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SON OF A GUN Chapter 1 Excerpt

SON OF A GUN Chapter 1 Excerpt

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Published by scprweb
Excerpted from SON OF A GUN by Justin St. Germain. Copyright © 2013 by Justin St. Germain. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpted from SON OF A GUN by Justin St. Germain. Copyright © 2013 by Justin St. Germain. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Published by: scprweb on Sep 10, 2013
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09/20/2013

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 THE BEAS
S
oon ater we learned that our mother was dead, mybrother and I went to a bar. We’d already worked thephones. Josh had called our grandparents, who’d beendivorced or orty years but both still lived in Philadelphia.Grandpop said he’d book the first flight he could, but air travelwas snarled rom the attacks nine days earlier. Grandma wasaraid o flying, so she stayed in her rented room in suburbanPhilly, wrecked and helpless. I called my dad’s house in NewHampshire, but he wasn’t home. Eventually he called back. Itold him she was dead and a long pause ensued, one in a litanyo silences between my ather and me, stretching across theyears since he’d let and the distance between us, thousands o miles, most o America. Finally he said she was a good person,that he’d always cared or her. He asked i I wanted him to flyto Arizona. I said he didn’t have to and hung up.I emailed my proessors and told them what had happened,that I wouldn’t be back in class or a while. I called the o ce o 
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the college newspaper where I worked and told my boss. Joshcalled in sick to his bartending job. Then we sat on the couchwith our roommate, Joe, an old riend rom Tombstone we’dknown since grade school. It was a Thursday, and we hadnothing to do. Somebody suggested the French Quarter, aCajun joint nearby that had spicy gumbo and potent hurri-canes. It seemed like a good idea: I’d heard stories o grie inwhich the stricken couldn’t eat, but I was hungry, and I neededa drink. So that’s where we spent our first night without her.When we walked in, President Bush was on TV, about togive a speech. The jukebox was turned of, as it had been sincethe attacks, because now everybody wanted to hear the news. Joe went to the bar to talk to some o the regulars. Josh and Itook a booth in the corner. Orion, the bartender and a riendo ours, came over and told us he was sorry, and to have what-ever we wanted on the house. I wondered i Joe had just toldhim or i he’d already heard. I didn’t know yet how quickly orhow ar the news would travel, that within a ew hours wewouldn’t need to tell anyone about our mother, because every-one would already know.I flipped through the menu but couldn’t understand it. We’dboth put our cell phones on the tabletop, and mine rang, chirp-ing as it skittered across the glass. I ignored it.“What now?” I asked. Josh kept his eyes on the menu and shook his head. “There’snot much we can do.”“Should we go out there?” I didn’t know what to call theplace where she’d died; it wasn’t home, because we’d neverlived there, and it didn’t have a name. It was just a piece o landin the desert outside o Tombstone.“We can’t. The property is a crime scene.”I asked him i we should talk to the cops and he said he al-ready had, that we were meeting with them on Monday. I
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asked about a uneral home and he said the coroner had to doan autopsy first, the cops said it was standard procedure. Therewas a long pause. My mother and her parents always said Joshwas more like my ather, di cult to read, and he looked likeDad, too, sharp nosed and handsome. I got more rom mymother, they said, the dark and heavy brows, the temper, theheart on my sleeve. But i I was like my mother, why was I sonumb?Food arrived. Through the windows I watched the sky out-side go purple and the tra c on Grant die down. A hot breezeblew through the open door. On television, President Bushidentified the enemy, a vast network o terror that wanted tokill all o us, and finally he said the name o a murderer.“Do you think Ray did it?” I asked. The police couldn’t findour stepather or the pickup truck he and my mother owned.He was the only suspect, but I didn’t want to believe it. Josh waited awhile to respond, chewing, letting his eyeswander the walls decorated with beads and Mardi Gras masksand a neon sign above the bar that said “Geaux Tigers.”“We’ll know or sure when they find him.”A pool cue cracked and a ball ell into a pocket with a hol-low knock. My phone rang again. I didn’t answer. My voicemail was already ull, and the calls kept coming, rom distantamily, my riends, her riends, acquaintances rom Tomb-stone, people I hardly knew. At first I’d answered, but the con-versations went exactly the same: they’d say they were sorryand I’d thank them or calling; they’d ask or news and I’d saythere wasn’t any; they’d ask i there was anything they coulddo and I’d say no. It was easier to let them leave a message.On the TV, the president talked about a long campaign tocome, unlike anything we’d ever seen. He said to live our livesand hug our children. He said to be calm and resolute in theace o a continuing threat.
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