Fade Away Page 52

Without preamble, Win said, “Come on. I’ll hire you a girl. You need to get laid.”

Myron shook his head.

“Are you certain?”

“Yes,” Myron said.

“Do me a favor then.”


“Don’t go out and get drunk,” Win said. “That would be such a cliché.”

“And what, getting laid isn’t?”

Win pursed his lips together. “But at least it’s a good cliché.”

Then Win turned around and left. That had been it. They had never broached the subject of his relationship with Jessica again. It’d been a mistake to have brought it up now. Myron should have known better.

There were reasons Win was the way he was. Myron looked now at his friend and truly did pity him. From Win’s vantage point, his life had been one long lesson in how to take care of himself. The results weren’t always pretty, but they were usually effective. Win had not severed off his feelings or anything that dramatic, nor was he as robotic as he sometimes wanted people to think. But Win had learned not to trust or depend on others very much. There were not many people he cared about, but those he did were cherished with an intensity few ever experienced. The rest of the world meant very little to him.

“I’ll get you a seat near Thumper’s,” Myron said softly.

Win nodded, pulled into a parking spot. Myron gave his name to Clip’s secretary and they were shown into his office. Calvin Johnson was already there, standing to Clip’s right. Clip was behind his desk. He looked older today. His cheeks were grayer; and the skin around his jowls seemed looser. When he stood, it seemed to take more effort.

Clip eyed Win for a moment. “This must be Mr. Lockwood.”

He even knew about Win—again well prepared. “Yes,” Myron said.

“He’s helping us with our problem?”


Introductions were made. Hands were shaken. Rear ends were seated. As was his custom in such situations, Win remained silent. His eyes slid from one side of the room to the other, taking in everything. He liked to study people for a while before speaking to them, especially in their home environment.

“So,” Clip began, forcing up a tired smile, “what have we got?”

“When you first approached me,” Myron began, “you were afraid I’d uncover something unsavory. I’d like to know what that something was.”

Clip tried to look amused. “Nothing personal, Myron,” he began with a light chuckle, “but if I knew that, I wouldn’t have needed to hire you.”

Myron shook his head. “Not good enough.”


“Greg has disappeared before.”


“So you never suspected anything unsavory then,” Myron said. “Why now?”

“I told you. I have the owners’ vote coming up.”

“That’s your only concern?”

“Of course not,” Clip said. “I’m worried about Greg too.”

“But you never hired anyone to find him before. What are you afraid of?”

Clip shrugged. “Probably nothing. I’m just covering all my bases. Why? What have you found out?”

Myron shook his head. “You never cover all your bases, Clip. You’re a risk-taker. Always were. I’ve seen you trade popular, proven veterans for untested draft picks. I’ve seen you risk going for the steal rather than hoping your defense holds. You’ve never been afraid to lean over that edge, to risk it all.”

Clip smiled thinly. “The problem with that strategy,” he said, “is that you lose too. Sometimes you lose a lot.”

“What did you lose this time?” Myron asked.

“Nothing yet,” he said. “But if Greg doesn’t come back, it might cost my team a championship ring.”

“That’s not what I meant. There’s something more going on.”

“I’m sorry,” Clip said, spreading his hands. “I really don’t know what you’re talking about. I hired you because it was the logical thing to do. Greg vanished. Now true, he’s vanished before, but never this late in the season and never when we were so close to a championship. This simply isn’t like him.”

Myron glanced over at Win. Win appeared to be bored.

“Do you know a woman named Liz Gorman?” Myron tried.

In the corner of his eye, Myron saw Calvin sit up a bit.

“No,” Clip said. “Should I?”

“How about a woman named Carla or Sally?”

“What? You mean have I ever known a woman named—”

“Recently. Or any woman involved in some way with Greg Downing.”

Clip shook his head. “Calvin?” Calvin also shook his head, but the shake was a little too lingering. “Why do you ask?” Clip demanded.

“Because that’s whom Greg was with the night he vanished,” Myron said.

Clip sat up, his words coming scatter-gun. “Have you located her? Where is she now? Maybe they’re together.”

Myron looked at Win again. This time, Win nodded ever so slightly. He’d caught it too. “She’s dead,” Myron said.

Any traces of color on Clip’s face drained away. Calvin remained silent, but he crossed his legs. A big move for ol’ Frosty. “Dead?”

“Murdered, to be more specific.”

“Oh my God …” Clip’s eyes leapt from one face to another, as though seeking some sort of answer or solace there. He found none.

“Are you sure you don’t know the names Liz Gorman, Carla, or Sally?” Myron asked.

Clip opened his mouth, closed it. No sound came out. He tried again. “Murdered?”


“And she was with Greg?”

“He’s the last known person to see her alive. His fingerprints are at the murder scene.”

“The murder scene?” His voice trembled, his eyes dazed. “My God, the blood you found in the basement,” he said. “The body was at Greg’s house?”

“No. She was killed in her apartment in New York.”

Clip looked puzzled. “But I thought you found blood in Greg’s basement. In the playroom.”

“Yes. But that blood is gone now.”

“Gone?” Clip sounded both confused and annoyed. “What do you mean, gone?”

“I mean somebody cleaned it up.” He looked straight at Clip. “I mean somebody entered Greg’s house in the past two days and tried to snuff out an unsavory scandal.”

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