Lucky Day

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Book: Lucky Day by Barry Lyga Read Free Book Online
Authors: Barry Lyga
for basic locomotion. Billy’s gaze lingered just a moment longer than G. William’s own. “Been a while, eh?”
    Billy straightened in his seat as though guilty of something. “Sorry. Lost in thought. I got a sister named Samantha. Guess this last one’s on my mind a lot.” He held up his drink. “Here’s to reelection.”
    G. William grunted and clinked his beer bottle. “Sure. Why not?”
    They drank.
    “People around here are forgiving types, Sheriff. They know you can’t do everything, solve every crime, save every life. You’ve done well by them for a long, long time. My momma says you’re the best sheriff this town’s ever had. And she’s been here a damn long time.”
    “Well, tell your momma I appreciate her confidence.” He sucked at the beer bottle again. He was just beginning to buzz, and it felt good and wrong at the same time. “Tell me: How old’s that boy of yours now?”
    Billy drank, too. They were close to dry, and he signaled to Maribeth for two more. “Jasper? Almost fourteen.”
    “You know, I always liked the way he took to that poor Gersten boy. It’s a credit to you and Janice.” G. William realized what he’d just said. “Ah, hell. Sorry, Billy.”
    Billy waved it off, but G. William detected real regret in his expression. “It’s okay, Sheriff. She’s been gone more’n five years. Eventually, I gotta get used to it.”
    Five years. Jesus. And still getting used to it. “How long do you think it takes?” He hated the tone of desperation in his voice. “To get used to it.”
    Billy shook his head sadly. “When I figure it out, I’ll tell you.”
    Maribeth brought the new drinks. They raised them.
    “To women who deserved better than us,” Billy said, a generous sentiment considering his wife had run off.
    “Amen.” G. William clinked, and they drank again. He felt warm and almost invisible back here in the booth, isolated. No one was even looking in his direction, except for Billy, with those almost-too-blue eyes.
    Billy belched. “Mind my asking—I’ve always wondered. What’s the G stand for?”
    G. William clucked his tongue. He’d managed to do a good job keeping that one under wraps. Small-town folk were good folk, but he didn’t expect them to understand his mother’s whims. Even Joyce had called him “G. William” rather than by his Christian name.
    Ah, what the hell. It was Billy. He chuckled. “Gareth.”
    “Gareth?” Billy repeated with an expression of mingled delight and bafflement.
    “It’s a perfectly good name,” G. William shot back.
    Billy held up a defensive hand and laughed. “No argument from me. My momma gave me Cornelius .”
    “At least she had the decency to make it your middle name.”
    “Well, yeah.” He scratched his head. “Gareth. Really?”
    “It’s from the story of King Arthur. Pretty sure that’s the only book my mother ever read, but she knew it back and forth.”
    They laughed together and drank some more. “I see you’re letting your hair grow back,” G. William commented. A while back, Billy had surprised folks in town with a bald head.
    Now Billy ran a hand over his stubbled pate. “Yeah. Saw some fella on TV had it bald. Thought it might look good on me,” he said with a snicker. “Thought wrong.”
    G. William shrugged. “It grows back.”
    “For now. If the pictures of my momma’s daddy are any indication, I’m looking at losing it all sooner or later.”
    “There are worse fates.”
    G. William said it lightly, but as soon as the words were out of his mouth, they took on heft and density. They thudded into the center of the table and lay there, leaden and unmoving.
    Maribeth brought another round. G. William was on his way to being drunk now, and that was just fine.
    There are worse fates.
    Fucking hell.
    “Two girls dead,” G. William whispered. “Two of my girls. My people, Billy. Dead. And I got nothing.”
    Billy leaned forward. Jesus, but his eyes were intense! G. William felt like

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