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The Guilty Die Twice by Don Hartshorn

The Guilty Die Twice by Don Hartshorn

Author:Don Hartshorn
Format: epub


Chapter 14

T

his was it. Definitely. The

address on the house and the license plates on the car matched the private detective’s report. Even the detective’s descriptive asides were spot-on: ‘Shabby’ and ‘run-down’ did indeed describe the property. The entire neighborhood was nothing but tilted fences, bad-tempered outdoor dogs, and weeds growing through sidewalks.

All Travis had to do was get out of his car, walk across the street, and knock on the door. The private detective hadn’t done that. Travis only paid her for information on Mark Kidd, not to confront him or anyone else. Yep, all he had to do was open the driver’s door, unfold himself from the broken front seat, and march on over. Simple. Nothing to it.

A bead of perspiration trickled down his face; it wasn’t even ten a.m., and already the temperature soared. He couldn’t sit here another day, in a car without air conditioning in the middle of a Texas summer, sweating out of every pore in his body. He was wasting time, the one thing he absolutely could not spare. He had to pull the door handle and get the job done.

He couldn’t.

Mark Kidd’s last known address was yards away. Across a narrow residential street and a brown, weed-choked lawn. Mark wasn’t there—he wasn’t anywhere as far as Travis or the private detective could discern—but maybe there was someone in there who knew where he was. Travis needed to knock on that door.

He sighed and stayed put. It looked like this was going to be another wasted morning, more hours he could have been spending with paying clients.

He shook his head, trying to dislodge the notion. If he didn’t represent Sam, someone like Mitchell would, a hack who hadn’t cracked a law book since he’d barely passed the bar. No, this was important, even more important than paying the bills, as much as Shirley didn’t want him working this case.

“Hey!”

The sharp exclamation accompanied a heavy rap on the roof of Travis’s car.

“Who the fuck are you?” The words had a North Texas twang and a drunk’s slur.

A thick, heavy man leaned on Travis’s car, his face thrust through the window, his gin-blossom nose looming large in Travis’s vision. The man’s breath was more liquor than air, cheap, sour tequila that made Travis gag.

“I seen you sittin’ here for three days now,” the man said, his eyes struggling to focus on Travis, “and I had enough of it. Whatever bill you’re collectin’ for, I’m not payin’. Got it? So get on out of here before I go get my shotgun and encourage you.”

“I’m not a bill collector,” Travis replied. “I’m just looking for someone. He lives in that house over there.”

The man half-turned the direction Travis pointed. “That’s my place.”

Travis’s eyes flicked toward the private detective’s report on the passenger seat. She’d mentioned someone else in the house, the father presumably. No other names listed on any bills or credit reports. No mother.

“Are you Mr. Kidd?”

Nodding, the man moved back a few steps as Travis opened the car door.



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