Gone for Good Page 61

“We had them overnight the tapes,” the taller of the brothers said, clearly looking for approval. Squares deigned another nod at him. They led us across the cement floor. I heard the beep-beep of vehicles in reverse. Garagelike doors were opened and trucks were loaded. The brothers greeted every worker, and the workers responded.

We entered a windowless room with a Mr. Coffee on the counter. A TV with a coat-hanger antenna and VCR sat on one of those metal carts I had not seen since the days when the A-V kid would wheel them into my elementary school class.

The taller brother turned on the TV. Pure static blew forth. He stuck a tape in the VCR. “This tape covers twelve hours,” he said. “You told me the guy was in the store around three o’clock, right?”

“That’s what we were told,” Squares said.

“I have it set at two forty-five. The tape moves pretty quickly since it only captures an image every three seconds. Oh, and the fast forward doesn’t work, sorry. We don’t have a remote control either, so just press the Play button right here whenever you’re ready. We figured you’d want privacy so we’ll leave. Take your time.”

“We may need to keep the tape,” Squares said.

“Not a problem. We can make copies.”

“Thank you.”

One brother shook Squares’s hand again. The other—I’m not making this up—bowed. Then we were left alone. I approached the VCR and pressed Play. The static disappeared. So did the sound. I played with the volume button on the TV, but, of course, there was no sound.

The images were in black and white. There was a clock on the bottom of the screen. The camera pointed at the cash register from above. A young woman with long blond hair worked it. Her moving in jerky, every-three-second clips made me dizzy.

“How are we going to know this Owen Enfield?” Squares asked.

“We look for a forty-year-old guy with a crew cut, I guess.”

Watching now, I realized that this task might be easier than I’d first thought. The customers were all elderly and in golf-club garb. I wondered if Stonepointe catered mostly to retirees. I made a mental note to ask Yvonne Sterno.

At 3:08.15, we spotted him. His back anyway. He wore shorts and a collared shortsleeve shirt. We could not see his face, but he had a crew cut. He headed past the register and down the last aisle. We waited. At 3:09.24, our potential Owen Enfield turned the corner, heading back toward the long-haired blonde at the cash register. He carried a half-gallon of what looked like milk and a loaf of bread. I put my hand near the pause button so I could stop it and get a better look.

But there was no need.

The Vandyke beard might throw you off. So, too, the close-cropped gray hair. If I had casually stumbled across this tape, or if I had walked past him on a busy street, I might not have noticed. But I was anything but casual right now. I was concentrating. And I knew. I hit the pause button anyway: 3:09.51.

Any doubts were erased. I stood there, unmoving. I did not know if I should celebrate or cry. I turned toward Squares. His eyes were on me instead of the screen. I nodded at him, confirming what he already suspected.

Owen Enfield was my brother, Ken.


The intercom buzzed.

“Mr. McGuane?” the receptionist, part of his security force, asked.


“Joshua Ford and Raymond Cromwell are here.”

Joshua Ford was the senior partner at Stanford, Cummings, and Ford, a firm that employed more than three hundred attorneys. Raymond Cromwell would thus be the note-taking, extra-hour-billing underling. Philip watched them both on the monitor. Ford was a big guy, six-four, two-twenty. He had a reputation for being tough, aggressive, nasty, and fitting that profile, he worked his face and mouth as though he were chomping on either a cigar or human leg. Cromwell, in contrast, was young, soft, manicured, and waxy-smooth.

McGuane looked over at the Ghost. The Ghost smiled, and McGuane felt another cold gust. Again he wondered about the intelligence of bringing Asselta in on this. In the end, he had decided that it would be okay. The Ghost had a stake in this too.

Besides, the Ghost was good at this.

Still keeping his eyes on that skin-crawling smile, McGuane said, “Please send in Mr. Ford alone. Make sure that Mr. Cromwell is comfortable in the waiting room.”

“Yes, Mr. McGuane.”

McGuane had debated how to play this. He did not care for violence for violence’s sake, but he never shrank from it either. It was a means to an end. The Ghost was right about that atheist-in-foxhole crap. The truth is, we are mere animals, organisms even, slightly more complex than your basic paramecium. You die, you’re gone. It was pure megalomania to think we humans are somehow above death, that we, unlike any other creature, have the ability to transcend it. In life, sure, we are special, dominant, because we are the strongest and most ruthless. We rule. But in death, to believe that we are somehow special in God’s eyes, that we can worm our way into his good graces by kissing his ass, well, and not to sound like a Communist here, but that’s the sort of thinking that the rich have used to keep the poor in place since the beginning of man’s rule.

The Ghost moved toward the door.

You take the edge any way you can get it. McGuane often treaded along byways others considered taboo. You were never supposed to kill, for example, a fed or a D.A. or a cop. McGuane had killed all three. You were never supposed to attack, to use another example, powerful people who could make trouble and draw attention.

McGuane did not buy that one either.

When Joshua Ford opened the door, the Ghost had the iron baton ready. It was the approximate length of a baseball bat, with a powerful spring that helped it snap with the force of a blackjack. If you were to hit someone on the head with any kind of force, it would crush the skull like an eggshell.

Joshua Ford entered with a rich-man’s swagger. He smiled at McGuane. “Mr. McGuane.”

McGuane smiled back. “Mr. Ford.”

Sensing someone to his right, Ford turned toward the Ghost, his hand outstretched for a customary shake. The Ghost had his eyes elsewhere. He aimed the metal bar for the shin and hit it flush. Ford cried out and dropped to the floor like a marionette with its strings cut. The Ghost hit him again, this time in the right shoulder. Ford felt his arm go dead. The Ghost smashed the baton against the rib cage. There was a cracking sound. Ford tried to roll into a ball.

From across the room, McGuane asked, “Where is he?”

Joshua Ford swallowed and croaked, “Who?”

Big mistake. The Ghost snapped the weapon down on the man’s ankle. Ford howled. McGuane looked behind him at the security monitor. Cromwell was comfortably ensconced in the waiting room. He would hear nothing. Neither would anybody else.

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