Fade Away Page 54

“Did Marty Felder know about the gambling?” Myron asked.

“I can’t say for certain,” Clip said. “The doctor told me about the amazing lengths gamblers go to keep their addiction a secret. But Marty Felder handled most of Greg’s money. If he didn’t know, I’d be surprised.”

Behind Clip’s head was a poster of this year’s team. Myron looked at it a moment. The co-captains, TC and Greg, were kneeling in front. Greg smiled widely. TC sneered in typical fashion. “So even when you first hired me,” Myron said, “you suspected Greg’s disappearance had something to do with his gambling.”

“No.” Then thinking further, Clip added, “At least not in the way you think. I never thought Greg’s bookie would harm him. I figured the Forte deal bought him time.”

“Then in what way?”

“I worried about his sanity.” Clip motioned to Greg’s image on the poster behind him. “Greg is not the most balanced person to begin with, but I wondered how much the pressure from the gambling debt weighed on his already questionable sanity. He loved his image, you know, strange as that might sound. He loved being a fan favorite more than the money. But if his fans learned the truth, who knows how they’d react? So I wondered if all of this pressure was too much for him. If maybe he had snapped.”

“And now that a woman is dead,” Myron asked, “what do you think?”

Clip shook his head vehemently. “I know Greg better than anyone. When he feels trapped, he runs away. He wouldn’t kill anyone. I believe that with all my heart. He is not a violent man. Greg learned the dangers of violence a long time ago.”

No one spoke for several moments. Myron and Win both waited for Clip to elaborate. When he didn’t, Win said, “Mr. Arnstein, do you have anything else to tell us?”

“No. That’s all.”

Win rose without another word or gesture and walked out of the office. Myron sort of shrugged and started after him.


He turned back to Clip. The old man was standing now. His eyes looked moist.

“Have a good game tonight,” he said softly. “It’s only a game, after all. Remember that.”

Myron nodded, discomfited yet again by Clip’s demeanor. He jogged ahead and caught up with Win.

“Do you have my ticket?” Win asked.

Myron handed it to him.

“Describe this Thumper person please.”

Myron did. When they reached the elevator, Win said, “Your Mr. Arnstein is still not telling us the truth.”

“Anything concrete or just a hunch?”

“I don’t do hunches,” Win said. “Do you believe him?”

“I’m not sure.”

“You are fond of Mr. Arnstein, are you not?”


“Even though he has already admitted lying to you?”


“Then let me present you with an interesting scenario,” Win said. “Who, besides Greg, has the most to lose if his gambling addiction becomes public knowledge? Who, besides Greg, would have the greatest motive to keep Liz Gorman silent? And finally, if Greg Downing was about to become a terrible embarrassment to the franchise—to the point of devaluating if not destroying Clip Arnstein’s chances of maintaining control—who would have the best motive to make sure Greg Downing disappeared?”

Myron did not bother answering.

Chapter 25

The seat next to Thumper was open. Win took it and gave her the full-wattage smile.

“Good evening,” he said.

She smiled back. “Hello.”

“You must be Ms. Mason.”

She nodded. “And you are Windsor Horne Lockwood III. I recognize you from the picture in Forbes.”

They shook hands, their eyes meeting. Their hands released one another; their eyes didn’t. “A pleasure to meet you, Ms. Mason.”

“Please call me Maggie.”

“Yes, fine.” Win upped the smile for a moment. A buzzer sounded on the court. The first quarter was over. He saw Myron stand up to let his teammates sit. Seeing him dressed in a uniform on an NBA court hit Win in a very weird, unpleasant way. He didn’t like to watch. He turned back toward Thumper. She looked at him expectantly.

“I understand that you are seeking employment with my firm,” Win said.


“Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”

“Please do.” She motioned a welcome with her hand.

“You are currently employed by Kimmel Brothers, are you not?”


“How many traders do they currently engage?” Win asked.

“Less than ten,” she said. “We’re very small.”

“I see.” Win did the steepling, feigning consideration of her words. “Do you work there on weekends?”


“Weekend evenings?”

Her eyes narrowed just slightly, then relaxed back into place. “Sometimes,” she repeated.

“How about last Saturday night?”

“Pardon me?”

“You know Greg Downing, do you not?”

“Of course, but—”

“As you are no doubt aware,” Win continued, “he has been missing since last Saturday night. Interestingly enough, the last call Mr. Downing made from his home was to your office. Do you recall that phone call?”

“Mr. Lockwood—”

“Please. Call me Win.”

“I don’t know what you’re trying to do here—”

“It’s quite simple really,” Win interrupted. “Last night, you told my associate Mr. Bolitar that you had not spoken to Greg Downing in several months. Yet, as I have just told you, I have information that contradicts your statement. So there is a discrepancy here—a discrepancy that may cause some to view you, Ms. Mason, as less than honest. I cannot have that at Lock-Horne Securities. My employees must be beyond reproach. For that reason, I’d like you to explain this contradiction.”

Win took out a bag of peanuts from his coat pocket. He shelled a few in the neatest manner imaginable, swept the shells with small movements into a second bag, then placed the peanuts into his mouth one at a time.

“How do you know Mr. Downing called my office?” Thumper asked.

“Please,” Win said with a side glance. “Let us not waste time with trivialities. His call is an established fact. You know it. I know it. Let us move beyond it.”

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