"Man I think I'm going nuts," Wayne shouted into the phone -- shouted so that his voice wouldn't tremble. "Something's wrong. Can't sleep, can't eat. I need help, Brad."
"Hey, where are you, man? You sound really far away."
"I'm in my jeep -- out by Mount Mariah."
"Why don't you head into the city and get yourself laid?"
"Shit, Brad, Elizabeth's been gone for less than a week -- how'd that look."
"Whadda you care, man. I betcha if you got a little, you'd sleep just fine."
"Brad, I keep hearing her voice. Elizabeth's voice."
"Your wifey's dead, Wayne. Fell down the stairs. Tragic accident. Did you know that accidents in the home kill more people every year than cops do? Almost as much as domestic violence."
Wayne moaned. "You know I didn't mean to do it."
"Point is, my friend, you did do it. What you're suffering from is a plain old guilty conscience. You'll get over this. It may take a little time, but you'll get over it."
"Do you feel guilty Brad? You covered for me. Don't you feel guilty too?"
"Hell no. That's what friends are for. If the shoe was on the other foot, would you have covered for me?"
"Sure, sure I would've. But you're luckier than me, Brad. All those girls chasing after you since high school. You never got married."
"Not lucky. Smart. Old Mr. Swistack didn't raise any dumb sons o'bitches, that's for damn sure." Brad laughed.
"No I guess he didn't," Wayne chuckled back. "Hey wanna get together tonight at The Overton for a few beers? I could use a little company."
"I get off patrol at ten. I'll turn in my car and meet you there."
"Like I said, man, that's what friends are for. Hang tough."
There was a faint click and Wayne put down his cell phone. Nervously he glanced up at the craggy ridge.
(Guilty conscience, that's all it was.)
Continued . . .
Link to Wrenge 1
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