One False Move Page 29

Another shrug. They kept driving. Win took the Grand Avenue exit. On the right was an enormous complex of town houses. During the mid-eighties, approximately two zillion such complexes had mushroomed across New Jersey. This particular one looked like a staid amusement park or the housing development in Poltergeist.

“I don’t want to sound maudlin,” Myron said, “but if FJ does manage to kill me—”

“I’ll spend several fun-filled weeks spreading slivers of his genitalia throughout New England,” Win said. “After that, I’ll probably kill him.”

Myron actually smiled. “Why New England?”

“I like New England,” Win said. Then he added, “And I would be lonely in New York without you.”

Win pushed the MODE button, and the CD player spun to life. The music from Rent. The lovely Mimi was asking Roger to light her candle. Great stuff. Myron looked at his friend. Win said nothing more. To most people, Win seemed about as sentimental as a meat locker. But the fact was, Win just cared for very few people. With those select few, he was surprisingly open; much like his lethal hands, Win struck deep and hard and then backed off, ready to elude.

“Horace Slaughter only had two credit cards,” Myron said. “Could you check them out?”

“No ATM?”

“Only off his Visa.”

Win nodded, took the card numbers. He dropped Myron off at Englewood High School. The Dolphins were running through a one-on-one defensive drill. One player dribbled in a zigzag formation up the court while the defender bent low and worked on containment. Good drill. Tiring as all hell, but it worked the quads like no other.

There were about a half dozen people in the stands now. Myron took a seat in the front row. Within seconds the coach beelined toward him. She was husky with neatly trimmed black hair, a knit shirt with the New York Dolphins logo on the breast, gray sweatpants, a whistle, and Nike high-tops.

“You Bolitar?” the coach barked.

Her spine was a titanium bar, her face as unyielding as a meter maid’s.

“Yes.”

“Name’s Podich. Jean Podich.” She spoke like a drill sergeant. She put her hands behind her back and rocked on her heels a bit. “Used to watch you play, Bolitar. Friggin’ awesome.”

“Thank you.” He almost added sir.

“Still play at all?”

“Just pickup games.”

“Good. Had a player go down with a twisted ankle. Need someone to fill in for the scrimmage.”

“Pardon me?” Coach Podich was not big on using pronouns.

“Got nine players here, Bolitar. Nine. Need a tenth. Plenty of gym clothes in the equipment room. Sneakers too. Go suit up.”

This was not a request.

“I need my knee brace,” Myron said.

“Got that too, Bolitar. Got it all. The trainer will wrap you up good and tight. Now hustle, man.”

She clapped her hands at him, turned, walked away. Myron stayed still for a second. Great. This was just what he needed.

Podich blew her whistle hard enough to squeeze out an internal organ. The players stopped. “Shoot foul shots, take ten,” she said. “Then scrimmage.”

The players drifted off. Brenda jogged toward him.

“Where you going?” she asked.

“I have to suit up.”

Brenda stifled a smile.

“What?” he said.

“The equipment room,” Brenda said. “All they have is yellow Lycra shorts.”

Myron shook his head. “Then somebody should warn her.”

“Who?”

“Your coach. I put on tight yellow shorts, no way anybody’s going to concentrate on basketball.”

Brenda laughed. “I’ll try to maintain a professional demeanor. But if you post me down low, I may be forced to pinch your butt.”

“I’m not just a plaything,” Myron said, “here for your amusement.”

“Too bad.” She followed him into the equipment room. “Oh, that lawyer who wrote to my dad,” she said. “Thomas Kincaid.”

“Yes.”

“I remember where I heard his name before. My first scholarship. When I was twelve years old. He was the lawyer in charge.”

“What do you mean, in charge?”

“He signed my checks.”

Myron stopped. “You received checks from a scholarship?”

“Sure. The scholarship covered everything. Tuition, board, schoolbooks. I wrote out my expenses, and Kincaid signed the checks.”

“What was the name of the scholarship?”

“That one? I don’t remember. Outreach Education or something like that.”

“How long did Kincaid administer the scholarship?”

“It covered through my high school years. I got an athletic scholarship to college, so basketball paid the freight.”

“What about medical school?”

“I got another scholarship.”

“Same deal?”

“It’s a different scholarship, if that’s what you mean.”

“Does it pay for the same stuff? Tuition, board, the works?”

“Yep.”

“Handled by a lawyer again?”

She nodded.

“Do you remember his name?”

“Yeah,” she said. “Rick Peterson. He works out of Roseland.”

Myron thought about this. Something clicked.

“What?” she asked.

“Do me a favor,” he said. “I got to make a couple of calls. Can you stall Frau Brucha for me?”

She shrugged. “I can try.”

Brenda left him alone. The equipment room was enormous. An eighty-year-old guy worked the desk. He asked Myron for his sizes. Myron told him. Two minutes later the old man handed Myron a pile of clothes. Purple T-shirt, black socks with blue stripes, white jockstrap, green sneakers, and, of course, yellow Lycra shorts.

Myron frowned. “I think you missed a color,” he said.

The old man gave him the eye. “I got a red sports bra, if you’re interested.”

Myron thought about it but ultimately declined.

He slipped on his shirt and jock. Pulling on the shorts was like pulling on a wet suit. Everything felt compressed—not a bad feeling, actually. He grabbed his cellular phone and hurried to the trainer’s room. On the way he passed a mirror. He looked like a box of Crayolas left too long on a windowsill. He lay on a bench and dialed the office. Esperanza answered.

“MB SportsReps.”

“Where’s Cyndi?” Myron asked.

Prev Next