Hot Six(12)

By: Janet Evanovich

“I’m not going to have to come over and dress you, am I? I’m not that kind of girl.”

“Live in fear.”


I left Simon and went back downstairs. Vinnie was there, but no Moon Man.

“Where is he?” Vinnie wanted to know. “I thought you said he was here at the back door.”

“He was! I told him to wait on the bench by the docket lieutenant.”

We both looked over at the bench. It was empty.

Andy Diller was working the desk. “Hey, Andy,” I said. “Do you know what happened to my skip?”

“Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.”

We canvassed the first floor, but Moon didn’t turn up.

“I’ve gotta get back to the office,” Vinnie said. “I’ve got stuff to do.”

Talk to his bookie, play with his gun, shake hands with Mr. Stumpy.

We went out the door together and found Moon standing in the parking lot, watching my car burn. There were a bunch of cops with extinguishers working on it, but things didn’t look too hopeful. A fire truck rolled down the street, lights flashing, and pulled through the chain-link gate.

“Hey, man,” Moon said to me. “Real shame about your car. That’s mad crazy, dude.”

“What happened?”

“I was sitting there on the bench waiting for you, and I saw Reefer walk by. You know Reefer? Well, anyway, Reefer just got let out of the tank, and his brother was coming to pick him up. And Reefer said why didn’t I come out to say hello to his brother. So I walked out with Reefer, and you know Reefer always has good weed, so one thing led to another, and I thought I’d just relax in your car for a minute and have a smoke. I guess a pod must have jumped, because the next thing your seat was on fire. And then it kind of spread from there. It was glorious until these gentlemen hosed it.”

Glorious. Unh. I wondered if Moon would think it was glorious if I choked him until he was dead.

“I’d like to stay around and toast some marshmallows,” Vinnie said, “but I need to get back to the office.”

“Yeah, and I’m missing Hollywood Squares,” Moon said. “We need to conclude our business, dude.”

IT WAS CLOSE to four when I made the final arrangements for the car to get towed away. I’d been able to salvage a tire iron and that was about it. I was outside in the lot, pawing through my shoulder bag for my cell phone, when the black Lincoln pulled up.

“Tough luck with the car,” Mitchell said.

“I’m getting used to it. It happens to me a lot.”

“We’ve been watching from a distance, and we figure you need a ride.”

“Actually, I just called a friend, and he’s going to come pick me up.”

“That’s a big fat lie,” Mitchell said. “You been standing here for an hour and you haven’t called anyone. I bet your mother wouldn’t like it if she knew you were telling lies.”

“Better than me getting into this car with you,” I said. “That’d give her a heart attack.”

Mitchell nodded. “You got a point.” The tinted window slid shut, and the Lincoln rolled out of the lot. I found my phone and called Lula at the office.

“BOY, IF I had a nickel for every car you destroyed I’d be able to retire,” Lula said when she picked me up.

“It wasn’t my fault.”

“Hell, it’s never your fault. It’s one of them karma things. You’re a number ten on the Bad-Shit-O-Meter when it comes to cars.”

“I don’t suppose you’ve got any news on Ranger?”

“Only that Vinnie gave the file to Joyce.”

“Was she happy?”

“Had an orgasm right there in the office. Connie and me had to excuse ourselves so we could go throw up.”

Joyce Barnhardt is a fungus. When we were in kindergarten together she used to spit in my milk carton. When we were in high school she started rumors and took secret photos in the girls’ locker room. And before the ink had even dried on my marriage certificate I found her bare-assed with my husband (now my ex-husband) on my brand-new dining room table.

Anthrax was too good for Joyce Barnhardt.

“Then a funny thing happened to Joyce’s car,” Lula said. “While she was in the office talking to Vinnie, someone drove a screwdriver into her tire.”