Gone for Good Page 9

“What about?”

“Are you refusing to cooperate with us?”

“I’m not refusing anything.”

“Then please tell us where we might locate Sheila Rogers.”

“I’d like to know why.”

She looked at Wilcox. Wilcox gave her a very small nod. She turned back to me. “Earlier today, Special Agent Wilcox and I visited Sheila Rogers’s place of employment on 18th Street. She was not present. We inquired as to where we might locate her. Her employer informed us that she had called in sick. We checked her last known place of residence. The landlord informed us that she moved out several months ago. Her current residence was listed as yours, Mr. Klein, on 378 West 24 th Street. We visited there. Sheila Rogers was not present.”

Squares pointed at her. “You talk real purdy.”

She ignored him. “We don’t want trouble, Mr. Klein.”

“Trouble?” I said.

“We need to question Sheila Rogers. We need to question her right away. We can do it the easy way. Or, if you choose not to cooperate, we can travel an alternate, though less pleasant, avenue.”

Squares rubbed his hands together. “Ooo, a threat.”

“What’s it going to be, Mr. Klein?”

“I’d like you to leave,” I said.

“How much do you know about Sheila Rogers?”

This was turning weird. My head started aching. Wilcox reached into his jacket pocket and took out a sheet of paper. He handed it to Claudia Fisher. “Are you aware,” Fisher said, “of Ms. Rogers’s criminal record?”

I tried to keep a straight face, but even Squares reacted to that one.

Fisher started reading from the sheet of paper. “Shoplifting. Prostitution. Possession with intent to sell.”

Squares made a scoffing noise. “Amateur hour.”

“Armed robbery.”

“Better,” Squares said with a nod. He looked up at Fisher. “No conviction on that one, right?”

“That’s correct.”

“So maybe she didn’t do it.”

Fisher frowned again.

I plucked at my lower lip.

“Mr. Klein?”

“Can’t help you,” I said.

“Can’t or won’t.”

I still plucked. “Semantics.”

“This must all seem a little déjà-vu, Mr. Klein.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Covering up. First for your brother. Now your lover.”

“Go to hell,” I said.

Squares made a face at me, clearly disappointed with my admittedly lame retort.

Fisher didn’t back off. “You’re not thinking this through,” she said.

“How’s that?”

“The repercussions,” she went on. “For example: How do you think the Covenant House donors would take it if you were arrested for, say, aiding and abetting?”

Squares took that one. “You know who you should ask?”

Claudia Fisher crinkled her nose at him, as if he were something she’d just scraped off her shoe.

“Joey Pistillo,” Squares said. “I bet Joey would know.”

Now it was Fisher and Wilcox’s turn to rock back on their heels.

“You got a cell phone?” Squares asked. “We can ask him right now.”

Fisher looked at Wilcox, then at Squares. “Are you telling us that you know Assistant Director in Charge Joseph Pistillo?” she asked.

“Call him,” Squares said. Then: “Oh, wait, you probably don’t know his private line.” Squares stretched out his hand and wiggled his finger in a give-me gesture. “You mind?”

She handed him the phone. Squares pressed the number pad and put the phone to his ear. He leaned all the way back, his feet still on the desk; if he’d been wearing a cowboy hat, it’d be pulled down over his eyes for a little siesta.

“Joey? Hey, man, how are you?” Squares listened for a minute and then he burst out laughing. He schmoozed a bit and I watched Fisher and Wilcox turn white. Normally I’d enjoy this power play—between his checkered past and current celebrity status, Squares was one degree of separation from almost everyone—but my mind was reeling.

After a few minutes, Squares handed Agent Fisher the cell phone. “Joey wants to talk to you.”

Fisher and Wilcox stepped out in the corridor and closed the door.

“Dude, the feds,” Squares said, thumbs up again, still impressed.

“Yeah, I’m pretty thrilled,” I said.

“That’s something, huh. I mean, about Sheila having a record. Who’d have guessed?”

Not me.

When Fisher and Wilcox returned, the color had returned to their faces. Fisher handed the phone to Squares with too courteous a smile.

Squares put it to his ear and said, “What’s up, Joey?” He listened for a while. Then he said, “Okay,” and hung up.

“What?” I said.

“That was Joey Pistillo. Top gun for the FBI on the East Coast.”


“He wants to see you in person,” Squares said. He looked off.


“I don’t think we’re going to like what he has to say.”


Assistant Director in Charge Joseph Pistillo not only wanted to see me in person, but alone.

“I understand your mother passed away,” he said.

“How do you understand?”


“Did you read the obituary in the paper?” I asked. “Did a friend tell you? How did you come to understand that she passed away?”

We looked at each other. Pistillo was a burly man, bald except for a close-cropped fringe of gray, shoulders like bowling balls, gnarled hands folded on his desk.

“Or,” I went on, feeling the old anger creep in, “did you have an agent watching us. Watching her. At the hospital. On her deathbed. At her funeral. Was one of your agents the new orderly the nurses whispered about? Was one of your agents the limousine driver who forgot the funeral director’s name?”

Neither one of us broke eye contact.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” Pistillo said.

“Thank you.”

He leaned back. “Why won’t you tell us where Sheila Rogers is?”

“Why won’t you tell me why you’re looking for her?”

“When did you see her last?”

“Are you married, Agent Pistillo?”

He didn’t break stride. “Twenty-six years. We have three kids.”

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