Scream of the Butterfly
By: T.G. Browning
Kevin answered on the second ring. “McKinley.”
“Kevin, it’s me. You’ll never guess where I am.” Pam sounded unmercifully upbeat, which wasn’t the best of signs. It meant she was angry as hell and already had all her options chosen. Kevin always dreaded trying to convince her of anything when she was in one of those moods.
“My first guess would be Hong Kong. My second would be Bangkok.”
Silence. Then a sigh. “Judas Priest! How in blue blazes did you figure that out?”
“I had a bit of time to start putting thing together here. I traced one of the bodies, not one of the ones you killed, by the way, to Hong Kong and Bangkok.”
“I take it you weathered the storm at your end. You managed to kill that thing, didn’t you?”
It was Kevin’s turn to be stunned. “Yeah, but how did you figure that out? It wasn’t an easy task, let me tell you.”
“Well, it saved my bacon, that’s all I can say. When you killed it, another one that our burglars were using went bonkers and ended up killing the top three people running the show. I slipped out during the confusion.”
Kevin felt as if he’d been shot with a heavy-duty tranquilizer. All of the worry he’d held at bay vanished and for the first time in a long while, he could fully relax. It was a big relief of tension. He had been getting punchy. “What took you so long to get in touch? If you slipped away when the damn thing went nuts, you should have been able to get in touch with me shortly thereafter.”
“Like hell. That makes me feel a little better. I was miles from anyplace. Way out in the sticks northwest of Bangkok. It took a long time to make my way to civilization. I’m going to need some help getting home — no money, no passport, nothing. I’m holed up in an inexpensive hotel right now on borrowed funds.” Kevin nodded to himself and began to reply when Pam added in a wheedling voice, “Rescue me?”
Kevin laughed. That phony tone said it all. “Okay, I’ll start the paperwork on my end immediately. Do you want me to fly to Bangkok?”
Pam thought about it for a second and looked out the window of her hotel room at the street below, thronged with careless people bent on making a living in the easiest, most pleasurable way. Not a good influence on her partner. Not at all.
“No, I think you can just lounge around the house until I get back. Give me a day or so. Maybe two.”
Kevin’s eyes widened; things would be a whole lot less complicated if she did exactly that. He had a couple of days left before his final appointment and he could straighten some things out, put some options in motion if Pam weren’t around.
“Sounds good to me. I’ve got a strained back from our little dust-up so I really wasn’t looking forward to a long plane ride. How about we plan on you flying into Boston in three days and I’ll meet you at the airport. We can drive home from there.”
“Sounds like a plan to me. Did we settle things for Sam Dawson? Where do we stand on that?”
“All done. I was able to piece together what was going on and we’re in the process of setting things up so Dawson Dynamics won’t have any return business from your playmates in Bangkok. That’ll take a day or so as well.”
“Dawson pay us off?”
“Not yet, but he said he’ll make out the check if I ask him.”
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