Mammoth - Chapter 11
Chapter 11, page 72.
Janice studied her boyfriend’s face. She wondered, for the umpteenth time, how she ever fell for this guy. Her parents, clearly, had done a number on her. “Do you even know what’s going on?” she said. “This is serious shit.”
“I know—that’s why we have to go. Come on.” He motioned for her stand up.
Janice realized his plan did make sense. She acquiesced with a nod, but she couldn’t let him think she believed he was actually right. She insisted on washing her face first, changing her clothes. “No,” he said, “there’s no time.” He tried to guide her toward the front door, and she pushed him away with both hands, resisting the urge to really sock him one. Once in the bathroom, she let out a long, slow breath. God, she could really use a rolf. She thought about Johanna, her massage therapist, about the strength in the woman’s hands. A good rolf was better than sex. Who was she kidding? It was sex. She splashed water on her face as King made noises in another room, banging cabinet doors, dropping things. She stared at her sharp, foxlike features in the mirror. She needed to grow her hair out, she decided. Soften up her look. Guys dig chicks with long hair.
“Come on, let’s go,” King mewled, appearing in the mirror behind her. “We need to leave right now.”
Janice dried her face and dropped the towel into the sink. “All right, I’m just going to put something comfortable on.” She pulled her stockings down to her ankles, leaned against the doorframe and yanked them off.
“We don’t have time, Jan. We have to motor.”
“She spotted his oversized Swiss army backpack by the door, stuffed to the gunwales. She looked around for another bag, maybe the small pink suitcase she used for overnight trips. Nope. Infuriated, she grabbed the backpack, pulled it open. She pawed through his T-shirts, underwear, Levi’s. A toothbrush. A packet of those disgusting peanut-butter-flavored Space Food Sticks he wolfed down every day. A fucking Fritz the Cat comic book.
“And what about me?” she said, wheeling on him. “Do I get a change of clothes? Do I get any reading material for this ’round-the-world trip we’re taking?”
“I—” he stammered. “I . . .” Janice could see the gears shifting behind his eyes, first this way and then that. What an idiot her boyfriend was.
“I thought . . . you know . . . you’d want to pack your own things.”
“Let’s just go, Oscar,” she barked. “I don’t need anything. I’ll read about Fritz’s scintillating adventures while you’re driving.”
Janice grabbed her purse and stormed down the driveway, her nose still pulsing from the epinephrine. At least she wasn’t scared anymore. She was too pissed off. She stepped into the driver’s seat, started the car. King leaned in through the open passenger-side window.
“I thought I was driving.”
“You want me to leave you here?”
King climbed in, and Janice steered the Camaro into the street. “Here,” King said. “You forgot this.” He dropped the inhaler in her lap. Janice ignored it and instead concentrated on pushing the car hard. She careened into turns and punched the accelerator. Heading east, up the mountain, they were the only ones on the road. It was eerie, this emptiness. It had all happened so fast, with no warning. She’d come out of the bathroom at her office, still sniffling from her morning crying jag, and found her secretary gone. Tania had marched down the hall to get Janice a cup of coffee twenty minutes before and apparently never returned. Janice sat at her desk for a while, first trying to get her boss on the phone, then just sitting. She had started to sift through her index cards—her own unique way of keeping track of projects—when Veronica ran past the door. Actually ran. A full-out sprint. Janice made it outside in time to see Veronica disappear inside her Ford Pinto and screech into the street. There were only four cars left in the lot, including her own. Janice felt she was always the last to know—and she didn’t know anything.
Douglas Perry is an award-winning writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago magazine, The Oregonian, and many other publications. He is the author of two nonfiction books and co-author of another. The Wall Street Journal called Perry’s The Girls of Murder City “a sexy, swaggering, historical tale.”
Perry's newest book, Mammoth, is a suspenseful mystery novel that takes place in Mammoth View, California.
The news hits Mammoth View, California, early on a summer morning: there’s been a massacre at one of the campsites outside town. It’s not clear what happened, but it’s obviously bad. And it’s not over. Police Chief Kenneth Hicks and his deputy set off into the woods to investigate.
As residents panic and head out of town, the attack appears to be the perfect coincidence for Billy Lane. Looking for the biggest score of his career, he’s targeted the local bank. But the robbery does not go well – and the aftermath gets even worse as Billy as his conspirators must try to come up with a new escape plan when they run into a gridlock of townspeople fleeing for their lives.
Over the next twenty-four hours, chaos descends on Mammoth View. Billy will have to find deep wells of courage and ingenuity to retain his freedom. His daughter Tori, also running for her life, will discover she’s much stronger than she ever knew. Local police chief Hicks will face his past personal failures – and his present professional ones.
All the while, the investigation will lead inexorably to what really happened outside of town, but those touched by the event will never be the same.