Live Wire Page 74

So, Myron thought, Kitty hadn’t been paranoid. She knew a secret that could cost Herman Ache and Evan Crisp millions of dollars. That explained Goatee and Neck Tattoo following him to Kitty’s trailer. Ache had realized that Myron might be able to lead him to Kitty. He had put a tail on him, and once the men located them, their orders were clear: Kill them both.

So why not use Crisp? Obvious answer: Crisp was busy doing something else. Tailing Myron was still something of a long shot. Hire cheaper muscle.

Win was back in his ear. “Are you done up there?”

“Pretty much.”

“Crisp is on his way.”

“You have a plan?”

“I do.”

“Do you need my help?”

“I need you to stay where you are.”

“Win?”

“Yes?”

“Crisp may know what happened to my brother.”

“Yes, I know.”

“Don’t kill him.”

“Well,” Win said. “Not right away.”

31

Two hours later, they were back at the small Adiona Island airport, boarding Win’s Boeing Business Jet. Mee greeted them in an aggressively tailored red stewardess uniform topped with a Jackie-O pillbox hat.

“Welcome aboard,” Mee said. “Watch your step, welcome aboard, watch your step.”

Lex trudged up the stairs first. He was finally sobering up and it wasn’t looking good on him. The baby nurse, carrying Lex’s son, followed. That left Myron, Win, and a still-wobbly Evan Crisp. Crisp’s hands were tied behind his back with several plastic cuffs. Win knew that some people could escape plastic cuffs. Few people, if any, could escape several, especially when the larger ones were wrapped around the forearms and the chest. Win backed these up with a gun too. Crisp had taken chances. Win would not.

Myron looked back at Win. “A moment,” Win said.

Mee came back to the door and nodded at Win. Win said, “Okay, now.”

Myron took the lead, half dragging Crisp behind. Win took the rear, pushing Crisp up. Myron had carried him before, fireman-style, but now Crisp was starting to regain consciousness.

Win had bought the luxury aircraft from a once-popular rapper who, like many before him, dominated the charts before becoming a trivia question and being forced to liquidate the fruits of his overspending. The main cabin had oversized leather recliners, plush carpeting, a wide-screen 3-D television, serious wood trim. The plane had a separate dining room, plus a bedroom in the back. Lex, the nurse, and the baby were closed off in the dining room. Win and Myron didn’t want them in the same room with Crisp.

They pushed Crisp into a seat. Win wrapped him in restraints. Crisp was still blinking through the tranquilizer. Win had used a diluted form of Etorphine, a sedative normally used for elephants and potentially fatal to humans. In the movies, sedatives work instantaneously. In reality, it’s hardly a guarantee.

In the end, Crisp had not been indestructible. No one was. As Herman Ache had so poetically put it, no one—not even Myron or Win—was bulletproof. The truth was, when the best were taken, they were normally taken easily. A bomb drops on your house, it doesn’t matter how good your hand-to-hand combat skills are—you’re dead.

From Billy the security guard, Win had learned the path that Crisp took to the Wire estate. Win had found the ideal spot. He came out with two guns—one with real bullets, one with the Etorphine. He didn’t wait. While holding the real gun on him, he shot Crisp with the Etorphine and kept his distance while the man passed out.

Win and Myron moved two rows back and sat next to each other. Mee, ever the professional flight attendant, ran through a full safety talk, demonstrating how to use the seat belt, how to secure your oxygen mask before helping others, how to inflate the life jacket. Win watched her with his patented rakish grin.

“Demonstrate the blowing in the tube part again,” he said to Mee.

Win.

The takeoff was smooth enough to be choreographed by Motown. Myron called Esperanza. When he heard about his father being back in surgery, he closed his eyes and just tried to breathe. Concentrate on the possible. Dad had the best medical care. If Myron wanted to help, there was only one way: Find Brad.

“Did you learn anything about the Abeona Shelter?” he asked Esperanza.

“Not a thing. It’s like it doesn’t exist.”

Myron hung up. He and Win discussed what they already knew and what it meant. “Lex gave me the answer right from the start,” Myron said. “All couples have secrets.”

“Hardly an earth-shattering revelation,” Win said.

“Do we have secrets, Win?”

“No. But we don’t have sex either.”

“You think sex leads to secrets?” Myron asked.

“You don’t?”

“I always thought sex leads to greater intimacy.”

“Bah,” Win said.

“Bah?”

“You’re so naïve.”

“How so?”

“Didn’t we prove it’s just the opposite? Couples—those having sex like Lex and Suzze—those are the ones who keep secrets.”

He had a point. “So where are we off to?”

“You’ll see.”

“I thought we had no secrets.”

Crisp started to stir. He opened one eye, then the other. He didn’t react. He let it settle, trying to put together where exactly he was and what he should do next. He looked over at Myron and Win.

“You know what Herman Ache will do to you?” Crisp asked. Then: “You can’t be this stupid.”

Win arched an eyebrow. “Can’t we?”

“You guys aren’t that tough.”

“We keep hearing that.”

“Herman will kill you. He’ll kill your whole family. He’ll make sure the last thing your loved one ever does is curse your name and beg to die.”

“Well, well,” Win said, “doesn’t Herman have a flair for the dramatic? Fortunately I do have something of a plan. A win-win for all involved, including you.”

Crisp said nothing.

“We are going to pay dearest Herman a visit,” Win said to him. “The four of us will sit down, perhaps over a nice latte. We will all cooperate. We will reveal all. And then we will work out a mutually beneficial understanding so that no one gets harmed.”

“Meaning?”

“Détente. Have you heard of it?”

“I have,” Crisp said. “I’m not sure Herman has.”

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