Max Damage: Chapter 4

It’s good to see you, Nancy,” Jason said calmly to Ron Nansen as the two men entered. “How long has it been? Seven years?”

The first pointed his rifle at Jason. “You’ll shut your mouth if you know what’s good for you.”

“Ask Nancy over there. I’ve never been one to sit quietly. I like to hear myself talk, helps me think.”

“Please don’t hurt me.” Smith’s voice was weak. Jason knew the second Smith spoke that he had just signed his death certificate. There had been a chance they would only focus on Jason, ignoring him in the smoke while he was curled up on the floor of the bus. “I didn’t see nothing. I didn’t hear nothing.”

Nansen didn’t reply. He lowered his rifle and fired.

Jason inwardly cringed but made no visible expression.

“Red Nancy. Isn’t that what the others called you behind your back? I see you haven’t decreased your wanton desire for blood. It was always one thing I could count on with you, finding a trail of bodies in your wake.”

Nansen laughed. “I thought you going to prison while Taft and I walked free was one of the best things that ever happened. Then Taft came to me with an idea, and I realized it was genius. Absolutely diabolical. It was the perfect revenge on you for forcing us into hiding.”

It wasn’t enough that I’ve been rotting in prison? Jason thought.

“So Taft is here, but he sent you in to do the dirty work?”

“Revenge sometimes has to be messy. Taft knew you wouldn’t be released on parole.”

“How is old Laffy Taffy doing anyway? I heard he lost a hand.” Jason smiled at Nansen. There had been a positive DNA match on Taft, which would have been hard to fake. Jason had asked his attorney to look into it. He’d learned that they’d found Taft’s hand but little else of the man. “How did that happen again?”

“If he wouldn’t have lost his hand, I think he might have forgotten about you. The trouble is that you left him with a living reminder of your betrayal. He sees it every day.”

“Get it over with. I haven’t got all day.”

“You think we’re here to kill you?” Nansen laughed, slapping his thigh. “I was looking forward to telling you this part myself, but Taft decided he wanted to do it.”

Nansen pulled out his phone, did something on it, and a few moments later was talking to Taft on speakerphone.

“I found him. Just like you said.”

“Everything okay?” Taft’s voice made Jason clinch his hands into fists. When he realized what he was doing, he slowly loosened his hold and made his face as placid as possible. His mind spun with possibilities as he tried to figure out what was going on. Taft was creative in his schemes.

When Jason had identified Nansen, he had just assumed they had come to kill him. Whatever Taft had planned for Jason, he could handle it without a problem. Torture? No issue. Death? That was just fine.

It’s preferable to spending the best years of my life rotting in prison.

“Without a hitch,” Nansen said.

“All right. I got to do this. I got to talk to him. Let me see him.” Taft’s voice seemed to quiver with excitement.

Surprise showed on Jason’s face but only for a moment. He quickly wiped it off. He had heard about this.

Apparently, phones could now easily do video conversations, something that had been clunky when he had been put away.

Nansen spun the phone, and Jason found himself face-to-face with Taft.

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