Fade Away Page 66

“I lied to you,” Myron said. “I’m sorry.”

“What’s your real name?” he asked.

“Myron Bolitar.” He gave the man one of his cards. Hector studied it for a moment.

“You’re a sports agent?”


“What does a sports agent have to do with Sally?”

“It’s a long story.”

“You shouldn’t have lied like that. It wasn’t right.”

“I know,” Myron said. “I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t important.”

Hector put the card in his shirt pocket. “I have customers.” He turned away. Myron debated explaining further, but there was no point.

Win was waiting for him on the sidewalk. “Well?”

“Cole Whiteman is a homeless man who calls himself Norman Lowenstein.”

Win waved down a taxi. A driver in a turban slowed down. They got in. Myron told him where to go. The driver nodded; as he did, his turban buffed the taxi’s ceiling. Sitar music blew forth from the front speakers, plucking at the air with razor-sharp nails. Awful. It made Benny and His Magical Sitar sound like Itzhak Perlman. Still it was preferable to Yanni.

“He looks nothing like that old picture,” Myron said. “He’s had plastic surgery. He grew his hair and dyed it jet black.”

They waited at a traffic light. A blue TransAm pulled up next to them, one of those souped-up models that hip-hopped up and down while playing music loud enough to crack the earth’s core. The taxi actually started shaking from the decibel level. The light turned green. The TransAm sped ahead.

“I started thinking about how Liz Gorman had disguised herself,” Myron continued. “She’d taken her defining attribute and stood it on its head. Cole was the well-bred, clean-cut rich boy. What better way to stand that on its head than to become an unkempt vagrant?”

“A Jewish unkempt vagrant,” Win corrected.

“Right. So when Dimonte told me that Professor Bowman liked to hang out with the homeless, something clicked.”

The turban barked, “Route.”


“Route. Henry Hudson or Broadway.”

“Henry Hudson,” Win replied. He glanced over at Myron. “Continue.”

“This is what I think happened,” Myron said. “Cole Whiteman suspected Liz Gorman was in some kind of trouble. Maybe she hadn’t called him or met up with him. Something. The problem was, he couldn’t check it out himself. Whiteman hasn’t survived underground all these years by being stupid. He knew that if the police found her, they’d set a trap for him—the way they’re doing right now.”

“So,” Win said, “he gets you to go in for him.”

Myron nodded. “He hangs around the diner, hoping to hear something about ‘Sally.’ When he overhears me talking to Hector, he figures I’m his best bet. He gives me this weird story about how he knows her from using the phone at the diner. Claimed they were lovers. The story didn’t really mesh, but I didn’t bother questioning it. Anyway, he takes me to her place. Once I’m inside, he hides and waits to see what happens. He sees the cops come. He probably even sees the body being taken out—all from a safe distance. It confirms what he probably suspected all along. Liz Gorman is dead.”

Win thought about it a moment. “And now you think Professor Bowman may be contacting him when he visits with the homeless?”


“So our next goal is to find Cole Whiteman.”


“Amongst the wretched unbathed in some godforsaken shelter?”


Win looked pained. “Oh, goodie.”

“We could try to set a trap for him,” Myron said. “But I think it’ll take too long.”

“Set a trap how?”

“I think he’s the one who called me on the phone last night,” Myron said. “Whatever blackmail scheme Liz Gorman was running, it’s natural to think that Whiteman was in on it too.”

“But why you?” Win asked. “If he has dirt on Greg Downing, why would you be the target of his extortion?”

It was a question that had been gnawing at Myron too. “I’m not sure,” he said slowly. “The best guess I can come up with is that Whiteman recognized me at the diner. He probably figures that I’m closely connected to Greg Downing. When he couldn’t reach Greg, he decided to try me.”

Myron’s cellular phone rang. He flicked it on and said hello.

“Hey, Starsky.” It was Dimonte.

“I’m Hutch,” Myron said. “You’re Starsky.”

“Either way,” Dimonte said, “I think you’ll want to get your butt over to the precinct pronto.”

“You got something?”

“Only if you call a picture of the killer leaving Gorman’s apartment something,” Dimonte said.

Myron almost dropped the phone. “For real?”

“Yep. And you’ll never guess what.”


“It’s a she.”

Chapter 31

“Here’s the deal,” Dimonte said. They were threading their way through a veritable United Nations of cops, witnesses, and whatnots. Win was waiting outside. He didn’t like cops, and they didn’t exactly feel like taking him out for ice cream. Best for all if he kept his distance. “We got a partial image of the perp on a videotape. Problem is, it’s not enough to make an ID. I thought maybe you’d recognize her.”

“What kind of videotape?”

“There’s a shipping garage on Broadway between One Hundred Tenth and One Hundred Eleventh streets, east side of the block,” Dimonte said. He remained a pace ahead of Myron, moving briskly. He kept turning behind him to make sure Myron was keeping up. “They handle home electronics. You know how that is—every worker steals like it’s a Constitutional right. So the company set up surveillance cameras all over the place. Videotape everything.” Still moving he shook his head, awarded Myron a toothpickless smile and added, “Good old big brother. Every once in a while somebody tapes a crime instead of a bunch of cops beating up a perp, you know what I’m saying?”

They entered a small interrogation room. Myron looked into a mirror. He knew it was one-way glass—so did anybody with even a passing knowledge of cop shows or movies. Myron doubted anybody was on the other side, but he stuck his tongue out just in case. Mr. Mature. Krinsky was standing by a television and a VCR. For the second time today, Myron was going to watch a video. He trusted this one would be more tame.

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