“Listen to me. I don’t give a shit about you. But your son, Jamie’s son, is a different matter … .”
“All you care about is Jamie’s sister.” Bruder sounded disappointed.
“That’s why I’m involved. Now tell me where he is.”
“When I’m safe, I’ll tell you. But only after I’m safe.”
“Is he with the same friends who said you could trust me?”
Since Bruder refused to confide in me, I decided to tell him a thing or two.
“You had dinner with a woman at Rickie’s the evening your wife was slaughtered.”
That brought a high color to his face.
“You know about that?”
“Me and the woman on the psychic hotline. We know everything. What happened afterwards?”
“I went home and I saw, I saw what they had done to her. I took TC—he was asleep in his crib, thank God—and I ran.”
“What they had done to her. Who is they ?”
“I won’t talk now.”
“When I’m safe I’ll tell you everything.”
I was wondering what it would take to make him change his mind.
He added, “This is—this is much bigger and more dangerous than you can possibly imagine.”
“I don’t know. I can imagine a lot.”
“I need to talk to the FBI.”
“Federal Building is only a few blocks away.”
“Should I go there or to St. Paul, first?”
“St. Paul,” I told him. Bobby was in St. Paul.
Young, beautiful, and smart as hell Jeannie took the call. Bobby was in a meeting with Tommy Thompson and couldn’t be disturbed.
I told her, “When he’s finished with his important meeting tell him that McKenzie called. Tell him I have David Bruder … .”
“Tell him to meet me at the Tenth Street entrance next to the garage in fifteen minutes.”
I deactivated my cell phone. This was going to be fun, I told myself.
While riding the escalator to the ground floor, I asked Bruder if he had a lawyer.
“I have a friend, Warren Casselman.”
The name triggered my memory’s replay button. David, this is Warren. Something’s gone wrong. Better call me ASAP. The message on Bruder’s telephone answering machine.
“Is he any good?”
“He makes a lot of money,” Bruder replied. I had to shake my head at that. Judging people by the money they make is like judging them by their height. I didn’t tell him so, of course. Bruder had enough problems.
“Here’s some advice, for what it’s worth,” I said. “When we get to the cop shop, don’t say a word. Don’t say yes, don’t say no, don’t say your name, don’t say anything. Just call your lawyer friend and keep your mouth shut until he arrives.”
Bruder nodded. I could feel his muscles tense where I held his arm. He was scared. I didn’t blame him.
“Why did you call me, really?” I asked.
“I ran out of options.”
Whatever that meant.
We exited through the door on Hennepin Avenue, emerging into bright afternoon sunlight. My SUV was parked in the lot across the street. To get there, we followed the wide sidewalk to the 5th Street intersection. While we waited for a green light, a black Chevy van peeled round the corner at 6th Street and accelerated hard toward us. The cargo door was open.
“Down!” I yelled.
Bruder didn’t move. He seemed transfixed by the rapid bam, bam, bam the heavy gun made just inside the door.
I dove to the pavement, landed hard on my shoulder, and rolled to the curb, finding cover in the gutter.
Explosions splattered on the sidewalk like large rain drops.
The heavy gun kept firing even as the van accelerated through the intersection against the light.
The street began to fill with screams. I shouted Bruder’s name over them. He didn’t hear me.
“Two dead, three wounded,” Clayton Rask said sadly.
I winced at his accounting of the casualties.
“Did you hear that? Did you hear that, McKenzie? Because of you, McKenzie. Two dead, three wounded because of you!”
Thomas Thompson stalked the Homicide Unit’s conference room inside the Pink Palace. There were five others in the room—Bobby Dunston, Rask, an assistant Hennepin County attorney, an Assistant Ramsey County Attorney and a lieutenant wearing the uniform of the Minneapolis Police Department who wanted to know what story his chief should tell the media. Thompson was by far the most vocal. Bobby simply sat with his hands folded on the table before him, staring at nothing. Rask was pacing, too, but quietly.
“What should I have done differently?” I asked. The look on Bobby’s face, he knew the answer as well as I did—I should have called the cops.
Thompson threatened to send me to Oak Park Heights for ten thousand years.
The unidentified lieutenant said, “This isn’t getting us anywhere.”