The Blade Itself

The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey Read Free Book Online

Book: The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Marcus Sakey
Tags: Fiction, Suspense, Thrillers
not buying you a damn PlayStation so you can rot your brain.’
    ‘What do you care?’ Tommy glared at his father. ‘You’re never even
here
.’
    ‘Don’t you talk that way to me, young man. I’m still your father.’
    ‘Barely.’ The boy turned and stormed away.
    ‘Get back here. Thomas Matthew O’Donnell, get your ass back here!’
    The kid flipped the bird over his shoulder and kept walking. He was stomping away with such righteous adolescent fury that he almost bumped into Danny before noticing him standing beside his truck. Danny smiled bemusedly and rolled his eyes. Showed him a little camaraderie. He didn’t really know why – he barely knew the boy. Maybe something to do with having caught plenty of Richard’s yelling fits.
    Tommy caught his look, nodded angrily. ‘I hate him.’
    ‘Ahh, don’t say that.’ Danny shut the truck door. ‘Not over a PlayStation.’
    The kid shook his head. ‘It’s not that. I don’t care about that. He’s just never…’ He straightened, wiped at one eye with the back of his hand. ‘I wish I lived with Mom.’
    ‘Cut him a little slack. I’m sure he loves you.’ He was, too. Richard was a loudmouth, but his office was plastered with photos of the boy, and company meetings routinely began with everyone giving their best impression of sincere interest while Richard regaled them with his son’s minor accomplishments.
    Tommy snorted. ‘Whatever.’ He stormed away, little fists pumping.
    Danny shook his head and walked to the porch. The truck had blocked him from Richard’s view, and his boss seemed suddenly embarrassed to see him, though he covered with a salesman’s smile wide as it was fake.
    ‘Kids. Can’t live with them, can’t chain ’em up in the basement.’ Richard wore boat shoes without socks, and extended a hand that was softer than you’d expect from a guy in construction. ‘Want a drink?’
    He started inside without waiting for an answer. Danny followed, wiping his feet on the mat before stepping on the living room’s soft carpeting. Shafts of sunlight splashed across professionally decorated rooms. Everything smelled faintly of lemon. Richard led the way to his private office at the end of the hall. A sumptuous leather couch rested beneath an abstract canvas of scarlet and black. On the walnut desk sat twin flat-screen monitors, both of them displaying graphs and stock quotes. Richard glanced over distastefully, then hurried to shut them off. ‘And the goddamn market’s more irritating than the kid.’
    ‘Bad run?’
    ‘I’m taking a bath. I got in on these sure-thing tech stocks? I may as well have just gone to Arlington, put Tommy’s college fund on the ponies.’ He stepped to anantique bar and poured single-malt into Waterford glasses.
    Danny had never seen much difference between the stock market and betting on a football game, except that in another one of those ironies legitimate life afforded, day traders were likelier than bookies to show up with a rifle and start shooting strangers. Richard passed him the scotch, dropped into a leather chair, put his feet on a custom ottoman, and continued ranting about his bad luck.
    Richard considered himself a self-made man, claiming he’d turned ‘a trailer, a toolbox, and a tower of bills’ into a company employing nearly forty men. When he told the story – which was often – he always skimped on the details of how he’d accomplished it. The reason was simple: He hadn’t. Richard had inherited the company, and before he adopted Danny as his lieutenant, he’d been busily running it into the ground.
    It’d taken less than two years for Danny’s strategic sense and hands-dirty experience to turn things around. He made it possible for Richard to earn a profit without troubling to learn anything about the business. It was an arrangement that suited Danny fine. He’d always preferred running things to carrying them, and as dense as Richard could be, he was smart enough to know

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