Note: "Into Oblivion", the challenge on 'The Inferno', published last night. Check it out.
From last time ...
"Yeah, you're right. I've gotten soft in the last few years - San Francisco doesn't get hot enough to keep me in shape for sleeping in the desert."
"There isn't ANYTHING that'll get you in shape for sleeping in the desert."
And now ...
"I've never been this far up the highway before, so this is new territory for me."
Sarah and Mackey had been driving for almost half an hour and they still hadn't found Jake's new shop. Sarah looked back over her shoulder.
"It's got to be close. We can't have missed it - it should be right along the highway."
Sarah pointed ahead, through the windshield.
"There it is. There's a cop car there. What should we do?"
"Keep driving, Sarah. Let's see what we can see as we drive by."
"There's another car there. I wonder ..."
"Pull in, Sarah. Pull up next to the cars. We're customers. Don't forget that."
"Sure, Mackey. But I don't see what this is going to get us."
"Just a reconnoiter, Sarah. Information."
Sarah pulled up just as a Sheriff's Deputy and a young Mexican man walked out of the shop and closed and locked the door. The deputy turned and saw Sarah pull into the parking area.
"Sorry, folks. This place is closed. It's a crime scene and no one's allowed on the premises."
"Oh. Okay officer. Are they going to re-open?"
"I don't think so, ma'am. The owner is dead."
"Oh? What happened?"
"Sorry ma'am. I can't discuss that. It's under investigation. You'll have to leave now."
"Sure, Officer. Are there any other gun shops out here?"
"No ma'am. Next nearest gun shop is in Vegas."
"Thank you, Officer. I guess we'll have to run into Vegas, then. Bye, now."
Sarah backed the Jeep out toward the highway, then turned around and headed back the way she and Mackey had come.
"Did you recognize that other guy, Mackey?"
"Yeah, I did. You showed me his picture this morning. That's Hererra. I wonder what he's doing out here, WITH the Sheriff's deputy, at that."
"Jake always said they wouldn't be able to run their rackets without the help and cooperation of the local cops - I guess he was right. The only reason that guy could be there is to make sure there wasn't anything around that points at him or his crew. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it turned out to be Hererra that killed Jake."
"We'd have a hard time finding out - and an even harder time proving it. Fortunately, we don't need proof - he's already on the list."
"I just hope he gets back on his schedule. I won't have any way to track him down otherwise."
"I'm sure he'll get back to his routine soon enough. He's got to make his collections. That's how those guys make their money."
"Let's go back to Ma's and start going over his schedule. We've got to find our spot. We have to figure out where I'm going to take him out."
Mackey looked at Sarah, studying her carefully.
"Are you sure you can do this, Sarah? I know you got two kills to your credit, but those guys were going to kill Jake - you took them out because you had to. This time ... this time it's going to be different. This time, it's going to be cold."
"I can do it, Mackey. I was already thinking about coming back out here, anyway. Mostly for Jake, sure. But Jake knew what I had to do - he reminded me all the time. Time comes ... I'll do what I have to do. For Jake. For The Kid. And for me."