Indigo Slam: An Elvis Cole Novel

Indigo Slam: An Elvis Cole Novel by Robert Crais Read Free Book Online

Book: Indigo Slam: An Elvis Cole Novel by Robert Crais Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robert Crais
Tags: Fiction, thriller, Suspense, Mystery & Detective, Retail
didn’t, but she was only too happy to tell me that Michaels worked at the new Bestco Electronics that had just opened, and that maybe I could find him there. She smiled when she said it and I smiled back. We are nothing if not the finest in West Coast detection.
    Five minutes later I turned off Overland into the Bestco’s lot, parked, and went inside. Bestco is one of those enormous discount electronics places, and as soon as I stepped through the doors three salesmen in sport coats and smiles surrounded me, anxious to meet or better any advertised price in town. I said, “I’m looking for Tre Michaels.”
    Two of them didn’t know the name, but the third told me that Michaels worked in “big screens.” I walked back to “big screens.”
    Tre Michaels was drinking black coffee from a Styrofoam cup as a gentleman of Middle Eastern descent argued with him about prices, surrounded by thirty large-format televisions displaying exactly the same image of Arnold Schwarzenegger throwing a guy through a window. I recognized Michaels because he wore a little plastic name tag that said TRE . The Middle Eastern guy was saying that he could get a better price elsewhere, but if Bestco matched that price, then gave him five percent for cash and threw in free delivery and a free two-year full-service warranty, he might be willing to deal. Michaels said that if the man could produce a published price he might be able to give him an extra two percent, but he didn’t seem in a hurry to do it. He seemed more interested in Arnold.
    Michaels was an overweight guy in his early thirties with a wide butt and a hairline that hadn’t seen his eyebrows in years. He had pale skin and washed-away eyes and dry lips that he continuously licked. The lips made me think he was feeling short and thinking about his next fix, but that’s only because Livermore had said he was a junkie. Tre Michaels didn’t look like a junkie, but then I’ve never met a junkie in real life who looked like Johnny Rotten.
    Michaels glanced over when he saw me, and I pointed at a fifty-two-inch Mitsubishi. “When you’ve got a moment, I’d like to buy this unit from you.”
    He nodded.
    “Full price.”
    Michaels came over without a second glance at the Middle Eastern man and said, “Will that be cash or charge, sir?”
    The Middle Eastern guy started making a big deal out of it, but another salesman drifted over and pretty soon they were gone. I said, “Do you have an office?”
    Michaels smiled like the thought was silly. “We’ll just write you up over here by the register.”
    I lowered my voice and went close to him. “You don’t need to write me up. I want to ask you about Clark Haines.”
    Tre Michaels froze as if he was suddenly part of a great still photograph. He glanced at the blond sales-clerk. He twisted to look around at the other sales-people and customers, and then he wet his lips some more. He made what he hoped was an innocent smile. “I’m sorry. I don’t know anyone by that name.”
    “C’mon, Tre. I’m not here to make trouble for you. I just want some information about Clark Haines.”
    More licking. Around us, images of Arnold crashed up through a floor, spraying a hail of lead at faceless bad guys as the world exploded around him. I said, “That Arnold is something, isn’t he? Walks through a world of hurt and all of it slides right off.” I turned the smile back to Tre Michaels. “Too bad it doesn’t slide off the rest of us like that, isn’t it?”
    Tre nodded, kind of stupid, like he wasn’t sure if he should talk to me or not, like he was scared to talk, but scared what I might do if he didn’t.
    “I’m not the police, Tre. I’m looking for Clark, and I know that you know him. I know that you and Clark know each other from Enright. I know that you’re on parole for narcotics, and that you sold Clark drugs at least one time.” I spread my hands. “Talk to me about Clark and you’ll never see me

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