Gone for Good Page 40

“I think,” Katy said, “Julie ended up doing something bad.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know. Maybe that’s going too far. I don’t remember much, but I remember she seemed happy before she died. I hadn’t seen her that happy in a long time. I think maybe she was getting better, I don’t know.”

The doorbell rang. My shoulders slumped at the sound. I was not much in the mood for more company. Katy, reading me, jumped up and said, “I’ll get it.”

It was a deliveryman with a fruit basket. Katy took the basket and brought it back into the room. She dropped it on the table. “There’s a card,” she said.

“Open it.”

She plucked it out of the tiny envelope. “It’s a condolence basket from some of the kids at Covenant House.” She pulled something from an envelope. “A mass card too.”

Katy kept staring at the card.

“What’s the matter?”

Katy read it again. Then she looked up at me. “Sheila Rogers?”


“Your girlfriend’s name was Sheila Rogers?”

“Yeah, why?”

Katy shook her head and put down the card. “What is it?”

“Nothing,” she said.

“Don’t give me that. Did you know her?”


“Then what is it?”

“Nothing.” Katy’s voice was firmer this time. “Just drop it, okay?”

The phone rang. I waited for the machine. Through the speaker I heard Squares say, “Pick it up.”

I did.

Without preamble, Squares said, “You believe the mother? About Sheila having a daughter?”


“So what are we going to do about it?”

I had been thinking about it since I first heard the news. “I have a theory,” I said.

“I’m a-listening.”

“Maybe Sheila’s running away had something to do with her daughter.”


“Maybe she was trying to find Carly or bring her back. Maybe she learned that Carly was in trouble. I don’t know. But something.”

“Sounds semi-logical.”

“And if we can trace Sheila’s steps,” I said, “maybe we can find Carly.”

“And maybe we’ll end up like Sheila.”

“A risk,” I agreed.

There was a hesitation. I looked over at Katy. She was staring off, plucking her lower lip.

“So you want to continue,” Squares said.

“Yes, but I don’t want to put you in danger.”

“So this is the part where you tell me I can step away at any time?”

“Right, and then this is the part where you say you’ll stick with me to the end.”

“Cue the violins,” Squares said. “Now that we’re past all that, Roscoe via Raquel just called me. He may have come up with a serious lead on how Sheila ran. You game for a night ride?”

“Pick me up,” I said.


Philip McGuane saw his old nemesis on the security camera. His receptionist buzzed him.

“Mr. McGuane?”

“Send him in,” he said.

“Yes, Mr. McGuane. He’s with—”

“Her too.”

McGuane stood. He had a corner office overlooking the Hudson River near the isle of Manhattan’s southwestern tip. In the warmer months, the new mega-cruise ships with their neon decor and atrium lobbies glide by, some climbing as high as his window. Today nary a stir. McGuane kept flicking the remote on the security camera, keeping up with his federal antagonist Joe Pistillo and the female underling he had in tow.

McGuane spent a lot on security. It was worth it. His system employed eighty-three cameras. Every person who entered his private elevator was digitally recorded from several angles, but what really made the system stand out was that the camera angles were designed to shoot in such a way that anyone entering could be made to look as though they were also leaving. Both the corridor and elevator were painted spearmint green. That might not seem like much—it was, in effect, rather hideous—but to those who understood special effects and digital manipulation, it was key. An image on the green background could be plucked out and placed on another background.

His enemies felt comfortable coming here. This was, after all, his office. No one, they surmised, would be brazen enough to kill someone on his own turf. That was where they were wrong. The brazen nature, the very fact that the authorities would think the same thing—and the fact that he could offer up evidence that the victim had left the facility unharmed—made it the ideal spot to strike.

McGuane pulled out an old photograph from his top drawer. He had learned early that you never underestimate a person or a situation. He also realized that by making opponents underestimate him, he could finagle the advantage. He looked now at the picture of the three seventeen-year-old boys—Ken Klein, John “the Ghost” Asselta, and McGuane. They’d grown up in the suburb of Livingston, New Jersey, though McGuane had lived on the opposite side of town from Ken and the Ghost. They hooked up in high school, drawn to each other, noticing—or perhaps this was giving them all too much credit—a kinship in the eyes.

Ken Klein had been the fiery tennis player, John Asselta the psycho wrestler, McGuane the wow-’em charmer and student council president. He looked at the faces in the photograph. You would never see it. All you saw were three popular high school kids. Nothing beyond that facade. When those kids shot up Columbine a few years back, McGuane had watched the media reaction with fascination. The world looked for comfortable excuses. The boys were outsiders. The boys were teased and bullied. The boys had absent parents and played video games. But McGuane knew that none of that mattered. It may have been a slightly different era, but that could have been them—Ken, John, and McGuane—because the truth is, it does not matter if you are financially comfortable or loved by your parents or if you keep to yourself or fight to stay afloat in the mainstream.

Some people have that rage.

The office door opened. Joseph Pistillo and his young protégé entered. McGuane smiled and put away the photograph.

“Ah, Javert,” he said to Pistillo. “Do you still hunt me when all I did was steal some bread?”

“Yeah,” Pistillo said. “Yeah, that’s you, McGuane. The innocent man hounded.”

McGuane turned his attention to the female agent. “Tell me, Joe, why do you always have such a lovely colleague with you?”

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