Whenever Raylan thought of Reverend Dawn he’d see her facing him from across the table with her eyes closed, her long hair parted in the middle. He’d see her eyes open then to look at him with her calm expression. He’d see her hand come up to move her hair away from her face, using the tips of her fingers in a delicate kind of gesture, and he’d notice the way she bit her nails down.
Raylan was anxious to have his fortune told again, see how he was doing, and was on his way from Warren Ganz’s home to Reverend Dawn’s when the beeper message stopped him. He followed up to hear a female voice in the Sheriffs Office detective bureau asking if he’d meet Sergeant Lou Falco in the parking lot of a funeral home on Federal Highway in West Palm. As soon as possible.
Shit. He knew Falco, Falco was okay, but how long would this take? It sounded like a stakeout.
Raylan found the funeral home, 1940s moderne painted white with round corners and glass-brick inserts. He got out of the Jaguar and into an unmarked Crown Vic, a gray one, saying, “How do you work surveillance when everybody knows this’s a police car?”
“I’m waiting for a guy,” Falco said, “who’s coming to see what his brother looks like with embalming fluid in him. The brother is sitting on his front steps, a guy gets out of a car, pops him three times, gets back in the car and drives off. Maurice has to know who did it, but won’t talk to us. So maybe, you know, when he sees his brother laid out…”
“Maurice,” Raylan said. “That’s the name of one of the guys tried to jack my car that time.” He saw Falco nodding.
“Maurice Woody. You see them once you know you’ll see them again. Maurice is why I asked you to come. The other one’s Faron, the dead one.”
“Wears his hair in cornrows?”
“Yeah, that’s Faron.”
“They must’ve made bond.”
“Ten thousand each. They promised their grandma they’d never get in trouble again and she put her house up as collateral. The brothers were out five days when Faron got popped.”
“Maurice was there?”
“In the house.”
Through the tinted windshield they watched a car coming along Federal toward the funeral home. As it passed Falco said, “You know Maurice. I was thinking when he gets here if you went in with me… You heard about Faron so you stopped by…”
“Offer Maurice my sympathy?”
“Talk to him in his bereavement, shoot the shit.”
“Offer a plea deal on the car-jacking?”
“You could mention it. See if he’d like to trade, give us who did his brother.”
“There isn’t a state attorney in Florida,” Raylan said, “would go for a deal on car-jacking. You know that.”
“Yeah, but Maurice doesn’t.”
“He’d have to be awful dumb. The guy’s in and out of the system.”
“So? We don’t know his I.Q. He might go for it. We were hoping,” Falco said, “to put them at a robbery in Delray, a mom-and-pop grocery store, right after they got out. Use it to leverage Maurice into cooperating. We showed their pictures, the woman said no, it wasn’t them, so…” Falco was silent, watching the street, before saying, “It was like these two guys spur of the moment decide to rob the place. They go through the store picking out what they want and put it on the checkout counter-snacks like pretzels, potato chips, a couple of six-packs, and Jell-O.”
Raylan said, “Jell-O?”
“Yeah, all the party stuff and a half-dozen boxes of Jell-O. The store owner pulls a gun and gets creamed with it, thirty stitches in his head. The one guy wants a ring the woman’s wearing but can’t get it off her finger. So-listen to this-the guy takes out a pair of snippers and is gonna cut her finger off. The woman begs him, please let her try, and luckily she gets it off. The guy looks at the ring up close like he’s appraising it and gives it back to her, doesn’t want it. But if she hadn’t gotten it off… They left with their groceries and about eighty bucks. Early Saturday, before noon.”
“The guy had snippers on him? Like tin snips?”
“I think more like the ones you use for gardening.”
“Yeah, for trimming bushes.”
“Both guys were black?”
“The woman thought so but wasn’t sure. They’re Lebanese, the couple, only been here three years.”
They sat there not saying anything for a while, watching cars go by on Federal, Raylan seeing Bobby Deo with the pruners on his belt that first time, in the front yard with the machete, Bobby the gardener. You wouldn’t call him black, though he could be and the woman wasn’t sure. But if it was Bobby and the other guy, Louis, what would they be doing holding up a grocery store for snacks and six boxes of Jell-O? Raylan tried to remember the last time he’d had Jell-O. At lunch in Miami Beach. With Harry?… He thought of Harry and right away began thinking of Dawn again, Dawn with her eyes closed, her eyes opening, looking at him, and he said, “I’ve been meaning to ask around, I wondered if anybody in Crimes Persons knows a Dawn Navarro. She’s a medium, like a fortune-teller.”
“Reverend Dawn the psychic,” Falco said. “Sure. What’s she doing now?”
“I’m trying to find out what she knows about a missing person.”
“Ask her. That’s right up her alley.”
“How do you know her?”
“From a homicide investigation, couple years ago. I was with Tactical then and there was a question she might need protection.”
“If she testified in the case?”
“Even before, if she got too close to our suspect, a guy we believed had killed a woman in Boca. Beat her to death and then dropped her off a balcony ten stories up. We find out the woman was one of Dawn’s regulars, Mary Ann Demery, a widow, fairly well off, saw Dawn at least once every week for a reading. So we talked to Dawn about different guys Mary Ann knew, who she was seeing… There was one guy in particular we had high on our list.” Falco stopped. “Oh, you have to understand it looked like a suicide. Only we knew it wasn’t, and without telling Dawn anything, not a hint, she knew it, too. On her own, no help from us. We took her up to Mary Ann’s apartment and she reenacted the scene, how the guy hit Mary Ann with a brass bookend-it was like a modernistic bull, a bright gold color. Dawn looked around the living room and couldn’t believe it wasn’t there. See, we’d already established the bookend as the murder weapon and were holding it as evidence, traces of Mary Ann’s blood on it. Dawn tells us the guy hit Mary Ann with the bookend before dropping her from the balcony, and that was exactly the way we saw it.”
Raylan watched a car coming. “How’d she know?”
“What do you mean how? She’s psychic. She sees things without actually seeing anything.”
“She identify your suspect?”
“She was tuned in to the woman, the way Dawn explained it, and saw what happened to her but not the guy doing it. She felt his presence, said he smoked pot.”
“Maybe she picked up on something you said.”
“Listen, she told us things there was no way she could’ve known about.”
“Why does she call herself Reverend?”
“From some kind of spiritualist group she used to belong to. We checked her out, she’s okay.”
“She ever give you a reading?”
Falco didn’t answer, watching the car now, a white T-bird making a U-turn to pull up in front of the funeral home, Falco saying, “There he is. Bet you anything it’s Maurice. No parking, so that’s where he parks. Probably stole the fucking car.” They watched Maurice get out-wearing the crocheted cap Raylan recognized-and Falco said, “We’ll give him a few minutes with the family, his mother, his grandma and some aunts.”
They came up on either side of Maurice standing at the blond-wood casket, the women in dark dresses and hats watching from rows of empty chairs, silent. Raylan looked down at Faron’s closed eyes, his cornrows, his folded hands resting on a floral necktie and white shirt. He remembered telling him that being dumb didn’t mean you had to get shot.
“I understand,” Falco said, in a hushed voice, “he got hit with hollow-point three-eighties. You were lucky, Maurice, you know it? That could be you laying there.” Falco paused. “Didn’t your dad go the same way? Died of gunshot when you were a little kid?” Falco paused again. “Is this like a family tradition, Maurice? If it is, I think you should end it.”
There was a silence.
Maurice didn’t move, standing with his head bowed, holding his skullcap in both hands at his crotch.
“The man next to you,” Falco said, “you remember him?”
Maurice didn’t answer or look up.
“You tried to jack his car and found out too late you picked the wrong guy.” Falco leaned in to look past Maurice at Raylan.
So Raylan said, “How you doing, Maurice?” with the feeling that was it, all he had to offer. He waited, not expecting an answer and didn’t get one.
“This man’s in a position to maybe help you out,” Falco said. “Put in a good word when you come up for sentencing. You know what I’m saying, Maurice? If you can see your way to cooperate, tell us who did Faron.” Falco paused. “I’ve got an eyeball witness who puts you at the scene. Saw you come out of the house… Just give me a name.” Falco paused again. “What do you say?”
What Maurice said, head still lowered, not looking at either of them, was, “Why don’t you cut the bull shit and lemme pray over my brother?”
Coming out of the funeral home Falco said, “Asshole. Try to help, that’s the kind of cooperation you get.”
“He wants to do it himself,” Raylan said.
“That’s right, and the next time we come here Maurice is in the box.”
They crossed the lot toward their cars, Raylan thinking, hesitant about a question he had for Falco and then asked it.
“Lou, have you ever had to kill anybody?”
“Once. Well, two guys, actually. The end of a chase we got them coming out of their car.”
“How’d you feel about it?”
“You sound like the psychologist I had to see. I told her what I felt was a tremendous relief.”
“You get sick?”
“Nauseated, yeah. Every cop I know who had to shoot… it happens, you don’t feel good.”
“You didn’t have a choice.”
“None,” Falco said. “You carry a gun you have to be willing to use it. And I’ll tell you something: it’s a lot to fucking ask of anybody.” They reached their cars, parked next to one another, before Falco said, “You ever use your gun?”
Raylan, now, was looking at Falco over the top of his car. “Twice, two different times.”
“You put them down?”
“Then what’re we talking about? You know when you have to shoot and you’re the only one who does. Don’t let anybody give you any shit about it, either.” Falco turned to open his door. “I’ll see you.”
Raylan unlocked his car and looked up again. “You didn’t tell me, on that homicide, you get a conviction?”
Falco, on the other side of the Jaguar, turned to Raylan. “We never even had enough for an indictment. I still think he did it. Kind of guy acts innocent but you know is dirty? Mixed up in bank fraud, heavy gambling, always in over his head…”
“So Reverend Dawn didn’t help much.”
“She tried. She had an idea if she touched him She goes, ‘Let me touch him and I’ll tell you if he did it.’ We didn’t know what she was talking about. Touch him-where? But she was right about how the woman was killed, so we decided okay and set it up. Put a wire on her and got them to meet at the Sheriff’s Office.”
“Not much. Dawn touched him, held his hand… I guess she didn’t get the right kind of vibrations. She said as far as she could tell, he didn’t do it. Their conversation’s interesting, though, you ever want to hear the tape.”
“You let him go on Dawn’s word?”
“We couldn’t quite put him at the scene and his mother alibied him out. Guy named Warren Ganz.”
Falco started to turn.
“I know his mom.”
All the way down 95 to Delray Beach in midday traffic, Raylan looked at what he knew as fact, hoping something he hadn’t thought of would jump out at him. Okay:
Ganz owes Harry a lot of money. Harry sends Bobby Deo to collect. Bobby tells Harry to meet him, he has the money, but doesn’t show up. Instead, Harry happens to run into Dawn Navarro who, it turns out, happens to know Warren Ganz-from when he was a suspect in a homicide and she touched him. Harry disappears. And now Bobby Deo, ex-con, former bounty hunter, is hanging out at Ganz’s house with a guy named Louis Lewis-however you spell it, check him out-while Ganz happens to be somewhere in the Keys.
What did all this tell him, if anything?
That Harry might be dead.
It jumped out at Raylan and there it was, whether he liked it or not. The idea: Ganz hires Bobby to kill him and takes off so he won’t be around, have to answer questions.
But, if Ganz was so broke he’s selling his furniture, how does he pay Bobby? It would cost him a few thousand at least, hire a guy like Bobby. How does he afford a trip to the Keys?
Say he doesn’t. He hides out at home. And that’s why Bobby and Louis are hanging around, to answer the door, pick up the phone…
It seemed to make sense.
But now Raylan took it another step, to look at an idea that didn’t make sense but jumped out at him anyway. The idea that if Harry wasn’t dead, hadn’t taken off but wasn’t around anywhere, Harry could be in that house. And if he was, Bobby and Louis were there to watch him.
It was a feeling Raylan had, so it didn’t have to make sense. At least not right away. The thing to do was let his mind work on it while he wasn’t looking.
But when the feeling kept growing on him he had to look at it again-sailing down 95 among semitrailers, tourists in rentals, retirees in white cars that all looked alike. What made him keep thinking Harry might be in that house?
A feeling. Yeah, but more than that. Something Falco had said that made him think of Bobby Deo.
A guy staying at the house who carried pruners, wore them with his good clothes and could’ve had his pruners with him when he robbed a grocery store. Bobby and Louis. In the store to get snacks and Jell-O. And the last time Raylan had Jell-O… It was at Wolfie’s having lunch with Harry and Joyce and Harry said he always had Jell-O for dessert, strawberry with fruit in it. Harry said try it and Raylan did-and it was Jell-O all right, no better or worse than it ever was.
If Harry was being held, they’d have to feed him. But would they ask him what he wanted? Why not? Keep him happy. But what reason would they have to hold him?
Outside of money.
Harry had it and Ganz didn’t and Falco said Ganz was dirty-into illegal deals, big-time gambling, bank fraud…
If Harry was in there against his will, that’s what it was, a federal offense; you could get life. Ganz had the right guy for it, Bobby Deo, who used to go out and snatch fugitives. Bobby picks the place to meet, the restaurant, because Dawn’s there. Harry arrives and Dawn sets him up. For her old friend Warren Ganz.
But if it’s a kidnapping, how do they score? Who pays? Harry doesn’t have a wife. All he has is money.
Raylan looked at it for a minute or so; it didn’t tell him anything.
The only thing he saw to do was go in the house and look around. Not with a consent to search, they’d never let him in. You could do it with Colombians because back home they couldn’t refuse a search and thought it worked the same way here.
He could call it exigent circumstances, the imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm and break the door down. And if Harry wasn’t there get sent to a new assignment like Minot, North Dakota.
The only other way, get a search warrant. Describe the premises in detail, what the house looked like, not just the address. Give the reason for requesting the warrant, also in detail, the probable cause why he wanted to gain entry, what he expected to find and why and show it to a U.S. attorney. Leave out the pruners and the Jell-O; no one would follow that kind of thinking, even though it was something he knew and could feel. If he was lucky and all the U.S. attorney did was put in a bunch of commas, he’d then take it to the U.S. magistrate and stand there while Her Honor read it, while she frowned and gave him a look, said something like, “Mr. Ganz owes Mr. Arno a sum of money, so you believe Mr. Arno is being held against his will in Mr. Ganz’s home?” Her Honor would tell him his probable cause sounded like wishful thinking. He wouldn’t in a million years get the magistrate’s signature.
In the funeral home parking lot he’d told Falco about Harry being missing, the reason he’d met Warren Ganz’s mother. Falco agreed with Torres: wait a few days and get Missing Persons on it.
“But what about Dawn?” Raylan said. “You think she really is psychic?”
“I think sometimes, anyway.”
“What if she can tell me where Harry is?”
“You mean using her clairvoyance?”
“It wouldn’t be enough to get a warrant and take a look, would it? The word of a psychic?”
“You’d still have to show probable cause, get into all that. I’d talk to her though, why not.”
“You think, if Harry was kidnapped, Dawn could be involved in some way?”
Falco had stared at him over the roof of the car before saying, “You think she’s stupid?”
Raylan wasn’t sure that was an answer but let it go. He said, “You mentioned you put a wire on her, for the meeting with Ganz? I’d like to hear it.”
“Anytime you want.”
Dawn wasn’t at the restaurant and the hostess hadn’t seen her all day. She was there yesterday, and the day before; Dawn hadn’t said anything about taking time off. Raylan picked up one of her Certified Medium & Spiritualist cards and rubbed it between his fingers walking back to his car. It didn’t tell him anything.
He did have a feeling she wasn’t going to be home, and when he reached the house on Ramona saw he was right. No red car in the drive. He went up to knock on the door and looked at the sign as he waited, at DREAM INTERPRETATIONS, PAST-LIFE REGRESSIONS. Pay to get regressed back to a coal mine and breathe that dust again. Raylan walked around the house looking in windows cloudy with salt mist, careful not to get stuck by palmettos. He looked into dim, dismal rooms, at the old worn-out furniture, the sofa he’d sat in and felt the springs, at watermarks staining the wall where the picture of Jesus and the children hung, and wondered if it depressed her to walk in the house. She could be helping Ganz as a way to get out of there.
Raylan didn’t feel like hanging around. He got in the Jaguar and drove up to Manalapan with the idea of staking out Ganz’s house for a while, see if anyone came or left…
And saw it happening before he even got there, as he came past groomed oleander toward the wall of trash vegetation marking Ganz’s property, saw Bobby Deo’s Cadillac pop out of the drive and turn north. Two guys in the car.
Now Raylan had to make a decision quick: follow or, with them gone, see about getting in the house.