One False Move Page 31

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More silence.

“Look, I got a meeting,” she said. “Let’s talk later, okay?”

She hung up then. Myron held the empty receiver. He was alone. He stood. His legs were shaky.

Brenda met him at the doorway. A towel was draped around her neck. Her face was shiny from sweat. She took one look at him and said, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”

She kept her eyes on him. She didn’t believe him, but she wouldn’t push either.

“Nice outfit,” she said.

Myron looked down at his clothing. “I was going to wear a red sports bra,” he said. “It throws the whole look together.”

“Yummy,” she said.

He managed a smile. “Let’s go.”

They started heading down the corridor.

“Myron?”

“Yeah?”

“We talk a lot about me.” She continued walking, not looking at him. “Wouldn’t kill either of us to switch roles now and again. Might even be nice.”

Myron nodded, said nothing. Much as he might wish to be more like Clint Eastwood or John Wayne, Myron was not the silent type, not a macho tough guy who kept all his problems inside him. He confided to Win and Esperanza all the time. But neither one of them was helpful when it came to Jessica. Esperanza hated her so much that she could never think rationally on the subject. And in Win’s case, well, Win was simply not the man to discuss matters of the heart. His views on the subject could conservatively be called “scary.”

When they reached the edge of the court, Myron pulled up short. Brenda looked at him questioningly. Two men stood on the sidelines. Ragged brown suits, totally devoid of any sense of style or fashion. Weary faces, short hair, big guts. No doubt in Myron’s mind.

Cops.

Somebody pointed at Myron and Brenda. The two men sauntered over with a sigh. Brenda looked puzzled. Myron moved a little closer to her. The two men stopped directly in front of them.

“Are you Brenda Slaughter?” one asked.

“Yes.”

“I am Detective David Pepe of the Mahwah Police Department. This is Detective Mike Rinsky. We’d like you to come with us please.”

Myron stepped forward. “What’s this about?”

The two cops looked at him with flat eyes. “And you are?”

“Myron Bolitar.”

The two cops blinked. “And Myron Bolitar is?”

“Miss Slaughter’s attorney,” Myron said.

One cop looked at the other. “That was fast.”

Second cop: “Wonder why she called her attorney already.”

“Weird, huh?”

“I’d say.” He looked the multicolored Myron up and down. Smirked. “You don’t dress like an attorney, Mr. Bolitar.”

“I left my gray vest at home,” Myron said. “What do you guys want?”

“We would like to bring Miss Slaughter to the station,” the first cop said.

“Is she under arrest?”

First Cop looked at Second Cop. “Don’t lawyers know that when we arrest people, we read them their rights?”

“Probably got his degree at home. Maybe from that Sally Struthers school.”

“Got his law degree and VCR repairman certificate in one.”

“Right. Like that.”

“Or maybe he went to that American Bartenders Institute. They got a competitive program, I hear.”

Myron crossed his arms. “Whenever you guys are through. But please keep going. You’re both extremely amusing.”

First Cop sighed. “We’d like to bring Miss Slaughter to the station,” he said again.

“Why?”

“To talk.”

Boy, this was moving along nicely. “Why do you want to talk to her?” Myron tried.

“Not us,” Second Cop said.

“Right, not us.”

“We’re just supposed to pick her up.”

“Like escorts.”

Myron was about to make a comment on their being male escorts, but Brenda put her hand on his forearm. “Let’s just go,” she said.

“Smart lady,” First Cop said.

“Needs a new lawyer,” Second Cop added.

Myron and Brenda sat in the back of an unmarked police car that a blind man could tell was an unmarked police car. It was a brown sedan, the same brown as the cops’ suits, a Chevrolet Caprice with simply too much antenna.

For the first ten minutes of the ride nobody spoke. Brenda’s face was set. She moved her hand along the seat closer until it touched his. Then she left it there. She looked at him. The hand felt warm and nice. He tried to look confident, but he had a terrible sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.

They drove down Route 4 and up Route 17. Mahwah. Nice suburb, almost on the New York border. They parked behind the Mahwah municipal building. The entrance to the station was in the back. The two cops led them into an interrogation room. There was a metal table bolted to the floor and four chairs. No hot lamp. A mirror took up half a wall. Only a moron who never, ever watched television didn’t know that it was a one-way mirror. Myron often wondered if anybody was fooled by that anymore. Even if you never watched TV, why would the police need a giant mirror in an interrogation room? Vanity?

They were left alone.

“What do you think this is about?” Brenda asked.

Myron shrugged. He had a pretty good idea. But speculating at this stage was worthless. They would find out soon enough. Ten minutes passed. Not a good sign. Another five. Myron decided to call their bluff.

“Let’s go,” he said.

“What?”

“We don’t have to wait around here. Let’s go.”

As if on cue, the door opened. A man and a woman entered. The man was big and barrellike with explosions of hair everyplace. He had a mustache so thick it made Teddy Roosevelt’s look like a limp eyelash. His hairline was low, the kind of low where you can’t tell where the eyebrow ends and the actual hairline begins. He looked like a member of the Politburo. His pants were stretched tautly in the front, creasing obscenely, yet his lack of an ass made them too big in the back. His shirt was also too tight. The collar strangled him. The rolled-up sleeves worked the forearms like tourniquets. He was red-faced and angry.

For those with a scorecard, this would be your Bad Cop.

The woman wore a gray skirt with her detective shield on the waistband and a high-neck white blouse. She was early thirties, blond with freckles and pink cheeks. Healthy-looking. If she were a veal entree, the menu would describe her as “milk-fed.”

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