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Книга EchoPark. Страница 101

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Bosch took a moment to compose himself.

“Who made the call on this?”

“Excuse me?”

“How high up did O’Shea reach? It couldn’t have been directly to you. He would have gone higher. Who told you to knock me down?”

Randolph spread his hands and shook his head.

“Detective, I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Right. Of course not.”

Bosch stood up.

“Then, I guess you’ll write it up the way you’ve been told and I’ll either sign it or I won’t. Simple as that.”

Randolph nodded but said nothing. Bosch leaned down and put both hands on the table so he could get close to his face.

“You going to Deputy Doolan’s funeral, Lieutenant? It’s right after they put Olivas in the ground. Remember him, the one Waits shot in the face out there? I thought maybe you’d be going to the funeral to explain to his family about how choices had to be made and how the man directly behind that bullet could be a friend to the department and therefore doesn’t need to face the consequences of his actions.”

Randolph stared straight ahead at the wall across the table. He said nothing. Bosch straightened up and pulled open the door, startling Osani, who had been standing just outside. He wasn’t holding any water bottles. Bosch pushed past him and left the squad room.

At the elevator Bosch pushed the up button. He waited and paced and thought about taking his grievance up to the sixth floor. He envisioned himself charging into the chief of police’s suite and demanding to know if he was aware of what was being done in his name and under his command.

But as the elevator opened he dismissed the idea and pushed the 5 button. He knew that the Byzantine levels of bureaucracy and politics in the department were impossible to fully understand. If he didn’t watch himself he could end up complaining about all the bullshit to the very person who created it.

The Open-Unsolved Unit was deserted when he got there. It was just after four and most detectives worked seven-to-four shifts that put them on the road home before rush hour. If something wasn’t breaking, they left at four on the dot. Even a fifteen-minute delay could cost them an hour on the freeways. The only one still around was Abel Pratt, and that was because as a supervisor he had to work eight to five. Company rules. Bosch waved as he walked by the open door of Pratt’s office on the way to his desk.

Bosch dropped into his chair, exhausted by the day’s events and the weight of the departmental fix. He looked down and saw that his desk was littered with pink phone message slips. He started looking through them. Most were from colleagues in different divisions and stations. They were all call-backs. Bosch knew they wanted to say nice shooting or words to that effect. Anytime anybody got a clean kill the phones lit up.

There were several messages from reporters, including Keisha Russell. Bosch knew he owed her a call but would wait until he got home. There was also a message from Irene Gesto, and Bosch guessed that she and her husband wanted to know if there was any update on the investigation. He had called them the night before to tell them that their daughter had been found and the ID confirmed. He put that slip in his pocket. Home duty or not, he would make the call back to them. With the autopsy completed the body would be released and at the very least they could finally, after thirteen years, claim their daughter and take her home. He could not tell them that their daughter’s killer had been brought to justice, but at least he could help them get her home.

There was also a message from Jerry Edgar, and Bosch remembered that his old partner had called his cell right before the shooting had gone down in Echo Park. Whoever had taken the message had written Says it’s important on the slip and underlined it. Bosch checked the time on the slip and noted that this call had come in before the shooting as well. Edgar had not been calling to congratulate him on taking out a bad guy. He assumed that Edgar had heard that Harry had met his cousin and that he wanted to chew the fat about it. At the moment Bosch didn’t feel up for that.

Bosch wasn’t interested in any of the other messages, so he stacked them and put them in a desk drawer. Nothing else to do, he then started straightening the papers and files on his desk. He thought about whether he should call Forensics and see about getting his phone and car back from the Echo Park crime scene.

“I just got the word.”

Bosch looked up. Pratt was standing in the doorway of his office. He was in shirtsleeves, his tie loose at his neck.

“What word?”

“From OIS. You haven’t cleared home duty, Harry. I gotta send you home.”

Bosch looked back down at his desk.

“So what’s new? I’m leaving.”

Pratt paused as he tried to interpret Bosch’s tone of voice.

“Everything okay, Harry?” he asked tentatively.

“Nope, everything’s not okay. The fix is in and when the fix is in, then everything’s not okay. Not by a long shot.”

“What are you talking about? They’re going to cover up Olivas and O’Shea?”

Bosch looked up at him.

“I don’t think I should talk to you about it, Top. It could put you in a spot. You wouldn’t want the blowback.”

“They’re that serious about it, huh?”

Bosch hesitated but then answered.

“Yeah, they’re serious. They’re willing to jam me up if I don’t play the game.”

He stopped there. He didn’t want to be having this conversation with his supervisor. In Pratt’s position loyalties went both up and down the ladder. It didn’t matter if he was only a few weeks from retirement. Pratt had to play the game until the buzzer sounded.

“My cell is back there, part of the crime scene,” he said, reaching for the phone. “I just came in to make a phone call and then I’m out of here.”

“I was wondering about your phone,” Pratt said. “Some of the guys have been trying to call you and they said you weren’t answering.”

“Forensics wouldn’t let me take it from the scene. The phone or my car. What did they want?”

“I think they wanted to take you out for a drink at Nat’s. They might still be heading over there.”

Nat’s was a dive off Hollywood Boulevard. It wasn’t a cop bar but a fair number of off-duty cops passed through there on any given night. Enough for the management to keep The Clash’s hard-edged version of “I Fought the Law” on the jukebox for going on twenty years now. Bosch knew that if he showed up at Nat’s the punk anthem would be in heavy if not inappropriate rotation in salute to the recently dispatched Robert Foxworth, aka Raynard Waits. I fought the law but the law won … Bosch could almost hear them all singing the chorus.

“You going?” he asked Pratt.

“Maybe later. I’ve got something to do first.”

Bosch nodded.

“I don’t think I feel like it,” he said. “I’m going to pass.”

“Suit yourself. They’ll understand.”

Pratt didn’t move from the doorway so Bosch picked up his phone. He called Jerry Edgar’s number just so he could follow through on the lie he had told about having to make a call. But Pratt remained in the doorway, his arm leaning against the jamb as he surveyed the empty squad room. He was really trying to get Bosch out of there. Maybe he had gotten the word from higher up the ladder than Lieutenant Randolph.

Edgar answered the call.

“It’s Bosch, you called?”

“Yeah, man, I called.”

“I’ve been a little busy.”

“I know. I heard. Nice shooting today, partner. You okay?”

“Yeah, fine. What were you calling about?”

“Just something I thought you might want to know. I don’t know if it matters anymore.”

“What was it?” Bosch said impatiently.

“My cousin Jason called me from DWP. He said you saw him today.”

“Yeah, nice guy. He helped a lot.”

“Yeah, well, I wasn’t checking on how he treated you. I’m trying to tell you that he called me and said there was something you might want to know but you didn’t give him a business card or a number or anything. He said that about five minutes after you and the FBI agent you were with left, another cop came and asked for him. Asked at the lobby desk for the guy who was just helping the cops.”

Bosch leaned forward at his desk. He was suddenly very interested in what Edgar was telling him.

“He said this guy showed a badge and said he was monitoring your investigation and he asked Jason what you and the agent had wanted. My cousin took him up to the floor you people had gone to and walked this guy out to the window. They were standing there looking down on the house in Echo Park when you and the lady agent showed up down there. They watched you go into the garage.”

“Then what happened?”

“The guy ran out of there. Grabbed an elevator and went down.”

“Did your cousin get a name off this guy?”

“Yeah, the guy said his name was Detective Smith. When he held up his ID he sort of had his fingers over the part with his name.”

It was an old ploy, Bosch knew, used mostly when detectives were going off the reservation and didn’t want their real name out in circulation. Bosch had used it himself on occasion.

“What about a description?” he asked.

“Yeah, he gave me all that. He said white guy, about six feet and one-eighty. The guy had silver-gray hair he kept cut short. Let’s see, midfifties and he was wearing a blue suit, white shirt and a striped tie. He had an American flag on the lapel.”

The description matched about fifty thousand men in the immediate vicinity of downtown. And Bosch was looking at one of them. Abel Pratt was still standing in his office doorway. He was staring at Bosch with eyebrows raised in question. He wasn’t wearing his suit jacket but Bosch could see it on a hook on the door behind him. There was an American flag pinned to the lapel.

Bosch looked back down at his desk.

“How late does he work to?” he asked quietly.

“Normally, I think he stays till five. But there’s a bunch of people hanging up there, watching the scene in Echo Park.”

“Okay, thanks for the tip. I’ll call you later.”

Bosch hung up before Edgar could say anything else. He looked up and Pratt was still staring at him.

“What was that?” he asked.

“Oh, just something on the Matarese case. The one we filed this week. It looks like we might have a witness after all. It will help at trial.”

Bosch said it as nonchalantly as he could. He stood up and looked at his boss.

“But don’t worry. It will hold until I get back from home duty.”


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