Darkest Fear Page 30

“If you really believe that,” Myron said, “then you don’t know enough about Win’s, uh, talents.”

“I won’t debate the point. But I will point out that he doesn’t have an army like this at his disposal. Now, are you going to tell me why you’re asking about Dennis Lex?”

“I told you,” Myron said.

“You’re really going to stick with the dying-child story?”

“It’s the truth.”

“And how did you get Dennis Lex’s name?”

“From the bone marrow center.”

“They just gave it to you?”

Myron’s turn. “I too am not without my own, uh, talents.” It somehow didn’t sound right when he said it about himself.

“So you’re saying that the bone marrow center told you that Dennis Lex was a donor—that about right?”

“I’m not saying anything,” Myron said. “Look, this is a two-way street here. I want some information.”

“Wrong,” Granite Man said. “It’s a one-way street. I’m a Mack truck. You’re like an egg in the road.”

Myron nodded. “Cutting,” he said. “But if you’re not going to give me anything, I’m not giving you anything.”

The guy with the gun stepped closer.

Myron felt a quiver in his legs, but he didn’t blink. Maybe he did overplay the wisecracks, but you don’t show fear. Ever. “And let’s not pretend you’re going to shoot me over this. We both know you won’t. You’re not that stupid.”

Granite Man smiled. “I might beat on you a bit.”

“You don’t want trouble, I don’t want trouble. I don’t care about this family or its fortune or any of that. I’m just trying to save a kid’s life.”

Granite Man played air violin for a moment. Then he said, “Dennis Lex is not your salvation.”

“And I’m just supposed to believe you?”

“He’s not your donor. That much I personally guarantee.”

“Is he dead?”

Granite Man folded his arms across his paddleball-court chest. “If you’re telling the truth, the bone marrow people either lied to you or made a mistake.”

“Or you’re lying to me,” Myron said. Then added, “Or you’re making a mistake.”

“The guards will show you out.”

“I can still go to the press.”

Granite Man walked away then. “We both know you won’t,” he said. “You’re not that stupid either.”


Bruce Taylor was in print-journalist garb—like he’d gone to his laundry hamper and dug out whatever was on the bottom. He sat at the bar, scooped up the free pretzels, and pushed them into his mouth as though he were trying to swallow his palm.

“Hate these things,” he said to Myron.

“Yeah, I can see that.”

“I’m at a bar, for crying out loud. I gotta eat something. But nobody serves peanuts anymore. Too fattening or some such crap. Pretzels instead. And not real pretzels. Little tiny buggers.” He held one up for Myron to see. “I mean, what’s up with that?”

“And the politicians,” Myron said. “They spend all that time on gun control.”

“So what do you want to drink? And don’t ask for that Yoo-Hoo crap here. It’s embarrassing.”

“What are you having?”

“The same thing I always have when you pay. Twelve-year-old Scotch.”

“I’ll just have a club soda with lime.”

“Wuss.” He ordered it. “What do you want?”

“You know Stan Gibbs?”

Bruce said, “Whoa.”

“What whoa?”

“I mean, whoa, you get involved in some hairy-ass shit, Myron. But Stan Gibbs? What the hell could you possibly have to do with him?”

“Probably nothing.”


“Just tell me about him, okay?”

Bruce shrugged, took a sip of Scotch. “Ambitious s.o.b. who went too far. What else do you need to know?”

“The whole story.”

“Starting with?”

“What exactly did he do?”

“He plagiarized a story, the dumbass. That’s not unusual. But to be so stupid about it.”

“Too stupid?” Myron asked.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean we both agree that stealing from a published novel is not only unethical but idiotic.”


“So I’m asking if it’s too idiotic.”

“You think he’s innocent, Myron?”

“Do you?”

He chucked down a few more pretzels. “Hell no. Stan Gibbs is guilty as sin. And as stupid as he was, I know plenty stupider. How about Mike Barnicle? The guy steals jokes from a George Carlin book. George Carlin, for chrissake.”

“Does seem pretty stupid,” Myron agreed.

“And he’s not the only one. Look, Myron, every profession’s got their dirty laundry, right? The stuff they want swept under the rug. Cops got their blue line when one of them pounds a suspect into the earth. Doctors cover each other’s asses when they take out the wrong gallbladder or whatever. Lawyers … well, don’t even get me started on their dirty little secrets.”

“And plagiarism is yours?”

“Not just plagiarism,” Bruce said. “Wholesale fabrication. I know reporters who make up sources. I know guys who make up dialogue. I know guys who make up whole conversations. They run stories about crack mothers and inner-city gang leaders who never existed. Ever read those columns? Ever wonder why so many drug addicts, say, sound so friggin’ poignant when they can’t even watch Teletubbies without a tutor?”

“And you’re saying this happens a lot?”



“It’s epidemic,” Bruce said. “Some guys are lazy. Some are too ambitious. Some are just pathological liars. You know the type. They’ll lie to you about what they had for breakfast just because it comes so naturally.”

The drinks came. Bruce pointed at the empty pretzel bowl. The bartender replaced it.

“So if it’s so epidemic,” Myron said, “how come so few get caught?”

“First off, it’s hard to catch. People hide behind anonymous sources and claim people moved, stuff like that. Second, it’s like I said before. It’s our dirty little secret. We keep it buried.”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies