Fade Away Page 42

Myron shook his head. “So many holes,” he said. “And we still haven’t come up with what connection there is between Downing and this Carla or Sally or whatever her name is.”

Win nodded. They continued walking.

“One more thing,” Myron said. “Do you really think the mob would kill a woman just because she happened to be with Greg at a bar?”

“Very doubtful,” Win agreed.

“So basically, that whole theory is blown to hell.”

“Not basically,” Win corrected. “Entirely.”

They kept walking.

“Of course,” Win said, “Carla could have been working for the B Man.”

An icy finger poked at Myron. He saw where Win was going but he still said, “What?”

“Perhaps this Carla woman was the B Man’s contact. She collected for him. She was meeting Downing because he owed a great deal of money. Downing promises to pay. But he doesn’t have the money. He knows they are closing in on him. He has stalled long enough. So he goes back to her apartment, kills her, and runs.”

Silence. Myron tried to swallow, but his throat felt frozen. This was good, this talking it through. It helped. His legs were still rubbery from the incident, but what really bothered him now was how easily he had forgotten the dead man lying in the van. True, the man was probably a professional scum bag. True, the man had jammed the barrel of a gun into his mouth and had not dropped his weapon when Win told him to. And true, the world was probably a better place without him. But in the past Myron would have still felt some remorse for this fellow human being; in all honesty, he didn’t now. He tried to muster some sympathy, but the only thing he felt sad about was that he didn’t feel sad.

Enough self-analysis. Myron shook it off and said, “There are problems with that scenario too.”

“Such as?”

“Why would Greg kill her? Why not just run off before the back-booth meeting?”

Win considered this. “Fair point. Unless something happened during their meeting to set him off.”

“Like what?”

Win shrugged.

“It all comes back to this Carla,” Myron said. “Nothing about her adds up. I mean, even a drug dealer doesn’t have a setup like hers—working as a diner waitress, hiding sequentially numbered hundred-dollar bills, wearing wigs, having all those fake passports. And on top of that, you should have seen Dimonte this afternoon. He knew who she was and he was in a panic.”

“You contacted Higgins at Treasury?” Win asked.

“Yes. He’s tracing those serial numbers.”

“That could help.”

“We also need to get ahold of the telephone records from the Parkview Diner. See who Carla called.”

They fell back into silence and kept walking. They didn’t want to hail a taxi too close to the scene.



“Why didn’t you want to go to the game the other night?”

Win kept on walking. Myron kept pace. After some time, Win said, “You’ve never watched a replay of it, have you?”

He knew he meant the knee injury. “No.”

“Why not?”

Myron shrugged. “No point.”

“No, there is a point.” Win kept walking.

“Mind telling me what that is?” Myron said.

“Watching what happened to you might have meant dealing with it. Watching it might have meant closure.”

“I don’t understand,” Myron said.

Win nodded. “I know.”

“I remember you watched it,” Myron said. “I remember you watched it over and over.”

“I did that for a reason,” Win said.

“For vengeance.”

“To see if Burt Wesson injured you on purpose,” Win corrected.

“You wanted to pay him back.”

“You should have let me. Then you might have been able to put it behind you.”

Myron shook his head. “Violence is always the answer for you, Win.”

Win frowned. “Stop sounding melodramatic. A man committed a vile act upon you. Squaring things would have helped put it behind you. It’s not about vengeance. It’s about equilibrium. It’s about man’s basic need to keep the scales balanced.”

“That’s your need,” Myron said, “not mine. Hurting Burt Wesson wouldn’t have fixed my knee.”

“But it might have given you closure.”

“What does that mean, closure? It was a freak injury. That’s all.”

Win shook his head. “You never watched the tape.”

“It wouldn’t have mattered. The knee was still ruined. Watching a tape wouldn’t have changed that.”

Win said nothing.

“I don’t understand this,” Myron continued. “I went on after the injury. I never complained, did I?”


“I didn’t cry or curse the gods or do any of that stuff.”

“Never,” Win said again. “You never let yourself be a burden on any of us.”

“So why do you think I needed to relive it?”

Win stopped and looked at him. “You’ve answered your own question, but you choose not to hear it.”

“Spare me the Kung-Fu-grasshopper philosophical bullshit,” Myron shot back. “Why didn’t you go to the game?”

Win started walking again. “Watch the tape,” he said.

Chapter 19

Myron didn’t watch the tape. But he had the dream.

In the dream he could see Burt Wesson bearing down on him. He could see the gleeful, almost giddy violence in Burt’s face as he drew closer and closer. In the dream, Myron had plenty of time to step out of harm’s way. Too much time really. But in this dream—as in many—Myron could not move. His legs would not respond, his feet mired in thick, dream-world quicksand while the inevitable approached.

But in reality, Myron had never seen Burt Wesson coming. There had been no warning. Myron had been pivoting on his right leg when the blinding collision befell him. He heard rather than felt a snap. At first there had been no pain, just wide-eyed astonishment. The astonishment had probably lasted less than a second, but it was a frozen second, a snapshot Myron only took out in dreams. Then came the pain.

In the dream Burt Wesson was almost on him now. Burt was a huge man, an enforcer-type player, the basketball equivalent of a hockey goon. He did not have much talent, but he had tremendous bulk and he knew how to use it. It had gotten him far, but this was the pros now. Burt would be cut before the start of the season—poetic irony that neither he nor Myron would play in a real professional basketball game. Until two nights ago anyway.

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