Fade Away Page 5

“Like I said, a lifetime ago.”

“So,” Calvin said, starting to walk again, “you were even better with the women than Greg.”

Myron ignored the comment. “Does Clip know about my so-called past with Emily?”

“He’s very thorough.”

“So that explains why you chose me,” Myron said.

“It was a consideration, but I don’t think it’s too important.”


“Greg hates Emily. He’d never confide in her. But since this whole custody battle started there’s definitely been a change in Greg.”

“How so?”

“For one thing, he signed a deal with Forte sneakers.”

Myron was surprised. “Greg? An endorsement deal?”

“It’s very hush-hush,” Calvin said. “They’re supposed to announce it end of the month, right before the playoffs.”

Myron whistled. “They must have paid him a bundle.”

“A bundle and a half, I hear. Upwards of ten million a year.”

“Makes sense,” Myron said. “A popular player who has refused to endorse any products for more than a decade—it’s an irresistible draw. Forte does well with track and tennis shoes, but they’re fairly unknown in the basketball world. Greg gives them instant credibility.”

“That he does,” Calvin agreed.

“Any idea why he changed his mind after all these years?”

Calvin shrugged. “Maybe Greg realized he wasn’t getting any younger and wanted to cash in. Maybe this whole divorce thing. Maybe he got whacked on the head and woke up with an iota of sanity.”

“Where’s he been living since the divorce?”

“In the house in Ridgewood. It’s in Bergen County.”

Myron knew it well. He asked for the address. Calvin gave it to him. “What about Emily?” Myron asked. “Where’s she staying?”

“She and the kids are with her mother. I think they’re in Franklin Lakes or thereabouts.”

“Have you done any checking yet—Greg’s house, his credit cards, bank accounts?”

Calvin shook his head. “Clip thought this thing was too big to trust to an agency. That’s why we called you. I’ve driven past Greg’s house a few times, knocked on the door once. No car in the driveway or garage. No lights on.”

“But no one’s checked inside the house?”


“So for all you know he slipped in the bathtub and hit his head.”

Calvin looked at him. “I said, no lights on. You think he bathed in the dark?”

“That’s a good point,” Myron said.

“Some hotshot investigator.”

“I’m a slow starter.”

They arrived at the team room. “Wait here,” Calvin said.

Myron took out his cellular. “Mind if I make a call?”

“Go ahead.”

Calvin disappeared behind the door. Myron turned on the power and dialed. Jessica answered on the second ring. “Hello?”

“I’m going to have to cancel dinner tonight,” Myron said.

“You better have a good excuse,” Jessica said.

“A great one. I’ll be playing professional basketball for the New Jersey Dragons.”

“That’s nice. Have a good game, dear.”

“I’m serious. I’m playing for the Dragons. Actually, ‘playing’ is probably not the right word. Might be more accurate to say I’ll be getting fanny sores for the Dragons.”

“Are you for real?”

“It’s a long story, but yes, I’m now officially a professional basketball player.”


“I’ve never boffed a professional basketball player,” Jessica said. “I’ll be just like Madonna.”

“Like a virgin,” Myron said.

“Wow. Talk about a dated reference.”

“Yeah, well, what can I say. I’m an eighties kinda guy.”

“So, Mr. Eighties, you going to tell me what’s going on?”

“No time now. Tonight. After the game. I’ll leave a ticket at the window.”

Calvin stuck his head back in. “What’s your waist? Thirty-four?”

“Thirty-six. Maybe thirty-seven.”

Calvin nodded and withdrew. Myron dialed the private line of Windsor Horne Lockwood III, president of the prestigious investment firm of Lock-Horne Securities in midtown Manhattan. Win answered on the third ring.

“Articulate,” Win said.

Myron shook his head. “Articulate?”

“I said articulate, not repeat.”

“We have a case,” Myron said.

“Oh yippee,” he drawled in that preppy, Philly Main-Line accent of his. “I’m enthralled. I’m elated. But before I completely wet myself, I must ask but one question.”


“Is this case of your customary charity persuasion?”

“Wet away,” Myron said. “The answer is no.”

“What? No moral crusade for brave Myron?”

“Not this time.”

“Heavens be, do tell.”

“Greg Downing is missing. It’s our job to find him.”

“And for services rendered we receive?”

“At least seventy-five grand plus a first round draft pick as a client.” Now was not the time to fill Win in on his temporary career change.

“My, my,” Win said happily. “Pray tell, what shall we do first?”

Myron gave him the address of Greg’s house in Ridgewood. “Meet me there in two hours.”

“I’ll take the Batmobile,” Win said and hung up.

Calvin returned. He held out a purple-and-aqua Dragon uniform. “Try this on.”

Myron did not reach for it right away. He stared at it, his stomach twisting and diving. When he spoke his voice was soft. “Number thirty-four?”

“Yeah,” Calvin said. “Your old number at Duke. I remembered.”


Calvin finally broke it. “Go try it on.”

Myron felt something well up in his eye. He shook his head. “No need,” he said. “I’m sure it’s the right size.”

Chapter 3

Ridgewood was a primo suburb, one of those old towns that still calls itself a village, where ninety-five percent of the students go on to college and no one lets their kids associate with the other five percent. There were a couple of strips of tract housing, a few examples of the mid-sixties suburban explosion, but for the most part Ridgewood’s fine homes dated from an earlier, theoretically more innocent time.

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