Not One Clue

By: Lois Greiman


I scowled at the ceiling.

“But I’m willing to make the effort.”

Despite myself, I laughed. “You’re a giver.”

“Like a saint.”

“God, I hope not,” I said, and he chuckled.

“Last chance,” he said.

“Promise?”

There was a momentary pause, then, “Not on your life,” he said, and hung up.

I did the same, shuffled the receiver into its cradle, and smiled even though there was less than a month left until my best friend’s wedding. A month during which she was staying with me since she’d given up her apartment long ago and didn’t relish the idea of hotel life. I had hoped we would have some time to spend alone together, but her schedule was pretty hairy. Not only was there the wedding from Elm Street to contend with, there was also a considerable amount of hoopla involving the upcoming spin-off of her popular television series, Amazon Queen. Jungle Heat featured several of Laney’s coactors and would premiere soon. Wesley Donovan, a relative newcomer to female fantasies, played the male lead and was creating most of the hoped-for heat.

All this meant that the Geekster would not only be nearby, he could damned well be in my house. The idea made my skin crawl, but the phone rang again, pulling me from my morbid musings.

I grinned through the darkness at it. There’s nothing like a trash-talking stalker to make a girl feel special.

I picked up the receiver on the third ring. “Okay. But bring a condom,” I whispered, then squirmed a little and wondered how I was going to sneak Rivera past Laney. “Hell,” I corrected, “bring a box of ’em. Do they still come in boxes? It’s been—”

“He’s dead,” a voice hissed.

I jerked upright in bed, heart crammed tight in my throat. “What? Who is this?” I rasped.

But the dial tone was already buzzing in my ear.





2


I been a pretty good mama. Too bad I’ll have to wait for my funeral to hear it said out loud.

—Shirley Templeton—mother

of seven, and a vocal

proponent of birth control



My muscles were frozen, my lungs petrified. I jerked my gaze toward the hall, sure someone was watching me, but the doorway was empty, so I yanked my imagination under control and jabbed Rivera’s number into the keypad.

His line was busy. I hung up and tried again. Same results. Settling the receiver into the cradle, I stepped off the bed, stiff as a pool cue, but just then the phone rang. I squawked as I swung toward it.

Atop the bed, Harlequin stared at me, sleepy-eyed, head half lifted from the mattress, one ear cocked up. Slowly I reached once again for the receiver.

“Who is this?” My voice quivered like a falsetto’s.

“I think I killed him,” the voice hissed again. It was juxtaposed eerily against a keening noise in the background.

“I’m calling the police.”

“They’re already coming.”

I moved to hang up, but in that instant a sliver of recognition pierced my foggy brain. Squinting, I tightened my grip on the phone. “Who—”

“I came to see the boy. Just wanted to see him. You know? Never had much family. Not really. Didn’t intend to … Didn’t think …”

“Micky?” The name came out on a rasp of surprise. Micky Goldenstone was one of my clients, but even I’m not stupid enough to hand out my home phone number like a suicidal real estate agent. “How did you get this—”

“Listen …” He drew a heavy breath as if searching for calm, and when he next spoke, his voice was steady, cool even, carefully enunciated. “I don’t have much time before the cops show up.”

“The cops …” I shook my head. Sometimes it’s the most intelligent thing I can think to do. “What—”

“I need you to drive over.”

“Over where?” Or whom? “What are you talking about?”

“Glendale. I don’t want the boy to spend the night here. Or with the county.”

“Jamel?” I was guessing wildly, mind spinning.

“Yeah.”

“I thought he was living in Lynwood with his aunt.”

“I guess Lavonn’s boyfriend’s loaded. Bought himself this big-ass house in Glendale. But that don’t …” His voice, calm just moments before, broke. “There’s a shitload of blood, Doc.”

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