"I heard that," his mother said walking back into the kitchen. "I know exactly what to do with my money." She had a small, flat box under her arm.

"Look at these, Tammy. Aren't they precious?" She opened one end of the box and pulled out a dozen baby pictures of John. Mostly nude or otherwise embarrassing shots taken around the house where he grew up.

John dropped his head on the table.

"I had copies blown up of all my favorite pictures. Just look at these."

"I would love to," Tammy said, giving John a playful tap on the wrist. "I simply love baby pictures."

He finally pushed away from the kitchen table. "I'm leaving now."

"Wait," Tammy said. "Aren't you going shopping with us?"

"Shopping?"

"That's right."

"You and my mother?"

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"Yes, John," his mother said. "That so strange?"

"Now I know you're serious," John said to Tammy.

Tammy held up a shot of him with a red Christmas stocking cap on and nothing else. He had a little car in one hand and the other hand was shoved in his mouth, drool made his chin shine. "I think I am," she said with a wink. "I'm very serious."

***

It was a hot Thursday afternoon with not one sign of rain. The weatherman said that it was going to be a record breaker and might even reach up to one hundred. John was still struggling with the possibilities of his friend Frank being involved in the Michael Gallager killing. Tammy suggested they go to a movie and sort it all out later. She said that movies always relieved her mind of problems of the day. The idea sounded pretty good to him and off they went.

They stayed at his mother's house too long to make the two o'clock so they opted for the four o'clock show. They would have a little time to kill at the mall before the movie started. Naturally, it was a love story because Tammy and his mother had picked it out. His mother had already seen it and said that it was great. Supposedly, it was about a woman coming to the bedside of her hospitalized mother, a mother she had no relationship with. Through the process of battling cancer, the woman and her mother become best friends and live happily ever after. Right, John thought sarcastically at the time, should be a real winner.

Since the incident in the tunnel, John had been checking his rearview mirror more often than any sane driver should. It seemed like every two seconds he was scanning and looking, scanning and looking. Since nobody had been caught yet, they would more than likely make another attempt. If so, he would be ready this time. He was prepared to shoot back.