The Quickie

The Quickie by James Patterson Read Free Book Online

Book: The Quickie by James Patterson Read Free Book Online
Authors: James Patterson
Tags: Fiction, thriller
continued to fall around me.
    I wasn’t a procrastinator by nature, but in this case, I thought I’d make an exception.
    I stuck to the shadows on the jog back to my car.

Chapter 25
    I LEFT THE CAR ON GRAND CONCOURSE and walked in a daze down 193rd, trying to think my way through this disaster. I met Mike on the south side of the park, at the entrance far from where the bosses were set up in the Command Center on Jerome.
    I couldn’t help noticing the half dozen news vans parked alongside it. Great. The public has a right to know. To which I have to ask, Why is that?
    “Anybody notice I was gone?” I asked Mike in greeting.
    He made a pained face. “Bad news, Lauren. The commissioner came over about ten minutes ago, all outraged about where you were.”
    My stomach dropped.
    “But you know me,” Mike said, “I just slapped him around and told him to get his sorry ass back in the donut bus, where he belongs.”
    I punched my ever-the-wiseass partner in the arm. The contact felt good, actually.
    “I appreciate it,” I said. Mike had no idea how much.
    The steady rain continued to fall as we made our way toward the tenements on Creston Avenue on the east side of the park. If two concrete acres of handball courts, rusted basketball hoops, and pit bull–chewed baby swings could be considered a park.
    I don’t know what James was the patron saint of, but I have a funny feeling it wasn’t the marijuana, coke, and heroin that were sold out of the ancient buildings along the park’s perimeter. Judging by the looks of the young, bored-looking, hooded men under the red plastic awning of a corner bodega, our presence had slowed sales considerably, though.
    “Give me some good news on your canvass, Sarge,” Mike said to a stocky black cop filling out a report in the open door of his double-parked police van.
    He looked up, his face disappointed.
    Good, I thought. Disappointment was good.
    “We got an Amelia Phelps, eighty-year-old African American lady lives in that rattletrap over there,” the sergeant said, pointing to a vinyl-sided Victorian on the corner.
    “She said she saw a car park near her driveway,” the sergeant continued, “and a man carrying something out of the trunk.”
    “White, black, Hispanic?” Mike asked. A loud shout interrupted him.
    It was one of the hoodies in front of the bodega. His arms and hands were outstretched.
    “FIVE-0 FINALLY GOT WHAT’S COMIN’ TO ’EM!” he yelled again. “ ’BOUT TIME!”
    Mike moved out into the street at the bodega so quickly I had to jog to keep up.
    “What was that?” he said, putting a hand to his ear as he ducked under the crime-scene tape and closed in on the men in front of the store.
    Most of the St. James sales personnel had wisely dispersed down the block, but the rabble-rouser, a thin, green-eyed, light-skinned Hispanic, inexplicably stood his ground. He looked to be in his early twenties.
    “What? You don’t like hearin’ the truth?” he said as he cocked his little bantam rooster head at Mike. “Then, do somethin’ about it, chump.”
    Mike picked up the metal garbage can off the corner and threw it at the guy, two-handed like a basketball pass. Its steel-rimmed side knocked the punk instantly on his back and into the gutter. Mike lifted the can and turned it upside down, burying the kid in garbage.
    “How’s that for somethin’?” he said.
    “He’s nothing,” I whispered into my partner’s ear after I caught up. “You want to get jammed up over this mope? Open your eyes, Mike. There’s bosses everywhere.”
    Mike rubbed the vein throbbing at his temple as he finally let me walk him away.
    “You’re right. You’re right, partner,” he mumbled with his head down. “Sorry, I lost it.”
    That’s when I remembered.
    Mike was a second-generation cop whose father had been killed in the line of duty. His dad had been a transit cop, and he’d walked into a subway car where a rape was in

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