Darkest Fear Page 48

“Who wants to run?” Myron countered.

Without warning, he grabbed the heavy bowel-movement statue. The blue-blazers drew their guns. Granite Man ducked. But Myron wasn’t going for them. He heaved the statue, straightened his arms, spun around like a discus thrower, and hurled it marble-base-forward at the plate-glass window. The window exploded.

And that was when the gunfire began.

“Hit the deck!” Myron shouted.

The blue-blazers obeyed. Myron dove. The bullets continued. Sniper fire. One took out the overhead light. One hit the lamp.

Gotta love that Win.

“You want to live,” Myron shouted, “stay down.”

The bullets stopped. One of the blue-blazers started rising. A bullet sang out, nearly parting the man’s hair.

The blazer dropped back down, flattening himself into a bearskin rug.

“I’m getting up now,” Myron said. “And I’m leaving. I’d advise you guys to stay down. And, Grover?”

“What?”

“Radio downstairs. Tell them not to stop me. I can’t be certain but I’m pretty sure my friend will lob in grenades if I’m unduly delayed.”

Granite Man made the call. No one moved. Myron stood up. He almost whistled as he walked out.

26

It was midnight when Myron knocked on the door of Stan Gibbs’s condo. “Let’s take a walk,” Myron said to him.

Stan threw down his cigarette, smothered it with his toe. “A drive might be better,” he countered. “The feds use long-range amplifiers.”

They got into Myron’s Ford Taurus, aka the Chick Trawler. Stan Gibbs flicked on the radio and started playing with the stations. Commercial for Heineken. Does anyone really care that it’s imported by Van Munchin and Company?

“Are you wearing a wire, Myron?”

“No.”

“But the FBI spoke to you,” Stan said. “After you left.”

“How did you know?”

“They’re watching me,” he said with a shrug. “It would only be logical to assume they questioned you.”

“Tell me about your connection with Dennis Lex,” Myron said.

“I already told you. I don’t have one.”

“A big guy named Grover picked me up tonight. He and Susan Lex gave me a very stern warning not to play with you anymore. Bronwyn was there too.”

Stan Gibbs closed his eyes and rubbed them. “They knew about your visit here.”

“Had eight-by-ten glossies.”

“And they concluded that you’re working for me.”

“Bingo.”

Stan shook his head. “Get out of this, Myron. You don’t want to mess with these people.”

“Is that advice you wished someone had given you earlier?”

His smile had nothing behind it. Exhaustion came off him like heat squiggles on a hot sidewalk. “You have no idea,” he said.

“Tell me about it.”

“No.”

“I can help,” Myron said.

“Against the Lexes? They’re too powerful.”

“And being powerful, you wanted to do a story on them, right?”

He said nothing.

“And they didn’t like that. In fact, they took exception.”

More nothing.

“You started digging where they didn’t want you to. You learned that there was another brother named Dennis.”

“Yes.”

“And that really pissed them off.”

Stan started biting a hangnail.

“Come on, Stan. Don’t make me drag this out of you.”

“You’ve pretty much got it.”

“Then tell me.”

“I wanted to do a story on them. An exposé, really. I even had a publisher all lined up for a book deal. But then the Lexes got wind of it. They warned me to stay away. A big man came to my apartment. I didn’t catch his name. Looked like Sergeant Rock.”

“That would be Grover.”

“He told me that I could stop or I could be destroyed.”

“And that only made you more curious.”

“I guess.”

“So you found out about Dennis Lex.”

“Just that he existed. And that he vanished into thin air when he was a young child.” Stan turned to him. Myron slowed the car and felt something creep along the top of his scalp.

“Like the Sow the Seeds victims,” Myron finished.

“No.”

“Why not?”

“It’s different.”

“How?” Myron asked.

“This is going to sound silly,” Stan said, “but the family doesn’t have that same sense of terror that the other families have.”

“The rich are good with façades.”

“It’s more than that,” Stan said. “I can’t put my finger on it exactly. But I’m sure Susan and Bronwyn Lex know what happened to their brother.”

“But they want to keep it a secret.”

“Yes.”

“Do you have a guess why?”

“No,” Stan said.

Myron glanced back. The feds were following at a discreet enough distance.

“Do you think Susan Lex is responsible for that novel surfacing?”

“The thought has crossed my mind.”

“But you never looked into it?”

“I started to. After the scandal hit. But I got a call from the big guy. He told me that it was just the beginning. That he was just flicking his finger and next time he would crush me between both palms.”

“He can be a poetic fellow,” Myron said.

“Yes.”

“But I still don’t get something.”

“What?”

“You don’t scare easily. When they warned you away the first time, you ignored it. After what they did to you, I’d have thought you’d fight back even harder.”

“You’re forgetting something,” Stan said.

“What?”

“Melina Garston.”

Silence.

“Think about it,” Stan said. “My mistress, the only person who can back up my meeting with the Sow the Seeds kidnapper, ends up dead.”

“Her father claims she retracted that.”

“Oh, right. In some bizarre before-death confession.”

“You think the Lexes arranged that too?”

“Why not? Look at what happened here. Who’s the lead suspect in Melina’s murder? I am, right? That’s what the feds told you. They think I killed her. We know that the Lexes have enough juice to dig up this novel I supposedly plagiarized. Who knows what else they can do?”

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