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Authors: Elmore Leonard

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BOOK: Riding the Rap
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he house reminded Harry of Florida forty years ago, a little stucco crackerbox with jalousie windows where a garage door used to be. He said to the girl, “Nice place you have,” trying to sound like he meant it.

She didn't say anything. Took him past a sign next to the front door that said:




and into a room full of dark furniture from some other time and a gray leatherette recliner that
seemed out of place. She touched the backrest saying, “I'd like you to sit here, if you would, please, and try to relax. Close your eyes if you want.”

He got in the chair and looked around at all the clutter, knickknacks, dolls, little china and ceramic figures and a few stuffed animals, an old teddy bear, all of it here and there on bookshelves and side tables. On the walls, an Indian rug with a design that looked something like the zodiac, and a framed print of Jesus—that one where he's surrounded by little kids.

Reverend Dawn Navarro said, “I was thinking on the way here, I asked if you had any investments over in Italy and you said no, just the villa you leased.”

“That's right,” Harry said, still looking around. The recliner faced the doorway into the room with the jalousie windows that used to be a garage. He saw more clutter in there—old aluminum lawn chairs, a plastic swan that looked like a planter. . . . Reverend Dawn wasn't much of a housekeeper.

Her voice said, “You got the villa through a real estate agent. They showed you pictures of different ones. . . .”

“Right again,” Harry said.

He felt her hand touch his shoulder and rest there and he looked up, but she was behind him.

“You didn't pay cash, though, for the villa.”

Harry smiled. “No, not that time. I had to transfer enough from a Swiss bank to one in Rapallo, establish myself there to make the deal,
you know, and have money for living expenses. I bought a car, too, a Mercedes.” He said, “That could be the unfinished business. I have to do something about the car.”

He heard her say, “Maybe,” as her hand left his shoulder and he watched the light reflecting on the ceiling dim and heard the rattle of venetian blinds being closed, her voice saying, “But I don't think the car's the reason you're drawn to Rapallo. Where is it exactly?”

“On the coast, not too far from Genoa.”

“I'm trying to picture it. I know Italy's shaped like a boot. . . .”

“That's right, so Rapallo'd be up there on the shin, just below where the boot spreads out to cover your knee.”

“In the northern part,” her voice said. “And you like to travel, don't you?”

“You bet. That's one of the advantages of Rapallo, it's centrally located. Drive down to Rome, couple of hours to Milan. Anywhere you want to go's fairly close.”

“Visit other countries,” Dawn Navarro's voice said. “Isn't Switzerland right there?”

“Not too far.”

“You've been there.”

“Yeah, a number of times; it's beautiful.”

“Harry, use that lever to tilt back; the footrest comes up.”

He eased back all the way.

“How's that?”


“You're comfortable?”

“I could go to sleep.”

Her voice said, “Close your eyes, but not too tight, and breathe slowly. I'm gonna count backward, Harry, down to one and then start to regress you. Okay? Here we go. Ten. Imagine all of your muscles relaxing, going limp. . . . Nine. In your face . . . your shoulders . . . down through your body . . . into your legs . . . Eight. You feel yourself drifting into a deeper state of relaxation . . . Seven. But you're completely aware of everything that's happening. . . . Six. You're drifting deeper and deeper. . . .”


Bobby came around back to the kitchen door, Louis following with a roll of duct tape. Through the screen they could see Chip on the other side of the kitchen, by the door that opened into the living room, but couldn't see what was going on in there. Chip, standing with his back to them, blocked their view—until Bobby opened the screen and Chip turned, pressing a finger to his mouth. Bobby went in first, moved across the linoleum to the doorway and shouldered Chip over to make room. He didn't like it. He put on a look Bobby caught but ignored, Bobby watching the fortune-teller standing next to Harry in the recliner, the fortune-teller looking this way now, brushing her long hair from her face with the tips of her fingers, looking this way right at Bobby—checking him out—Bobby sure of it, the woman calm, still looking this way as she said, “Two. You're deeply relaxed, Harry, you feel safe, comfortable.” Now she was looking at Harry again. “And one, you're
ready to begin. First, though, I'm
gonna take your hand in mine and stroke it, okay? You tell me what you feel.”

Bobby watched her pinch the skin on the back of Harry's hand, hard, and was surprised Harry didn't jerk his hand away.

She said, “Harry?”


“Did you feel anything unpleasant?”


“Do you want to look at your hand?”


“Are you willing to talk to me? Yes or no.”


“And go back in time? Yes or no.”


“We'll go back gradually, Harry, regress you to last year when you were in Italy for a short time. You said your money is over there in a Swiss bank? Yes or no.”


Bobby could see the fortune-teller, frowning now at Harry, didn't expect him to say that. He watched her use two fingers to slide the man's eyelids back and stare at him before taking her hand away.

She said, “Harry, you told me you transferred money from a Swiss bank to a bank in Rapallo. Not all of it, but enough, for expenses. Were you telling the truth, Harry? Yes or no.”


“So you do have money in the bank over there.”


“I don't mean in Italy, I mean Switzerland. Do you have money in Switzerland, Harry? Yes or no.”


Bobby watched her expression, the fortune-teller frowning again, something not working here the way it was supposed to, the woman thinking hard now—look at her—wondering what to do next. Bobby turned to Chip staring straight ahead, said, “This is bullshit,” and Chip, annoyed, put a finger to his mouth the way he did before. Bobby spoke in a whisper with some force to it, saying, “Harry's playing with her, man. You don't see that?”

Chip turned his head toward Bobby and said without looking right at him, “Will you shut the fuck up?”

Bobby stared at Chip's profile, the man looking straight ahead now, Bobby wanting to shove him against the door frame, hold him there and tell his bony face the show was over, man, forget it . . . But now the fortune-teller was speaking again.

This Dawn Navarro saying, “Did you tell me you had money in a Swiss bank? Yes or no.”

“Yes,” Harry said.

“You mean a bank


“Where is the bank, Harry?”

“In Freeport, Grand Bahama.”

Freeport, where Louis was from, the Bahamian Arabian. Bobby thought of it right away. But now the fortune-teller was looking
over here again, brushing her hair aside. Looking at you, Bobby thought. You see that? Sure of it as he watched her turn her attention again to the man in the recliner, lying there with his eyes closed.

Dawn Navarro saying, “How much do you have in the account, Harry?”

“I don't know the exact amount.”

“Roughly, how much would you say you have?”

“Close to three million,” Harry said.

Chip made a sound like he was letting his breath out. Bobby heard it, watching the fortune-teller, who was looking over here again, he believed smiling at him now, but he wasn't sure.


Chip was gone before Bobby could stop him—while he and Louis were getting Harry ready to travel, covering his eyes and mouth and tying his hands with that silver duct tape. Bobby took Louis into the kitchen to tell him Chip was in too big a hurry; they should wait for dark to take Harry from the house. Louis said this was the way they planned it; all the trees and shit around the house, there was no way anybody would see them. He held up the keys to Harry's car, saying, “You want to get rid of it, or you want me to?”

“You know how?”

“In my youth,” Louis said, “I boosted cars, sent them over to Nassau, Freeport, Eleuthera. . . .”

“Freeport,” Bobby said, “where the guy has his money. You use to live there.”

“That's a fact,” Louis said. “I been thinking on it. Do I know somebody knows somebody might work in that bank?”

“You didn't say nothing to Chip?”

“He knows I'm from there.”

“Yeah, but you didn't say nothing, did you?”

“Not yet.”

“You see a way to get the money?”

“I'm starting to have an idea, yeah.”

“We should talk about it before you tell Chip anything.”

“You want to cut him out?”

“I say I think we should talk,” Bobby said. He took the car keys. “You watch Harry. I'm gonna check on the fortune-teller, see how she's doing.”

Louis said, “You don't have time for that.”

“For what?” Bobby said. “What do you think I'm gonna do to her?”


They had put Reverend Dawn in the bedroom, out of the way. Bobby opened the door and looked in and there she was sitting on the bed twisting a strand of hair between her fingers. Bobby stepped in and closed the door and she stopped fooling with her hair.

He said, “How you doing?” Giving her a chance to come on to him in some way that women let you know they were interested.

She stared at him, but not with a look he recognized.

“You have my money?”

Bobby almost told her to see Chip; it was on the tip of his tongue. He changed his mind and
said, “I'm gonna bring it to you, next week.” Giving her another chance to show some interest.

She kept staring at him and maybe it meant something, he wasn't sure. He said, “Are you scared?”

She said, “Should I be?”

Bobby stared and she stared back at him.

“I like your act.”

“It's real.”

“He was hypnotize, uh?”

“I checked his eyes.”

“What does that tell you?”

“They were rolled back. You can't fake that.”

“I thought maybe it was too easy, what you got him to say.”

“Harry likes to talk about money. He pays cash for everything, even his car.”

“You like that car?”

“It's all right.”

“Better than your little car. You know how much we gonna get from Harry?”

She said, “Look, I don't want to know anything about what you're doing. I don't even want to talk to you.”

what we doing.”

“I saw nothing. Harry was never here.”

“I was thinking you should get more than fifteen hundred.”

“I told Chip what I wanted; that's it. And that's all I'm doing for you.”

Bobby said, “You sure?”


unday, Raylan phoned Joyce from the restaurant in Delray Beach.

“The waiter remembers him. He said Harry had a few drinks, paid for the first one and then ran a tab. The reason the guy remembers him, Harry left his money on the table when he went in to use the phone.”

Joyce said, “That's when he called and left the message. Said he'd call me later, but that was the last I heard.”

“The waiter said he kept an eye on Harry's money.”

“I'll bet he did.”

“No, he said he told Harry, when he was leaving, he ought to be more careful with it.”

“The guy he was meeting never showed up?”

“Doesn't look like it. No, but there's a lady hangs around here does tarot card readings?”

Joyce said right away, “
, he mentioned that,” and sounded excited about it. “Is she there?”

“Not on Sunday. The waiter said she sat down with Harry and I guess they just talked. She didn't lay out the cards or anything.”

“But she was with him.”

“I guess. I don't know how long.”

“Can you find out?”

“Listen, Joyce? The waiter said Harry was drinking doubles, throwing them down. I checked with Delray PD and Boca Raton, see if he might've been picked up.”

“He would've called,” Joyce said, “I'm his one phone call, his bail, his ride home . . .”

“Unless he didn't want you to know he'd messed up again. He could've called somebody else, one of the guys used to work for him.”

“It was two days ago,” Joyce said. “Where is he? Raylan, he calls me every
for something.”

Tell me about it, Raylan thought, using his day off to look for a guy he wished would disappear from his life. Joyce, at the same time, saying how much she appreciated his help, sounding so polite, saying if anyone could find Harry . . . He might've said, What if I don't want
to find him? But didn't and there was a silence. He was getting used to silences talking to her.

Her voice came on again, Joyce saying, “What if Harry went to see the tarot card lady and she told him . . . I don't know, that he was about to take a trip, go to some exotic place. That would appeal to Harry. I think he might do whatever she said.”

“You mean made plans to see her later.”

“It's possible.”

“Like she told him to go back to Italy, where he wouldn't be bothering anybody.”

Joyce said, “I think it's worth following up,” sounding so serious, sounding like that all the time lately. “Can you ask around, find out where she lives? Or get her number and I'll call her.”

“I have her card,” Raylan said. “There's a whole stack of them by the cash register.”

Joyce said, “You're way ahead of me, aren't you?”

“I'll go see her, find out if Harry had his fortune told. Maybe, as long as I'm there, have her tell mine, see what's in my future.”

“You believe in that?”

“I don't know—maybe some of it.”

She said, “Well, you're psychic yourself. You know things no one else does.”

It took him a moment to realize what she meant. Still at him. He said, “You want to go around on that again? I knew Tommy Bucks had a gun. I've thought about it since the other night and there's no way I see it any different. I called him out and he knew it. If he didn't pack his
suitcase and leave he'd be packing a gun. That was his choice.”

“You called him out,” Joyce said. “What did you think, you were in a movie?”

It caught him by surprise, because he did see it that way sometimes. The idea of giving the guy twenty-four hours . . .

Joyce said, “What if he told you, sitting at that table, he didn't have a gun?”

She wouldn't let it go.

“Would you have shot him?”

“I don't know if I would've or not. How's that?”

The hell with it, let her think what she wanted.

She said, “All right,” in a different tone of voice, quieter. “I won't mention it again.”

Was he supposed to be grateful?

Raylan said, “Honey, I shot the son of a bitch and killed him and I'd do it again, the same way. If you have trouble with that, then you don't know me and there's nothing I can do to help you.”

She said, after a moment, “I'm sorry,” her voice even quieter than before.

Raylan waited, looking out at the Sunday brunch crowd on the terrace, not feeling he had any more to say, and there was a silence.

When her voice came on again:

She said, “Raylan?”


“If we knew who owed Harry money, would that help?”

Like that, back to poor Harry.

“It might.”

“When I was driving him around, he had names in a ledger he'd check off, with the amounts. Then when he called me from where you are and left the message? He said the guy would have sixteen five for him. The one who didn't show up.”

“He mention his name?”

“No, only that he's Puerto Rican.”

“I'll call you after I see the tarot card lady.”

“Call me at Harry's. I'll go right now and look for the ledger.” She said then, “Raylan, I'm sorry. I really am.”

He said, “I am, too,” without knowing exactly what either of them was sorry about. As soon as he'd hung up, though, he felt a sense of relief.

BOOK: Riding the Rap
4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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