’72 Skylark, 16

“Yeah,” I say, meeting her gaze with heavy eyelids.

The bartender appears from the back room and stares at the scene before him. As far as I can tell, he can’t see any weapons, but he can probably smell the sweat and fear in the room. Maybe there’s a shotgun under the bar on his side, but maybe not, in a sleepy place like this. It doesn’t matter. He’s frozen, more confused than terrified.

“Get back in there,” the brother snarls. “Now!”

He backs away. I imagine him hiding in the back room, fetal curled around his stash. Lucky for him, nothing will be stolen, and the plan is to get her outside; he won’t have to explain anything at all to the bar’s owner. Life will return to its regular schedule.

“I’ll tell you where it is,” Miriam says. There’s no clear panic in her voice, but I can see as she looks at me that she’s struggling to stay level. But she’s done this before. He’s done this before. She thinks she knows the drill. “You can have it. I’ll go.”

“You were going to keep it from me,” he says. “I don’t like that.”

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