John stood before Earl Pangiosi in the latter’s private car, the two men still on his shoulders and showing no sign of strain.
“Mr. Nighthorse.” Pangiosi sat at the far end of the table, his chair tilted against the wall on its rear legs and his hands behind his head. He stared at John, cocking his head first right, then left, evaluating. “That’s quite a story.”
“Yes, it is, sir.
“Are you sure you’re alright?”
“You’re confident Mr. Steyle is the only one compromised?”
“As I said, Mr. Pangiosi, there were three suites I didn’t enter. Considering — ”
Pangiosi interrupted him. “Yes, yes. Well.” He rocked forward and got up. “Would you put what remains of Mr. Steyle on the floor, please.”
John knelt and lowered his comrade’s body without a word.
Pangiosi knelt beside the body. He arranged the shirt and sportcoat. He picked some lint from the lapel. He sighed.
The billy, still gripped in Steyle’s right hand, caught Pangiosi’s eye. He lifted it and the hand and arm came with it. Pangiosi tried to pry it free but Steyle claimed it even in death.
“Mr. Nighthorse, jacket that one in the next room, please, then bring me some sheets of plastic, a hammer or better, a mallet, and a knife, the sharpest you can find.”
John gathered two plastic straws from the wetbar then lay Tom’s sleeping body on the bed in the next room. He pulled a straightjacket from the closet, gently maneuvered Tom into it and strapped it tight. He put the straws between Tom’s lips, took out a tube of SuperGlue out of his pocket and glued Tom’s mouth shut. Lastly he gently placed Tom on the floor and put a pillow under his head.
He returned with Pangiosi’s requested supplies.
“Thank you, Mr. Nighthorse. Spread out the plastic and center Mr. Steyle on it, would you?”
John did as instructed.
“Now stand back, please.”
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