This week's sentence was taken from line 532 of Beowulf ("beore druncen ymb spræce …"), using Seamus Heaney's translation:
The sentence was: "But it was mostly beer doing the talking."
Bass River Motel. Route 542. Jersey.
Kent insisted on these "night out for the boys" sessions after work; he felt the need to go over all the details of the day and look for ways to improve things. You got the feeling he would have liked to bring a flip-chart into the bar if he could. But it was mostly beer doing the talking. As the evening went on Kent would get progressively more maudlin until Mackinson would have to half-carry him back to the motel room and leave him to puke out his remorse.
On nights like these, Mackinson slept in the car.
Kent called for another round, sluicing down the remains of his fifth bottle, whining and pining after some trailer trash waitress who’d served them breakfast that morning. Mackinson just nodded and ignored him. He was a scotch man, beer made him bilious. After two shots he’d stick to water and let Kent ramble on and get it out of his system, bottle by bottle. It usually took about an hour for Kent to wander off topic and start hitting on the barmaid. He never got lucky. Drunk, miserable and boring is not generally what a barmaid looks for in a man, though it’s pretty much all she gets to see.
Kent bored the shit out of Mackinson. He also worried him.
Take today, for instance. The hit had gone smoothly, but as always Mackinson felt Kent enjoyed his work a little too much. A single shot to the back of the head would have sufficed, yet Kent insisted on shoving his gun in the guy's face, feeding off the terror in his eyes before blasting away like Clint fucking Eastwood.
And then the drunken remorse afterwards.
Distasteful. Inelegant. Amateurish.
He had made his feelings clear in debriefings: Kent was a liability. Mackinson preferred to work alone, but now here he was again, holed up in some backwoods motel room with a drunk and weepy psychopath. It was getting like a broken record.
Mackinson fetched a glass of water from the basin. Kent was hunched over the toilet bowl, puking up a gallon of Milwaukee's finest.
'Jesus, thanks, Mac. I'm sorry. I don't know why the fuck I always do this.' Kent took a sip, rinsed his mouth out and spat it into the pan while Mackinson wrapped a towel around his pistol and shot him once in the back of the head. The towel muffled the gunshot and caught the blood spray; the rest went down the toilet. Mackinson threw the body in the bath and let it bleed out while he fetched the cleaning products from the trunk of the car. He hummed while he worked: Roy Orbison's 'Only The Lonely'.
Bartleby had an arrangement with a meat packing plant outside of Hammonton. By morning, Kent would be shipped out in the latest batch of gourmet pork sausages. Maybe he’d get inside that barmaid after all.