Sunday, June 29, 2014

First Shot (13)

Blow was enjoying a good...was relaxing on the throne when he felt the vibration an instant before the relentless deep-tropics boogie of Miles Davis's Pharoah's Dance percolated up from the clothing around his ankles. Good, he thought, a text message. It can wait.
When he was ready, he flipped up the cellphone lid to find four cryptic characters that sent an electric thrill from brain to heart. The thrill had a name. Joanie.
The characters—TP12--were a code his Secret Service agent sister used to identify the disposable cellphone he was to call her on. He found it in her bedside table drawer in the room upstairs that remained hers in the house their father, and she and Blow in turn, and had grown up in. Taped to the back was the number he should call to reach the disposable phone she'd be using.

“Joey,” she answered, almost whispering.
“Bad time, Big Sis?”
“Good time. Just...allergies.”
“In October?”
“OK, smartass, I have a fucking cold. Happy?”
“Always, just hearing your voice.”
“Aww. Sweet Joey. Look, I really am in kind of a rush at the moment. Call me tomorrow and we can trade some shit. Tenish good?”
“Yeah. What's up?”
“I just wanted to warn you. Your old girlfriend could be back in town.”
“Althea? Jezzzus--”
“No, silly, not your ex. I mean your secret flame with the, what, eyes of hazelnut and green or whatever? You know, badass Cynthia.”
“Did you say Gasp?”
“No, utes. Yes, gasp. What the hell's Cynthia Snow still doing on the loose, or, better yet, breathing? She's been Public Enemy Numero Uno how many years now?”
“Eighteen months. But I know, it seems like years, doesn't it. She's Richard's obsession. His assignment. She's driving him nuts, and me along with him. And, ah...I see you remember her last name. You still have that phone number she gave you?”
“Yeah, right.”
“You tried calling her?”
“Only once, in Todd Paget's office. She hung up on me, and I've no doubt she trashed that phone before I flipped mine shut. So what do you mean she's back in town? Here? In Leicester?”
“Richard thinks so. Photo hit on an ATM withdrawal in Leicester, some offshore account. FBI's ID people say it's her face. Different name, of course. Richard thinks she might've just been flashing, for the hell of it. Their profiler says she's a thrill-seeker, takes risks just for kicks. I don't think it's any coincidence she was in your neck of the woods, Little Bro.”
“What do you mean?”
“Ha ha. I believe she's teasing you.”
“Oh, come on. As if I'm in her league.”
“You foiled her once. Is that the word, foiled? First time I've used it. Anyway, everything seems to be a game with her, and you may well be her adversary at the moment.”
“Sorry. So will Richard be doubling the population of Leicester with agents? She's already killed one. I should think the whole Bureau would be here.”
“Can't really say, Joey. But I'd bet you have a few new come heres in town, and probly more on the way.”
“The game really is afoot, then.”
“Oh, it's afoot alright. It's afoot. Love that expression, too. You must be working on something that's caught her eye. Besides you.”
“Nothing much. You've heard about our reenactment shooting, I suppose.”
“Believe it or not, I subscribe to the Messenger. Check its online edition every day. I love that they're ahead of the Herald on this. Any chance it wasn't an accident?”
“Starting to look that way, Joanie.”
“Really. Well there you go. Just when your old girlfriend shows up. Nice timing.”
“Yeah, right. So what's she calling herself these days?”
“You won't believe this.”
“Try me.”
“I don't believe you.”
“Jamie Moriarty.”
“I would laugh, ordinarily. Probly will later, but right now I think I'm having some kind of flashback. I did acid once, you know. Probly paying for it now.”
“Get a grip, Holmes. Don't trip over your feet.”

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