No Time for Hesitation.

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A few changes to make.

After she'd gone outside with Gregory, to see to the cases, O’Leary closed the door behind her, and looked around inside the trailer from one end to the other; looking in the trash under the sink. There was an empty forty-ouncer in there; just put there, and a stink of bourbon on Rollins, when he checked.

He’d come home from work, drunk.

O’Leary lifted the bottle out by putting his finger into the neck, and putting it into a paper bag from the same trash can, and probably the one it had come in, from the store. He knew there would be only one set of prints on it, and he could find out when it was bought. There was only one liquor outlet in the village. The receipt might even be in the bottom of the bag.

He looked around.

The trailer was clean, but he already knew that. It was small, but it had been a home, albeit an unhappy one, until a short time ago. He made sure all of the windows were closed and fastened, and he drew the curtains to stop nosy neighbors looking in, once he’d driven away.

Before he left, he phoned the only doctor in town, looking at his watch. Time of death would be when he first got that call, thirty minutes ago now.

“Let me speak to the doc, please.”

There were the usual questions from his receptionist.

“O’Leary, here. Tell him it’s kind of urgent. But not real urgent if he’s busy with anything special.”

The doctor was on the line two minutes later. He’d just delivered a baby. O’Leary could hear it settling in the background.

One life gone; one life started.

O’Leary spoke for a few minutes as the doctor listened, and then repeated what he had started with.

“It’s Rollins. He shot himself. I need you to sign off on it.”

He said nothing about either Leony or her son claiming to have killed him.

The truth almost didn’t matter.

Then he phoned the undertakers, the Muldoons.

He’d need to get them here when the doc had finished with his blood samples, stomach contents—if he needed to go that far—and examination, and the death certificate, and before rigor set in, but nothing else could be done until after the doctor had done whatever post-mortem stuff he deemed necessary.

Muldoons had a cold storage area and even a place where the doc could slice a body up if he needed to. They used it for preparation, embalming, make up.

They could pick up the body in that non-descript van of theirs that they used to pick up bodies discreetly from private homes, the nursing home, hospital, or the morgue, and anywhere else they didn’t want people to see what they were doing. Two strong men could move a black body bag around without it being too obvious.

O’Leary always got a chuckle out of learning the various things Muldoons did with those bodies, like sticking a cork or a tampon up their arses to stop them leaking, and pushing a needle into their stomachs and guts to release gas buildup if they were around for a while.

If O’Leary had his way (and he usually did), the cause of death would be ‘Suicide while inebriated, and in a disturbed frame of mind’, or something like that, after knowing that the Sheriff would want to ‘talk’ to him again over his loss of temper. He couldn’t suggest ‘from Natural Causes, when his heart stopped beating because of a gunshot’, but nothing in any of the reports would suggest anything different.

Those two trying to take the blame for each other told him that, as well as the evidence, and lack of it; gun, hard against the chest, one shot, and then the gun on the floor.

He’d have to phone the Rollins family and tell them about their son.

They wouldn’t shed any tears.

Rollins would be cremated, and get a foretaste of what awaited him in that other place.

O’Leary locked up, taking the towel, gun, and bottle with him, putting them in the trunk of his car as he retrieved the keys from the open trunk. He’d bring the doctor back with him in an hour, after he’d seen to Leony and Gregory, and he knew already how he wanted to handle that, if he could.

He climbed into the front seat of his car and drove away with his silent passengers holding each other close, comforting each other.

He knew the Mackesons—their closest neighbors—would be on the phone almost immediately, or the neighbors would phone them. They wouldn’t know what to believe. No one would.

If the Doctor agreed with what he had told him, then by tomorrow morning, the water and electricity would be cut off to that trailer, the toilet unhooked, and that trailer would be gone. Maybe with that body still in it, but in a pressed cardboard box and laid out properly, until it was far out of the trailer park. There’d be no announcement of Rollins’s death, and no church service for him, nor a proper burial. The catholic church, of which he was a lapsed member, did not approve of anyone taking their own life.

Harmony. Population 4,722. That needn’t change. The doctor had just been delivering a baby when O’Leary called, so one birth balanced out one death.

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