Austin By Night – Logan [Layer 9]

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After checking my car for the third time for any bugs, I got inside my SUV and slam the door, taking several deep breathes. In the rear-view mirror I see myself in my usual blazer suit with matching tie. I adjust the cufflinks of my button-up and look into the back seat where most of my life has been packed away in a hurry. I see piles of button-up shirts folded and wrapped in machine plastic, along with piles of papers and disks filled with the kind the material that might make a district prosecutor really happy to get their hands on. The empty plastic trays of what was once pre-made sushi wraps from H-E-B are a nice touch to the mess I had created for myself. The trunk is filled with nothing but suitcases.

I take another breath and dial a number from memory and wait. The dial tone is deafening.

“Logan?” it’s Kim again.

“Hi, Kim,” I say, already feeling miserable.

“You’re cutting it pretty close,” says Kim, “five more minutes and you’d be on my shit list with the rest of your family.”

“I’m on a lot of people’s shit lists right now, so it’s a long line,” I say, trying my hand at embracing gallows humor, “the vultures would be gnawing on my bones before you’d get your dig in.”

“Feeling suicidal?” her question feels more curious than anything approaching concern.

“Maybe…” I let the answer linger, not too sure whether I want Kim to feel sorry for me or probing her to see what she knows so far.

“Wouldn’t have anything to do with the two murders that happened last night?” she asks.

I find my subconscious has opted for the latter.

“What murders?” I ask, feeling nervous.

“One at the Austonian and there was another that happened in a hotel off of Oltorf,” she says, “the FBI has reason to believe that your family was involved.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know,” I tell her.

“Logan, you need to open up to me,” says Kim, already getting pissed, “you’re dodging me again.”

“No, I can’t,” I tell her.

There’s a pause on the line.

“You were there weren’t you?” Kim says.

I don’t say anything.

“Who was the victim, Logan?” she asks me.

I say nothing.

“Logan, you will not be safe if you do not tell me who they were,” Kim says, she’s slowing her speech now, “if they know that you are talking to me, they will kill you.”

“I’m going to find out for you,” I say.

“You witnessed it?” asks Kim.

“I didn’t know who they were, but I’m going to find out tonight,” I tell her.

“Where are you right now,” asks Kim, “I need to find you right now.”

“I’m sorry Kim,” I tell her, “but I have to go.”

“No!” she screams, “tell me where you are now!”

“I’m sorry Kim,” I whisper, and I hang up the phone.

I slowly placed the keys into the ignition of my care and slowly start the car. It purrs to live in the dark, barely lit parking lot of the hotel and with a sigh of relief, I’m off to the Magnolia Café on South Congress.

Copyright © 2017 Philip N.R Hauser

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