Then Williams grabbed Reeves by the shirt and pulled his face close. “She carried your baby, didn’t she?”
Reeves shrugged. “She said so.”
“Then you want him dead as much as I do.”
Reeves didn’t care one way or the other. Truth be told, which he almost never did, he felt relief when he saw Pam lying dead. He’d only been with her because Williams offered him money to get her pregnant with a grandson, something Oley obviously wasn’t man enough to do. But things had gone awry when Pam said she wanted to be rid of Oley. Wanted to divorce him, but worried about her father’s reaction. Why Oley killed her mystified Reeves. Made more sense for her to kill him. But maybe Oley didn’t see any other way out. Trevor Williams was a man who liked to have control. For all Reeves knew, he had Oley by the balls as firmly as he had Reeves. He had no sympathy for either of them. They could all die as far as he cared. The only reason he put up with Williams was money. With only a fraction of Williams’s wealth, Reeves could live like a king.
“You do this for me,” said Williams, still clutching Reeves’s shirt, “before the police get to him. Make him pay. And I’ll…I’ll make you my heir. Like her son was supposed to be.” He pulled at Reeves’s shirt, his face that of a wild-eyed madman. “You hear me?”
Reeves nodded, leaning away.
Pam’s father released his shirt and raised his finger. “But only if you bring me his head. I want to see his face. Dead. You understand? My entire fortune for his head.”
His head. Reeves wondered how in the world he would transport Oley’s head to the crazy old man. In a plastic bag? No, a cooler would work better. With dry ice. But first, he had to find him. A job made difficult because he couldn’t stop thinking about inheriting the estate of Trevor Williams. That would make him one of the top ten richest men in Texas. Running his pipsqueak little marketing firm would never earn him that kind of payout, no matter how hard he worked. For the chance to step into the shoes of Trevor Williams, he would bring in the heads of a hundred men. Thousands. It’s what he wanted since childhood. He’d always been destined for riches.
Williams stood with his face screwed into pure pain and surveyed the room, Pam the centerpiece. “Make it look like Oley did it,” he said.
“Then call the police.” Williams began to walk out.
“Wait,” Reeves said.
“Your footprints.” He pointed down. Williams had stepped in blood and left tracks. “You have to stay and explain them to the police.”
Williams lost it and went on a tirade, cursing Tom Oley and the police and then finally calmed, breathing hard, and nodded. Reeves dialed 911. Detectives questioned them carefully. Reeves had the impression they didn’t fully believe his story. They seemed puzzled by the bookend in Pam’s dead hand. Had she tried to cave in Oley’s head with that, and he killed her with it instead? He didn’t really care. But it made some sense.
The next day, the unblinking eye of the press outside every door, Williams showed Reeves a will leaving everything to him. But with no signature. “His head, Reeves. Bring me his head. Then I’ll sign this.” He didn’t tell Reeves that the great Trevor Williams fortune had more debt than assets. His only hope of staying solvent lay in that deep well prospect Oley put together. With Oley out of the way, the operating majority of the deal fell back to Williams. Pam was supposed to have eliminated Oley. But the poor girl messed up and now he had to rely on the idiot Reeves.
After Reeves left, Williams thought about hiring another man to tail him. Erase that loose end after he took care of Oley. The phone rang, yet another problem with the deep well project. With Oley a suspect in Pam’s death and his disappearance, the investors were getting cold feet. If Williams couldn’t mollify them, he’d have to front up their share of cash, and he didn’t have it. He tried to talk them down, then consulted with his chief financial officer about squeezing more cash from his Dodge Financial holdings, his final option. His life had become hell.
Meanwhile, Reeves methodically went through his contacts, thousands of them, the result of years of partying and schmoozing. Asked people to look out for Tom Oley. Anyone who paid attention to the news knew why. He worked email and phone for sixteen hours a day. It had been his old straight-laced boring-as-hell college roommate who hit pay dirt.
Reeves walked to a whiteboard covered with last week’s marketing ideas that didn’t make it. He erased them and drew the crude outline of the United States. He dotted Dallas, Cincinnati, Atlanta, New York, Pagosa Springs, all the places Oley had been after the murder. Why Pagosa? Maybe because it didn’t make any sense. The best place to hide is where there’s no reason to look. The only way Reeves knew where Oley might be was the luck of the pilot.
Reeves flashed to Pam. The image of the bloody handprint on her back, the motion it must have taken for Oley to push her down hard enough to crack her skull on the corner of the coffee table, then the heavy bookend as the coup de grâce, placed to make her look like the attacker. Why? Oley had his own wealth, though Reeves knew Trevor Williams financed a lot, maybe even all, of Oley’s operations. But still. Would that have boxed Oley in enough to make him kill Pam rather than divorce her?
Reeves shook his head. Maybe that wasn’t it. Maybe it was the baby. Oley knew it wasn’t his. Maybe he even knew it belonged to Reeves.
He nodded his head. That’s it. In a fit of anger, the cuckolded husband slaughtered the cheating wife. Old story. With a good attorney, he might even find sympathy from a jury. But not from Reeves. He must be a hunter without mercy. He pressed his lips together and grinned. A head hunter.
Standing in his office, his fists clenched in front of him, the office manager walked by and gave him a quizzical look.
Reeves relaxed his arms. “Need to take some time off,” he said aloud and followed the office manager. Told her he would be out for a couple of weeks. Go into the mountains. Take it easy. She smiled and said that was the best idea he’d had in ages.
Short description for The G.O.D. Journal: After he accidentally kills his wife, Baxter runs. Hiding in his derelict boyhood home in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, he discovers a journal that leads to a treasure of gold. With the guiding hand of a deranged hunter and Wall Street financier, Baxter discovers true gold is concealed in the heart of a woman who helps him search for an Anasazi pictograph that is key to his family treasure. Read the full description….
Hot Water Press publications scheduled for 2013: Annie and the Second Anasazi (a trilogy set in the year 2054), and Soo Potter (an Anasazi historical novel). To find out when they’re available, sign up for notification by email here.