Scarr was in the shower of a hotel room he had checked in under an alias when he first hit the city.
His work at the apartment done, his whole body had suddenly itched for a good shower. Now, the feeling of hot water running on his pierced right hand soothed it and eased the numbness away. The fingers on that hand were no longer strained when he flexed them gently. Even the index and the middle one, both reduced to thick stumps long ago, responded well. He always showered with their prosthetic appendages on. Because after wearing them for nine years, they felt as real and cohesively nerved to his brain as any other part of his body. Scarr got out of the shower and didn’t look at the mirror that was throwing back his half-naked reflection as he walked out the bathroom and into the main room.
On the queen-sized bed laid a newly bought outfit: a powder white dress shirt, a light blue jacket, dark blue pants, and a wool overcoat. This attire was paired with leather gloves and a woven scarf. He had got the outfit in a clothing store on the way from the apartment. The clothes he’d been wearing before were crammed in a bag. The bloodstained scarf, and the now-timeworn coat and gloves, would all be disposed of. As would Mason’s jackknife.
Scarr pulled his pants and shirt on, and thought about calling it a day and going somewhere to eat. But first he taped his right hand. It was no longer bleeding. He used the basic wound care supply he’d asked the hotel front desk for. A kit had been sent up to his room compliments of the house. In a few days the tape would no longer be necessary.
Thinking about his handling of the case, he had thought wise to take the sex tape with him. Not for feelings of voyeurism, but because he thought it could prove useful in getting at the unknown man featured in it. Right now Kish was doing his thing by digging up anything informative about him, going off the name the apartment was rented out to. Waiting was all that was left to do.
The alarm clock on the nightstand indicated it was thirty past nine when Scarr’s cell phone rang. Scarr assumed that Kish had been rather quick in his information gathering. Then he realized that it wasn’t Kish calling. It was a number that was unknown to Scarr. He answered.
A female voice said, “Hello, dark brute––”
Scarr recognized it at once. It was Georgina.
The daughter of his client, Mr. Windsor Sr…
“How’d you get this number?” He asked her in a harsh breath.
Georgina laughed. It was a strange sound; a cackling sound with a quality of inventiveness in it, as if it’d been practiced and then perfected. Scarr also noticed that it was modulated by a note of drunkenness. So the girl was drunk dialing him.
“Get on with you,” he said to get her to stop laughing.
“Ooh,” she said, cooing like a very hungry bird. “Is there a time during the day when you’re not mean? I could call back then.”
“How’d you get this number?”
“I told you before. If you work for my father, then in a sense you work for me.”
“I don’t work for your father,” Scarr said. “He paid for a service, but I don’t work for him.”
She laughed again. And this time, there was an overtone of admiration in it.
She said, “How I like it. You don’t let anybody ride you, huh? I’m like that myself, you know. I like horses like you wouldn’t believe, because they’re a lot of fun to ride.”
Scarr listened. In a vague way, her voice was rather pleasant to listen to over the phone.
Georgina went on, “As a horseback rider I like to do jumpers. And gosh, when I hop on top of one of those Heavy Warmbloods, I always make a point of letting him know who’s holding the reins; who’s in control. Otherwise, it’s not fun for me at all.”
Suddenly, Scarr didn’t like all that talk about horses. He said, “You got the wrong number.”
“I doubt it,” she said. “You know something about control, don’t you? Control is everything for people like you.”
“Why did you call me?”
She ignored his question and said, “I’ve never lost it to a horse, you know: the strong ones, the fast ones–– They’re never wild enough to take it away from me, to knock me down and run me over like hell... Do you know any breed that could do that?”
“Try a pony.”
Her breath made a sharp hissing sound. “Nah… I wouldn’t get any value for my money, would I? How about you give me a ride instead?”
Scarr didn’t say anything. Then he said, “Not in my job description––”
“Yeah, it’d probably be bad for business,” She said with short and nasty laughter. “But I don’t mean that kind of ride. Seriously, I’m in a bind and I thought about you. Can you come and pick me up?” She asked as if she was only half joking. “Pretty please––”