The car came straight at Chet Kimbrough and the other man, not fast but steady, and it was evident this was no early morning office worker getting a jump on their day.
“You set me up,” the would-be Deep Throat rasped.
“Like hell,” Congresswoman Kang’s chief of staff avowed. Both men looked toward the recessed stairwell as their escape route. The car halted, idled, and a door on either side opened. The driver was tall, the passenger short.
“Fuck this,” the other man said, producing a Baretta.
“Wait, hold on,” Kimbrough admonished. “Let’s be cool.” How would it look for a staffer of a progressive representative to be caught up in a crossfire in a underground parking lot? What was he doing pretending to play a buttoned-down Shaft? “They haven’t made any aggressive moves.”
“What do you want?” Kimbrough demanded of the mismatched intruders.
The short one said, “Mr. Mace Gilmore would like to discuss certain matters with you, Mr. Kimbrough.” Their car had stopped diagonally under the overheads, so Mutt and Jeff were backlit, their facial features indistinct.
“About what?” Kimbrough was very aware that his informant still had his gun out, but this didn’t seem to worry the two messengers. Did they just not give a damn–or, more likely, did they have their own firepower and were prepared to let off a volley if need be? Kimbrough didn’t want to die today, not with items left on his mental to-do list. Yeah, Beyoncé and Mariah Carey had both recently gotten hitched, but surely one of those bootylicious honeys sparking the cover of King–“The Illist Men’s Magazine Ever,” as it’s billed–were still within possibility for him to meet and woo. Lord, he hoped that was so.
“I believe you know about what, Mr. Kimbrough. Mr. Gilmore wants you to know he had nothing to do with the shotgun attack on you at Big Bear,” the tall one answered.
“If that’s so, then how did he know about it? I didn’t report the incident.”
The short one said, “Come on, Mr. Kimbrough, you know the answer to that.”
Kimbrough said, trying to break the tension, “Huh, he’s Dr. Strange, he sees all and knows all with the help of the Eye of Agamotto.”
“He’s a billionaire,” the tall one said matter-of-factly. The implication being that money, any slack-jawed yokel knew, always had the means. He had one of his feet on the open doorframe. As he took his foot off to place it on the ground, the man beside Kimbrough jerked his Baretta.
“Easy, Rambo,” the short one warned. “None of us want any drama.”
“As long as this shit don’t concern me,” the gunman said.
“It doesn’t,” the short man confirmed.
“Bet.” He put his gun away and turned and walked toward the stairwell.
“Can I call on you again?” Kimbrough asked, but looking ahead at the other two.