Beez staggered against the doorway. He looked wide-eyed and crazed. Next to the doorway stood Old Black Maggie, her hand gripping tightly a knife that she plunged and pulled from Beez’s chest.
“You are safe now,” Old Black Maggie said. “You have nothing to fear.”
A policeman walked slowly toward them. “We finally got him didn’t we?”
Beez gasp to breathe.
“You pathetic piece of garbage,” Old Black Maggie said. “I’m glad you are dying at my hand and I want the last vision you behold is this.”
She grabbed the beret from Gary’s hand and ripped out the lining. She pulled a photo and held in front of Beez’s eyes. Beez breathed one last deep breath and his face lost all expression.
“Go to the car,” the policeman said, “the both of you. I’ll wipe the prints from the knife.”
Gary and Old Black Maggie stepped quickly and slid into the back seat of the police car. The policeman got in and they drove away.
“Where are we going?” Gary said. “Am I going to jail?”
“We’re going to Old Black Maggie’s,” the policeman said.
“What are you going to do to me?” Gary said.
“I told you, you are safe,” Old Black Maggie said.
“Just an unsolved homicide,” the policeman said.
“Are you Old Black Maggie’s nephew whose on the police force?” Gary said.
“Yes,” the policeman said. “My name is Merlin Pappas.”
“I’d like to know what you are going to do to me,” Gary said nervously.
“Well, we aren’t going to boil you in a pot of stew if that’s what you’re thinking,” Old Black Maggie said.
“Don’t scare the boy any more than he is,” Merlin said.
“We had planned all along on rescuing you from Beez,” Old Black Maggie said. “We just didn’t think it would end this way.”
“We were going to take you to Aunt Maggie’s and explain the danger you were in,” Merlin said. “Now we must convince you not to tell anyone what happened tonight.”
Merlin turned into the alley behind Old Black Maggie’s apartment. They got out of the car and went inside.
“Have a seat,” Old Black Maggie said. “Would you like some hot chocolate?”
Merlin gestured for Gary to sit at a small kitchen table. Old Black Maggie grabbed a bottle of milk from the refrigerator. “Hot chocolate for you?” Old Black Maggie said to Merlin.
“Yeah,” Merlin said. “But a shot of whiskey might be best. You don’t cover up a murder every day.”
“It was justifiable,” Old Black Maggie said. “You know what he was about the do to the boy.”
Nothing was said. The cat curled around Gary’s feet and wound through the legs of the chairs. As soon as the milk heated Old Black Maggie poured it into three cups and added a powdered cocoa mix.
She sat the cups of cocoa on the table. “This will relax you,” Old Black Maggie said.
“Still rather have some of the whiskey you keep hidden under the sink,” Merlin said.
“I don’t keep it there anymore,” Old Black Maggie said. “Besides you’re officially on duty.”
They all sipped lightly from the cups.
Old Black Maggie reached into her sweater pocket and pulled out the photograph she held to Beez’s face as he laid dying. She handed it to Gary.