“What do you know?” Wilbur asked Earl lightheartedly as he came up behind him.
“I know we’re creating a stir among certain local folks. That’s what I know.”
“What do you mean?”
Earl gave him an evil-eyed stare, his thin lips taut. “You got shit for brains, boy? Your kid? Chrissy?” Smoke wafted through his nose and mouth, spent ash hanging precariously from the business end of the hand-rolled cigarette pressed between his tobacco-stained lips.
“Wanda told me Chrissy talked about the puppies at school. Ran into some kid and her mother at the store, wanting to see the puppies. Shit, Wilbur. Don’t we have enough to worry about without your little rug rat shooting her mouth off?”
“She never said anything to me, but I don’t think Chrissy was shooting her mouth off. You know how kids are.”
“I know how they should be. Seen, but not heard,” Earl snarled.
“Those days are long gone, I’m afraid. But my kid talking in school can’t be what’s got a stick up your ass.”
“A dead vet ring any bells? Who ordered the hit?”
“What hit? Word around town is that Doc committed suicide.”
“Believe that and I’ve got some swamp land in Florida ripe for development.”
“That’s what they’re saying. You know something they don’t know?”
“No. Too many coincidences for comfort, is all.”
“Not on my end. Think someone took matters into his own hands?”
“No one does nothing around here without me giving the go-ahead. And I sure as hell didn’t authorize removing Doc from this world.” Earl flicked his cigarette butt down and ground it into the dirt with his heel. “Suicide, my ass. What do you know about the lady vet?”
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