“As a heart-attack,” Steve answered, freeing the mop from his hand and letting it hit the ground. Thereafter, his hand went to his back-pocket.
“You can’t be serious, you can’t be serious,” Jeremy mumbled over and over, circling around the dead body, trying to wrap his head around how to even begin such a task. His eyes found their way back to Steve in time to see him unpeeling a banana.
“You’ve mentioned that already, boy, and again, he was,” Steve retorted, taking an unsanitary bite from the fruit, the night’s events not disturbing his appetite.
“You can’t expect, …,” Jeremy stopped for a second, “someone will have heard the gun-shots. They’ll call it in, we’ll have the cops breaking-down the doors and when they do, they’ll arrest us, is that what you want!?”
“No one will call.”
“You can’t know that.”
“I can,” Steve countered with confidence. “As you’ll come to learn, Robert Spade doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. Do you know who owns this building, this beat-up, shanty-town lookin’ hellhole? The same one who owns its neighbors and its neighbors’ neighbors. No one.” Steve laughed at the thought. “This is a ghost-city, Jeremy. The only ones stopping by Ordos Town are drug-dealers and squatters, either ones who can’t afford a phone-call and ones who don’t want the law sticking noses in their turf.”
Jeremy said nothing for a few seconds. This wasn’t how things were meant to happen. He was an actor, a failed actor by all counts, but he wasn’t a criminal. He ruffled with the unkempt hair on his head, feeling the sweat travel down his brow. This was a situation he had fought his whole life to stay out of. He had fought such valiant and proud battles to stay on the happy, thumbs up side of the law, and not the side that had robbed his father of the last ten years of his life. Even failed actors faced hardships, however. Even valiant, proudly proclaimed do-gooders could find themselves on the business end of their landlord’s shaft, struggling to make rent.
Jeremy laughed, and didn’t know why, and for a moment, thought maybe he knew why Robert Spade had smiled after shooting Jacob Halwright. It was hysterics. It was a flicker of madness in a life of pitch-black normality. It wasn’t the same, a thought in Jeremy’s head soon contradicted. Robert Spade smiled because he enjoyed it. And, someone who enjoyed doing something, often did it again.
Jeremy rubbed his hands together, wondering how to even go about such a task. Jacob wasn’t a heavy-man. That was a relief. In-fact, thanks to recent events, he’d became even lighter. Rolling up Jacob’s pant-legs, Jeremy grabbed each of his ankles, hunching over, he looked up at Steve, still eating his banana. Steve looked at him with a look of skepticism.
“Oh, I’m not a lifter. Bad back,” he answered.
“We spent the last five-hours loading a van with boxes!” Jeremy shouted.
Steve shrugged. “That’s how I hurt my back.”
Jeremy beamed at Steve. “If Robert Spade is so fucking brilliant than why would he leave me, a person who has no idea what the hell he’s doing to clean up his handiwork?”
“Well,” Bill said, at last, finishing his banana, throwing it into a nearby garbage bin in the corner of the room, one that was already overflowed with trash. “For starters, he’ll never use that handgun again. He has many friends who will provide him an alibi. And, the only person who has left any handprints on the body so far … is you.”
As the words registered with him, Jeremy leaped back, stumbling on a nearby coffee table, spilling over an ash-tray. “Gloves! I should be given gloves for something like this.”
“Buy them,” Bill said, sounding unconcerned with Jeremy’s concerns.
Jeremy could feel the sweat pouring down his face, hitting the ground like drops of rain. All of that precious DNA evidence connecting him to the murder of Jacob Holwright. His heard pounded. What arm was it that hurt when someone was having a heart attack!? Jeremy looked around his surroundings, in search of what, he wasn’t exactly certain. There wasn’t a “get away with murder” kit anywhere he could see.
On the car-ride back from loading Robert Spade’s trailer with all the loot they’d stolen, Bill explained that Robert Spade liked to meet his new recruits face-to-face. It was a different approach to what Jeremy expected; a noble, business-like tactic. It reminded him of a mafia film, where the head-honcho treated his men as employees, providing them benefits and shit, running it like an actual business. Robert took a hard left.
Jeremy walked into the kitchen. It had certainly seen brighter days, but it did have supplies from squatters and whoever once lived there. Jeremy searched the cabinets under the sink, finding an empty trash-bags and an assortment of bottles with their labels ripped off. That, and of course, enough mouse manure to start a garden. “God fucking dammit,” Jeremy rubbed the back of his neck, he could feel the knots starting to form. He came back to Jacob Holwright without the supplies he would have liked, instead bringing back a broom and a poop scoop.
“And, what the hell do you expect to do with that?” Bill asked, by now having relocated to an old recliner.
“Anyone could walk in here at any moment and see something!” Jeremy exclaimed, now beginning to scoop up Jacob Holwright’s brain-fragments into the poop scoop.
It easy enough scooping the larger parts no longer intact to his body, however, a large puddle of blood remained. An interesting fact about salmon is that everyone expects them to be a pink-color, but, in truth, they’re fucking revolting. Jeremy didn’t know why exactly, but the thought seemed appropriate as he finished scooping up what he could. The entire top half of Jacob’s head was wedged into that scoop, all except for a flap at the back end.
Jeremy walked over to the metal trash-can that was overflowing with garbage and knocked it over, spilling out its contents until it was mostly empty, all except some stragglers; used paper-towels and such, stuck to the bottom.
“If you grab his feet, both of us can shove him in,” Jeremy pleaded.
Bill Meiner looked at him as if his suggestion was the craziest thing anyone had ever said, which it may very well have been. Jeremy sighed, turning the trash-container on his side and grabbing Jacob by his hands. Jeremy pulled him forward. He was thankful that Robert had chose to shoot the slender Jacob and not Bill, as the upper-part of Jacob’s torso went into the bin. After some maneuvering and pushing, Jeremy was able to shove the rest of him in as well. Standing the trash-can up, it created the unpleasant sight of Jacob’s legs still partially dangling out from the container. Some forced bending later, Jacob fit into the trash-can like a regular gymnast.
Jeremy brought the metal trash-can lid up from the ground and stared at his handiwork. He almost put the lid on before he remembered. Once he finished pouring the remainder of Jacob out from the poop scoop, he closed the lid. If nothing else, pretending the body was no longer there brought him some relief.
“Seems distasteful,” Bill commented.
“I don’t see you coming up with any ideas. You do realize if I fuck up that you’ll be written as an accomplice to all this,” Jeremy fired back, walking to the abandoned bedrooms of the apartment, hoping to find some old towels to wipe up the blood.
“Untrue,” Bill said. “If I thought there was any way you’d jeopardize me, I’d kill you and be home before breakfast, because I know exactly how to get rid of a body, whether it be one or two.”
How casually those words escaped Bill’s mouth sent shivers up Jeremy’s spine, how meaningless Jeremy’s own life meant in this predicament. He wasn’t a bad guy or a criminal, this wasn’t who he was. He was a failed actor, hoping he’d be able to take a small risk and that it’d pay handsome. Robert Spade had been the name his father always mentioned, maybe he said his name as a disclaimer, and not as a call to action. When the bullet fired, all Jeremy cared about was his own life, about making it out of the build and living to see another day. All Jeremy thought about was avoiding a bullet of his own, but now, as he soaked the blood with some tattered blankets that he’d found in one of the bedrooms, he succumbed himself to some alternatives. He thought about the very real possibility he might go to prison the rest of his life over this.
By an effort he didn’t have to make, he felt tears stream from his widened eyes and down his cheeks.
Bill seemed to take notice of this, nodding his head knowingly, “I should have brought you a banana too.”
Bill, Jeremy had learned, was an asshole.