Fade Away Page 48


“Two days ago.”

“How did he react?”

“He freaked, pretty much,” Myron said. “He’s also got motive—any scandal will destroy his chances of keeping control of the Dragons. Hell, that’s why he hired me. To keep any trouble contained. Nobody else even knew about the blood in the basement.” Myron stopped. He leaned back and ran it through his mind again. “Of course I haven’t had a chance to tell Clip about Liz Gorman’s murder. He didn’t even know the blood wasn’t Greg’s. All he knew was that there was blood in the basement. Would he go that far just on that? Would he still risk covering it all up if he didn’t know anything about Liz Gorman?”

Esperanza gave him a small smile. “Maybe he knows more than you think,” she said.

“What makes you say that?”

She handed him the fax. “It’s the list of long distance calls made from the pay phone at the Parkview Diner,” she said. “I already cross-checked it with my computer Rolodex. Look at the number I circled.”

Myron saw it. A call lasting twelve minutes had been made from the Parkview Diner four days before Greg’s disappearance. The phone number was Clip’s.

Chapter 23

“Liz Gorman called Clip?” Myron looked up at Esperanza. “What the hell is going on?”

Esperanza shrugged. “Ask Clip.”

“I knew he was keeping something from me,” he went on, “but I don’t get it. How does Clip fit into this equation?”

“Uh huh.” She shuffled through some papers on her desk. “Look, we got a ton of work to do. I mean, sports agent work. You have a game tonight, right?”

He nodded.

“So ask Clip then. In the meantime, we’re just going around in circles here.”

Myron scanned the sheet. “Any other numbers jump out at you?”

“Not yet,” she said. “But I want to talk about something else for a minute.”


“We have a problem with a client.”


“Jason Blair.”

“What’s wrong?”

“He’s pissed off,” she said. “He’s not happy with me handling his contract negotiations. He said he hired you, not some”—she made quote marks in the air with her fingers—“ ‘scantily clad wrestler with a nice ass.’ ”

“He said that?”

“Yep. Nice ass. Didn’t even notice my legs.” Esperanza shook her head.

Myron smiled. “So what happened?”

Behind them the elevator dinged. Only one hit this part of the floor. The elevator opened directly into the reception area of MB SportsReps. Classy, or so he had been told. When the doors opened, two men came out. Myron recognized them right away. Camouflage Pants and Brick Wall. They were both armed. They aimed their guns at Myron and Esperanza. B Man stepped out behind them like he’d just been introduced on the Leno show. Big smile, acknowledging-the-crowd wave.

“How’s the knee, Myron?” he asked.

“Better than your van.”

B Man laughed at that one. “That Win,” he mused. “The man is always a surprise. How did he know when to hit us?”

No reason not to tell. “We kept the cellular phones on.”

B Man shook his head. “Ingenious really. I’m very impressed.” He wore one of those suits that are just a tad too shiny and a pink tie. His shirt was french-cuffed and monogrammed with four letters: B MAN. Taking the nickname thing a little far. A thick, ropelike gold bracelet encircled his right wrist.

“How did you get up here?” Myron asked.

“Do you really think a few rent-a-cops are going to stop us?”

“I’d still like to hear,” Myron said.

B Man shrugged. “I called Lock-Horne Securities and told them I was looking for a new financial advisor for my millions. An anxious young peon told me to come right up. I hit the twelfth floor on the elevator instead of the fifteenth.” He spread his hands. “So here I am.” He smiled at Esperanza. What with the too-white teeth and the tan, it looked like he switched on a nightlight.

“And who is this fetching creature?” he asked with a wink.

“My,” Esperanza said, “what woman doesn’t love to be called a creature?”

B Man laughed again. “The little lady has gumption,” he said. “I like that. I really do.”

“Like I care,” Esperanza said.

More laughter. “May I indulge you a moment, Miss …?”

“Money Penny,” she finished for him. She said it with her best Sean Connery imitation. No Rich Little, but not bad either.

Another laugh from the B Man. The man was half-hyena. “Would you please call Win down here? On the speakerphone if you don’t mind. Tell him to come down unarmed.”

She looked at Myron. Myron nodded. She dialed. Over the speakerphone, Win offered up another, “Articulate.”

Esperanza said, “Some bottled blond with a bottled tan is down here to see you.”

“Ah, I’ve been expecting him,” Win said. “Hello, B Man.”

“Hello, Win.”

“I assume you are in well-armed company.”

“That I am, Win,” B Man said. “If you try anything, your friends won’t make it out alive.”

“ ‘Won’t make it out alive’?” Win repeated. “I expected better from you, B Man, really. I’ll be down in a second.”

“Come unarmed, Win.”

“Not a chance. But there will be no violence. That I promise you.” The phone clicked off. For several moments everyone looked at one another as if wondering who was going to take the lead.

“I don’t trust him,” B Man said. He pointed to Brick Wall. “Take the girl in the other room. Duck down behind a desk or something. You hear any shooting, you blow her head off.”

The Brick Wall nodded.

B Man directed his attention to Camouflage Pants. “Keep your gun on Bolitar.”


B Man took out his own weapon. When the elevator dinged, he squatted and aimed. The doors slid open, but it wasn’t Win. Big Cyndi emerged from the elevator, not unlike a dinosaur emerging from its egg.

“Jesus Christ!” Camouflage Pants said. “What the hell is that?”

Big Cyndi growled.

“Who is she, Bolitar?” B Man demanded.

“My new receptionist.”

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