“So, it’s possible that Bruder not only killed Jamie, he cheated on her, too.”
“We don’t know for sure that he was cheating.”
“I’ve seen the woman. He was cheating.”
“If you say so.”
Bobby closed his eyes again. While his eyes were closed, he said, “I wish you hadn’t given your keys to Shelby.”
“To my lake home? Why wouldn’t I?”
He didn’t reply.
He still didn’t answer and in a flash it all seemed perfectly clear to me.
That got him to open his eyes.
“You weren’t going to take Shelby up north. You were going to take someone else. Who?”
“Your young, beautiful, and smart as hell partner? Dammit, Bobby. You were going to cheat on your wife—on Shelby—at my lake home.”
“You’re obsessed with cheating, you know that? You have cheating on the brain.”
“Tell me it’s not true.”
“It’s not true.”
“Don’t lie to me, you sonuvabitch.”
“McKenzie, you don’t know anything about it.”
“Go ’head. Enlighten me.”
“I’ve been married for twelve years. Twelve years with the same woman, while you were always with somebody different.”
“Somebody, but never someone.”
“Oh, please. Make me feel sorry for you. Poor little rich boy. You don’t have a clue, McKenzie. You don’t know anything about it.”
“I know this. You’re going to ruin your life because you’re bored. Why don’t you do what Bruder did if you want adventure. Meet Shelby in hotels and out of the way restaurants. Have sex on the fifth hole of the Como Park golf course like you did with what’s-her-name when we were kids.”
“That wasn’t me,” Bobby shouted. “That was you! It was always you. You talk about adventures, but they’re your adventures.”
“And now you want to know what you’re missing.”
“Something like that.”
“Give me back my keys.”
“You’re going to do what you want to do and I’m not going to stop you or dime you out to Shelby, either. Only I’m not going to help. So, give me my keys back.”
“Fine,” he said, but I noticed he didn’t reach into his pocket.
“I’ll tell you something else. When this goes bad, and it will, and I have to choose between friends, I’m going with Shelby and the girls.”
“Oh, I’ve never doubted that. Not for a second.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“C’mon, McKenzie. You’ve been in love with Shelby since the day you met her. Do you think I don’t know that?”
“So, I’m in love with Shelby. You have a problem with that?”
“You’re damn right I have a problem with that. She’s my wife!”
“That’s right. She’s your wife. She chose you. She could have had me. She chose you. She married you. She had your children. She keeps your house. She loves you. Not me. She wouldn’t go near me to save her life. Or any other man. It’s you. It’s always been you. And now you’re going to cheat on her if you haven’t already.”
“I haven’t and I never said I was going to.”
“But you’re thinking about it.”
“There’s thinking and there’s doing.”
“Well, don’t do it.”
“Happy now, McKenzie?”
“You want a sno-cone?”
“You really have a sno-cone machine?”
“Where did you get a sno-cone machine?”
“Remember Tommy Baumgartner from high school?”
“Kid who broke his collarbone playing basketball?”
“He owns a bunch of sno-cone concessions at the Minnesota State Fair now. He helped me get one.”
And so we had sno-cones. The machine was probably too big—it was designed for amusement parks and will shave over five hundred pounds of ice in an hour, but I liked its antique charm. Bobby watched intently as I loaded the machine with about two and a half pounds of ice cubes and shaved enough of it for two large cones. I flavored mine with cherry syrup. He took grape.
“This is pretty good,” he told me. “But about that music …”
I replaced the monks with The Very Best of Aretha Franklin, Vol. 1.
Bobby liked the first sno-cone so much he had a second. While he was eating it he said, “You’re the best friend I’ll ever have.”
“You don’t get out much at all, do you?” I told him, keeping it light.
“Where in hell is Bruder?”
The Sunday newspapers speculated that Good Deal Dave was no longer in the state. I know I wouldn’t be. ’Course, there are plenty of places in the Twin Cities where a man could hide. Places that deal in cash only, where they don’t want to know who you are or see a credit card or a personal check or any form of ID, where they don’t want to know what kind of car you drive or what your license plate number is. The question was, how would a yuppie from Highland Park know where to find those places?
And another question.
“How did Cook get my business card?”
“It’s a mystery to me,” Bobby said.
When he left a short time later, we shook hands.