The Last Town #2:Preparing for the Dead(3)By: Stephen Knight
“We should talk to Victor Kuruk, too,” Norton added, and Booker wondered just why in the hell the leader of the Indian reservation to the town’s south should be involved.
“Good point, hadn’t thought of that,” Corbett said. “They’re good people, mostly, so we shouldn’t leave them out in the cold if we can help it.”
“What the hell are you two talking about?” Booker snapped.
Corbett and Norton looked at him squarely. Booker kept his eyes on Corbett, so he was surprised when it was Norton who finally spilled the beans.
“Max, it’s come down to this: the zombie apocalypse is starting, and we need to fortify this town to keep our people alive.”
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
“What do you mean, all flights are cancelled? This is outrageous! Do you know who I am?”
The ticket agent manning the desk at the gate looked harried as hell, but as soon as Sinclair played the celebrity card, his eyes narrowed into slits and he clenched his teeth. He glared at Sinclair and, for a moment, the talk show host feared the younger man was actually going to hit him.
“Yeah, I know who you are,” the man said. “You’re Jock Sinclair, that lobsterback blow-hard who keeps telling Americans they’re just a bunch of gun-toting assholes who shoot kids and blow up other countries. By the way, your flight’s cancelled.” He pointed at his nametag. “My name’s Juan Vega, the one from New Mexico, not the one from California. There are two of us here with that name, so make sure you mention the right guy when you call customer relations.”
“I God damn will!” Sinclair fairly shouted. He couldn’t believe the nerve of the little worm. A common worker? Standing up to me?
“Jock,” Meredith said softly, tugging at the sleeve of his navy blue blazer.
Sinclair ignored her. “How can all the flights be cancelled?” he said to the ticket agent. “Tell me that again, how can every flight out of Las Vegas be cancelled?”
“Because the FAA has called for a full ground stop, just like after 9/11,” the young man said. “You remember that, right?”
“Remember it? I lived through it! While you were still probably sucking your mother’s sagging tits in Mexico, I was living through the attack on New York!” Sinclair said. His heart was pounding in his chest, and he felt a surge of heat course through him like an electric shock. From the corner of his eye, he could see the rest of the passengers who were to fly to Los Angeles easing away from him.
“Jock!” Meredith said again, her voice louder.
“I said New Mexico, not Mexico,” the ticket agent said. “Hearing counts, my limey friend.” He looked away from Sinclair as another customer approached, asking him the same questions Sinclair had. Sinclair was about to have another go at the young man, but a much bigger individual in a cowboy hat stepped in front of him.
“You’re done here, Hollywood,” the man said.
Sinclair glared at the taller man, but allowed Meredith to take his arm and lead him away.
“We need to get out of here,” she said, being the voice of reason she usually was. As they walked away from the gate, joining the rest of the flow already on their way to McCarren International Airport’s baggage claim area, Sinclair saw several people glancing at them. Not because of his celebrity, damn it, but because of Meredith’s beauty. Even though she hadn’t been a supermodel in almost twenty years, her height, poise, tawny blond hair, and the aura of elegance she emanated demanded attention. Not that Sinclair gave a damn—he hadn’t married her for her looks or her mind, but for her family’s money. While Sinclair earned an average of two million dollars per year—nothing to laugh at, considering he had been born to lower-class stock from East Sussex, England—Meredith Thorn was potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars, thanks to the hard work of her grandfather and father, titans in the New York real estate scene. Meredith’s fortune allowed Sinclair to call the thirty-third floor of 15 Central Park West his principal residence. That he lived in a high floor of the limestone-clad tower known as one of New York’s most prestigious condominiums was a dream he never thought he could realize.