“You know how much DuWayne cares about his momma?”
“God ain’t gonna help you, pal.”
“What can I do?”
“DuWayne wants to know who the man is. He wants to know the man’s name, and he wants to know where to find him.”
Orrick hesitated. “Who are you?” he asked. His voice was cautious and unsure, and I was afraid I might lose him.
“I’m the guy DuWayne sent because he couldn’t come himself.” I raised my voice just loud enough to attract the attention of the guard seated in a high wooden chair at the end of the corridor; then I deliberately lowered it. “He can’t come because the Feds are watching him. He can’t use the phone because it’s probably tapped. He doesn’t want to contact you in person anyway, you dumb fuck, because he’s afraid of trading a kidnapping rap for a charge of conspiracy to commit murder. But you know what? You have every right to be cautious. You have every right to look out for yourself. I suggest that you send DuWayne a letter, because when I was in his mother’s house in North Minneapolis this morning watching him eat his Cocoa Puffs, do you know what he said to me? ‘That Donny, he doesn’t call, he doesn’t write. Maybe we ain’t friends anymore.’ ”
“Dude calls hi’self T-Man. That’s his real name. Thomas Teachwell. He reached out the other day, said he needed someone dependable to handle something for him—something sensitive. I sent him to DuWayne. You gotta tell ’im, though. I didn’t know nothin’ about what Teachwell was doing…”
It went on like that for another minute or two, Orrick trying to clear himself with DuWayne without actually saying anything that could be used in a court of law. Only I wasn’t listening. I felt as if I had been slapped upside the head with a two-by-four; the face reflected in the prison glass was ashen, the jaw slack, and all I could hear was Shelby Dunston’s voice.
Is it because of you, McKenzie? Did they kidnap my baby to get back at you, to get back at you through us?
Sometimes I had the feeling that the Twin Cities produced the world’s longest-running movable traffic jam just to slow me down. Lord knows it seemed to anticipate my every turn. It was late afternoon, and most of the traffic was moving out of the Twin Cities. Yet that didn’t deter vehicles driving in from clogging every major artery I wanted to use. I tried not to let it rile me. It wasn’t easy. I felt a rage so intense that I nearly choked on it.
Thomas Teachwell had targeted my friends, Bobby and Shelby and young Victoria and Katie—my family!—because I had arrested him. Because I had profited from arresting him—three million, one hundred twenty-eight thousand, five hundred eighty-four dollars and fifty cents—half of the money that I had recovered, half of what Teachwell had stolen. He killed Scottie Thomforde to get back at me, and probably Scottie’s brother. He terrorized Joley Waddell. He put a price on my head that resulted in the death of two, maybe three other men.
He wanted revenge.
I vowed to teach him all about it.
At the same time, I laughed at myself over the list I had given Harry, the one with all the names of people who might want to see me dead. It had never occurred to me to include Teachwell.
Both sides of I-394, from the Dunwoody Institute on the outskirts of downtown Minneapolis west to the Ridgedale shopping center, were nothing more than giant strip malls—six and a half miles of hotels, motels, restaurants, fast-food joints, clubs, bars, coffee shops, retail outlets, new and used car lots, gas stations, and office buildings. Yet once you got past the I-494 cloverleaf and the interstate became Highway 12, all of that disappeared. You were in God’s country now, where the rich people lived, and they didn’t allow the working class into their neighborhoods even to work. Instead, their highways, county roads, and streets were lined with pristine lawns, rolling hills, and unbroken forests. There wasn’t even a Starbucks to blemish the countryside.
I took a county road and followed it around Lake Minnetonka into Orono. I was hoping for a bar to work off some of my rage; I’d even welcome one that sold bottled beer at ten bucks a throw. Unfortunately, the only businesses I encountered were marinas that serviced the yachts of those not wealthy enough to own estates actually located on the water. A few more turns and I was on a long, private blacktop that led to a huge house on the west arm of the lake.