“I asked around,” says Sammy, “and Roeper’s been talking for a little while now. No one else wanted to get involved.”
The four of us are sitting around the kitchen table in my apartment. “It’s like I was telling Bill,” I say, taking a swig of beer. “I’ve been running into him every now and then for some time. It looked like he was following me or something a few times, so I’m not too surprised that he went to the cops.”
“Well,” adds Bill, “You know what we have to do, right? We can’t just let him get away with this. We need to show him that this won’t stand.”
We all sit in silence. Caroline looks me in the eyes, then at Bill, and back to me, “Just don’t kill him, okay?”
“What do you want us to do?” exclaims Bill. “If we rough him up, that douche is probably going to run back to the cops.”
“I agree with Caroline,” interrupts Sammy. “He tips off the cops, and then he dies mysteriously? People are going to start asking questions, and the most likely answers will involve us.”
Silence again. I tell them, “Okay, I agree. We’ll hurt him and scare him,” I point at Bill, “but no killing. We just need to make sure he doesn’t run back to the cops.”
“But, really, how are we going to stop him?” Bill asks, more calmly this time.
All three of them look at me. I say, “We’ll go to him and see how intent he is on getting the cops involved again,” I pause. They wait to hear what I’m about to say, intently. I continue, “Then we’ll do what we have to.”
We sit at the table in silence for quite some time.
* * *
I see Roeper come out of the lab, looking like he’s concentrating on walking home. It looks like he’s trying very hard to avoid eye contact with anyone who happens to be around, even though the only other person nearby is me, and I don’t think he saw me. I walk behind him quickly and come up beside him, “Hey there, buddy. What’s the rush?”
He looks at me and turns pale, saying nothing. I continue talking, “Don’t worry about it; I’ll give you a ride. Hop in.”
He looks forward, then back at me, and tells me, “Oh, no. I’m actually just going to walk.”
I pull out my revolver and point it at him, keeping it close to our bodies just so no one would be able to see it if they walked by. I smile a cruel smile, and say, “No, no, I insist.”
I walk him over to my car, open the door to the passenger side, and push him inside. I close the door, walk around to the other side, and get in. I start up the car, and pull out. I look at him, still pale, and tell him, “I see my friend’s taken the liberty of introducing himself to you,” referring to Bill sitting behind him. “Yeah, don’t make any false moves; he’s got a gun. If you try to get out or anything, he just might get startled and blow your head off.”
He understands the situation, not saying a word or moving in the slightest. He’s breathing heavily, and I’m not surprised. Finally, he asks me, “Where are you taking me?”
I pause to think about what I’m about to tell him, turning onto Spadina, “Let’s just say, we’re taking you somewhere...”
Bill finishes my sentence, “Secluded.”
I look over to Roeper, still frightened, and back to Bill, “I wouldn’t say that. ‘Secluded’ is such an ugly word. I was going to say something more like...‘Intimate’.”
Bill laughs. Roeper doesn’t seem to find anything funny about the situation. Eventually, we arrive at the harbourfront. At this time, most of this area is deserted, excluding the occasional warehouse set up for a rave; none of them seem to be booming, so we’re probably good. I drive around a few corners, making sure we’re alone. I stop the car. “Get out,” I tell him.
Bill and Roeper both step out of the car, Bill with his weapon out still. I put my gloves on and then follow. Outside the car, I start walking toward Roeper. “Okay, now I’m sure you know why we’re here,” I say.
He stands in silence. He finally says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I slap him across the face and he cries out. “Come on, Roeper,” I say to him. “Right from when we picked you up, I could tell you knew what was going on. Cut the bullshit.”
He looks at me, holding the side of his face, saying nothing. I step forward and deliver a nasty blow to his stomach. He leans forward, the wind knocked out of him. I just push him down to the ground. I crouch down in front of him, “You know, I can keep this up all night.”
“What do you want from me?” he shouts, suddenly. “What do you want me to tell you?”
His sudden emotional outburst surprises me somewhat, but I don’t let it rattle me. I yell, “Why did you do it, Roeper? Why’d you tip off the cops? Did you think we’d just take it, and let you live your life?”
He gives me that same look of hatred from several months ago, “I thought you’d wind up in jail.” He pauses, and then adds, “I can’t believe everyone was just pretending nothing was wrong! You’re selling Meth; it’s illegal and you’re ruining peoples’ lives, and no one else seems to care!”
I stand back up, and turn my back to him. I look at Bill, and he doesn’t look happy in the least. Roeper continues, “I couldn’t believe Dr. Jones didn’t report you when he had the chance.”
I turn around, “Dr. Steve gave me advice and helped me out; he told me I’d succeed, if I was careful.”
He laughed, “Yeah, right. He didn’t want to get in trouble, that’s all. He just wanted you out of there. In fact, he thought you’d get caught by the police right away.”
I stare at him, and I’m sure he can see the rage that is building up inside me. Roeper looked much more comfortable now, “I followed you around, and it didn’t even seem like the police noticed or cared. I just gave them a push in the right direction.”
We sit in silence, staring at one another. “I’ll tell you what, Roeper,” I say finally.
I pull out my revolver, and I can see the hatred on his face change back into fear. I take aim, and he closes his eyes. I fire a single shot through his left thigh, and he wails in agony. I drop down to his side, and I grab his thigh. “If you ever,” I dig my thumb deep into his bleeding wound. He continues to writhe in pain, and I say, “EVER contact the police again...”
I let go of his thigh and point my revolver at his forehead. He opens his eyes, tears flowing from them. I finish, “You won’t live to see your next birthday.”
I stand back up, and I start walking back toward the car. I turn around, look at the disgraceful display on the ground in front of me, and say, “I don’t ever want to see your face again.”
Bill and I climb back into the car. We drive away in silence, leaving Roeper alone to bleed all over the pavement.