Fade Away Page 32

“What’s Downing like? I need to know everything about him.”

“You’re asking the wrong guy, Rolly. I don’t know him that well.”

“Tell me what you do know.” Dimonte’s voice left little room for disagreement. His tone was less fake-macho than usual, and there was a funny quake in it. Myron didn’t like it.

“Greg grew up in New Jersey,” Myron began. “He’s a great basketball player. He’s divorced with two kids.”

“You dated his wife, right?”

“A long time ago.”

“Would you say she was left-wing?”

“Rolly, this is getting too weird.”

“Just answer the goddamn question.” The tone aimed for angry and impatient, but fear seemed to overlap them. “Would you call her politics radical?”


“She ever hang out with perversives?”

“Is that even a word? Perversives?”

Dimonte shook his head. “Do I look like I’m in the mood for your shit, Bolitar?”

“Okay, okay.” Myron made a surrendering gesture with his hands. The Corvette swerved across the empty stadium lot. “No, Emily did not hang out with perversives, whatever they are.”

They headed past the racetrack and took the other ramp back toward the arena. It became apparent to Myron that they were just going to circle the Meadowlands’ vast expanse of paved lots. “Let’s get back to Downing then.”

“I just told you we haven’t talked in years.”

“But you know about him, right? You’ve been investigating him; you’ve probably read stuff about him.” Gear shift up. Extra rev power. “Would you say he was a revolutionary?”

Myron could not believe these questions. “No, Mr. Chairman.”

“Do you know who he hangs out with?”

“Not really. He’s supposed to be closest to his teammates, but Leon White—that’s his roommate on the road—seemed less than enamored. Oh, here’s something that might interest you: after home games, Greg drives a taxi in the city.”

Dimonte looked puzzled. “You mean he picks up fares and stuff?”


“Why the fuck does he do that?”

“Greg is a little”—Myron searched for the word—“off.”

“Uh huh.” Dimonte rubbed his face vigorously, as if he were polishing a fender with a rag. He did this for several seconds, not looking at the road; fortunately, he was in the middle of an empty parking lot. “Does it make him feel like a regular guy or something? Could that be part of it? Getting closer to the masses?”

“I guess,” Myron said.

“Go on. What about his interests? His hobbies?”

“He’s a nature boy. He likes to fish and hunt and hike and boat, that goyish stuff.”

“A back-to-nature type?”

“Sort of.”

“Like maybe an outdoor, communal guy?”

“No. Like maybe an outdoor, loner guy.”

“You have any idea where he might be?”


Dimonte hit the gas and circled the arena. He came to a stop in front of Myron’s Ford Taurus and put the car in park. “Okay, thanks for the help. We’ll talk later.”

“Whoa, hold up a second. I thought we were working together on this.”

“You thought wrong.”

“You’re not going to tell me what’s going on?”

His voice was suddenly soft. “No.”

Silence. The rest of the players were gone by now. The Taurus stood alone in the still, empty lot.

“It’s that bad?” Myron said.

Dimonte kept frighteningly still.

“You know who she is, don’t you?” Myron went on. “You got an ID?”

Dimonte leaned back. Again he rubbed his entire face. “Nothing confirmed,” he muttered.

“You got to tell me, Rolly.”

He shook his head. “I can’t.”

“I won’t say anything. You know—”

“Get the fuck out of my car, Myron.” He leaned across Myron’s lap and opened the car door. “Now.”

Chapter 15

TC lived in a turn-of-the-century red brick mansion encircled by a six-foot, matching brick fence on one of the better streets of Englewood, New Jersey. Eddie Murphy lived down the block. So did three Forbes 500 CEOs and several major Japanese bankers. There was a security post by the driveway entrance. Myron gave the security guard his name. The guard checked his clipboard.

“Please park along the drive. The party is out back.” He raised the yellow-and-black striped gate and waved him through. Myron parked next to a black BMW. There were maybe a dozen other cars, all glistening from fresh washes and waxes or perhaps they were all new. Mostly Mercedes Benzes. A few BMWs. A Bentley. A Jag. A Rolls. Myron’s Taurus stood out like a zit in a Revlon commercial.

The front lawn was immaculately manicured. Perfectly pruned shrubs guarded and clung to the brick facade. In stark contrast to this majestic setting was the rap music blaring from the speakers. Awful. The shrubs looked pained by the sound. Myron didn’t necessarily hate all rap. He knew there was worse music out there—John Tesh and Yanni proved it every day. Some rap songs Myron found engaging and even profound. He also recognized that rap music had not been written for him; he didn’t get it all, but he suspected that he wasn’t supposed to.

The party was held in the well-lit pool area. The crowd of about thirty mingled about in a fairly subdued fashion. Myron was wearing a blue blazer, a button-down pinstripe shirt, a flower tie, J. Murphy casual loafers. Bolitar the Prep. Win would be so proud. But Myron felt frighteningly underdressed next to his teammates. At the risk of sounding racist, the black guys on the team—there were only two other white players on the Dragons right now—knew how to dress with style. Not Myron’s style (or lack thereof), but definitely with style. The group looked like they were readying themselves for a Milan runway walk. Perfectly tailored suits. Silk shirts buttoned to the neck. No ties. Shoes polished like twin mirrors.

TC reclined in a lounge chair by the shallow end of the pool. He was surrounded by a bunch of white guys who looked like college students. They were laughing at his every word. Myron also spotted Audrey in her customary reporter’s garb. She had added pearls for the occasion. Really dressing up. He barely had a chance to step toward them when a woman in her late thirties/maybe forty approached him. “Hello,” the woman said.

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