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Книга EchoPark. Страница 40

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“Maybe that’s the lie,” Olivas said. “Maybe he is Waits and he lied about being born here. It’s like when you’re born out in Riverside, you tell everybody you’re from L.A.”

Bosch shook his head. He didn’t accept the logic Olivas was slinging.

“The name is false,” Bosch insisted. “Raynard is a take on a character from medieval folklore known as Reynard the Fox. It’s spelled with an e but it’s pronounced the same. Put that with the last name and you have ‘the little fox waits.’ Get it? You can’t convince me somebody gave him that name at birth.”

That brought a momentary silence to the room.

“I don’t know,” O’Shea said, thinking out loud. “Seems a little far-fetched, this medieval connection.”

“It’s only far-fetched because we can’t nail it down,” Bosch countered. “You ask me, it’s more far-fetched that this would be his given name.”

“So what are you saying?” Olivas asked. “That he changed his name and continued to use it, even after he had an arrest tail on it? That doesn’t make sense to me.”

“Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, either. But we don’t know the story behind it yet.”

“Okay, so what are you suggesting we do?” O’Shea asked.

“Not much,” Bosch said. “I’m just bringing it up. But I do think we ought to go on the record with it up there. You know, ask him to state his name, DOB, and place of birth. As if it is the routine way to start one of these interviews. If he gives us Waits, then we might be able to catch him in the lie down the road and prosecute him for everything. You said that was the deal; if he lies, he fries. We can turn it all against him.”

O’Shea was standing by the coffee table behind where Bosch and Rider sat. Bosch turned again, to watch him take in the suggestion. The prosecutor was grinding it over and nodding.

“I don’t see where it could hurt,” he finally said. “Just get it on the record but let it go at that. Real subtle and routine. We can come back to him on it later-if we find out more about this.”

Bosch looked at Rider.

“You’ll be the one starting out with him, asking about the first case. Your first question can be about his name.”

“Fine,” she said.

O’Shea came back around the desk.

“Okay, then,” he said. “Are we ready? It’s time to go. I will try to stay with it as long as my schedule allows. Don’t be offended if I jump in from time to time with a question.”

Bosch answered by standing up. Rider followed suit and then Olivas.

“One last thing,” Bosch said. “We picked up a Maury Swann story yesterday that maybe you guys ought to know.”

Both Bosch and Rider took turns telling the story Abel Pratt had told them. By the end, Olivas was laughing and shaking his head and Bosch could tell by O’Shea’s face that he was trying to count how many times he had shaken Maury Swann’s hand in court. Maybe he was worrying about potential political fallout.

Bosch headed to the door of the office. He felt a mixture of excitement and dread rising. He was excited because he knew he was finally about to find out what had happened to Marie Gesto so long ago. At the same time, he dreaded finding out. And he dreaded the fact that the details he would soon learn would place a heavy burden on him. A burden he would have to transfer to a waiting mother and father up in Bakersfield.

11

TWO UNIFORMED SHERIFF’S DEPUTIES stood at the door to the interview room in which sat the man who called himself Raynard Waits. They stepped aside and allowed the prosecutorial entourage to enter. The room contained one long table. Waits and his defense attorney, Maury Swann, were sitting on one side of it. Waits was directly in the middle and Swann was to his left. When the investigators and the prosecutor entered, only Maury Swann stood. Waits was held to the arms of his chair with plastic snap cuffs. Swann, a thin man with black-framed glasses and a luxurious mane of silver hair, offered his hand but no one shook it.

Rider took the chair directly across the table from Waits, and Bosch and O’Shea sat on either side of her. Since Olivas would not be up in the interview rotation for some time, he took the last remaining chair, which was next to the door.

O’Shea handled the introductions but again nobody bothered shaking anybody else’s hand. Waits was in an orange jumpsuit that had black letters stenciled across the chest.

L.A. COUNTY JAIL

KEEP AWAY

The second line was not intended as a warning but it was just as good as one. It meant that Waits was on keep-away status within the jail, indicating he was housed by himself and not allowed into the general inmate population. This status was taken as a protective measure for both Waits and the other inmates.

As Bosch studied the man he had been hunting for thirteen years he realized that the most frightening thing about Waits was how ordinary he looked. Slightly built, he had an everyman’s face. Pleasant, with soft features and short dark hair, he was the epitome of normality. The only hint of the evil that lay within was found in the eyes. Dark brown and deeply set, they carried an emptiness that Bosch recognized from other killers he had sat face-to-face with over the years. Nothing there. Just a hollowness that could never be filled, no matter how many other lives he stole.

Rider turned on the tape recorder that was on the table and started the interview perfectly, giving Waits no reason to suspect he was stepping into a trap with the very first question of the session.

“As was probably explained to you already by Mr. Swann, we are going to record each session with you and then turn the tapes over to your attorney, who will hold them until we have a completed agreement. Is that understood and approved by you?”

“Yes, it is,” Waits said.

“Good,” Rider said. “Then let’s begin with an easy one. Can you state your name, birth date and place of birth for the record?”

Waits leaned forward and made a face like he was stating the obvious to schoolchildren.

“Raynard Waits,” he said impatiently. “Born November third, nineteen seventy-one, in the city of angles-oh, I mean angels. The city of angels.”

“If you mean Los Angeles, could you please say it?”

“Yes, Los Angeles.”

“Thank you. Your first name is unusual. Could you spell it for the tape?”

Waits complied. Again, it was a good move by Rider. It would make it even more difficult for the man in front of them to argue later that he had not knowingly lied during the interview.

“Do you know where the name came from?”

“My father pulled it out of his ass, I guess. I don’t know. I thought we were here to talk about dead people, not the piddly basic shit.”

“We are, Mr. Waits. We are.”

Bosch felt an enormous sense of relief inside. He knew that they were about to sit through a retelling of horrors but he felt they already had Waits caught in a lie that might spring a fatal trap on him. There was now a chance that he was not going to walk away from this to a private cell and a life of public maintenance and celebrity.

“We want to take these in order,” Rider said. “Your attorney’s proffer suggests that the first homicide you were ever involved in was the death of Daniel Fitzpatrick in Hollywood on April thirtieth, nineteen ninety-two. Is that correct?”

Waits answered with the sort of matter-of-fact demeanor one would expect from someone giving directions to the nearest gas station. His voice was cold and calm.

“Yes, I burned him alive behind his security cage. It turned out that he wasn’t so secure back there. Not even with all of his guns.”

“Why did you do that?”

“Because I wanted to see if I could. I had been thinking about it for a long time and I just wanted to prove myself.”

Bosch thought about what Rachel Walling had said to him the night before. She had called it a “spree killing.” It looked like she had been right.

“What do you mean by ‘prove yourself,’ Mr. Waits?” Rider asked.

“I mean there is a line out there that everybody thinks about but not many have the guts to cross. I wanted to see if I could cross it.”

“When you say you had been thinking about it for a long time, had you been thinking about Mr. Fitzpatrick in particular?”

Annoyance flared in Waits’s eyes. It was as if he were putting up with her.

“No, you stupid cunt,” he replied calmly. “I had been thinking about killing someone. You understand? All my life I had wanted to do it.”

Rider shook off the insult without a flinch and kept moving.

“Why did you choose Daniel Fitzpatrick? Why did you choose that night?”

“Well, because I was watching TV and I saw the whole city coming apart. It was chaos out there and I knew the police couldn’t do anything about it. It was a time when people were doing just what they wanted. I saw a guy on the tube talking about Hollywood Boulevard and how places were burning and I decided to go out to see it. I didn’t want the TV showing it to me. I wanted to see it for myself.”

“Did you drive there?”

“No, I could walk. Back then I lived on Fountain near LaBrea. I just walked up.”

Rider had the Fitzpatrick file open in front of her. She glanced down at it for a moment while collecting her thoughts and formulating the next set of questions. That gave O’Shea the opportunity to jump in.

“Where did the lighter fluid come from?” he asked. “Did you take it with you from your apartment?”

Waits shifted his focus to O’Shea.

“I thought the dyke was asking the questions,” he said.

“We’re all asking the questions,” O’Shea said. “And could you please keep the personal attacks out of your responses?”

“Not you, Mr. District Attorney. I don’t want to talk to you. Only her. And them.”

He pointed to Bosch and Olivas.

“Let me just back up a little bit before we get to the lighter fluid,” Rider said, smoothly pushing O’Shea to the side. “You said you walked up to Hollywood Boulevard from Fountain. Where did you go and what did you see?”

Waits smiled and nodded at Rider.

“I got that right, didn’t I?” he said. “I can always tell. I can always smell it on a woman, when she likes pussy.”

“Mr. Swann,” Rider said, “can you please tell your client that this is about him answering our questions, not the other way around?”

Swann put his hand on Waits’s left forearm, which was bound to the arm of his chair.

20

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