Fade Away Page 81

“This came for you.”

The kid handed Myron a manila envelope.

“Who dropped this off?” Myron asked.

“Your uncle.”

“My uncle?”

“That’s what the guy said.”

Myron looked at the envelope. His name was scrawled across the front in giant block letters. He tore it open and turned it upside down. First, a letter slid out. He shook again and a black cassette tape fell into the palm of his hand. He put the cassette down and unfolded the letter:


I should have given this to you at the cathedral. I’m sorry I didn’t, but I got too caught up in Liz’s murder. I wanted you to concentrate on catching the killer, not on this tape. I was afraid it would distract you. I still think it will, but that doesn’t give me the right to keep it from you. I just hope you stay focused enough to find the bastard who killed Liz. She deserves justice.

I also wanted to tell you that I’m thinking about turning myself in. Now that Liz is gone, there’s no reason to keep hiding. I spoke to some old lawyer buddies about it. They’ve already started reaching out to all the mercenaries Hunt’s father hired. They’re sure one of them will corroborate my story. We’ll see.

Don’t listen to this tape alone, Myron. Listen to it with a friend.


Myron folded the letter. He had no idea what to think. He glanced down the corridor. No sign of Clip. He jogged toward the exit. Most of the players had already left the arena. TC, of course. Last in, first out. Myron got in his car and turned the key. Then he stuck the tape into the car’s player and waited.

Esperanza tried dialing Myron’s car phone. No answer. Then his cellular. Same deal. He always carried his cellular. If he wasn’t picking up, it was because he didn’t want to. She quickly dialed Win’s cellular. He picked up on the second ring.

“Do you know where Myron is?” she asked.

“He went to the arena.”

“Go find him, Win.”

“Why? What’s wrong?”

“The Raven Brigade robbed the safe-deposit boxes. That’s where they got the information they used to blackmail Downing.”

“What did they find?”

“I don’t know,” she said, “but I have a list of the people who rented the boxes.”


“One was rented to a Mr. and Mrs. B. Wesson.”


Win said, “Are you sure it’s the same B. Wesson who injured Myron?”

“I already checked,” she said. “The B stands for Burt, listed on his application as a thirty-three-year-old high school basketball coach. It’s him, Win. It’s the same Burt Wesson.”

Chapter 41


Myron fiddled with the volume knob. Static feedback screeched through the car speakers. He turned it down a second, then back up. He heard muffled sounds, but he had no idea what they were. Then the sounds faded away.


Two minutes of blank tape passed before Myron finally heard voices. His ears perked up, but he couldn’t make out much. Then the voices grew a little louder, a little clearer. He leaned closer to the speaker and suddenly he heard a gruff voice with frightening clarity:

“You have the money?”

A hand reached into Myron’s chest, grabbed his heart, and squeezed. He hadn’t heard the voice in ten years, but recognition was instantaneous. It was Burt Wesson. What the hell—?

Then the second voice jarred him like a body blow:

“I got half now. A thousand dollars now. You get the other half when he goes down.…”

Myron’s entire body shuddered. A flash of rage unlike anything he had ever known warmed and then engulfed him. His hands tightened into fists. Tears forced their way forward. He remembered wondering why the blackmailers had contacted him to buy the dirt on Greg; he remembered Cole Whiteman’s laugh and Marty Felder’s ironic smile when they’d learned that he’d been hired to find Greg Downing; he remembered the voice on Greg’s answering machine saying, “He’s willing to pay. Is that what you want?” and most of all, he remembered Greg’s pained face at the hospital all those years ago. It hadn’t been a bond that brought Greg to Myron’s bedside.

It’d been guilt.

“Don’t hurt him too bad, Burt. I just want Bolitar banged up for a few games …”

Something in the deep recesses of Myron’s mind snapped like a dry twig. Without conscious thought, Myron shifted into reverse.

“Look, I really need the money. Can’t you give me another five hundred? They’re going to cut me soon. It’s my last scrimmage and then I’m unemployed …”

He straightened out his car and shifted into drive. His foot pressed down upon the pedal. The speedometer climbed. Myron’s face twisted into a mask of incognizant fury. Tears sheeted down his cheeks but no sound came with them. He drove without really seeing.

When he reached the Jones Road exit, Myron wiped his face with his sleeve. He turned into TC’s driveway. The security gate blocked his path.

The guard stepped out of his little hut. Myron waved him closer to the car. When the guard was fully out of the box, Myron showed the gun.

“Move and I’ll blow your head off.”

The guard’s hands went up. Myron got out of the car and opened the gate. He ordered the guard inside the car. The car roared up the driveway. Myron slammed on the brake just feet before the front door. He jumped out on the run and without hesitating, he kicked in TC’s front door. He ran into the den.

The television was on. TC looked up, startled. “What the fuck—?”

Myron bounded across the room, grabbed TC’s arm, twisted it behind his back.


“Where is he?” Myron demanded.

“I don’t know what—”

Myron pulled up on the arm. “Don’t make me break it, TC. Where is he?”

“What the fuck are you—?”

Myron silenced him by pushing the arm farther up his back. TC cried out, his huge frame bent at the waist to lessen the pressure. “Last time I ask,” Myron said. “Where’s Greg?”

“I’m here.”

Myron let go and spun toward the voice. Greg Downing stood in the doorway. Myron did not hesitate. Letting out a guttural scream, he pounced.

Greg put up his hands, but it was like quieting a volcano with a squirt gun. Myron’s fist landed square in Greg’s face. Greg toppled back from the assault. Myron fell on him, his knee landing in his ribs. Something cracked. He straddled Greg’s chest and threw another punch.

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