“Mr. Jones,” Smith said. “It’s done. Now here’s what you have to do.”
“What do you mean,” Abbott asked. “What do I have to do?”
“My job was to kill her,” Smith said. “My job was to dispose of the body. I’m done. Your job is to clean up.”
“Yes,” Smith said. “Unless you want to spend the rest of your life in jail, you have to clean up. Now, first of all, the wood chipper you have…”
“Oh my God,” Abbott moaned.
“Listen to me,” Smith said. “I suggest that this evening you chip a lot of cedar. Cedar has a lot of sap and that will help clean out the chipper. Don’t be an idiot and try to wash it with bleach or anything like that. That’s a dead giveaway. Just chip cedar for an hour.”
Abbott, bile pooling in his mouth, squeezed his eyes shut.
“Next,” Smith said. “You will call a septic company tomorrow and have your tanks cleaned. I’ll give you the name of the company. You’ll pay them in cash, understood?”
“S…septic company? Why,” Abbott asked, “Why would I need a septic company?”
“I told you,” Smith said. “My job was to dispose of the body. I’ve done just that.”
“Jesus,” Abbot hissed. “In my septic tank?”
“It is for organic waste,” Smith said. “Isn’t it? Finally, you’ll find a large, black plastic tube behind the large oak at the back of your property. That was the conduit for the…um…organic waste from the chipper to the septic tank. Build a burn pile for some cedar and put that in it. It’ll burn off and…”
“My God,” Abbott cried. “There’s a burn ban on. If I burn…”
Abbott heard Smith’s laughter-a vile, vicious laughter. “Are you afraid of getting a ticket? Do what I say. The plastic will melt and eventually burn off completely. As for Jane Doe, she’ll be on her way in an hour or so. I’ll have my cell phone overnighted to you at your house. Get rid of it and your phone. Then there’s nothing to tie us together. After that, it should be smooth sailing if…if, that is, you can remain calm. Remember, you can’t be linked to me and vice versa. You’re alone now. This is the last time you and I will speak.”
Abbott, his stomach turning, ran to the bathroom. Whatever he had for breakfast and lunch came up, as well as whatever he had for dinner the night before. “Clean up,” he moaned. “Clean up? Jesus.”