Darkest Fear Page 23

“You name it.”

“When are you free?”

“You name it,” Myron said.

“I’m in Detroit right now.”

“I’ll catch the next plane out.”

“Just like that?” Lamar said.

“Yup.”

“Shouldn’t you pretend you’re really busy?”

“We going to date, Lamar?”

Lamar chuckled. “No, I don’t think so.”

“Then I’ll skip the playing-hard-to-get stage. Esperanza and I want you to sign up with MB Sports-Reps. We’ll do a good job. We’ll make you a priority. And we won’t play mind games with you.”

Myron smiled at Esperanza. Was he good or what?

Lamar said he was going to be in Manhattan later in the week and would like to meet then. They set up a time. Myron hung up. He and Esperanza sat there and smiled at each other.

“We have a chance,” she said.

“Yep.”

“So what’s our strategy?”

“I thought I’d impress him with my nimble mind,” he said.

“Hmm,” Esperanza said. “Maybe I should wear something low cut.”

“I was kinda counting on that.”

“Hit him with brains and beauty.”

“Yes,” Myron said. “But which one of us is which?”

When Myron got back to the Dakota, Win was heading out with his leather gym bag and Terese was gone.

“She left a note,” Win said, handing it to Myron.

Had to go back early. I’ll call.

Terese

Myron read the note again. It didn’t change. He folded it up and put it away.

“You going to Master Kwon’s?” Myron asked. Master Kwon was their martial arts instructor.

Win nodded. “He’s been asking for you.”

“What did you tell him?” Myron asked.

“That you wigged out.”

“Thanks.”

Win gave a slight bow and lifted his gym bag. “May I make a suggestion?”

“Shoot.”

“You haven’t been to the dojang in a long while.”

“I know.”

“You have a great deal of stress in your life,” Win said. “You need an outlet. You need some focus. Some balance. Some structure.”

“You’re not going to make me snatch a pebble from your hand, are you?”

“Not today, no. But come with me.”

Myron shrugged. “I’ll grab my stuff.”

They were halfway out the door when Esperanza called. He told her they were just on their way out.

“Where?” she asked.

“Master Kwon’s.”

“I’ll meet you there.”

“Why? What’s up?”

“I got some information on Davis Taylor.”

“And?”

“And it’s more than a little strange. Is Win going with you?”

“Yes.”

“Ask him if he knows anything about Raymond Lex’s family.”

Silence. “Raymond Lex is dead, Esperanza.”

“Duh, Myron. I said family.”

“This has something to do with Davis Taylor?”

“It’ll be easier to explain in person. I’ll see you down there in an hour.”

She hung up.

One of the doormen had already fetched Win’s Jag. It sat waiting for them on Central Park West. The rich. Myron settled into the lush leather. Win hit the accelerator pad. He was big with the accelerator pad; he had a bit more trouble when it came to the brake.

“Do you know Raymond Lex’s family?”

“They used to be clients,” Win said.

“You’re kidding?”

“Oh yes, I’m a regular Red Buttons.”

“Were you directly involved in this inheritance squabble?”

“Calling this a squabble would be similar to calling nuclear Armageddon a campfire.”

“Hard to divide up billions, huh?”

“Indeed. So why are we discussing the Lex clan?”

“Esperanza is going to meet us down at the dojang. She has some information on Davis Taylor. Somehow the Lex family is connected.”

Win arched his eyebrow. “The plot doth thicken.”

“So tell me a little about them.”

“Most of it was in the media. Raymond Lex writes a controversial bestseller called Midnight Confessions. Said bestseller becomes an Oscar-winning blockbuster. Suddenly he goes from obscure junior-college instructor to millionaire. Unlike most of his artistic brethren, he understands business. He invests and amasses private holdings with a substantial yet confidential net worth.”

“The papers place it in the billions.”

“I won’t argue.”

“That’s a lot of money.”

“The way you word things,” Win said. “It’s like Proust.”

“He never wrote another book?”

“No.”

“Odd.”

“Not really,” Win said. “Harper Lee and Margaret Mitchell never wrote another book. And at least Lex kept busy. It’s hard to build one of the largest privately held corporations and do book signings.”

“So now that he’s dead, his family is—how to say it?—nuclear Armageddoning?”

“Close enough.”

Master Kwon had moved his headquarters and main dojang into the second floor of a building on Twenty-third Street near Broadway. Five rooms—studios really—with hardwood floors, mirrored walls, high-tech sound system, sleek and shiny Nautilus equipment—oh, and some of those rice-paper Oriental scroll-posters. Gave the place a real Old World Asia feel.

Myron and Win slipped into their dobok, a white uniform, and tied their black belts. Myron had been studying tae kwon do and hapkido since Win had first introduced him to them in college, but he hadn’t been to a dojang more than five times in the past three years. Win, on the other hand, remained devoutly lethal. Don’t tug on Superman’s cape, don’t spit in the wind, don’t pull the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger, and you don’t mess around with Win. Bah, bah, dee, dee, dee, dee, dee.

Master Kwon was in his mid-seventies but could easily pass for two decades younger. Win had met him during his Asian travels when he was fifteen. As near as Myron could tell, Master Kwon had been a high priest or some such thing at a small Buddhist monastery straight out of a Hong Kong revenge flick. When Master Kwon emigrated to the United States, he spoke very little English. Now, some twenty years later, he spoke almost none. As soon as the wise master hit our shores, he opened up a chain of state-of-the-art tae kwon do schools—with Win’s financial backing, of course. Once he saw the Karate Kid movies, Master Kwon started playing the old wise man to the hilt. His English disappeared. He started dressing like the Dalai Lama and began every sentence with the words “Confucius say,” ignoring the small fact that he was Korean and Confucius was Chinese.

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