The Final Detail Page 45

her mouth, debating between biting the nails and plucking her lower lip. "You've always been the finest person I know," she said. "Don't let anybody change that, okay?"

He swallowed, nodded.

"You're not bending the rules anymore," she continued. "You're decimating them. Just yesterday you told me you'd lie under oath to protect me."

"That's different."

Esperanza looked straight at him. "Are you sure about that?"

"Yes. I'll do whatever I have to to protect you."

"Including breaking laws? That's my point, Myron."

He shifted in his chair.

"And one other thing," she said. "You're using this whole moral dilemma thing to distract yourself from two truths you don't want to face."

"What truths?"

"One, Brenda."

"And two?"

Esperanza smiled. "Skipped over one pretty fast."

"And two?" he repeated.

Her smile was gentle, understanding. "Two, it gets your mind off why you're really here."

"And why's that?"

"You're starting to do more than wonder if I killed Clu. And you're trying to find a way to rationalize it away if I did. You killed once, ergo it may be justifiable if I killed too. You just want to hear a reason."

"He hit you," Myron said. "In the parking garage."

She said nothing.

"The radio said they found pubic hairs in his apartment-"

"Don't go there," she said.

"I have to."

"Just stay out."

"I can't."

"I don't need your help."

"There's more to it than that. I'm involved in this."

"Only because you want to be."

"Did Clu tell you I was in danger?"

She said nothing.

"He told my parents that. And Jessica. I thought at first it was hyperbole. But maybe it's not. I got this weird diskette in the mail. There was an image of a young girl."

"You're ranting," she said. "You think you're ready for this, but you're not. Learn something from your past mistakes. Keep away from this."

"But it won't keep away from me," Myron said. "Why did Clu say I was in danger? Why did he hit you? What happened at the Take A Guess bar?"

She shook her head. "Guard."

The guard opened the door. Esperanza kept her eyes down. She turned and left the room without looking back at Myron. Myron sat alone for a few seconds, gathered his thoughts. He checked his watch. Nine forty-five. Plenty of time to get to Yankee Stadium for his eleven o'clock meeting with Sophie and Jared Mayor. He had barely left the room when a man approached him.

"Mr. Bolitar?"

"Yes."

"This is for you."

The man handed him an envelope and disappeared. Myron opened it. A subpoena from the Bergen County district attorney's office. Case heading: "People of Bergen County v. Esperanza Diaz." Well, well. Esperanza and Hester had been right not to tell him anything.

He stuffed it into his pocket. At least now he wouldn't have to lie.
Chapter 17
Myron did what every good boy should do when he gets into legal trouble: He called his mommy.

"Your aunt Clara will handle the subpoena," Mom said.

Aunt Clara wasn't really his aunt, just an old friend from the neighborhood. On the High Holy Days she still pinched Myron's cheek and cried out, "What apuniml" Myron sort of hoped she wouldn't do that in front of the judge: "Your Honor, I ask you to look at this face: Is that a punim or is that a puniml"

"Okay," Myron said.

"I'll call her, she'll call the DA. In the meantime you say nothing, understand?"

"Yes."

"See now, Mr. Smarty Pants? See what I was telling you now? About Hester Crimstein being right?"

"Yeah, Mom, whatever."

"Don't whatever me. They've subpoenaed you. But because Esperanza wouldn't tell you anything, you can't hurt her case."

"I see that, Mom."

"Good. Now let me go call Aunt Clara"

She hung up. And Mr. Smarty Pants did likewise.

Bluntly put, Yankee Stadium was located in a cesspool section of the ever-eroding Bronx. It didn't much matter. Whenever you first caught sight of the famed sports edifice, you still fell into an immediate church hush. Couldn't help it. Memories swarmed in and burrowed down. Images flashed in and out. His youth. A small child crammed standing on the 4 train, holding Dad's seemingly giant hand, looking up into his gentle face, the pregame anticipation tingling through every part of him. Dad had caught a fly ball when Myron was five years old. He could still see it sometimes-the arc of white rawhide, the crowd standing, his dad's arm stretching to an impossible height, the ball landing on the palm with a happy smack, the warm beam coming off Dad's face when he handed the prized possession to his son. Myron still had that ball, browning in the basement of his parents' house.

Basketball was Myron's sport of

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