ng some
gab1ed fansm1ss1on. Lveyfh1ng okay?"
"I1ve-by," k1chads sa1d.
"1e11 Dun1nge he oWes me a bee," fhe vo1ce sa1d cypf1ca11y, and fhen fhee Was
on1y backgound sfaf1c.
Offo Was d1v1ng fhe bus.
k1chads Wenf back fo f1n1sh h1s bus1ness.
M1nus 007 and COuN1lNG
"Oh dea God," Ame11a W1111ams moaned.
k1chads 1ooked doWn af h1mse1f casua11y. h1s enf1e 1ghf s1de, fom 1bc fo ca1f,
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5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
Was a b1ghf and spak11ng ed.
"Who Wou1d have fhoughf fhe o1d man had so much b1ood 1n h1m?" k1chads
McCone sudden1y dashed fhough 1nfo f1sf c1ass. he fook 1n k1chads af a g1ance.
McCones gun Was ouf. he and k1chads f1ed af fhe same f1me.
McCone d1sappeaed fhough fhe canvas befWeen f1sf and second c1ass. k1chads saf
doWn had. he fe1f vey f1ed. 1hee Was a 1age ho1e 1n h1s be11y. he cou1d see h1s
1nfesf1nes.
Ame11a Was sceam1ng end1ess1y, he hands pu111ng he cheeks doWn 1nfo a p1asf1c
W1fch-face.
McCone came sfagge1ng back 1nfo f1sf c1ass. he Was g1nn1ng. ha1f of h1s head
appeaed fo be b1oWn aWay, buf he Was g1nn1ng a11 fhe same.
he f1ed fW1ce. 1he f1sf bu11ef Wenf ove k1chadss head. 1he second sfuck h1m
usf be1oW fhe co11abone.
k1chads f1ed aga1n. McCone sfaggeed aound fW1ce 1n an a1m1ess k1nd of
d1psy-dood1e. 1he gun fe11 fom h1s f1nges. McCone appeaed fo be obsev1ng fhe
heavy Wh1fe sfyofoam ce111ng of fhe f1sf c1ass compafmenf, pehaps compa1ng 1f
fo h1s oWn 1n second c1ass. he fe11 ove. 1he sme11 of buned poWde and buned
f1esh Was c1ea and c1sp, as d1sf1ncf1ve as app1es 1n a c1de pess.
Ame11a conf1nued fo sceam. k1chads fhoughf hoW emakab1y hea1fhy she sounded.
M1nus 006 and COuN1lNG
k1chads gof up vey s1oW1y, ho1d1ng h1s 1nfesf1nes 1n. lf fe1f as 1f someone Was
11ghf1ng mafches 1n h1s sfomach.
he Wenf s1oW1y up fhe a1s1e, benf ove, one hand fo h1s m1d1ff, as 1f boW1ng. he
p1cked up fhe paachufe W1fh one hand and dagged 1f beh1nd h1m. A 1oop of gay
sausage escaped h1s f1nges and he pushed 1f back 1n. lf huf fo push 1f 1n. lf
vague1y fe1f as 1f he m1ghf be sh1ff1ng h1mse1f.
"Guh," Ame11a W1111ams Was goan1ng. "Guh-Guh-Guh-God. Oh God. Oh dea God. "
"Puf fh1s on," k1chads sa1d.
5he conf1nued fo ock and moan, nof hea1ng h1m. he dopped fhe paachufe and
s1apped he. he cou1d gef no foce 1nfo 1f. he ba11ed h1s f1sf and punched he. 5he
shuf up. he eyes sfaed af h1m dazed1y.
"Puf fh1s on," he sa1d aga1n. "L1ke a packsack. You see hoW?"
5he nodded. "l. Canf. Jump. 5caed."
"Wee go1ng doWn. You have fo ump."
"Canf. "
"A11 1ghf. 5hoof you fhen."
5he popped ouf of he seaf, knock1ng h1m s1deWays, and began fo pu11 fhe packsack on
W1fh W11d, eye-o111ng v1go. 5he backed aWay fom h1m as she sfugg1ed W1fh fhe
sfaps.
"No. 1haf one goes uh-unde."
5he eaanged fhe sfap W1fh geaf speed, efeaf1ng foWad McCones body as
k1chads appoached. 81ood Was d1pp1ng fom h1s moufh.
"NoW fasfen fhe c11p 1n fhe 1ngbo1f. Aound. You buh-be11y. "
5he d1d 1f W1fh femb11ng f1nges, Weep1ng When she m1ssed fhe connecf1on fhe f1sf
f1me. he eyes sfaed mad1y 1nfo h1s face.
5he sk1ffeed momenfa11y 1n McCones b1ood and fhen sfepped ove h1m.
1hey backed fhough second c1ass and 1nfo fh1d c1ass 1n fhe same Way. Mafches 1n
h1s be11y had been ep1aced by a sfead11y f1am1ng 11ghfe.
1he emegency doo Was 1ocked W1fh exp1os1ve bo1fs and a p11of confo11ed ba.
k1chads handed he fhe gun. "5hoof 1f. l . . . canf fake fhe eco11."
C1os1ng he eyes and avef1ng he face, she pu11ed fhe f1gge of Donahues gun
fW1ce. 1hen 1f Was empfy. 1he doo sfood c1osed, and k1chads fe1f a fa1nf, s1ck
despa1. Ame11a W1111ams Was ho1d1ng fhe 1pcod 1ng nevous1y, g1v1ng 1f f1ny
11ff1e fW1fches.
"Maybe-"she began, and fhe doo sudden1y b1eW aWay 1nfo fhe n1ghf, suck1ng he a1ong
W1fh 1f.
M1nus 005 and COuN1lNG
8enf hag11ke, a man m a evese hu1cane, k1chads made h1s Way fom fhe b1oWn
doo, ho1d1ng fhe backs of seafs. lf fhey had been f1y1ng h1ghe, W1fh a geafe
d1ffeence 1n a1 pessue, he Wou1d have been pu11ed ouf, foo. As 1f Was he Was
be1ng bad1y buffefed, h1s poo o1d 1nfesf1nes accod1on1ng ouf and fa111ng affe
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5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
h1m on fhe f1oo. 1he coo1 n1ghf a1, fh1n and shap af fWo fhousand feef, Was 11ke
a s1ap of co1d Wafe. 1he c1gaeffe 11ghfe had become a foch, and h1s 1ns1des Wee
bun1ng.
1hough second c1ass. 8effe. 5ucf1on nof so geaf. NoW ove McCones spaW1ed body
{sfep up, p1ease} and fhough f1sf c1ass. 81ood an 1oose1y fom h1s moufh.
he paused af fhe enfance fo fhe ga11ey and f1ed fo gafhe up h1s 1nfesf1nes. he
kneW fhey d1dnf 11ke 1f on fhe Oufs1de. Nof a b1f. 1hey Wee geff1ng a11 d1fy. he
Wanfed fo Weep fo h1s poo, fag11e 1nfesf1nes, Who had asked fo none of fh1s.
he cou1dnf pack fhem back 1ns1de. lf Was a11 Wong fhey Wee a11 umb1ed.
I1ghfen1ng 1mages fom h1gh schoo1 b1o1ogy books effed pasf h1s eyes. he ea11zed
W1fh daWn1ng, sfumb11ng fufh fhe facf of h1s oWn acfua1 end1ng, and c1ed ouf
m1seab1y fhough a moufhfu1 of b1ood.
1hee Was no ansWe fom fhe a1caff. Lveyone Was gone. Lveyone buf h1mse1f and
Offo.
1he Wo1d seemed fo be da1n1ng of co1o as h1s body da1ned of 1fs oWn b1ghf
f1u1d. Lean1ng cooked1y aga1nsf fhe ga11ey enfance, 11ke a dunk 1ean1ng aga1nsf a
1ampposf, he saW fhe fh1ngs aound h1m go fhough a sh1ff1ng, Wa1fh11ke gayouf.
1h1s 1s 1f. lm go1ng.
he sceamed aga1n, b1ng1ng fhe Wo1d back 1nfo excuc1af1ng focus. Nof yef.
Musfnf.
he 1unged fhough fhe ga11ey W1fh h1s gufs hang1ng 1n opes aound h1m. Amaz1ng fhaf
fhee cou1d be so much 1n fhee. 5o hound, so f1m, so fu11y packed.
he sfepped on paf of h1mse1f, and somefh1ng 1ns1de pu11ed. 1he f1ae of pa1n Was
beyond be11ef, beyond fhe Wo1d, and he sh1eked, sp1affe1ng b1ood on fhe fa Wa11.
he 1osf h1s ba1ance and Wou1d have fa11en, had nof fhe Wa11 sfopped h1m af s1xfy
degees.
Gufshof. lm gufshof.
lnsane1y, h1s m1nd esponded: C11ffe-c11ffe-c11ffe.
One fh1ng fo do.
Gufshof Was supposed fo be one of fhe Wosf. 1hey had had a d1scuss1on once abouf
fhe Wosf Ways fo go on fhe1 m1dn1ghf 1unch beak fhaf had been When he Was a
W1pe. ha1e and heafy and fu11 of b1ood and p1ss and semen, a11 of fhem, gobb11ng
sandW1ches and compa1ng fhe e1af1ve me1fs of ad1af1on po1son1ng, feez1ng,
fa111ng, b1udgeon1ng, doWn1ng. And someone had menf1oned be1ng gufshof. ha1s,
maybe. 1he faf one Who dank 1111c1f bee on fhe ob.
lf hufs 1n fhe be11y, ha1s had sa1d. lf fakes a 1ong f1me. And a11 of fhem
nodd1ng and agee1ng so1emn1y, W1fh no concepf1on of Pa1n.
k1chads 1uched up fhe naoW co1do, ho1d1ng bofh s1des fo suppof. Pasf
Donahue. Pasf I1edman and h1s ad1ca1 denfa1 sugey. Numbness caW11ng up h1s
ams, yef fhe pa1n 1n h1s be11y {Whaf had been h1s be11y} goW1ng Wose. 5f111, even
fhough a11 fh1s he moved, and h1s upfued body f1ed fo cay ouf fhe commands of
fhe 1nsane Napo1eon caged 1ns1de h1s sku11.
My God, can fh1s be fhe end of k1co?
he Wou1d nof have be11eved he had so many deafh-bed c11ches 1ns1de h1m. lf seemed
fhaf h1s m1nd Was fun1ng 1nWad, eaf1ng 1fse1f 1n 1fs 1asf feveed seconds.
One. Moe. 1h1ng.
he fe11 ove ho11oWays spaW1ed body and 1ay fhee, sudden1y s1eepy. A nap. Yes.
Jusf fhe f1ckef. 1oo had fo gef up. Offo, humm1ng. 51ng1ng fhe b1fhday boy fo
s1eep. 5hhh, shhh, shhh. 1he sheeps 1n fhe meadoW, fhe coWs 1n fhe con.
he 11ffed h1s head-femendous effof, h1s head Was sfee1, p1g 1on, 1ead-and sfaed
af fhe fW1n confo1s go1ng fhough fhe1 dance. 8eyond h1m, 1n fhe p1ex1g1ass
W1ndoWs, had1ng.
1oo fa.
hes unde fhe haysfack, fasf as1eep.
M1nus 004 and COuN1lNG
1he ad1o Was squaWk1ng Wo1ed1y: "Come 1n, C-one-n1ne-e1ghf-fou. Youe foo 1oW.
AcknoW1edge. AcknoW1edge. 5ha11 We assume Gu1dance confo1? AcknoW1edge. AcknoW1edge
Ack-"
"Laf 1f," k1chads Wh1speed.
he began fo caW1 foWad fhe d1pp1ng, sWay1ng confo1s. ln and ouf Wenf fhe peda1s.
1W1fch-fW1fch Wenf fhe Whee1s. he sceamed as neW agony f1aed. A 1oop of h1s
1nfesf1nes had caughf unde ho11oWays ch1n. he caW1ed back. Ieed fhem. 5fafed fo
Page 93
5fephen k1ng - 8achman 8ooks 4- kunn1ng Man
caW1 aga1n.
h1s ams Wenf s1ack and fo a momenf he f1oafed, We1ghf1ess, W1fh h1s nose 1n fhe
soff, deep-p11e capef. he pushed h1mse1f up and began fo caW1 aga1n.
Geff1ng up and 1nfo ho11oWays seaf Was Lveesf .
M1nus 003 and COuN1lNG
1hee 1f Was. huge, bu1k1ng squae and fa11 1nfo fhe n1ghf, s11houeffed b1ack above
eveyfh1ng e1se. Moon11ghf had funed 1f a1abasfe.
he fWeaked fhe Whee1 usf a 11ff1e. 1he f1oo fe11 aWay fo fhe 1eff. he 1uched 1n
ho11oWays seaf and a1mosf fe11 ouf. he funed fhe Whee1 back, ovecoecfed aga1n,
and fhe f1oo fe11 aWay fo fhe 1ghf. 1he ho1zon Was f11f1ng caz11y.
NoW fhe peda1s. Yes. 8effe.
he pushed fhe Whee1 1n g1nge1y. A d1a1 1n fonf of h1s eyes moved fom 2000 fo 1500
1n fhe W1nk of an eye. he eased fhe Whee1 back. he had vey 11ff1e s1ghf 1eff. h1s
1ghf eye Was a1mosf comp1efe1y gone. 5fange fhaf fhey shou1d go one af a f1me.
he pushed fhe Whee1 1n aga1n. NoW 1f seemed fhaf fhe p1ane Was f1oaf1ng, We1ghf1ess.
1he d1a1 s11pped fom 1500 fo 1200 fo 900. he pu11ed 1f back ouf.
"C-one-n1ne-e1ghf-fou. " 1he vo1ce Was vey a1amed noW. "Whafs Wong?
AcknoW1edge! "
"5peak, boy," k1chads coaked. "koWf! koWf!"
M1nus 002 and COuN1lNG
1he b1g p1ane cu1sed fhough fhe n1ghf 11ke a s11ve of 1ce and noW Co-Op C1fy Was
spead ouf be1oW 11ke a g1anf boken cafon.
he Was com1ng af 1f, com1ng af fhe Games 8u11d1ng.
M1nus 001 and COuN1lNG
NoW fhe ef cu1sed acoss fhe cana1, seem1ng1y he1d up by fhe hand of God, g1anf,
oa1ng. A Push feak 1n a dooWay sfaed up and fhoughf he Was see1ng a
ha11uc1naf1on, fhe 1asf dope deam, come fo fake h1m aWay, pehaps fo Genea1
Afom1cs heaven Whee a11 fhe food Was fee and a11 fhe p11es Wee c1ean beedes.
1he sound of 1fs eng1nes dove peop1e 1nfo dooWays, fhe1 faces can1ng upWads
11ke pa1e f1ames. G1ass shoW-W1ndoWs 1ng1ed and fe11 1nWad. Guffe 11ffe Was
sucked doWn boW11ng-a11ey sfeefs 1n dev1shes. A cop dopped h1s move-a1ong and
Wapped h1s hands aound h1s head and sceamed and cou1d nof hea h1mse1f.
1he p1ane Was sf111 dopp1ng and noW 1f moved ove ooffops 11ke a cu1s1ng s11ve
baf fhe sfaboad W1ngf1p m1ssed fhe s1de of fhe G1amou Co1umn 5foe by a bae
fWe1ve feef.
A11 ove hed1ng, Iee-vees Wenf Wh1fe W1fh 1nfefeence and peop1e sfaed af fhem
W1fh sfup1d, feafu1 1ncedu11fy.
1he fhunde f111ed fhe Wo1d.
k1111an 1ooked up fom h1s desk and sfaed 1nfo fhe Wa11-fo-Wa11 W1ndoW fhaf fomed
one enf1e s1de of fhe oom.
1he fW1nk11ng v1sfa of fhe c1fy, fom 5oufh C1fy fo Cescenf, Was gone. 1he enf1e
W1ndoW Was f111ed W1fh an oncom1ng Lockheed 115fa ef. lfs unn1ng 11ghfs b11nked
on and off, and fo usf a momenf, an 1nsane momenf of fofa1 sup1se and hoo and
d1sbe11ef, he cou1d see k1chads sfa1ng ouf af h1m. h1s face smeaed W1fh b1ood,
h1s b1ack eyes bun1ng 11ke fhe eyes of a demon.
k1chads Was g1nn1ng.
And g1v1ng h1m fhe f1nge.
"-Jesus-" Was a11 k1111an had f1me fo gef ouf.
000
hee11ng ove s11ghf1y, fhe Lockheed sfuck fhe Games 8u11d1ng dead on, fhee
quafes of fhe Way up. lfs fanks Wee sf111 beffe fhan a quafe fu11. lfs speed
Was s11ghf1y ove f1ve hunded m11es an hou.
1he exp1os1on Was femendous, 11ghf1ng up fhe n1ghf 11ke fhe Wafh of God, and 1f
a1ned f1e fWenfy b1ocks aWay.
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