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Книга EchoPark. Страница 116

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The others were Rachel Walling and Rick O’Shea. The prosecutor was sitting front and center, the video screens spread before him. This was his show. Walling and Bosch sat on either side of him.

O’Shea pulled off his earphones.

“What do we think?” he asked. “He’s going to call. What do I tell him?”

Three of the screens showed Pratt about to enter the park’s restroom. According to the plan, he would wait until the room was clear and then call the surveillance van’s number on his cell phone.

Rachel pulled her earphones down around her neck and so did Bosch.

“I don’t know,” she said. “It’s your call but we don’t have much of an admission from the son in regard to Gesto.”

“That’s what I was thinking,” O’Shea responded.

“I don’t know,” Bosch said. “When Pratt talked about him leading him through the woods to the body, Anthony didn’t deny it.”

“But he didn’t admit it either,” Rachel said.

“But if a guy was sitting there talking to you about finding a body you buried and you didn’t know what he was talking about, I think you’d say something.”

“Well, that can be an argument for the jury,” O’Shea said. “I’m just saying that he hasn’t yet made anything I would call a statement of admission. We need more.”

Bosch nodded, conceding the point. It had been decided on Saturday morning that Pratt’s word was not going to be good enough. His testimony that Anthony Garland had led him to Marie Gesto’s body and that he had taken a payoff from T. Rex Garland would not be sufficient to build a solid prosecution on. Pratt was a crooked cop and building a case on his testimony was too risky in an age when juries were highly suspicious of police integrity and behavior. They needed to get admissions from both of the Garlands for the case to move onto solid ground.

“Look, all I’m saying is, I think it’s good but we’re not quite there yet,” O’Shea said. “We need to get a direct-”

“What about the old man?” Bosch asked. “I think Pratt got him to shit all over himself.”

“I agree,” Rachel said. “He’s toast. If you send him back, tell him to work on Anthony.”

As if on cue there was a low-level buzzing sound that indicated an incoming call. O’Shea, unfamiliar with the equipment, raised a finger over the console and looked for the right button to push.

“Here,” Hooten said.

He punched a button that opened the cell line.

“This is the van,” O’Shea said. “You’re on speaker.”

“How’d I do?” Pratt said.

“It’s a start,” O’Shea said. “What took you so long to call?”

“I actually did have to take a leak.”

While O’Shea talked to Pratt about going back to the bench and trying once more for an admission from Anthony Garland, Bosch slipped his earphones back on to hear the conversation taking place at the bench.

From the visuals on the screens it looked like Anthony Garland was arguing with his father. The old man was pointing a finger at him.

Bosch picked it up in the middle.

“It’s our only out,” Anthony Garland said.

“I said no!” the old man commanded. “You cannot do this. You will not do this.”

On the screen Anthony stepped away from his father and then stepped right back. It looked like he was on an invisible leash. He bent down close to his father and this time he pointed the finger. What he said was spoken so low that the FBI microphones picked up only a mumble. Bosch pressed his hands over the earphones but couldn’t get it.

“Jerry,” he said. “Can you work on this?”

Bosch pointed to the screens. Hooten pulled on his earphones and went to work on the audio dials. But it was too late. The close conversation between father and son was over. Anthony Garland had just straightened up in front of his father and turned his back to him. He was silently looking out across the lake.

Bosch leaned back so that he could see the screen that showed an angle on the bench from one of the path lights at the water’s edge. It was the only screen that showed Anthony’s face at the moment. Bosch saw the rage in his eyes. He had seen it before.

Anthony set his jaw tightly and shook his head. He turned back to his father.

“Sorry, Dad.”

With that he started walking toward the boathouse. Bosch watched him take forceful strides toward the door of the restrooms. He saw his hand go inside his blazer.

Bosch slapped off his earphones.

“Anthony’s headed to the men’s room!” he said. “I think he’s got a gun!”

Bosch jumped up and shoved past Hooten to get to the van’s door. Unfamiliar with it, he fumbled with the handle trying to get it open. Behind him he heard O’Shea barking commands into the radio mike.

“Everybody move in! Move in! Suspect is armed. Repeat, suspect is armed!”

Bosch finally got out of the van and started running toward the boathouse. There was no sign of Anthony Garland. He was already inside.

Bosch was on the far side of the park and more than a hundred yards away. Other agents and district attorney’s office investigators had been deployed closer and Bosch saw them running with weapons out toward the boathouse as well. Just as the first man, an FBI agent, got to the doorway the sound of gunfire echoed from within the restroom. Four quick shots.

Bosch knew that Pratt’s weapon was dry. It was a prop. He had needed to have a gun in case the Garlands checked him. But Pratt was in custody and facing charges. They had taken away his bullets.

As Bosch watched, the agent at the doorway dropped into a combat stance, shouted, “FBI!” and entered. Almost immediately, there were more shots but these were of a different timbre than the first four. Bosch knew these were from the agent’s gun.

As Bosch got to the restroom the agent stepped out, gun at his side. He held a radio to his mouth.

“We have two down in the restroom,” he said. “Scene is secured.”

Winded from his run, Bosch gulped down some air and walked toward the doorway.

“Detective, that’s a crime scene in there,” the agent said.

He put his hand up in front of Bosch’s chest. Bosch pushed it aside.

“I don’t care.”

He entered the restroom and saw the bodies of Pratt and Garland on the dirty concrete floor. Pratt had been shot twice in the face and twice in the chest. Garland had taken three chest shots. The fingers of Pratt’s right hand were touching the sleeve of Garland’s blazer. Pools of blood on the floor were blossoming from both bodies and soon would mingle.

Bosch watched for a few moments, studying Anthony’s open eyes. The rage Bosch had seen moments before was gone, replaced by the empty look of death.

He stepped out of the restroom and looked over at the bench. The old man, T. Rex Garland, sat leaning forward with his face in his hands. The cane with the polished dragon’s head had been dropped to the grass.

38

THE ENTIRETY OF ECHO PARK was closed for the investigation. For the third time in a week Bosch was interviewed about a shooting, only this time it was the feds doing the questioning and his part was peripheral because he had not fired a weapon. When he was finished he walked over to a mariscos truck that was parked at the curb and open for business to the crowd of onlookers outside the yellow tape. He ordered a shrimp taco and a Dr Pepper and took them over to one of the nearby federal cruisers. He was leaning on the front fender eating his lunch when Rachel Walling approached.

“Turns out Anthony Garland had a concealed-weapon permit,” she said. “His security job required it.”

She leaned casually on the fender next to him. Bosch nodded.

“I guess we should’ve checked,” he said.

He took his last bite, wiped his mouth with a napkin and then balled it up in the aluminum foil the taco came in.

“I remembered your story,” she said.

“What story?” he asked.

“The one you told me about Garland rousting those kids in the oil field.”

“What about it?”

“You said he drew down on them.”

“That’s right.”

She didn’t say anything. She looked out at the lake. Bosch shook his head like he wasn’t sure what was going on. She finally spoke.

“You knew about the permit and you knew Anthony would be carrying, didn’t you?”

It was a question but she meant it as a statement.

“Rachel, what are you saying?”

“I’m saying you knew. You knew from way back that Anthony carried a gun. You knew what could happen today.”

Bosch spread his hands wide.

“Look, that thing with the kids was twelve years ago. How would I know that he would have a gun today?”

She got off the fender and turned to face him.

“How many times did you talk to Anthony over the years? How many times did you shake him down?”

Bosch squeezed the ball of aluminum foil tighter in his fist.

“Look, I never-”

“Are you telling me that in all those times you never once came up with a gun? That you didn’t check permits? That you didn’t know that there was a very high probability that he would bring a gun-and his uncontrolled rage-to a meeting like this? If we had known this guy carried a gun, we would never have set this thing up in the first place.”

Bosch smiled unpleasantly and shook his head in a disbelieving sort of way.

“What was it you said about mumbo-jumbo conspiracies the other day? Marilyn didn’t overdose; the Kennedys had her killed. Bosch knew Anthony would bring a gun to the meeting and would start shooting? Rachel, it all sounds like-”

“And what about what you said about being a true detective?”

She stared pointedly at him.

“Rachel, listen to me. There was no way anybody could have predicted this. There was no-”

“Predicted, hoped, accidentaly set in motion-what’s the difference? You remember what you said to Pratt the other night by the pool?”

“I said a lot of things to him.”

Her voice took on a tone of sadness.

“You told him about the choices we all make.”

She pointed across the grass at the boathouse.

“And, well, Harry, I guess this is the dog you chose to feed. I hope you’re happy with it. And I hope it fits in perfectly well with the way of the true detective.”

She turned and walked back toward the boathouse and the knot of investigators crowding the crime scene.

Bosch let her go. For a long time he didn’t move. Her words had gone through him like the sounds of a roller coaster. Low rumbling and high shrieks. He squeezed the ball of aluminum foil in his hand and shot it toward a trash can sitting next to the mariscos truck.

58

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