The home’s interior design was modern but crummy. And what passed as the living room was a wide alcove garlanded with a big burst-out couch, a few deep-seated chairs, a marble-topped table heaped with homely bric-a-brac, a fancy TV set staring at the empty chairs playing some war movie, a half dozen pictures tacked here and there, and finally, a slate fireplace spitting crispy shards of fire. There was a kitchen at one corner of the living room. Scarr could see a landline phone sitting on the kitchen table. At the other corner, there was a flight of stairs with limited clearance going up to the upper floor.
After Scarr entered the house, followed by Sideburns, then the man with the rifle; the man with the rifle poked his head up the stairs and shouted.
“Hey Mo! You got company down here.”
A deep-throated voice came rippling down from upstairs.
“Who is it?”
“Some guy; says it’s important that you talk to him.”
The man with the Cooper rifle looked at Scarr. “I think you better come down here Mo.”
“Is the guy cool?”
“Cool?” repeated the man with the rifle. “I don’t know about cool Mo. But he looks serious to me, like he means business, you know.”
“Alright–– give me a minute.”
To Scarr, the man with the rifle said, “Well, don’t make yourself too comfortable while you wait.”
He sat down on one of the chairs and laid the Cooper across his lap. Sideburns leaned his elbows on the back of the couch and watched the TV without really watching it. An action sequence loaded with special effects was going on.
A door opened and banged somewhere at the rear side of the house. Henry appeared thirty seconds later through the kitchen doorway. He was all smiles, a messenger bag wound around his chest. He jumped across to a chair and sat down. Then out of the messenger bag, he took a smaller bag, the plastic zipper type, which was half filled with white powder.
He put the messenger bag down on the floor, Sideburns came around and picked it up, looked inside of it, plucked out two little bags, pocketed them, and put the messenger bag on a table.
“Last time you guys had a head start on me,” he said to Henry.
“Well, let’s not start to party yet,” the man with the rifle said. “We still have a guest here.”
“Aww he’s not getting any––” Henry said, starting his own party.
He shook a small mound of powder out onto his pinky finger and snorted it up his nostril, rocking his head back as the substance began to take effect. He then repeated this operation using his other nostril. After keeping his head tilted backward as if he were contemplating the stars that were glittering in the formless vacuum inside his head, he shook his head hard and sat upright.
“Man,” he said, “it’s like this shit gets better and better.”
The stairs squeaked softly as Kinney Mason came down. He was a short big man, and weighed at least a solid three hundred pounds. His sausage-like arms awkwardly jutted out from his round shoulders, as if some invisible dumbbells he carried around were pulling them way down. Scarr was satisfied to see that the man matched Kish’s description: short and fat.
Mason didn’t come all the way down the stairs. He remained three or four steps above ground.
“What do we have here?” he said, peering down the stairs into the crowded living room.
Scarr said, “You and I need to talk.”
“Is that right? And you are?”
“You can call me Scarr.”
“And what is it you wish to talk about?”
“It’s too noisy in here,” Scarr told him
“It is, isn’t it?” Mason saw Henry with the small zipper bag. “Henry,” he called. “How’s the stuff?”
“First class shit as always,” Henry said, sniffing and rubbing his nose.
“Alright, drop what you’re doing and go get the dogs and the pit ready.”
“What –– we got ourselves a new contender?”
“You bet we have,” Mason said. “I just got the call. They say they got a mean son of a bitch lined up. They want to raise the stakes at two point five points.”
“That’s crazy ––”
“It’s their ass and their money. So get your ass outta that chair and get my champs ready.”
So Kinney Mason also dabbled in dog fighting. This had not come up in his background check. And would a fight be held around here tonight, maybe somewhere on the property? Scarr hadn’t seen an outbuilding next to the house, nor any homemade apparatus dogfighters used to condition their hounds.