Her and me.
She stalked around the room, before settling down on a chair with the table between us. On the table, one pitcher of water and two glasses. She filled both and pushed one across to me. She took a sip of hers.
‘I have enough evidence stacked up against you and Smokin’ Joe that could send you both down for a few years — evading arrest, assaulting police officers, consorting with criminals, perverting the course of justice. Who killed Lo?’
‘I didn’t see anyone.’
That was true. I hadn’t — it was on my signed statement — and no-one could shift me from it.
She sighed. ‘We can play it two ways. The Captain’s coming up for retirement soon. He wants everything buttoned up neatly — no loose ends. That’s the easy way. The other way is not so simple. Even with your smart-ass lawyer Jameson on your side, I can haul both your asses through the courts, or…’ She looked at me.
‘Keep away from Janet, and we never had this conversation.’
‘Fuck that. You can’t do this.’
She sat back in her chair, and crossed her arms. ‘Oh, but I can, Mr. Reeves. And I will.’
This time I didn’t punch the air. ‘Why?’
‘Mr. Reeves, I’m sure we all want to forget what happened, and start fresh.’
I thought back to all the times both Janet and Smokin’ Joe had put their lives on the line for me. Did I really want the big fella dragged through more of my mess? No way — I owed him. Did I really care enough about Janet? Maybe, but it had to come from her. She would need to reject Hennessey first — and I owed her, too.
Decision made. Now it was payback time.
I nodded. ‘We never had this conversation.’
Whether Wang worked for Hong Kong police or a rival Triad gang, I never found out. Looking back, I suppose he expected a high body count. Janet and Smokin’ Joe were collateral. I wasn’t. I had the evidence that would damn Lo to multiple life sentences in the penitentiary. It probably would have suited Wang not to have put a bullet through Lo’s brain. Fat carried the can for that. His fingerprints were on the gun, and I wasn’t about to say otherwise.
I spent two weeks cooling my heels while the DA was deciding whether to prosecute me for evading arrest, but Jameson made the point I hadn’t been formally charged at the station, nor had I jumped bail. Since all the loose ends were neatly tied up, I walked.
Now, with Janet and Mauve back together — that hit me hard — and Smokin’ Joe on a boxing promotion across Japan, I returned to my beach bum lifestyle, but with a healthy bank balance and Van Grossman’s bonus parked in Sandy’s lot.
Not my Dodge. Forty grand’s worth of attitude. My red Impreza...
‘Set ‘em up, Sandy … and one for the kid,’ said the fat one.
I gazed around Sandy’s bar, an empty Bud bottle beside me. Two gays were eyeing me up — a thin one with a hooked nose and the fat one wearing an outsize shirt with a picture of a shark on the front. He grinned at me, extended a manicured hand. I could smell a mixture of his sweat and classy cologne wafting closer.
‘Hi kid. Want to fuck around…?’
P.S. My nose is as good as new. Chicks say I look like Nicholas Cage. I wonder if Janet would think so, too.