We locked 23 and hung a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door handle. Frank, Tony, Midnight and me congregated back in the other room. Tony shuffled intently through his deck of cards. Midnight sat on the bed, glancing around nervously like the only sober girl at a party thrown by people she doesn’t know. Frank was pacing around massaging his knuckles, they way he did when he was really pissed off. As I understood it, he had known Travis for years, but he didn’t seem too upset about his death right now.
That didn’t mean, however, that it had had no effect on him. Frank was worried, not to mention angry, that someone had decided to fuck up a perfectly simple business exchange for no apparent reason. After he had yelled a little and broken a couple of tacky hotel pictures, Frank calmed down enough to take stock of the situation.
“First of all, we have to assume that whoever did Travis has got Stan too. After all, he came this close to wasting you, Johnny,” he said, shooting me a look that was not entirely devoid of suspicion. “That means he’s got three of us, including Mitch. Now we can’t allow this bastard to pick us off one by one. From now on, the three of us stick together.”
“Hello! What about me?” asked Midnight. I thought she was holding up remarkably well all things considered.
I said, “I’m sorry I got you into this. I better take you home.”
“Hell you will,” Frank said, shaking his head. “We all stay in the hotel until morning, then we’ll work out what we’re doing. Besides, she could go to the cops - I’m sure they’d love to examine our baggage.”
“I won’t…” Midnight began.
“Was I talking to you, honey?” said Frank, looking like what he really wanted to do was slap her.
I held his gaze, all the while conscious of how much I didn’t want to piss him off. “She’s not going to the cops,” I said slowly but firmly. “And I’m not going to get her killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“Frank paused, took a breath. “Johnny…” I could tell he was maybe five seconds from taking his gun out to reinforce his argument. He might have done it reluctantly, but he would certainly have done it, had Midnight not interrupted him.
“It’s okay, Johnny,” she said, putting her hand on my arm. “Stupid as it may sound, I’d actually rather stay here.”
“Really?” I asked.
“I live above the diner - call me crazy but I don’t want to be there alone if whoever shot at you decides to come back. Besides, this is my only chance to hang out with real live bank robbers.”
I looked at Frank, and his expression told me he’d been appeased for now. What she had said did make sense: whether I liked it or not, Midnight was in danger either way, and this way I could keep an eye on her. Reluctantly, I nodded.
“I just hope we stay that way. Because no one wants to hang out with real dead bank robbers.”