The old folks made fast work of chasing BJ out of the building. They couldn’t call the cops. Even if the cops had answered the phone, which was unlikely, someone who’d murdered an annoying old woman was going to be small potatoes. Hell, you’d have to murder at least one hundred annoying old women to attract any notice at all beyond the notice of the old women you’d murdered, and they’d be dead. So, it was out into the street for BJ, taking with him nothing but the Izod shirt on his back and the Bermuda shorts on his bony old ass.
I was fine with it. I’m not saying that I condone framing someone for a crime they didn’t commit, and I’m not saying that my friends always do right, even if it’s murder they do, accidental or not. I’m not saying that I like rough justice. But, I am saying that I knew, deep in my heart, that if Mike hadn’t accidentally blown a Spirit Eye in the middle of Mrs. Shew’s forehead, we would have been forced through Wile E. Coyote vs. Road Runner incident after Wile E. Coyote vs. Road Runner incident with them until those old fuckers ended up eating my dog. It really would have been an afterthought to them, too. “BJ, we’ve been chiseling at my safe with emery boards for seven hours, and I’m feeling peckish. Be a dear and fetch me a nibble. No! No, naughty boy. Food now, love later.”
Mrs. Shew was dead and BJ was thrown to the winds. Mike was sure to be wracked by guilt for the rest of his life, but most people are, about one thing or another. I had one less worry about my dog. That was what mattered, as far as I was concerned.
Bethel would never guide a blind man or brighten the day of a sick person. She’d never save a baby from a burning building or pull a child from an icy pond. She was simply my heart, and I stood there clutching her while relief flooded over me.
“I feel so guilty,” Mike groaned. “She was an old bitch landlady, but she was MY old bitch landlady.”
“Eh,” said Don,”to be honest with you, you thought more of her than she thought of you. Going to listen to the radio. Sun is almost down. People will be stirring. Thanks again for the smokes.” And he was gone.
I put Bethel in the bedroom, and Moira and I busied ourselves cleaning up. We cleaned up Mrs. Shew. I don’t mean we straightened her clothes or wiped the trickle of blood from her forehead or tried to disguise the far bigger mega-trickle coming out of the back of her head. What we did was wrap her up in her own Oriental rug and drag her downstairs. We got some of the old wine drinkers in the lobby to stand look-out while we tugged her out to the curb. I hoped we weren’t making more work for Jill. BJ was down at the corner, staring at us. I picked up a brick and lobbed it at him. Of course it didn’t land anywhere near him, but it did make him scoot out of sight.
After we’d warned the lobby winos that BJ was still about, we went back to the living room to look at Mike some more. “Um,” Moira glanced at me for help, but I had none to offer. “Um,” she manfully took the bull by the eyebrows all by herself, “Mike? I don’t suppose you feel like rescuing Jill tonight?”
“Rescue? Rescue anyone? How can I? I’m the Don Knotts of rescuing.” Mike never looked up or stopped pulling his hair.
A knock on the door saved us from our general sense of not knowing what to do. Door. Knock. We could answer it. It was something to do. Moira and I almost knocked each other down, rushing for the door.
It was Little Old Lady and Big Old Lady. “We’ve found someone,” Little Old Lady said. “He says he belongs to you, and he has the most delightful friend.” Both old ladies grinned at us, stepped apart, and Jonathan stepped between them. He was holding Lexington.