Gone for Good Page 71

“Where is your father now?” McGuane asked.

“Cheyenne, Wyoming. He dried out. He found a good woman. He’s a religious nut now. Traded alcohol for God—one addiction for another.”

“You ever talk to him?”

The Ghost’s voice was soft. “No.”

They drank in silence.

“What about you, Philip? You weren’t poor. Your parents weren’t abusive.”

“Just parents,” McGuane agreed.

“I know your uncle was mobbed up. He got you into the business. But you could have gone straight. Why didn’t you?”

McGuane chuckled.


“We’re more different than I thought.”

“How’s that?”

“You regret it,” McGuane said. “You do it, you get a thrill from it, you’re good at it. But you see yourself as evil.” He sat up suddenly. “My God.”


“You’re more dangerous than I thought, John.”

“How so?”

“You’re not back for Ken,” McGuane said. And then, his voice dropping: “You’re back for that little girl, aren’t you?”

The Ghost took a deep sip. He chose not to answer.

“Those choices and alternate universes you were talking about,” McGuane went on. “You think if Ken died that night, it would all be different.”

“It would indeed be an alternate universe,” the Ghost said.

“But maybe not a better one,” McGuane countered. Then he added, “So what now?”

“We’ll need Will’s cooperation. He’s the only one who can draw Ken out.”

“He won’t help.”

The Ghost frowned. “You, of all people, know better.”

“His father?” McGuane asked.


“His sister?”

“She’s too far away,” the Ghost said.

“But you have an idea?”

“Think,” the Ghost said.

McGuane did. And when he saw it, his face broke into a smile. “Katy Miller.”


Pistillo kept his eyes on me, waiting for my reaction to his bombshell. But I recovered fast. Maybe this was beginning to make sense.

“You captured my brother?”


“And you extradited him back to the United States?”


“So how come it wasn’t in the papers?” I asked.

“We kept it under wraps,” Pistillo said.

“Because you were afraid McGuane would find out?”

“For the most part.”

“What else?”

He shook his head.

“You still wanted McGuane,” I said.


“And my brother could still deliver.”

“He could help.”

“So you cut another deal with him.”

“We pretty much reinstated the old one.”

I saw a clearing in the haze. “And you put him in the witness protection program?”

Pistillo nodded. “Originally we kept him in a hotel under protective custody. But by then a lot of what your brother had was old. He would still be a key witness—probably the most important we’d have—but we needed more time. We couldn’t keep him in a hotel forever, and he didn’t want to stay. Ken hired a big-time lawyer, and we worked out a deal. We found him a place in New Mexico. He had to report to one of our agents on a daily basis. We would call him to testify when we needed him. Any break in that deal, and the charges, including the murder charge from Julie Miller, could be reinstated.”

“So what went wrong?”

“McGuane found out about it.”


“We don’t know. A leak maybe. Whatever, McGuane sent out two goons to kill your brother.”

“The two dead men at the house,” I said.


“Who killed them?”

“We think your brother. They underestimated him. He killed them and ran again.”

“And now you want Ken back again.”

His gaze wandered over to the photographs on the refrigerator door. “Yes.”

“But I don’t know where he is.”

“I know that now. Look, maybe we screwed up here. I don’t know. But Ken needs to come in. We’ll protect him, around-the-clock surveillance, a safe house, whatever he wants. That’s the carrot. The stick is that his prison sentence is subject to his cooperation.”

“So what do you want from me?”

“He’ll reach out to you eventually.”

“What makes you so sure?”

He sighed and stared at the glass.

“What makes you so sure?” I asked again.

“Because,” Pistillo said, “Ken called you already.”

A block of lead formed in my chest.

“There were two calls placed from a pay phone near your brother’s house in Albuquerque to your apartment,” he went on. “One was made about a week before the two goons were killed. The other, right after.”

I should have been shocked, but I wasn’t. Maybe it finally fit, only I didn’t like how.

“You didn’t know about the calls, did you, Will?”

I swallowed and thought about who, besides me, might answer the phone if Ken had indeed called.


“No,” I said. “I didn’t know about them.”

He nodded. “We didn’t know that when we first approached you. It was natural to figure you were the one who answered the phone.”

I looked at him. “How does Sheila Rogers fit into this?”

“Her fingerprints were found at the murder scene.”

“I know that.”

“So let me ask you, Will. We knew your brother had called you. We knew your girlfriend had visited Ken’s house in New Mexico. If you were us, what would you have concluded?”

“That I was somehow involved.”

“Right. We figured that Sheila was your go-between or something, that you’d been helping your brother out. And when Ken ran off, we figured you two knew where he was.”

“But now you know better.”

“That’s correct.”

“So what do you suspect now?”

“The same thing you do, Will.” His voice was soft, and—damn him—I heard pity in it. “That Sheila Rogers used you. That she worked for McGuane. That she’s the one who tipped him off about your brother. And that when the hit went wrong, McGuane had her killed.”

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