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Nothing to Lose

Nothing to Lose

Titel: Nothing to Lose
Autoren: Lee Child
Vic braked hard in the gutter. The door swung open. The driver took a riot gun from a holster between the seats. Climbed out. Pumped the gun and held it diagonally across his chest. He was a big guy. White, maybe forty. Black hair. Wide neck. Tan jacket, brown pants, black shoes, a groove in his forehead from a Smokey the Bear hat that was presumably now resting on his passenger seat. He stood behind the three guys and looked around. Surveyed the scene. Not exactly rocket science, Reacher thought. Three guys surrounding a fourth? We’re not discussing the weather here.
    The cop said, “Back off now.” Deep voice. Authoritative. The three guys stepped backward. The cop stepped forward. They swapped their relative positions. Now the three guys were behind the cop. The cop moved his gun. Pointed it straight at Reacher’s chest.
    “You’re under arrest,” he said.

    Reacher stood still and asked, “On what charge?”
    The cop said, “I’m sure I’ll think of something.” He swapped the gun into one hand and used the other to take the handcuffs out of the holder on his belt. He held them on the flat of his palm and one of the guys behind him stepped forward and took them from him and looped around behind Reacher’s back.
    “Put your arms behind you,” the cop said.
    “Are these guys deputized?” Reacher asked.
    “Why would you care?”
    “I don’t. But they should. They put their hands on me without a good reason, they get their arms broken.”
    “They’re all deputized,” the cop said. “Especially including the one you just laid out.”
    He put both hands back on his gun.
    “Self-defense,” Reacher said.
    “Save it for the judge,” the cop said.
    The guy behind him pulled Reacher’s arms back and cuffed his wrists. The guy who had done all the talking opened the cruiser’s rear door and stood there holding it like a hotel doorman with a taxicab.
    “Get in the car,” the cop said.
    Reacher stood still and considered his options. Didn’t take him long. He didn’t have any options. He was handcuffed. He had a guy about three feet behind him. He had a cop about eight feet in front of him. Two more guys three feet behind the cop. The riot gun was some kind of a Mossberg. He didn’t recognize the model, but he respected the brand.
    “In the car,” the cop said.
    Reacher moved forward and looped around the open door and jacked himself inside butt-first. The seat was covered in heavy vinyl and he slid across it easily. The floor was covered in pimpled rubber. The security screen was clear bulletproof plastic. He braced his feet, one in the left foot well and one in the right. Uncomfortable, with his hands cuffed behind him. He figured he was going to get bounced around.
    The cop got back in the front. The suspension yielded to his weight. He reholstered the Mossberg. Slammed his door and put the transmission in drive and stamped on the gas. Reacher was thrown back against the cushion. Then the guy braked hard for a stop sign and Reacher was tossed forward. He twisted as he went and took the blow against the plastic screen with his shoulder. The cop repeated the procedure at the next four-way. And the next. But Reacher was OK with it. It was to be expected. He had driven the same way in the past, in the days when he was the guy in the front and someone else was the guy in the back. And it was a small town. Wherever the police station was, it couldn’t be far.

    The police station was four blocks west and two blocks south of the restaurant. It was housed in another undistinguished brick building on a street wide enough to let the cop park nose-in to the curb on a diagonal. There was one other car there. That was all. Small town, small police department. The building had two stories. The cops had the ground floor. The town court was upstairs. Reacher guessed there were cells in the basement. His trip to the booking desk was uneventful. He didn’t make trouble. No point. No percentage in being a fugitive on foot in a town where the line was twelve miles away in one direction and maybe more in the other. The desk was manned by a patrolman who could have been the arresting officer’s kid brother. Same size and shape, same face, same hair, a little younger. Reacher was uncuffed and gave up the stuff from his pockets and his shoelaces. He had no belt. He was escorted down a winding stair and put in a six-by-eight cell fronted by ancient ironwork that had been painted maybe fifty

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