One False Move Page 11

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“What?”

“If you clone yourself, and then have sex with yourself, is it incest or masturbation?”

Win.

“Good to see you’re not wasting your time,” Myron said.

Win looked at him. “If we were still at Duke,” he said, “we’d probably discuss the dilemma for hours.”

“That’s because we’d be drunk.”

Win nodded. “There’s that.”

They both switched off their cellular phones and started heading down Fifth Avenue. It was a relatively new trick that Myron and Win used with great effect. As soon as the Hormonal He-Men pulled up, Myron had switched on the phone and hit the programmed button for Win’s cellular. Win had thus heard every word. That was why Myron had commented out loud on where they were heading. That was how Win knew exactly where he was and exactly when to call. Win had nothing to say to Frank Ache; he just wanted to make sure that Frank knew that Win knew where Myron was.

“Tie you to a chair and set your dick on fire,” Win repeated. “That would sting.”

Myron nodded. “Talk about having a burning sensation when you urinate.”

“Indeed. So tell me.”

Myron started talking. Win, as always, did not appear to be listening. He never glanced in Myron’s direction, his eyes searching the streets for beautiful women. Midtown Manhattan during work hours was full of them. They wore business suits and silk blouses and white Reebok sneakers. Every once in a while Win would reward one with a smile; unlike almost anybody else in New York, he was often rewarded with one in return.

When Myron told him about bodyguarding Brenda Slaughter, Win suddenly stopped and broke out in song: “AND I-I-I-I-I-I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU-OU-OU-OU-OU-OU-OU.”

Myron looked at him. Win stopped, put his face back in place, continued walking. “When I sing that,” Win said, “it’s almost like Whitney Houston is in the room.”

“Yeah,” Myron said. “Or something.”

“So what is the Aches’ interest in all this?”

“I don’t know.”

“Perhaps TruPro just wishes to represent her.”

“Doubtful. She’ll make somebody money but not enough for pulling this.”

Win thought about it, nodded his agreement. They headed east on Fiftieth Street. “Young FJ might pose a problem.”

“Do you know him?”

“A bit. He is something of an intriguing story. Daddy groomed him to go legit. He sent him to Lawrenceville, then to Princeton, finally Harvard. Now he’s setting him up in the business of representing athletes.”

“But.”

“But he resents it. He is still Frank Ache’s son and thus wants his approval. He needs to show that despite the upbringing, he’s still a tough guy. Worse, he is genetically Frank Ache’s son. My guess? If you trample through FJ’s childhood, you’ll stumble across many a legless spider and wingless fly.”

Myron shook his head. “This is definitely not a good thing.”

Win said nothing. They hit the Lock-Horne Building on Forty-seventh Street. Myron got off the elevator on the twelfth floor. Win stayed in, his office being two flights up. When Myron looked at the reception desk—the place where Esperanza usually sat—he nearly jumped back. Big Cyndi sat silently watching him. She was far too big for the desk—far too big for the building, really—and the desk actually teetered on her knees. Her makeup would be labeled “too garish” by members of Kiss. Her hair was short and seaweed green. The T-shirt she wore had the sleeves ripped off, revealing biceps the size of basketballs.

Myron gave her a tentative wave. “Hello, Cyndi.”

“Hello, Mr. Bolitar.”

Big Cyndi was six-six, three hundred pounds and had been Esperanza’s tag team wrestling partner, known in the ring as Big Chief Mama. For years Myron had only heard her growl, never speak. But her voice could be anything she wanted. When she worked as a bouncer at Leather-N-Lust on Tenth Street, she put on an accent that made Arnold Schwarzenegger sound like a Gabor sister. Right now, she was doing her perky Mary-Richards-off-decaf.

“Is Esperanza here?” he asked.

“Miss Diaz is in Mr. Bolitar’s office.” She smiled at him. Myron tried not to cringe. Forget what he’d said about Frank Ache—this smile made his fillings hurt.

He excused himself and headed into his office. Esperanza was at his desk, talking on the phone. She wore a bright yellow blouse against the olive skin that always made him think of stars shimmering off the warm water in the Amalfi bay. She looked up at him, signaled to give her a minute with a finger, and kept on talking. Myron sat down across from her. It was an interesting perspective, seeing what clients and corporate sponsors saw when they sat in his office. The Broadway musical posters behind his chair—too desperate, he decided. Like he was trying to be irreverent for irreverence sake.

When she finished the call, Esperanza said, “You’re late.”

“Frank Ache wanted to see me.”

She crossed her arms. “He need a fourth for mah-jongg?”

“He wanted to know about Brenda Slaughter.”

Esperanza nodded. “So we got trouble.”

“Maybe.”

“Dump her.”

“No.”

She looked at him with flat eyes. “Tattoo me surprised.”

“Did you get anything on Horace Slaughter?”

She grabbed a piece of paper. “Horace Slaughter. None of his credit cards have been used in the past week. He has one bank account at Newark Fidelity. Balance: zero dollars.”

“Zero?”

“He cleaned it out.”

“How much?”

“Eleven grand. In cash.”

Myron whistled and leaned back. “So he was planning on running. That fits with what we saw in his apartment.”

“Uh-huh.”

“I got a harder one for you,” Myron said. “His wife, Anita Slaughter.”

“They still married?”

“I don’t know. Maybe legally. She ran away twenty years ago. I don’t think they ever bothered with a divorce.”

She frowned. “Did you say twenty years ago?”

“Yes. Apparently no one has seen her since then.”

“And what exactly are we trying to find?”

“In a word: her.”

“You don’t know where she is?”

“Not a clue. Like I said, she’s been missing for twenty years.”

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