H Is For Homicide Page 57


I punched in the 805 area code, hoping for the best. Automatically, my fingers moved across the face of the telephone, dialing CF in a medley of musical tones that sounded like ’’Mary Had a Little Lamb.’’ I wondered if Dolan had been in touch with Mac Voorhies. Was I going to have my cover blown right here on the spot?

The number rang twice. Darcy answered. I hoped I didn't sound like myself when I said, ’’May I speak to Mr. Voorhies?’’

’’Just a moment, please. I'll ring his office.’’ She clicked off. Music played in the background, filling telephone limbo with an orchestrated rendition of ’’How High the Moon.’’ Inexplicably, the lyrics popped into my head unbidden. I thought about Dawna, wondering how long the cops could hold her. Wounded or not, she was dangerous.

15

MAC CAME ON the line. ’’Voorhies.’’

’’Mr. Voorhies, my name is Hannah Moore. I have car insurance with your company and I wanted to check on my coverage.’’

There was dead silence. I knew he recognized my voice. Raymond leaned his head close to mine, angling the phone so he could listen to the conversation.

Mac hesitated. I could hear him grope with the request, trying to figure out what was going on and what he could say without jeopardizing my situation, whatever that might be. He knew me well enough to realize I wouldn't make such a call without a good reason. ’’Is this regarding an automobile accident?’’ he asked cautiously.

’’Well, no. I, uhm, might be driving a friend's car and he doesn't like the idea unless he knows I'm covered.’’ Raymond's face was six inches away from mine. I could smell his after-shave and feel the warm, slightly adenoidal character of his breath.

’’I can understand that. Is your friend there now?’’ Mac asked.

’’That's right.’’

’’Do you have the policy number handy?’’

’’Uh, no. But the agent is Con Dolan.’’

Raymond drew back and reached for a piece of paper, scratching out a note. ’’Ask about collision.’’ I hate it when people coach me when I'm on the phone. He pointed significantly. I waved at him with irritation.

’’Uh, it's really the collision I need to know about,’’ I amended.

Another awkward pause. I smiled at Raymond wanly while Mac cleared his throat. ’’I tell you what I'll do, Miss...’’

’’Moore.’’

’’Yes, all right. Why don't I see if I can get in touch with Mr. Dolan. He's no longer with the company, but I'm sure he's still in town. I can check our files for the coverage and get back to you. Is there a number where you can be reached this afternoon?’’

Raymond pulled his head back and put a finger to his lips.

I said, ’’Not really. I'm staying with this guy in Los Angeles, but I'm not sure how long I'll be here. I could call again later if you'll tell me what time.’’

’’Try five this afternoon. I should have the information by then.’’

’’Thanks. I'd appreciate it.’’ I handed Raymond the receiver and he hung it up.

’’What'd he say?’’

’’He's going to check. I'm supposed to call him back this afternoon at five.’’

’’But as far as you know the insurance is in effect.’’

’’I told you it was.’’

Raymond and Luis exchanged a look. Raymond looked over his shoulder at Bibianna, still intent on her game of solitaire. ’’Get your jacket. We're going out.’’ And then to me. ’’You need a jacket? She'll give you one.’’

’’What's happening?’’

’’We're going on a drive-down.’’

’’Whatever that is,’’ I said.

We took Sepulveda Boulevard up to Culver City, with Luis at the wheel. Bibianna was being sullen, sitting silently in the backseat with her arms crossed while Raymond either made calls on the car phone or rubbed, petted, and generally annoyed her, rambling on about all the money he meant to make, all the things he'd done, and all the big plans he had for the two of them. I had to give that guy some lessons. He was going about this all wrong. Aside from the fact that (unknown to him) she was already Mrs. Jimmy Tate, she was never going to tumble to all the smoke he was blowing. Women don't want to sit around listening to guys talk about themselves. Women like to have conversations about real things, like feelings - namely, theirs. Raymond seemed to think he just hadn't persuaded her yet of the depth of his affection. I wanted to scream, ’’She knows that, you dummy! She just doesn't give a shit.’’ We pulled up at the first address. The '79 Caddy was parked at the curb, a black Seville, being offered by a muscular black guy with a pink shower cap, a tattooed teardrop on his cheek, and a gold hoop through his left ear. Honestly, I'm not making this stuff up. He wore a T-shirt and low-slung jeans, with his Calvin Kleins sticking out above his belt. He was actually very cute with a mustache and goatee, a mischievous smile, and a little space between his teeth. Bibianna stayed in the car, but I got out and stood around with the guys, shifting from foot to foot while the three of them entered into a long and tedious negotiation. Raymond went through several sequences of ticcing, but the black guy didn't react except to stop making eye contact. I could see that in some circles, Raymond would be treated like a walking basket case. I wanted to speak up protectively and say, ’’Hey, the guy can't help it, okay?’’


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