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Murder in Jackson Hole - Prolog

Murder in Jackson Hole A car door slammed and Dex Dexter peered out the dormer window of a room redolent with the aroma of burning marijuana, then hollered down the stairwell.

"She's here!"

Bugs Rios walked to the front door and looked through the beveled glass pane. A small blonde woman was coming up the walk while looking around nervously.

Inside, Dex went to the bathroom closed the door, took down the shower curtain and tilted the hollow rod. The plastic curtain fell into the tub. Removing one rubber end cap, he retrieved a string and pulled gently. A plastic baggie slid into his hand. It contained a quarter-ounce of cocaine which had been liberally cut with mannita, an Italian baby laxative. Another string, with another QZ attached, was tied to the first bag. He took a folding hunter's knife from its holster and cut away one of the bags, then tucked the others back into the rod and put the assembly in place.

Downstairs, Bugs was talking to the blonde as she sat on the edge of the couch, nervously smoking a cigarette.

"Hi, Wayne ," she said when Dexter reached the bottom of the stairs. Her mouth curled into what was meant to be a smile. She was afraid and Dex liked that. He dropped the bag of coke on the coffee table and grinned as her eyes were drawn hungrily to it. She stared. Forgotten cigarette smoke made its way out her open mouth.

"How much?" she asked. Dex frowned.

"Eight hundred, you know that. It's always eight to you. I'm giving you a break ‘cause Three Quarters Ed is your old man and my homie."

She looked up at him, the damaged smile returned " Wayne . . ." Her voice took on a pleading note.

A bubble of disgust rose in Dex's throat as he looked down at her. He knew what was coming because he had heard it a thousand times.

"Wayne , can ya hold a personal check for two hundred of it? Please?"

Bugs snorted. Wayne looked at the blonde for a long moment, his eyes had gone cold. His voice came out a disgusted whisper.

"You know better than that shit, Tammy. I only front my friends."

Fear moved into the blonde's eyes as she looked up at Dex. The guy was scary. He was a dealer who used heavily and Bugs, his human pit bull, was a notorious needle freak. She glanced at Bug's arms, crusted and welted with tracks.

"Wayne , it's just that my rent's overdue and the landlord caught me comin' over here and I had to give him two hundred bucks or he would've kicked me out right then. It was real bad timin'. I'd been ditchin' him for almost a week but he caught me and I had to pay him right there."

Her voice was pleading. She glanced at Bugs, who was grinning. He knew how this was going to turn out.

"Look, I can turn all this over this weekend. I'll get the two hundred to you by Sunday afternoon, latest." She paused. "Please?"

She looked up into Dex's rain-colored eyes, and they chilled her. "Please?" she whined. A crack appeared in Dex's face. Slowly, it turned into a cold smile.

"Sure," he said, suddenly amiable. The blonde smiled and reached to the floor for her purse.

"But you are going to have to give us something for security."

She looked puzzled. "But I ain't got nothin'. Wayne , you know that."

"Whatcha got in those pants?"

"Huh?"

"You have something in those pants that you could use for trade, use for security."

"Whatcha mean, Wayne ?" Her eyes drowned in fear.

Bugs leaned up against the wall and laughed loudly. He knew Dex had no use for sex with anyone but Dex. He loved to watch. Mr. Masturbation himself. Except for the free toot and the petty violence during some collections, this was what Bugs lived for. Moments just like this. He loved Dex Dexter because he was a cold mother jumper. Un hombre de mas cojones .

Dex never took his eyes from the girl's face. "Bugs, do you want to take a little security from Tammy?"

"Sure." The girl's eyes squinted. Her voice came out in a whimper.

" Wayne , I don't wanna do that. Please. Don't make me do that."

His voice was a cold whisper as he leaned down and hissed into her face.

"Then get out of the fucking house."

"But Wayne , I got to go back with the stuff. I gotta score this QZ. A lot of this money is other people's money and they're waitin'."

"Not my problem." Her glance jerked back and forth between Bugs and Dex.

"Wayne, none of this is my money … and neither was the two hundred I had to give my landlord. I got to make this score to pay it back and have somethin' to eat on 'til I get paid from the bar. Please. I'm saying please." Her voice trailed off and tears welled in her faded blue eyes. They ran down the pale, once-pretty face.

"Sounds like you screwed up," he said and smiled at her. She looked down and her voice dropped to a whisper.

"Wayne , please don't make me do this. This is humiliatin'."

Dex shrugged and reached down to pick up the QZ and he placed her hand on his.

"With you." She said. "Not with him."

"Nahhh. Bugs handles my margin accounts." He laughed. "You're a margin account."

She stood slowly, her purse in her hand, eyes down. She started toward the door, then stopped, her back to the men.

"Where? "she asked.

Bugs said, "Anywhere! How about doggie style out on the lawn?"

Tammy turned around and looked at Dex. She avoided Bugs' green smile and now-lively eyes.

"It's got to be on a bed. A clean bed," she said in a small but emphatic voice. "And nobody watches."

"Use Dave's bed, it's clean," Dex said to Bugs then turned to Tammy. "Sorry, Hon, I'm a watcher and a picture taker. Take it or leave it."

After a moment Tammy walked to Dex and held out her hand. He handed her the QZ and she put it in her purse then set the purse on the coffee table. Bugs took her by the hand and began to hurry her down the hall.

Dex reached down and turned the purse upside down on the table, spilling the contents that included a small baggie of heart-shaped amphetamines. He took a wad of bills and counted six hundred and seventeen dollars and put it all in his shirt pocket.

"And seventeen bucks for interest." He smiled with disdain as he confiscated the speed. "Coke whores."

He started down the hall, fondling himself and smiling as he hears a whining protest from the bedroom. "No! I don't want to do that . . . please don't. Please!"

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