- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Oct 2009
From the book
I tell the truth. They lie.
I'm strong. They're weak.
This was a zero job but Doyle was getting paid.
Why anyone would shell out fifteen bucks an hour, three hours a day, five times a week, to check out the empty shell of a rich-idiot monster-house was something he'd never get.
The look-see took fifteen minutes. If he walked slow. Rest of the time, Doyle sat around, ate his lunch, listened to Cheap Trick on his Walkman.
Thinking about being a real cop if his knee hadn't screwed up.
The company said go there, he went.
Disability all run out, he swallowed part-time, no benefits. Paying to launder his own uniform.
One time he heard a couple of the other guys talking behind his back.
Gimp's lucky to get anything.
Like it was his fault. His blood level had been .05, which wasn't even close to illegal. That tree had jumped out of nowhere.
Gimp made Doyle go all hot in the face and the chest but he kept his mouth shut like he always did. One day . . .
He parked the Taurus on the patch of dirt just outside the chainlink, tucked his shirt tighter.
Seven a.m., quiet except for the stupid crows squawking.
Rich-idiot neighborhood but the sky was a crappy milky gray just like in Burbank where Doyle's apartment was.
Nothing moving on Borodi Lane. As usual. The few times Doyle saw anyone it was maids and gardeners. Rich idiots paying to live here but never living here, one monster-mansion after another, blocked by big trees and high gates. No sidewalks, either. What was that all about?
Every once in a while, some tucked-tight blonde in Rodeo Drive sweats would come jogging down the middle of the road looking miserable. Never before ten, that type slept late, had breakfast in bed, massages, whatever. Laying around in satin sheets, getting waited on by maids and butlers before building up the energy to shake those skinny butts and long legs.
Bouncing along in the middle of the road, some Rolls-Royce comes speeding down and kaboom. Wouldn't that be something?
Doyle collected his camouflage-patterned lunch box from the trunk, made his way toward the three-story plywood shell. The third being that idiot castle thing-the turret. Unfinished skeleton of a house that would've been as big as a . . . as a . . . Disneyland castle.
Fantasyland. Doyle had done some pacing, figured twenty thousand square feet, minimum. Two-acre lot, maybe two and a half.
Framed up and skinned with plywood, for some reason, he could never find out why, everything stopped and now the heap was all gray, warping, striped with rusty nail-drips.
Crappy gray sky leaking in through rotting rafters. On hot days, Doyle tucked himself into a corner for shade.
Out behind in the bulldozed brown dirt was an old Andy Gump accidentally left behind, chemicals still in the john. The door didn't close good and sometimes Doyle found coyote scat inside, sometimes mouse droppings.
When he felt like it, he just whizzed into the dirt.
Someone paying all that money to build Fantasyland, then just stopping. Go figure.
He'd brought a good lunch today, roast beef sandwich from Arby's, too bad there was nothing to heat the gravy with. Opening the box, he sniffed. Not bad. He moved toward the chain-link swing gate . . . what the-
Stupid thing was pulled as wide as the chain allowed, which was about two, two and a half feet. Easy for anyone but a fat idiot to squeeze through.
The chain had always been too long to really draw the gate tight, making the lock useless, but Doyle was careful to twist it up,...