One False Move Page 52

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“Like it?” she asked.

“Very much,” Myron said. Jurassic Park III: The Fashion Show.

“I bought it at Benny’s.”

“Benny’s?”

“Down in the Village,” Big Cyndi explained. “It’s a clothing store for transvestites. But lots of us big girls shop there too.”

Myron nodded. “Practical,” he said.

Big Cyndi sniffled once, then suddenly began to cry. She still had on waaaay too much makeup, none of it waterproof, and she quickly started to look like a lava lamp left in the microwave.

“Oh, Mr. Bolitar!”

She ran toward him, her arms spread, the floor creaking from the thumping. An image of one of those cartoon scenes where characters keep falling through floors, forming cutout silhouettes in each floor as they pass through it, came to him.

Myron put up his hands. No! Myron good! Myron like Cyndi! Cyndi no hurt Myron! But the gesture was useless.

She embraced him, wrapping both arms around him and lifting him off his feet. It felt as though a water bed had come to life and attacked him. He closed his eyes and tried to ride it out.

“Thank you,” she whispered through her tears.

Out of the corner of his eye he spotted Esperanza. She watched the scene with crossed arms, smiling slightly. The new job, Myron suddenly remembered. Rehiring her full-time.

“You’re welcome,” he managed.

“I won’t let you down.”

“Could you at least put me down?”

Big Cyndi made a noise that might have been a giggle. Children in the tristate area screamed and reached for Mommy’s hand.

She lowered him gently back to the floor like a child placing a block on the top of a pyramid. “You won’t be sorry. I’ll work night and day. I’ll work weekends. I’ll pick up your laundry. I’ll make coffee. I’ll fetch Yoo-Hoos. I’ll even give you backrubs.”

The image of a steamroller approaching a bruised peach flashed through his mind.

“Er, a Yoo-Hoo would be great.”

“Right away.” Big Cyndi bounced toward the refrigerator.

Myron moved toward Esperanza.

“She does give a great backrub,” Esperanza said.

“I’ll take your word for it.”

“I told Big Cyndi you were the one who wanted to hire her full-time.”

Myron nodded. “Next time,” he said, “just let me pull a thorn out of her paw, okay?”

Big Cyndi held up the can of Yoo-Hoo. “Do you want me to shake it for you, Mr. Bolitar?”

“I’ll handle that, Cyndi, thanks.”

“Yes, Mr. Bolitar.” She hopped back over, and Myron was reminded of the scene where the boat flips over in the Poseidon Adventure. She handed him the Yoo-Hoo. Then she smiled again. And the gods shielded their eyes.

Myron spoke to Esperanza. “Any more word on Lester’s trade?”

“No.”

“Get me Ron Dixon on the phone. Try his home number.”

Big Cyndi took that one. “Right away, Mr. Bolitar.”

Esperanza shrugged. Big Cyndi dialed and used her English accent. She sounded like Maggie Smith in a Noel Coward play. Myron and Esperanza went into his office. The call was transferred.

“Ron? It’s Myron Bolitar, how are you?”

“I know who the hell this is, moron. Your receptionist told me. It’s Sunday, Myron. Sunday is my day off. Sunday is my family day. My quality time. My chance to get to know the kids better. So why are you calling me on a Sunday?”

“Are you trading Lester Ellis?”

“That’s why you’re calling me at home on a Sunday?”

“Is it true?”

“No comment.”

“You told me you wouldn’t trade him.”

“Wrong. I told you I wouldn’t actively put him on the block. If you recall, Mr. Super Agent, you wanted to put in a trade approval clause in his contract. I said, no, unless you wanted to shave fifty grand off his salary. You refused. Now it’s coming back and biting your ass cheek, ain’t it, hotshot?”

Myron shifted in his seat. Sore ass cheek and all. “Who are you getting for him?”

“No comment.”

“Don’t do this, Ron. He’s a great talent.”

“Yeah. Too bad he’s not a great baseball player.”

“You’re going to look foolish. Remember Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi? Remember Babe Ruth, uh”—Myron forgot who they got in the trade—“being traded by the Red Sox?”

“Now Lester Ellis is Babe Ruth?”

“Let’s talk about this.”

“Nothing to talk about, Myron. And now, if you’ll excuse me, the wife is calling me. It’s strange.”

“What’s that?”

“This quality time stuff. This getting to know my children better. You know what I’ve learned, Myron?”

“What?”

“I hate my kids.”

Click.

Myron looked up at Esperanza.

“Get me Al Toney at the Chicago Tribune.”

“He’s being traded to Seattle.”

“Trust me here.”

Esperanza gestured to the phone. “Don’t ask me. Ask Big Cyndi.”

Myron hit the intercom. “Big Cyndi, could you please get me Al Toney? He should be at his office.”

“Yes, Mr. Bolitar.”

A minute later Big Cyndi beeped in. “Al Toney on line one.”

“Al? Myron Bolitar here.”

“Hey, Myron, what’s up?”

“I owe you one, right?”

“At least one.”

“Well, I got a scoop for you.”

“My nipples are hardening as we speak. Talk dirty to me, baby.”

“You know Lester Ellis? He’s being traded tomorrow to Seattle. Lester is thrilled. He’s been bugging the Yankees to trade him all year. We couldn’t be happier.”

“That’s your big scoop?”

“Hey, this is an important story.”

“In New York or Seattle maybe. But I’m in Chicago, Myron.”

“Still. I thought you might want to know.”

“No good. You still owe me.”

Myron said, “You don’t want to check with your nipples first?”

“Hold on.” Pause. “Soft as overripe grapes already. But I could check again in a few minutes, if you’d like.”

“Pass, Al, thanks. Frankly I didn’t think it would fly with you, but it was worth a try. Between you and me, the Yankees are pushing hard on this trade. They want me to put on the best spin. I thought you could help.”

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