You can be such a jerk, my inner voice told me.

No one spoke for a few moments, and I was working myself up to apologizing when Harry broke the silence. “Ms. Waddell, when did Scottie arrive?” he asked.

“It was early.”

“How early?”

“Right after lunch. About one thirty.”

“Did he make any phone calls?”

“No, we spent the entire afternoon… He didn’t make any phone calls.”

“At what time did he leave?”

“About ten.”

“Thank you, Ms. Waddell.”

There was more talking to be done, mostly about the intruder who tried to pop me, and Jean Shipman did most of it. Afterward, Harry and I went outside and walked slowly to his car.

“Where’s Honsa?” I asked.

“It’s my case now,” Harry said. “He does his thing, the NOC stuff. This is my thing. Listen, McKenzie. We know that Thomforde made three phone calls to Bobby Dunston’s home. The last one was at six-oh-five, and he made the call while on the move.”

“Which means Joley was lying,” I said.

“Unless it was someone else on the phone.”


“It could have been Tommy. The voice was disguised.”


“Then how do you explain the discrepancies?”

“I told you, Joley is lying. Think about it. If she was telling the truth, then logic would suggest that the moment Karen and I left her house she would have hurried upstairs to tell Scottie that we were looking for him. Scottie would have immediately contacted the halfway house and reported in. He didn’t. Instead, Scottie arrived at the halfway house at least two hours later. Is that logical?”

“It is if he figured he was already screwed so he might as well get in one more good one before he was violated.”

“How ’bout this: Mrs. Thomforde tells Scottie that Karen and I are looking for him. To protect himself, Scottie comes over here and convinces Joley to alibi him for the entire day.”

“Why would she still be sticking to the story? Scottie’s dead.”

“Two possibilities,” I said. “One, she’s frightened by the man who put a gun to her head and told her to call me. Two, she’s in on it.”

“Three,” said Harry. “She’s not in on it, but having lied for Scottie the first time, she’s now afraid that if she tells the truth she’ll be implicated.”

“Victoria Dunston said that the T-Man spoke to someone on the phone. Someone he called ‘babe.’ ”

“Do you think Joley Waddell is the babe?” Harry said.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

“Still, he could have been speaking to a man. Babe Ruth. Babe Winkelman. Babe the Blue Ox.”

“I’m just telling you what I heard.”

“We’ll pull Joley’s phone records and canvass the neighborhood, see if we can find a witness who saw Scottie Thomforde. It doesn’t make sense, though. Kidnapper has a million untraceable, why hang around to kill you?”

“I don’t know.”

“Why risk revealing himself by trying to kill you?”

“I don’t know.”

“If he wanted both the money and you dead, why not take you off the board at the ransom drop?”

“You keep asking the same question,” I said.

“Whoever the second kidnapper is, this isn’t about being afraid that you might identify him,” Harry said. “He has a grudge. A big one. Big enough that taking a million off you won’t satisfy. Tell me, McKenzie. Who doesn’t like you?”

“You want a list?”

Harry took a notebook and a pen out of his pocket and gave it to me. “Seriously?” I said.

He opened the passenger door of his car. “Sit. Write.”

I sat, I wrote, jotting down names as they came to me, names of people who might want to kill me. It took nearly an hour. I was distressed by the length of the list and depressed by its quality. They were punks, all punks, even my upper-middle-class enemies. No one smart or audacious enough for a caper like this.

I gave the list to Harry. He said, “Maybe you should lie low for a few day till we can sort all this out.”

“I could do that,” I said. At the same time, I was staring across the street at nothing in par tic u lar, contemplating my next move. Harry hit me hard on the shoulder with the back of his hand.

“Go home,” he said. “Lock the doors. Stay away from the windows.”


I didn’t go home; I doubted Harry believed that I would. Instead, I drove to the Thomforde residence. On the way, I took the time to call Nina on her cell phone. She was at Rickie’s. I told her that I was coming over and she shouldn’t leave until I arrived, and she said okay. I didn’t tell her that she might be in danger. I figured it was one of those conversations best had in person.

Mrs. Thomforde answered the door when I knocked. I was a bit surprised when she hugged me and asked me to come inside.

“Some of my friends are coming over in a few minutes,” she said. “I have to go to the funeral parlor to start making arrangements. The police said they would release Scottie’s body in a couple of days.”