English Short Story Assignment

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Ed was told to go to Boston to bring back Rollo's daughter. Ed had been to Boston before, knew his way around, and could be trusted to do what he was told. He was the best choice of all the boys. Pyres explained this to Ed twice, two more times than he needed to. Ed sat and drank his beer, not saying anything while Pyres rolled on.

'In case somethin' does happen, you know cops, you know how to get around. You know what you can and can't do up there. The getting around is the big thing. Those streets are crazy up there. Little one-ways and shit. No numbers. None of the other guys would be comfortable.'

Ed drank more of his beer. If Rollo wanted him to go, he would go. He did know Boston, though he did not see it as all that hard to get around, but certainly a different story from the grid of Manhattan. Ed did not need any convincing or explanations from Pyres. In fact, he did not know what Pyres' function actually was, or why a man like Rollo would keep Pyres around; but Rollo did everything for a reason, so Ed sat and drank and listened to every word Pyres had to say.

'Can you leave tomorrow?'

'Yes.'

Ed used the Merritt: There were no trucks allowed, and the leaves weren't yet peak color - no tourists yet. He had a bag with three days worth of clothes in the passenger seat. In the trunk he had a Smith & Wesson 9mm automatic with rounds and three spare magazines.

It was a Friday, and the drive took just over four hours.

Ed kept the Chevy under seventy, traveling east now on the turnpike, still among the farms and hills of central Massachusetts. He reached for his phone and dialed a 617 from memory.

'Yes?' An Arab voice scratched in his ear.
< 2 >

'Kurt. Ed. Busy?'

'Oh, my goodness. Where are you?'

Ed read a sign. 'Sturbridge. And closing.'

'Oh, that is wonderful. Are you going to be staying? I am having a party tonight. All the old people. Many faces you know, they will be happy to see their son return. Are you well?'

'Yes.'

'Will you be my guest?'

'Yes, Kurt. I have some business that may cut the party short for me, but I wouldn't miss it. I can't stay with you this time. I am getting a hotel - '

'The Charles. I will arrange it.'

'No, no, thank you, Kurt. I'll get something. It's better this time if I handle my own arrangements. I am open to suggestions, though. I need to be close to Brookline.'

'How about Newton?'

'Yes, that would be perfect.'

'Yes. The Sheraton, then. Exit 14.'

'Oh, yeah. I remember now. What time?'

'Oh, come early, if business lets you, my friend. Anytime after the sun goes down. Our friends will arrive after a dinner at the Pudding - can you believe it is still standing? This will give us time to talk. It has been a long time, Edward.'

'Too long. I'll see you soon.'

Rollo had named his daughter Eliza, which Ed thought was asking for trouble in the first place. The name made him think of sex and dirt and makeup. Ed had met her several times throughout the years, even drove her to and from school a few times, though he doubted she remembered it. He remembered her as a brat, yelling about things and swearing, even at an early age. < 3 >

She was twenty now, and could not have thought Boston was far enough to run to or big enough to hide in. This must be a test, another push to see how far her father would bend. One day, thought Ed, Rollo would tell him to kill her. Rollo would give him the order while lining up a putt, or shuffling his papers, and Ed would do it.

For now, Rollo just wanted her hauled back down to the city. He had not even bothered to call Ed to Tribecca, to the sixth floor on Hudson Street, to tell him in person. Instead he got a long, slow hiss from Pyres in a bar on the West Side.

Alone in his room, Ed hung his jacket in the closet and laid out the pistol on the bed. He...
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