Razor Girl

Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen

Book: Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carl Hiaasen
and Buck’s twenty-gauge was loaded only with rock salt.
    “We’re taping a new episode tomorrow,” Amp said.
    “You’re joking.” Coolman sensed his influence was eroding in Buck’s absence. The other brothers previously had been lobbying for more face time on camera—Clee Roy, in particular, who was spurred by his wife, a shrill blond fireplug with a fondness for Bergdorf’s.
    “No time to waste,” said Amp. “We expect Kardashian Nielsens.”
    The tabloid shows and websites were hot on the story. In the hotel lobby Coolman and Merry had passed a crew from
ET
interviewing some sunburned goober who claimed to have seen Buck lighting out for the Marquesas on a lemon-yellow Jet Ski.
    “On the show each of the other brothers will be given a theory to push,” Amp explained. “Did Buck have a mental breakdown? Was it foul play? Maybe he fell on his head while running from the bar, and now he’s got amnesia. It’s all good stuff. Krystal doesn’t cry easy but we’ve got somebody working with her.”
    “And what if Buck shows up tomorrow?”
    “Then he makes a grand entrance!” A laugh came from Amp’s end of the call. “We’ll rewrite on the fly.”
    Merry had returned to Coolman’s table with two frosty rum drinks. She’d also changed into a sleek one-piece swimsuit that undoubtedly had been charged to his room, which was fine with him.
    “We’re even doing a prayer vigil scene at the church,” Amp went on, recapturing Coolman’s attention.
    The church was a creation of the
Brethren
writers. They called it the First Chickapaw Tabernacle of Hope and Holiness. Buck had demanded the title of deacon, while the other three brothers settled for being elders. A chapel-like structure was erected on the site of an old sawmill, four miles south of the cock farm. Several fevered worship scenes had been taped there, Buck sermonizing on the traditional Christian values of country life. The small congregation was comprised of community-theater actors and drama students bused from FSU; all were paid in cash and required to sign confidentiality agreements.
    “You know Buck better than anyone outside the immediate gene pool,” Amp was saying to Coolman. “This is not a complicated organism we’re dealing with. Put yourself inside this fuckwhistle’s head. If you were him, where would you go to hide out?”
    Not this town,
Coolman said to himself.
    Back in the hotel room he plugged his dead phone into Merry Mansfield’s charger while she took a bath with the door locked. When the phone’s touch screen finally flashed to life, he found no texts or voice messages from the missing Nance patriarch. It was beyond peculiar. Buck normally called when he was drunk, when he was high, when he was bored, when he was scared, when he was with a woman, when he didn’t know
what
he was with, or where he was. For almost two years Buck had reached out to his manager multiple times a day, at any hour and for the flimsiest of reasons. Now: nothing.
    Coolman briefly considered—then chased from his thoughts—the crushing possibility that his most important client, his friend and meal ticket, the prime reason for his meteoric ascent at Platinum Artists, had dumped him for another agent.
    A second scenario, not quite as unbearable as the first: Buck Nance was dead.
    The third and most likely story line: He was lying low in a state of fear, exhaustion or petulance.
    Merry emerged, wringing her hair with a towel.
    “Cheer up, Bob,” she said. “I bet I can find that idiot.”
    —
    The next day Yancy called Burton to say he’d recovered Buck Nance’s credit cards—a gold Amex and a black Visa.
    “Excellent. Where?”
    “Under the same tree Winchell found the money clip.”
    “Go figure.”
    “Call it a pang of conscience,” Yancy said. “He’s already spent the cash.”
    “This is good, though, finding the plastic. I’ll let Sonny know.”
    “Be sure to tell him how I worked the old magic on my

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