Page 13 of Hawkes Harbor

Jamie stopped.

"Didn't have what? Didn't have a mother? A wife and child at home? Did you stop to ask him, Jamie?" Kell took a breath. "Or did you do what had to be done?"

Jamie closed his eyes. "Don't you know what they'll use those guns for?"

Jamie would wipe out the memory of Steve's face with anything at hand but could always hear his voice.

"How much was in my wallet?" When he heard, he said, "Oh fuck."

"Well, if that's what you're after you'll have to use some persuasion. You'll not be buying it for a while."

Jamie dropped his head into his hands, rubbing his hair back. The cold rain beat ceaselessly on the window. It was always raining now.

He was sick of everything. There wasn't any reason for anything. The why of it all overwhelmed him.

"Listen, Jamie, I'm going up to Hawkes Harbor, Delaware. There's a widow there I've a hankering to visit. It's a quiet little town, uncanny kind of place, strange, but you could rest up there."

"The widow's rich, huh?"

"No need to be cynical, lad, but yes. And very lovely."

"And she'll be glad to see you?"

"I can make her glad to see me. If not, she might give me a generous farewell gift."

Hawkes Harbor. Uncanny, huh? Sounded like something Kell would say—Kell was tripping over ghosts in the Philippines, paying off witches in Africa, who knew what he meant by "uncanny," applied to some little backwater hole?

But at least it was a plan. Jamie had no plan.

"So, how'd the Caribbean bank deal go?" Jamie asked. "You leave a lot of money there?"

Jamie was starting, just a little, to be glad to see Kell. Although he hadn't missed him at all these last three weeks, had thought he didn't care if he ever saw him again.

If he would just quit nursemaiding. Quit mentioning Steve Malloy.

"Some, not as much as I hoped."

Jamie never realized, because Kell didn't himself, that there would never, ever be as much money as Kell hoped.

Once Kell put money in the bank—and he had accounts all over the world—it was gone for him; he had to do with what was at hand.

The backbreaking, soul-deadening poverty Kellen Quinn grew up in made Jamie's life at the orphanage look like a stint at a luxury resort.

There would never be enough money for Kell—though if he'd thought to add all his accounts together he'd be pleasantly surprised. He was worth close to half a million dollars.

"So you'll come with me, boy? I'm going to go by train."

Kell, too, was a little soul-sick. They'd lived hard, these last years. Young Malloy's murder bothered him, more than he'd admit. Maybe Lydia would be more than just an easy touch for a stake, another profitable leverage.

It would be nice to have a home at my age, Kell thought.

"You go ahead," Jamie said. "I'll get a job, a berth up to Dover. I'll meet you up there."

"Trains ..." Kell began.

"I don't want to owe you nothing!" Jamie snapped. "And I want to be at sea."

"All right, Jamie," Kell said. "I'll go on ahead."

Jamie drained the water glass sitting next to the bed. He felt a little ashamed....

"So who's widow is this, anyway?"

"Mine," Kell said. "Mine."

Leaving for Hawkes Hall

Terrace View Asylum, Delaware October 1967

Dr. McDevitt watched Jamie repair the leak in the kitchen sink. He was thorough, methodical, chose his tools carefully.

He wasn't fast, but very careful. Jamie had put a door back on its hinges, fixed the hot-water heater, and gave an opinion, which turned out to be correct, on the television.

Jamie had watched the TV repairman at work, talked to him occasionally. It was one of the days when he'd bothered to dress and the repairman took him to be an attendant and enjoyed explaining what he was doing—until Nurse Whiting came by with Jamie's afternoon meds.

Then the repairman got nervous and clammed up, like many people did when they realized they were talking to a mental patient. Jamie eventually wandered off.

Dr. McDevitt sighed at the memory. He would have felt for any patient, but Jamie so rarely tried to relate to anyone....

"Where did you learn these skills, Jamie? The navy?" The doctor felt a little guilty, using a patient like this (the janitor Albert was often missing or drunk or both), but the work had a calming effect on Jamie and seemed to alleviate his depression, and he was glad to help each time he was asked. The doctor decided it was therapy.

"No." Jamie's voice came from under the sink. "Not the navy. Concentrated on navigation, instruments, seamanship in the navy. That and guns. I was in the South China Sea, it was before 'Nam got so hot, but even then you saw a lot of guns there.

"No, I went to a vo-tech high school. It was a good place. They made sure you could use everything—like I'm not good at reading, but I can read maps and technical fine. Not good at math, but I can chart a course, translate money. My handwriting's real bad, but I can keep a log so you can read it. Plumbing, carpentry, small-engine repair, auto mechanics—my wood-shop teacher had a fit when I joined the navy, he wanted me to go into cabinetry, but all I ever wanted was to go to sea. I was a fuckin' straight-A student, which'll surprise you. Almost got kicked out twice, because of fighting, that probably won't... that ought to hold it."

He slid out from under the cabinet.

"Jamie, I'm not surprised only because you have told me you had something of a violent nature in the past—I certainly wouldn't deduce that from my own personal experience with you."

Jamie lay flat on his back for a minute. "Yeah. See, Grenville did that for me. Once I started working for him, I was thinking, Now I really know how it feels to hurt, so I don't want to hurt anybody. I started thinking about what I was doing. Like when I was running guns, I thought about getting caught, if I was going to get paid, if those gangsters were just gonna drop me overboard some night—but I never did think about what the guns were used for, till it was too late. How many people they'd kill. Me and Kell did a lot of stuff I ain't too proud of ... hell, it wasn't Kell's fault, I did plenty on my own. Now I try every day to have nothing to be sorry about."

"Mr. Hawkes did this for you? How?"

"I can't remember exactly. He gave me a chance to reform, I remember that." He sat up.

"Oh shit." He rubbed at his right shoulder. "Goddamn fuckin'—" His swearing demonstrating a skill he had learned in the navy, while tears welled up in his eyes.

Dr. McDevitt went to the intercom and ordered a pain reliever.

"Your shoulder hurts?"

"My whole back." Jamie grimaced, rocking a little. "That goddamn cop did a number on me, all right. And I wasn't doin' nothing...."

Jamie cried for a few minutes, gulped his pill between sobs. Even

tually he quit trembling.

"It's a good thing I'm left-handed.... You think I'll ever get well? My back, I mean. I know you got your doubts about my mind."

"Jamie, I think mentally you can improve, and physically you will get better.

"I wouldn't be surprised, though, if your shoulder always gives you trouble. You had extensive damage both to bone and muscle. Did they ever explain that to you at the infirmary?"

"You mean, at Eastern State? I can't remember the infirmary, don't even remember the ward much, now."

Keep your head down, your mouth shut, and you won't get kicked. That was what he remembered. Always hunting for a safe corner...

"And your physical therapist here, what does she tell you?"

"That I'm the biggest pussy about pain she's ever seen, a ten-year-old could take it better, next time she'll give me something to cry about—"

There was a sudden sharp crack, and Dr. McDevitt looked at his broken pencil. He put the pieces in his pocket and took out another, freshly sharpened. His coat and shirt pockets were filled with pencils, both whole and broken.

The patients joked about it, as well he knew. "I made Dr. Mac snap three times today," he'd overhear. "How about you?"

"Doc? Hey, don't take it so serious. She's right. Come on, don't look like that."

"Jamie, I am so sorry. We'll find you another therapist right away. You have an abnormally low pain tolerance, I thought that had been explained to her."

He made a note to fire the therapist. If there was one thing Dr. McDevitt prided himself on, it was the humane conditions at Terrace View. And the one thing he could not tolerate was cruelty.

Jamie's low pain tolerance had puzzled him from the beginning.

Dr. McDevitt at one point had even thought about ordering neurological tests to determine the cause of this, but decided against it. The number of mu receptors any one person possessed determined their pain tolerance—you were born with it, like red hair or freckles. Dr. McDevitt had no idea how this could be altered physically.


Tags: S. E. Hinton Fantasy
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