Chopper packed his cell phone away and took a last sip of beer, draining his glass.

He said, “He don’t know when the shipment is comin’ in. Guess it depends on traffic or some shit. This is like the first trip, okay, and everyone is still workin’ out the whaddaya call it, logistics.”


“But he has a location?”

“McKenzie, have you ever been to Elk River?”

Special Agent Brian Wilson entered the Mall of America from the east parking ramp. He looked just the way I remembered him, maybe a little heavier. He even wore the same dark suit; I was willing to wager that he was the only one in the shopping mall who did wear one. I watched him carefully as he passed the shops and restaurants and the Bloomington Police Department substation. I didn’t see anyone lurking in shop doorways or peering from behind potted plants or speaking into their sleeves as he passed, but then that’d be the point, wouldn’t it?

He seemed to be doing the same thing I was, inspecting everyone around him as he walked, looking for tails. His eyes were steady, watchful, with a hint of curiosity. I doubted he missed much.

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The Mall of America was the largest fully enclosed retail complex in the United States, with over 520 specialty shops and fifty restaurants. At the center of it was a Camp Snoopy theme park, built entirely beneath a glass-and-girder sky. Harry took the stairs, descending from the retail shops to the floor of the park. Sound followed him as he made his way toward the northwest corner—the laughter of children and the shouts of parents, the cries of young men and women on the Screaming Yellow Eagle and Mighty Axe thrill rides, the Hank Williams standard “Jambalaya” broadcast from merry-go-round speakers, the rock song “Wild Thing” played for all it was worth by the Hill-Murray Parish Schools jazz band, and beneath it all a low, incessant rumble of human and mechanical noise that neither abated nor increased in volume.

Harry halted abruptly, and I thought he might have made me, but he paused only long enough to allow a young woman wearing a green Camp Snoopy polo shirt and leading three dark brown llamas to pass before him. A few moments later, he was standing in front of the Northwoods Stage. A preteen I had paid twenty bucks earlier handed him a palm-sized walkie-talkie and disappeared. Harry pressed the talk button.


“How you doin’, Harry?” I asked as I worked myself into position.

“Getting a little paranoid, aren’t you, McKenzie? Over.”

“Haven’t you heard? The FBI is after me. Over.”

“I said I’d come alone. Over.”

“But you didn’t say you wouldn’t arrest me. Over.”

“Details, details.”

I leaned against the second-level railing outside the Tall Girl shop near the west entrance to Camp Snoopy, next to Joe Cool’s Hot Shop. I trained my binoculars on the Northwoods Stage.

“Why don’t you come here and we’ll talk about it. Over,” Harry said.

“I’ll tell you what, Harry. Why don’t you stand on home plate. Over.”

“Come again? Over.”

“Actually stand on home plate. Over.”

The Mall of America had been built on the former site of Metropolitan Stadium, where the Minnesota Twins once played baseball. As a tribute to the grand old lady, the mall embedded the stadium’s original home plate in its concrete floor. It was identified in gold: METROPOLITAN STADIUM HOME PLATE 1956-1981. From where I was perched, I could clearly see Harry, but only if he stood on home plate. Two steps in any direction and he would have been obscured from view by indoor trees, the umbrella of a snack bar, and the pillars supporting the Northwoods Stage.

Harry stood on the plate, looking in the opposite direction from where I stood.

“You look like you’ve been putting on weight, Harry. Over.”

“Thanks for noticing. Okay, I’m here. Over.”

“I appreciate you coming, Brian. Seriously.”

Harry hesitated, turned right and left, brought the walkie-talkie to his lips. “Brian makes me nervous. What’s going on? Over.”

“I’m going to tell you a few things, Brian. They’re not going to make you happy. Over.”

“I’m listening. Over.”

“It begins with Steven Sykora. Do you know him? Over.”

“From New York. What about him? Over.”

“He’s the one who issued the Seeking Information Alert on me. Over.”

“I know. Over.”

“Here’s why …”

I gave Harry everything I knew, mixing in what Roseanne Esjay had told me. Harry recapped my remarks when I had finished.

“Sykora is protecting a New York gangster named Russo—who murdered your friend—so Russo can help him build a case against a Mafia underboss named Little Al Granata. Does that pretty much cover it? Over.”

“Pretty much. Over.”

“And you expect me—and the bureau—to take your word for this? Over.”

“Of course not, Brian. Over.”

“I’m still listening. Over.”

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