an hour or so ago?”
The clerk consulted his computer. “That would be Mr. Igor Smolensky,” he said.
“If anyone should inquire about me, I’m not registered in the hotel, nor have I been.”
“As you wish, sir.”
Igor checked into his room and immediately plugged in his laptop and turned it on, checking the GPS tracker. The little red dot on the screen was at Santa Monica Airport, exactly where it should be. He ordered dinner from room service.
Charmaine was up at five and was soon dressed and packed, while Teddy lounged in bed. She came over and gave him a kiss. “I’ll call you next week, then.”
“I’ll look forward to it and to giving you a new address,” he replied.
She left, and Teddy got out of bed, showered, dressed, and packed. He carried his bags down the fire stairs to the garage, then drove to Santa Monica Airport, to Cloverfield Aviation. The boy who sat at the desk all night was just surrendering his seat to the day man, and Teddy took the kid aside. “Did somebody ask about me last evening?” he asked.
“Yessir, he said he was a friend of yours, and I gave him your phone number. Was that all right?”
“Sure, no problem. If he comes back, tell him I’ve left for New Jersey.”
“You’re leaving us today?”
“Right. I’ll pay my bill and turn in my rental car a little later this morning.”
The boy left, and Teddy carried his luggage into the hangar and stowed it in the airplane, then he took a slow walk around and checked every inspection port. Finally, he came to the ELT port, opened it, and ran a hand around inside. He came out with a GPS locator, identical to the one he had found in Peter Barrington’s Cayenne. He found the switch and turned it off, then put it into his briefcase and went back to his car. He drove back to Shutters and parked in the garage, then he took up a position near the fire stairs and switched on the locator. He then telephoned the hotel and asked for Mr. Smolensky.
A sleepy voice answered. “Yes?”
Teddy breathed into the phone for a moment, then broke the connection.
• • •
Igor sat up in bed and phoned the front desk.
“Yes, Mr. Smolensky?”
“Did you phone my room just now?”
“No, sir, that was an outside call.”
“Thank you.” Igor hung up and thought for a moment, then he opened his laptop and looked at the screen. The red dot had moved; it was no longer at the airport; it was now at Shutters. He got into his clothes, put his gun into his trousers pocket, and let himself out of his room, looking both ways up and down the hallway first. The garage, he thought. He went to the fire stairs and ran down two flights.
• • •
Teddy could hear the footsteps ringing on the steel stairway. He flattened himself against the wall outside the door to the stairs and waited. A moment later, the door eased open and a hand appeared, holding a semiautomatic pistol. He waited until the man stepped slowly into the garage, then moved behind him and pressed the silencer against the back of his neck.
“Good morning, Mr. Smolensky,” he said.
The man froze.
“Now open your hand and let the weapon fall to the floor.” Smolensky did so. “Now kick it behind you.” He followed instructions.
“Mr. Burnett, I presume.”
“Quite right. Now tell me, why are you so eager to make my acquaintance?”
“It is the man I work for who wishes to meet you.”
“And who might he be?”
“His name is Yuri Majorov. He is intrigued that you managed to deal with two others in his employ back at Mesa Grande. He is in Las Vegas as we speak, and he would like you to accompany me there for a meeting.”
“Who, exactly, is Mr. Majorov?”
“He is a businessman with worldwide interests.”
“And why is he interested in Peter Barrington?”
“Not the boy—his father. He and Mr. Majorov have a mutual business interest.”
“And he thought that if he murdered the son, the father would become more cooperative? Why would Mr.