Fade Away Page 45

Subj: Sex!

Date: 3-11 14:51:36 EST

From: Sepbabe

To: Downing22

Meet you tonight at ten. The place we discussed. Come. I promise you the greatest night of ecstasy imaginable.


Myron looked up. “Greatest night of ecstasy imaginable?”

“She has quite the writing flair, no?” Win said.

Myron made a face.

Win put a sincere hand to his heart. “Even if she could not live up to such a promise,” he continued, “one has to admire her ability to take risk, her dedication to her craft.”

“Uh huh,” Myron said. “So who is F?”

“There is no profile for the screen name Sepbabe on line,” Win explained. “That doesn’t mean anything, of course. Many users don’t have a profile. They don’t want everyone knowing their real name. I would assume however that F is yet another alias for our dearly departed friend Carla.”

“We have Carla’s real name now,” Myron said.


“Liz Gorman.”

Win arched an eyebrow. “Pardon?”

“Liz Gorman. As in the Raven Brigade.” He told Win about Fred Higgins’s call. Win leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers. As usual his face gave away nothing.

When Myron finished, Win said, “Curiouser and curiouser.”

“It comes down to this,” Myron said. “What connection could there possibly be between Greg Downing and Liz Gorman?”

“A strong one,” Win said, nodding toward the screen. “The possibility of the greatest night of ecstasy imaginable, if one is to buy into the hyperbole.”

“But with Liz Gorman?”

“Why not?” Win almost sounded defensive. “You shouldn’t discriminate on the basis of age or implants. It wouldn’t be right.”

Mr. Equal Rights. “It’s not that,” Myron said. “Let’s pretend that Greg has the hots for Liz Gorman, even though nobody described her as much of a looker …”

“You’re so shallow, Myron,” Win said with a disenchanted shake of the head. “Did you ever consider the possibility that Greg saw beneath that? She did, after all, have large breasts.”

“As usual when discussing sex,” Myron replied, “you’ve missed the point.”

“Which is?”

“How would they have hooked up in the first place?”

Win steepled his fingers again, bouncing the tips against his nose. “Ah,” he said.

“Right, ah. Here’s a woman who’s been living underground for more than twenty years. She’s traveled all over the world, probably never staying in one spot for very long. She was in Arizona robbing a bank two months ago. She’s working as a waitress in a tiny diner on Dyckman Street. How does this woman hook up with Greg Downing?”

“Difficult,” Win allowed, “but not impossible. There is plenty of evidence to support that.”


Win motioned to the computer screen. “This e-mail is talking about last Saturday night, for one—the same night Greg and Liz Gorman met in a New York City bar.”

“In a dive bar,” Myron corrected. “Why there? Why not go to a hotel or her place?”

“Perhaps because it is out of the way. Perhaps, as you implied, Liz Gorman would want to keep out of the public eye. Such a bar might be a good alternative.” He stopped steepling and lightly drummed his fingers on the desk. “But you, my friend, are forgetting something else.”


“The woman’s clothes in Greg’s house,” Win said. “Your investigation has led us to conclude that Downing has a lover he was keeping secret. The question, of course is: why? Why would he work so hard to keep a love affair clandestine? One possible explanation is that the secret love was the infamous Liz Gorman.”

Myron wasn’t sure what to think. Audrey had seen Greg at a restaurant with a woman that did not fit Liz Gorman’s description. But what did that mean? It might have been another date. It might have been something innocent. It might have been a side affair, who knows? Still, Myron had trouble buying a romantic entanglement involving Greg Downing and Liz Gorman. Something about it just didn’t wash. “There must be a way of tracing down this screen name and finding out the user’s real identity,” he said. “Let’s make sure it checks back to Liz Gorman or one of her aliases.”

“I’ll see what I can do. I don’t have any contacts with America Online, but someone we know must.” Win reached behind him. He opened up the paneled door on his minifridge. He tossed Myron a can of Yoo-Hoo and poured himself a Brooklyn Lager. Win never drank beer, only lager. “Greg’s money has been difficult to locate,” he said. “I’m not sure there is very much.”

“That would fit into what Emily said.”

“However,” Win continued, “I did find one major withdrawal.”

“How much?”

“Fifty thousand dollars in cash. It took some time because it came out of an account that Martin Felder holds for him.”

“When did he withdraw it?”

“Four days before he disappeared,” Win said.

“Paying off a gambling debt?”


Win’s phone rang. He picked it up and said, “Articulate. Okay, put it through.” Two seconds later he handed the phone to Myron.

“For me?” Myron asked.

Win gave him flat eyes. “No,” he said. “I’m handing you the phone because it’s too heavy for me.”

Everyone’s a wiseass. Myron took the phone. “Hello?”

“I got a squad car downstairs.” It was Dimonte in full bark. “Get your ass in it now.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m at fucking Downing’s house, that’s what’s wrong. I had to practically suck off a judge to get the warrant.”

“Nice imagery, Rolly.”

“Don’t fuck with me, Bolitar. You said there was blood in the house.”

“In the basement,” Myron corrected.

“Well, I’m in the basement right now,” he countered. “And it’s as clean as a baby’s ass.”

Chapter 21

The basement was indeed clean. No blood anywhere.

“There’s got to be traces,” Myron said.

Dimonte’s toothpick looked like it was about to snap between his clenched teeth. “Traces?”

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