One False Move Page 42

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The crowd turned away, and the murmur returned to normal. Myron felt the stomach knots begin to loosen. He scanned the room for familiar faces. He recognized a couple of the ballplayers from his past, guys he had played against on the playground or in high school. A couple nodded hellos. Myron nodded back. A little boy just past the toddler stage sprinted through the room imitating a siren. Myron recognized him from the pictures on the mantel. Mabel Edwards’s grandson. Terence Edwards’s son.

Speaking of whom, where was candidate Edwards?

Myron scanned the room again. No sign of him. In front of him Mabel and Brenda finally broke their hold. Brenda wiped her eyes. Mabel pointed her toward a bathroom. Brenda managed a nod and hurried off.

Mabel approached him, her gaze on him and unwavering. Without preamble she asked, “Do you know who killed my brother?”

“No.”

“But you’re going to find out.”

“Yes.”

“Do you have a thought?”

“A thought,” Myron said. “Nothing more.”

She nodded again. “You’re a good man, Myron.”

There was a shrine of some sort on the fireplace. A photograph of a smiling Horace was surrounded by flowers and candles. Myron looked at the smile he had not seen in ten years and would never see again.

He did not feel like a good man.

“I’ll need to ask you some more questions,” Myron said.

“Whatever it takes.”

“About Anita too.”

Mabel’s eyes stayed on him. “You still think she’s connected in all this?”

“Yes. I’d also like to send a man around to check your phone.”

“Why?”

“I think it’s tapped.”

Mabel looked confused. “But who would tap my phone?”

Better not to speculate right now. “I don’t know,” Myron said. “But when your brother called, did he mention the Holiday Inn in Livingston?”

Something happened to her eyes. “Why do you want to know that?”

“Evidently Horace had lunch with a manager there the day before he disappeared. It was the last charge on his credit card. And when we stopped by, Brenda thought she recognized it. That she may have been there with Anita.”

Mabel closed her eyes.

“What?” Myron asked.

More mourners entered the house, all carrying platters of food. Mabel accepted their words of sympathy with a kind smile and a firm hand grasp. Myron waited.

When there was a free second, Mabel said, “Horace never mentioned the Holiday Inn on the phone.”

“But there’s something else,” Myron said.

“Yes.”

“Did Anita ever take Brenda to the Holiday Inn?”

Brenda stepped back into the room and looked at them. Mabel put her hand on Myron’s arm. “Now is not the time for this,” Mabel said to him.

He nodded.

“Tonight maybe. Do you think you can come alone?”

“Yes.”

Mabel Edwards left him then to attend to Horace’s family and friends. Myron felt like an outsider again, but this time it had nothing to do with skin color.

He left quickly.

Once on the road Myron switched his cellular phone back on. Two incoming calls. One was from Esperanza at the office, the other from Jessica in Los Angeles. He briefly debated what to do. No question really. He dialed Jessica’s hotel suite. Was it wimpy to call her right back? Maybe. But Myron looked at it as one of his more mature moments. Call him whipped, but engaging in head games had never been his style.

The hotel operator connected him, but there was no answer. He left a message. Then he dialed the office.

“We got a big problem,” Esperanza said.

“On Sunday?” Myron said.

“The Lord may take it off, but not team owners.”

“Did you hear about Horace Slaughter?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said. “I’m sorry about your friend, but we still got a business to run. And a problem.”

“What?”

“The Yankees are going to trade Lester Ellis. To Seattle. They’ve scheduled a news conference first thing tomorrow morning.”

Myron rubbed the bridge of his nose with his pointer and thumb. “How did you hear?”

“Devon Richards.”

Reliable source. Damn. “Does Lester know?”

“Nope.”

“He’ll have a fit.”

“Don’t I know it.”

“Suggestions?”

“Not a one,” Esperanza said. “A fringe benefit of being the underling.”

The call waiting clicked. “I’ll call you back.” He switched lines and said hello.

Francine Neagly said, “I’m being tailed.”

“Where are you?”

“The A and P off the circle.”

“What kind of car?”

“Blue Buick Skylark. Few years old. White top.”

“Got a plate?”

“New Jersey, four-seven-six-four-five T.”

Myron thought a moment. “When do you start your shift?”

“Half an hour.”

“You working the car or the desk?”

“Desk.”

“Good, I’ll pick him up there.”

“Pick him up?”

“If you’re staying in the station, he’s not going to waste a beautiful Sunday hanging outside it. I’m going to follow him.”

“Tail the tailer?”

“Right. Take Mount Pleasant to Livingston Avenue. I’ll pick him up there.”

“Hey, Myron?”

“Yeah.”

“If something big goes down, I want in.”

“Sure.”

They hung up. Myron backtracked to Livingston. He parked along Memorial Circle near the turnoff to Livingston Avenue. Good view of the police station and easy access to all routes. Myron kept the car running and watched the townsfolk handle Memorial Circle’s half-mile perimeter. A tremendous variety of Livingstonites frequented “the circle.” There were old ladies pacing slowly, usually in twos, some of the more adventurous swinging tiny barbells. There were couples in their fifties and sixties, many in matching sweat suits. Cute, sort of. Teenagers ambled, their mouths getting a far better workout than any extremity or cardiovascular muscle. Hard-core joggers raced past them all with nary a glance. They wore sleek sunglasses and firm faces and sported bare midriffs. Bare midriffs. Even the men. What was up with that?

He forced himself not to think about kissing Brenda. Or how it felt when she smiled at him across the picnic table. Or how her face flushed when she got excited. Or how animated she’d gotten when talking to people at the barbecue. Or how tender she’d been with Timmy when she put on that bandage.

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