I left Danny where he fell—not a particularly noble thing to do, but there was no way I could explain him to a county attorney and expect to escape jail. Later, I told myself, I’ll make an anonymous call to the Elk River Police Department.

It took me a while to find my car and some time longer to discover a way off the service road that didn’t take me past the army of law enforcement types that had gathered at the entrance to the quarry. Apparently none of them had heard the shots from the top of the bluff.


Afterward, I drove more or less southwest, not caring one helluva a lot where I ended up. I needed time to think, time to decompress. The days were beginning to run together, and I was afraid there were things I was starting to lose.

Eventually I ended up at a small bar in Glencoe and wondered if this was the joint that Ivy Flynn had called me from a lifetime ago. It was a pleasant enough place, and the pretty blonde bartender knew how to flirt without making a guy think there was something to it. I had two beers and a sandwich before driving back to Hilltop.

I changed out of my dirty clothes, showered, dressed again, and stretched out on the bed, my fingers locked behind my head. The sun was just a sliver on the horizon, and the motel room was engulfed in gray, yet I kept the lights off. There was nothing I wanted to see.

Tomorrow, I told myself. Tomorrow I’ll call Harry and he’ll tell me I can go home, and it’ll all be over. Fuck Frank. Let Ishmael have him. What did I care? When he went down for messing with Granata, he’d go down for Mr. Mosley, too. It wasn’t the justice I had been looking for, but now it was justice enough.

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I closed my eyes.

The room was nearly pitch-black when I opened them again. The only light came from the parking lot and crept through a crack between my window drapes.

I had been awakened by Steve Sykora’s voice calling for Pen, wondering aloud where she could be. I hadn’t heard a sound coming from the receiver in my desk drawer since I entered the room and had forgotten it was there.

“Lucky. Where are you?” There was a wail in Sykora’s voice that was almost childlike. I guessed things hadn’t gone well for him during his meeting with the AIC, and the thought of it made me smile.

“Glad I could help,” I told the empty room.

I closed my eyes again but didn’t sleep. Instead, I continued to listen and smile as Sykora banged around his trailer. Yet after a few minutes I found myself pressing the tiny button that illuminated the face of my watch. Like Sykora, I was becoming concerned.

Where is Pen?

I must have asked that question a dozen times. Finally the phone rang. It rang only once before Sykora answered it.


“I have her,” Frank’s voice said.


“I have her.”

“What do you mean?”

“I snatched your wife, what the fuck do you think I mean?”

Sykora didn’t reply. I imagined him staring at the phone, his mouth open but words not coming out.

“You hear me?”

“Yes,” said Sykora.

“I have your wife.”

“What do you want?” Sykora was calm. A lot calmer than I was.

“You were always a guy to get right to the point. I like that.”

“What do you want?”

“What do you think I want? I want money.”

“How much?”

“Fifty large.”

“Where do you think that’s going to come from?”

Frank thought the question was funny. “From the FBI,” he said, and laughed some more.

Sykora said, “The FBI has placed me on administrative leave without pay. I’m being investigated for what happened at the quarry this morning and for harboring a fugitive. Guess who the fugitive is, Frank?”

“Well, shit.”

“What happened to the cigarettes, Frank?”

“Fuck if I know. Ask McKenzie.”


“Fucker was there, watchin’. Look, that don’t matter. McKenzie don’t matter. I kept my end of the deal. Now you’re gonna keep yours or you ain’t never gonna see your wife again. Got it?”

“You hurt my wife, Frank, you touch her, I’ll kill you.”

“Fuck. You don’t think I heard shit like that before—threats? Forgetaboutit. I’m still here, Fed. I’ll always be here. So fuck that shit, okay? You can’t go to the FBI? Is that what you’re sayin’?”

“That’s what I’m—”

“Fuck it, then. What we’re gonna do is Plan B. Your wife says you have eleven-four in a money market account. I’ll do you a favor. I’ll only take ten thousand. It won’t get me back to the Big Apple in style, but it’ll get me back.”

“Into Granata’s waiting arms.”

“You let me fucking worry about Little Al, wouldja? Just get the money.”

“Banks aren’t open, Frank.”

“Banks open at 8:00 A.M. I’ll call back at ten o’clock tomorrow and tell you where to deliver it. And don’t fuck with me, Fed. You won’t like what happens you fuck with me.”

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