“Well,” I said. “We should get moving, soon. We’ve lost almost an hour of the night, already.”
“No way it was just an hour,” Moira said.
“We’ve been up since before sunset,” I reminded her. “Mrs. Shew and BJ woke us up early.”
“Mrs. Shew,” Mike whispered, like he was whispering the name of a lover who’d broken his heart. I wasn’t sure that he was going to be any good at all to us on the Jill rescue. We didn’t know what was ahead of us on the way to Sheep Meadow, and we didn’t know what we would be facing at the Burning Pit. But sure as hell is hot, we weren’t going to have time to think about Mrs. Shew. We all needed to be sharp. We all needed to be ready to go balls to the wall, and Mike’s balls didn’t seem like they would stick to a wall. So, I thought up a job for him. It was actually a job I wanted filled, too.
“Moira, you and I and Jonathan need to stuff our pockets with cigarettes and any money we might have. Apparently money still talks.”
Jonathan flipped out a wad of cash and we all bug eyed it. “I water plants for people who are on tour. The money really adds up,” he explained.
“That’s very good, Jonathan, thank you for the money. We’ll also need to take the gun, as distasteful as that idea might be.” I pulled the gun out of my pocket, where I’d hidden it after the shooting of Mrs. Shew, and put it on the table. Mike recoiled from the gun like it was a rattlesnake. It was time to reveal my plan for Mike.
Mike, you can stay here and watch Lexington and Bethel.”
“Pet sitter?,” Mike turned his red eyes to me. “You want me to be a pet sitter. We need to rescue Jill from God knows what horrible people, and I’m going to be your pet sitter.”
“Well, yes. Yes, you are. It’s a very important job.”
“I’ll sit them,” Jonathan offered. “You guys are my friends. I’ll stay so Mike can go.”
“Actually, I think you should both stay. You and Mike. I’m really worried about the pets. It’s a two man job.”
“OK,” Jonathan said. “It’ll be nice to catch up with Mike.”
“What the hell?” Moira wasn’t happy. “You and I can’t do this alone! What if we have to fight someone? What if we have to carry Jill? What if we need one person to pick a lock and two people to be lookouts?”
“I don’t think any of us can pick locks, Moira.”
“Why are we leaving both guys here with the pets, damnit?”
“Moira, let’s go pee,” I suggested.
“What? I don’t need to pee,” she said.
“Sure you do,” I said.
“Girls,” Jonathan elbowed Mike jovially in the ribs. “Always going to the bathroom together.”
Moira floated into the bathroom with me on a cloud of rage. I sat down to pee. “Oh, Jesus. This is actually about PEEING? You need me with you to pee, now?”
“No, I had to pee, but I also wanted to talk to you and I wanted to make you shut the hell up. I don’t trust Jonathan.”
“Why don’t you trust Jonathan? He is giving us money, he brought Jill’s cat back. He’s our friend.”
“Granted, Jonathan has always been generous and kind and our friend, but he’s Friendship Moron Smurf, suddenly. Do you really want him with us?”
“Do you really want him with your dog?,” Moira asked.
“No, shit no, you are right,” I said.
I washed my hands, walked out of the bathroom and said, “Jonathan, plans have changed. I need you to go back to your parents’ apartment and hang out there until we call you.”
“OK,” Jonathan said. “I’m on it.”
And he left.