The Final Detail Page 48

get him the best deal."

"Keep telling yourself that, Myron."

"I can't stop a man from returning to an addiction. You knew that."

"But you said you'd watch him. You said you'd work on keeping him straight."

Myron swallowed and shifted in his chair again. "Yes."

"But you didn't watch him, Myron, did you?"

Silence.

"You took a vacation and didn't tell anyone. You left Clu alone. You acted irresponsibly, and so I blame you in part for his falling off the wagon."

Myron opened his mouth, closed it. She was right, of course, but he didn't have the luxury of wallowing in that right now. Later. He'd think about his role in this later. The pain from last night's beating was angrily stirring from its snooze. He reached into his pocket and shook out a couple of extra-strength Tylenols.

Satisfied-or maybe satiated-Sophie Mayor sat down. Seeing the pills, she asked, "Would you like some water?"

"Please."

She nodded at Jared. Jared poured Myron a glass of water and handed it to him. Myron thanked him and swallowed the tablets. The placebo effect jumped in, and he immediately felt better.

Before Sophie Mayor could strike again, Myron tried to shift gears. "Tell me about Clu's failed drug test," he said.

Sophie Mayor looked puzzled. "What's to tell?"

"Clu claimed he was clean."

"And you believe that?"

"I want to look into it"

"Why?"

"Because when Clu was caught in the past, he begged forgiveness and promised to get help. He never pretended a test result was wrong."

She crossed her arms. "And that's evidence of what exactly?"

"Nothing. I'd just like tq ask a few questions."

"Ask away then."

"How often did you test him?"

Sophie looked over at her son. His cue. Jared spoke for the first time since greeting Myron at the door. "At least once a week," he said.

"Urine tests?" Myron asked.

"Yes," Jared said.

"And he passed them all? I mean, except for the last one."

"Yes."

Myron shook his head. "Every week? And no other positives? Just that one?"

"That's right."

He looked back at Sophie. "Didn't you find that odd?"

"Why?" she countered. "He'd been trying to stay clean, and he fell off the wagon. It happens every day, doesn't it?"

It did, Myron guessed, and still something about it didn't sit right with him. "But Clu knew you were testing him?"

"I assume so, yes. We'd been testing him at least once a week."

"And how were the tests conducted?"

Sophie again looked over at Jared. Jared asked, "What do you mean?"

"Step by step," Myron said. "What did he do?"

Sophie took that one. "He peed in the cup, Myron. It's pretty simple."

It was never pretty simple. "Did someone watch him urinate?"

"What?"

"Did someone actually witness Clu peeing or did he step into a stall?" Myron said. "Was he naked when he did it or did he have on shorts-"

"What difference does any of that make?"

"Plenty. Clu had spent his lifetime beating these tests. If he knew they were coming, he'd be prepared."

"Prepared how?" Sophie asked.

"Lots of ways, depending on the sophistication of the test," Myron said. "If the testing was more primitive, you can put motor oil on your fingers and let the urine hit them while urinating. The phosphates throw the results out of whack. Some testers know this, so they check for phosphates. If the tester lets the guy urinate in a stall, he can strap clean urine onto his inner thigh and use that. Or the testee keeps the clean urine hidden in a condom or small balloon. He stores it in the lining of his boxer shorts maybe. Or between his toes. Under his armpit. In his mouth even."

"Are you serious?"

"It gets worse. If the testee gets tipped off a strict test is coming up-one where the administrators are watching every move he makes-he'll drain his bladder and use a catheter to pump in clean urine."

Sophie Mayor looked horror-stricken. "He pumps someone else's urine into his bladder?"

"Yes," Myron said.

"Jesus." Then she pinned him down with her eyes. "You seem to know quite a bit about this, Myron."

"So did Clu."

"What are you saying?"

"It raises some questions, that's all."

"He probably got caught by surprise."

"Maybe," Myron said. "But if you were testing him every week, how surprised could he have been?"

"He might have just messed up," Sophie went on. "Drug addicts have a way of doing that."

"Could be. But I'd like to speak with the person who administered the test."

"Dr. Stilwell," Jared said. "He's the team doctor. He handled it. Sawyer Wells assisted him."

"Sawyer Wells, as in the self-help guru?"

"He's a psychologist specializing in human behavior and an excellent motivational therapist," Jared corrected.

Motivational therapist. Uh-huh. "Are either

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