Hot Six(11)

By: Janet Evanovich


“Anything else?” I asked. “Any acid? Any weed?”

“No, dude. How about you?”

I shook my head. His brain probably looked like those clumps of dead coral you buy in the pet store to put in aquariums.

He squinted past me to the Civic. “Is that your car?”

“Yes.”

He closed his eyes and put his hands out. “No energy,” he said. “I don’t feel any energy. This car is all wrong for you.” He opened his eyes and ambled across the sidewalk, pulling up his sagging pants. “What’s your sign?”

“Libra.”

“You see! I knew it! You’re air. And this car is earth. You can’t drive this car, dude. You’re a creative force, and this car’s gonna bring you down.”

“True,” I said, “but this is all I could afford. Get in.”

“I have a friend who could get you a suitable car. He’s like … a car dealer.”

“I’ll keep it in mind.”

Mooner folded himself into the front seat and hauled out his sunglasses. “Better, dude,” he said from behind the shades. “Much better.”





THE TRENTON COP shop shares a building with the court. It’s a blocky red-brick, no-frills structure that gets the job done—a product of the slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am school of municipal architecture.

I parked in the lot and shepherded Moon inside. Technically, I couldn’t bond him out myself, since I’m an enforcement agent and not a bonding agent. So I got the paperwork started and called Vinnie to come down and complete the process.

“Vinnie’s on his way,” I told Moon, settling him onto the bench by the docket lieutenant. “I have some other business in the building, so I’m going to leave you here alone for a couple minutes.”

“Hey, that’s cool, dude. Don’t worry about me. The Mooner will be fine.”

“Don’t move from this spot!”

“No problemo.”

I went upstairs to Violent Crimes and found Brian Simon at his desk. He’d only been promoted out of uniform a couple months earlier and still didn’t have the hang of dressing himself. He was wearing a yellow-and-tan-plaid sports coat, navy suit slacks with brown penny loafers and red socks, and a tie wide enough to be a lobster bib.

“Don’t they have some kind of dress code here?” I asked. “You keep dressing like this and we’re going to make you go live in Connecticut.”

“Maybe you should come over tomorrow morning and help me pick out my clothes.”

“Jeez,” I said. “Touchy. Maybe this isn’t a good time.”

“Good as any,” he said. “What’s on your mind?”

“Carol Zabo.”

“That woman’s a nut! She smashed right into me. And then she left the scene.”

“She was nervous.”

“You aren’t going to lay one of those PMS excuses on me, are you?”

“Actually, it had to do with her panties.”

Simon rolled his eyes. “Oh, crap.”

“You see, Carol was coming out of the Frederick’s of Hollywood store, and she was flustered because she’d just gotten some sexy panties.”

“Is this going to be embarrassing?”

“Do you get embarrassed easily?”

“What’s the point to all this, anyway?”

“I was hoping you’d drop the charges.”

“No way!”

I sat down in the chair by his desk. “I’d consider it a special favor. Carol’s a friend. And I had to talk her off a bridge this morning.”

“Over panties?”

“Just like a man,” I said, eyes narrowed. “I knew you wouldn’t understand.”

“Hey, I’m Mr. Sensitivity. I read The Bridges of Madison County. Twice.”

I gave him a doe-eyed, hopeful look. “So you’ll let her off the hook?”

“How far off the hook do I have to let her?”

“She doesn’t want to go to jail. She’s worried about the out-in-the-open-bathroom part.”

He bent forward and thunked his head on the desk. “Why me?”

“You sound like my mother.”

“I’ll make sure she doesn’t go to jail,” he said. “But you owe me.”