The Beast lay the last page face down on the coffee table and made the face, the one where he twirled his tongue around the inside of his cheek.
“Well?” I asked.
“Hm.” He sniffed.
“What do you think? I wrote your book. 66,865 words. Do you like it?”
He breathed out his nose and looked away, staring out the window. “Well. It’s all right. For a first draft. But it’s not long enough. And chapter thirty-two—it’s all wrong. You have to rewrite it completely. ” He shook his head and turned back to me. “You’re not off the hook yet.”
I coughed in order to cover the curse word under my breath. It was best to stay on his good side. I tried again. “Do you even like it? I did what you asked me to do. Put in all that—stuff you wanted. No one’s going to like me. If it’s ever published—which it won’t be—well I can’t ever show my face at work again. Or anywhere, for that matter. But I wrote it like you told me to. And you can’t pay me a single compliment.”
“Don’t get me wrong. It’s got potential.”
“I’m not writing anymore. You’re evicted. I’m running a 5k instead.”
He laughed. “You won’t do no stinking 5k. Besides, you need me.”
It was a last resort, but worth a shot. “I don’t need you. I have him.” I pointed a thumb at the cowboy, dozing on the sofa with his hat over his face and his boots leaving dirty scuffs on the coffee table.
The Beast pulled a gun from his own holster and in a single instant, aimed and fired. The cowboy fell over, landed hard, blood drenching my Guatemalan pillow covers.
I got up, disgusted. “Oh man. I’m not doing anything until you clean that up.”
But the good news is, the first draft of HitList is finished.