Fade Away Page 60

Myron had always loved the Celtics—his father had grown up near Boston—and so his two favorite posters were of John Havlicek, the Celtics star of the sixties and seventies, and Larry Bird, the team’s star of the eighties. He looked now from Havlicek to Bird. Myron was supposed to have been the next poster on the wall. It had been his boyhood dream. When the Celtics drafted him, it barely surprised him. A higher power was at work. It had been preordained that he would be the next Celtics legend.

Then Burt Wesson slammed into him.

Myron put his hands behind his head. His eyes adjusted to the light. When his phone rang, he reached for it absently.

“We have what you’re looking for,” an electronically altered voice said.

“Excuse me?”

“The same thing Downing wanted to buy. It’ll cost you fifty thousand dollars. Get the money together. We’ll call you with instructions tomorrow night.”

The caller hung up. Myron tried hitting star-six-nine to ring back, but the call was from out of the area. He lowered his head back to the pillow. Then he stared at the two posters and waited for sleep to claim him.

Chapter 28

Martin Felder’s office was on Madison Avenue in midtown, not far from Myron’s own. The agency was called Felder Inc., the clever name making it very apparent that Marty wasn’t on Madison Avenue as a hotshot advertising exec. A sprightly receptionist was all too happy to show Myron the way to Marty’s office.

The door was already open. “Marty, Myron is here to see you.”

Marty. Myron. It was one of those kinds of offices. Everyone was a first name. Everyone was dressed in that new, neat-casual look. Marty, who Myron guessed was in his mid-fifties, wore one of those blue jean shirts with a bright orange tie. His thinning gray hair was plastered down, almost a comb-over but not quite. His pants were Banana Republic green and crisply pressed. His orange socks matched the tie and his shoes looked like Hush Puppies.

“Myron!” he exclaimed, pumping Myron’s hand. “Great to see you.”

“Thanks for seeing me so soon, Marty.”

He waved a dismissing hand. “Myron, please. For you, anytime.” They’d met a few times at different sporting and sports representative events. Myron knew that Marty had a solid reputation as a guy who was—to coin a cliché—tough but fair. Marty also had a knack for getting great media coverage for both himself and his athletes. He’d written a couple of how-to-succeed books which helped enhance his name recognition as well as his rep. On top of that, Marty looked like your favorite, self-effacing uncle. People liked him instantly.

“Can I get you a drink?” he asked. “Caffè latte perhaps?”

“No thanks.”

He smiled, shook his head. “I’ve been planning on calling you for the longest time, Myron. Please, have a seat.”

The walls were bare except for bizarre sculptures twisted out of neon light. His desk was glass, the built-in shelves fiberglass. There were no visible papers. Everything shone like the inside of a spaceship. Felder gestured to a chair in front of the desk for Myron; then he took the other chair in front of the desk. Two equals chatting it up. No desk to use as a divider or intimidator.

Felder started right in. “I don’t have to tell you, Myron, that you are quickly making a name for yourself in this field. Your clients trust you absolutely. Owners and managers respect and fear”—he emphasized the fear part—“you. That’s rare, Myron. Very rare.” He slapped his palms on his thighs and leaned forward. “Do you enjoy being in sports representation?”


“Good,” he said with a sharp nod. “It’s important to like what you’re doing. Choosing a profession is the most important decision you’ll ever make—more important even than choosing a spouse.” He looked up at the ceiling. “Who was it that said, You may tire of your relationship with people but never of a job you love?”

“Wink Martindale?” Myron said.

Felder chuckled and offered up a shy, caught-himself smile. “Guess you didn’t come here to hear me drone on about my own personal philosophies,” he said. “So let me put my cards on the table. Just flat out say it. How would you like to come work for Felder Inc.?”

“Work here?” Myron said. Job Interview Rule #1: Dazzle them with sparkling repartee.

“Here’s what I’d like to do,” Felder said. “I want to make you a senior vice president. Your salary would be generous. You’d still be able to give all your clients the personal Bolitar attention they’ve come to expect, plus you’ll have all the resources of Felder Inc. at your command. Think about it, Myron. We employ over one hundred people here. We have our own travel agency to handle all those arrangements for you. We have—well, let’s call them what they are, shall we?—gofers who can deal with all those details that are so necessary in our business, freeing you up to tackle important tasks.” He raised a hand as if to stop Myron, though Myron hadn’t moved. “Now I know you have an associate, Miss Esperanza Diaz. She’d come aboard too, of course. At a higher salary. Plus I understand she’s finishing up law school this year. There’ll be plenty of room for advancement here.” He gestured with his hands before adding, “So what do you think?”

“I’m very flattered—”

“Don’t be,” Felder interrupted. “It’s a sound business decision for me. I know good stock when I see it.” He leaned forward with a sincere smile. “Let someone else be the client’s errand boy, Myron. I want to free you up to do what you do best—recruit new clients and negotiate deals.”

Myron had no interest in giving up his company, but the man knew how to make it sound attractive. “May I think about it?” he asked.

“Of course,” Felder said, raising his hands in surrendered agreement. “I don’t want to pressure you, Myron. Take your time. I certainly don’t expect an answer today.”

“I appreciate that,” Myron said, “but I actually wanted to talk to you about another matter.”

“Please.” He leaned back, folded his hands in his lap, smiled. “Go right ahead.”

“It’s about Greg Downing.”

The smile didn’t budge, but the light behind it flickered a bit. “Greg Downing?”

“Yes. I have a few questions.”

Still smiling. “You realize, of course, that I cannot reveal anything that may fall under what I consider privileged.”

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