Dead and Gone

Dead and Gone by Andrew Vachss

Book: Dead and Gone by Andrew Vachss Read Free Book Online
Authors: Andrew Vachss
business. If I got popped in his jurisdiction, odds were I’d get past the screens—as long as they stopped short of printing me.
    The Nissan was overflowing. One cell phone was recharging from the cigarette-lighter outlet in the console, another sat on top of the dash, next to a small tape recorder, two pagers, and a notebook. There were a half-dozen pens clipped to the dash, and a sheaf of papers bulged from behind the sun visor. The windshield featured a series of hairline cracks. The ones in the dash were well past hairline, deep scars that showed the foam padding underneath. The back seat was covered with cartons, their tops cut off to make a filing system. Books were stacked haphazardly throughout the car, like pebbles from a carelessly tossed I Ching reading.
    “You got a place?” he asked.
    “No. I figured I’d wait until—”
    “Okay. Where’s your stuff stashed?”
    “Bus station. Twenty-four-hour locker.”
    He nodded, not saying anything, letting the fact that we were heading for the depot speak for itself. He stopped outside. I went in, opened the locker, grabbed my duffel. When I got outside, I saw his trunk was open. I tossed the bag inside and climbed back into the passenger seat.
    “You got a change of clothes with you?”
    “Sure.”
    “I mean a change , not fresh clothes. If you want to work the area I think you do, you have to dress the part. Can you go upscale with what you’re carrying around?”
    “I can if I can get into a decent place for a few hours, take out the creases, clean up, and all; no problem.”
    “All right. What about cash?”
    “How much do you—?”
    I interrupted myself when I saw the look on his face. Mumbled, “Sorry.”
    “You think we’re all a pack of bribe-taking slobs?” he said, chuckling.
    “No,” I said truthfully. “A lot of cops aren’t slobs.”
    “Hah! All right, look, the thing about money is this: you’re going to need money if you want to poke around in the ritzy suburbs. That homeless-guy look you’re wearing, the only thing it’ll get you in the places you need to visit is rousted.”
    “Fair enough.”
    “And you’ll need transport, too.”
    “I can pay whatever it costs. But I don’t want to book this ID if I don’t have to.”
    “I can get you a car. But not Hertz rates.”
    “I’m fine with that.”
    T he hotel was right off the lake. We walked straight over to the elevators. The security man at the entrance to the elevator bank opened his mouth, then shut it without a sound when Clancy grabbed his eyes.
    The room was on the twenty-first floor, with a view of a driving range below.
    “It’s three hundred a night,” Clancy said. “That includes the room showing as vacant on the computer.”
    I handed him twelve C-notes, saying, “For the car, too,” as I did.
    “Be downstairs tomorrow morning,” he said. “Six a.m., okay?”
    “I’ll be there,” I told him.
    I unzipped the duffel, started laying out my stuff carefully.
    Especially that shark-gray alpaca suit Michelle had insisted I spend a fortune on.
    “This will never show a hint of a wrinkle, honey,” she’d said. “Just hang it in the bathroom and run the shower full-blast hot for an hour or so—it’ll be new every time you put it on.”
    Remembering her muttered threats about never allowing a wire coat-hanger to invade the sacred alpaca, I located a wooden one in the closet and got the steam working.
    Everything I had with me was new. Michelle had measured me herself, done all the shopping. That way, she got to do all the selecting.
    “You need a look , sweetheart,” she said, talking quick and nervous, the way she does when a topic upsets her. “With that face … until it heals, I mean—then you can have plastic surgery and it’ll all be … Anyway, in an Army jacket, you look like a serial killer. But in these clothes, baby, you’ll look exotic, I swear it.”
    So I’d kept quiet while she spent my money on all this new stuff. Didn’t

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