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 You stole it, right?
He saw the pavement come up a few more inches to meet him. A winter breeze chilled the sweat on his body and made him shiver.
 Yeah, I did it! Okay?
 Didn t she like it?
What? Crazy bitch. What does she want?
 Yeah, she liked it! She liked it just fine!
He wondered if he might be right-side up after all, and it was the world that was upside down. The old cop was down below, snagging the ladder for
the fire escape and lowering it down to the pavement. The old guy took his sweet time walking up the stairs, like it was nothing to see some poor
bastard hanging in midair and pointed headfirst toward the cement.
Damn cops.
 Mallory, don t do this to me, said the old guy.  You don t want Coffey on my ass, do you?
And the woman said,  He won t complain. I can do anything I want with him.
 You drop him, and that s three days of paperwork.
She loosened her grip. He dropped lower.
 Okay, okay! screamed Jimmy Farrow.  I already told her I did it! Let me up!
He was being hauled up by four ungentle hands. When he was right-side up and sitting down, the old guy took out his notebook.  You wanna make a
statement, kid? Is that what you re telling me?
 Yeah, okay. My grandmother s Social Security check got screwed up this month. A neighbor bought her groceries for a few days till my mom could
replace the money. I just wanted to give Amanda  she s the neighbor. I wanted to give her something. It was my grandmother s idea.
 Now let me get this straight, said the old guy, pen circling over his notebook.  First you give Amanda the blazer, then you killed her  and your
grandmother made you do it?
Oh, God, they re both nuts.
 I didn t do anything to her. I just gave her the sports jacket.
 Were you very close to Amanda?
 No! I go to my grandmother s building twice a week to sweep out the halls. My grandmother s the super, but she s not up to slopping all those floors
and stairs any more.
 What a good boy you are, said the old guy.  Now, about Amanda?
 I see Amanda in the hall now and then, that s all. She and my grandmother were real tight. Talk to the old lady.
The old woman was waiting for them on the front steps of the building. Jimmy Farrow stood between two uniformed officers on the sidewalk, his
head bowed and his hands cuffed behind his back. Riker climbed the steps behind Mallory and watched the old woman looking from Mallory to her
grandson, lips slightly parted in disbelief.
 Police, said Mallory, showing the ID card and shield.  You re Mrs Farrow? This is your grandson?
The old woman nodded, her eyes blinking rapidly.
Riker looked back to the sidewalk. The siren on the squad car had scattered most of the hookers like roaches, but now one came weaving back,
too jazzed on crack to be afraid.
 I want access to Amanda Bosch s apartment, said Mallory.
 Do you have a warrant? the old woman asked, automatically.
That was predictable to Riker. It was a neighborhood where such a phrase came tripping to the tongue, spoken even before that all-time favorite  I
didn t do it.
 She s dead, said Mallory.  You think I need a warrant?
Nicely worded, kid.
And the denial in the slow shake of the old woman s head was also predictable. Such a thing could not be, said Mrs Farrow s eyes. She pulled her
thin sweater close about her neck, as though that would protect her from Mallory. She retreated two faltering steps. Mallory s long reach put a
photograph in the old woman s face.
 Is that her? Is that Amanda Bosch?
Ease up, Mallory. We don t want to kill a taxpayer.
Mrs Farrow stared at the image of the dead woman and crossed herself. Another protection failed her as Mallory put her face in the old woman s
face.  Is that her?
 Yes, yes. It s Amanda Bosch.
Mallory made a note, and Riker knew her meticulous report would read that positive ID was made at 10:56 am. That would make a department
record for a corpse without prints.
They followed the old woman up the stairs and down the hail to the apartment at the end of the second landing. Mrs Farrow fumbled with the lock,
but finally managed it. When the hand with the key ring came back to the old woman s side, the keys jingled with the trembling.
Riker entered the apartment behind Mallory. Mrs Farrow hovered on the threshold for a moment and then melted away down the hall.
The first thing he noticed about the apartment was that it was clean. From where he stood, he could see through the sparkling galley kitchen and
into the room beyond it. Spotless, smelling of cleansers and powders, all cleaned up for company. Or had the place been cleaned up for blood
traces and prints?
The inside doorknob gleamed. He looked down and moved his head to see it from every possible angle. There might be latent prints on it, but he [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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