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Книга EchoPark. Страница 80

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Bosch knew from the record searches earlier in the week that there was no birth record of Raynard Waits or Robert Saxon with the corresponding 11/03 birth date in Los Angeles County. The conclusion he and Kiz Rider had reached from this was that both names were false. But now Bosch considered that maybe the birth date of 11/03/71 was not false. Maybe Waits, or whoever he was, kept his real date of birth as he changed his name.

Bosch now looked at the close proximity between the date of the Fitzpatrick murder and the date of issue of Waits’s driver’s license. It was less than a month. He added to this the fact that according to the records Waits did not apply for a driver’s license until he was twenty. He thought it was unlikely that a boy growing up in the autotopia of L.A. would wait until he was twenty to get his driver’s license. It was yet one more indication that Raynard Waits was not his name.

Bosch started to feel it. Like a surfer waiting for the right swell before starting to paddle, he felt his wave coming in. He thought that what he was looking at was the birth of a new identity. Eighteen days after he murdered Daniel Fitzpatrick under cover of the riots, the man who killed him walked into a DMV office in Hollywood and applied for a driver’s license. He gave November 3, 1971, as a date of birth and the name Raynard Waits. He would have had to provide a birth certificate, but that would not have been too hard to come up with if he knew the right people. Not in Hollywood. Not in L.A. Getting a phony birth certificate would have been an easy, almost risk-free task.

Bosch believed that the Fitzpatrick murder and the change of ID were connected. It was a cause-and-effect. Something about the murder caused the killer to change his identity. This belied the confession given two days earlier by Raynard Waits. He had characterized the murder of Daniel Fitzpatrick as a thrill kill, an opportunity to indulge a long-held fantasy. He went out of his way to depict Fitzpatrick as a victim chosen at random, chosen simply because he was there.

But if that was truly the case and if the killer had no previous connection to the victim, then why did the killer act almost immediately to reinvent himself with a new identity? Within eighteen days the killer procured a false birth certificate and got a new driver’s license. Raynard Waits was born.

Bosch knew there was a contradiction in what he was considering. If the killing of Fitzpatrick had taken place as Waits had confessed, then there would have been no reason for him to quickly create a new identity. But the facts-the timeline of the murder and the issuance of the driver’s license-contradicted this. The conclusion to Bosch was obvious. There was a connection. Fitzpatrick was not a random victim. He could, in fact, be linked in some way to his killer. And that was why his killer changed his name.

Bosch got up and took his empty bottle to the kitchen. He decided that two beers was enough. He needed to stay sharp and up on the wave. He went back out to the stereo and put in the masterpiece. Kind of Blue. It never failed to give him the charge. “All Blues” was the first song out of the shuffle, and it was like being dealt blackjack at a twenty-five-dollar table. It was his favorite and he let it ride.

Back at the table he opened the Fitzpatrick murder book and started to read. Kiz Rider had handled it earlier but she had simply been engaged in a review to prepare for taking Waits’s confession. She wasn’t looking for the hidden connection Bosch was now seeking.

The investigation of Fitzpatrick’s death had been carried out by two detectives temporarily assigned to the Riot Crimes Task Force. Their work was cursory at best. Few leads were followed, because there weren’t many to follow in the first place and because of the overriding pall of futility that fell over all the cases associated with the riots. Almost all acts of violence associated with the three days of widespread unrest were random. People robbed, raped and murdered indiscriminately and at will-simply because they could.

No witnesses to the attack on Fitzpatrick were located. No forensic evidence was found other than the can of lighter fluid-and it had been wiped clean. Most of the shop’s records had been destroyed by fire or water. What was left was put in two cartons and ignored. The case was treated as a dead end from the moment it was born. It was orphaned and archived.

The murder book was so thin that Bosch finished his front-to-back read-through in less than twenty minutes. He had taken no notes, gotten no ideas, seen no connections. He felt the tide ebbing. His ride on the wave was coming to an end.

He thought about getting another beer out of the box and attacking the case all over again the next day. Then the front door opened and Rachel Walling walked in, carrying takeout cartons from Chinese Friends. Bosch stacked the reports on the dining room table so there would be room to eat. Rachel brought plates from the kitchen and opened the cartons. Bosch got the last two Anchors out of the refrigerator.

They small-talked for a while and then he told her what he had been doing since lunch and what he had learned. He could tell by her reserved comments that she was not convinced by his description of the trail he had found in Beachwood Canyon. But when he showed her the timeline he had worked up, she readily agreed with his conclusions about the killer’s changing of ID after the Fitzpatrick murder. She also agreed that, while they didn’t have the killer’s real name, they might have his real birth date.

Bosch looked down at the two plastic cartons on the floor.

“Then I guess it’s worth the shot,” he said.

She leaned to the side so she could see what he was looking at.

“What are those?”

“Pawn slips mostly. All the records salvaged after the fire. Back in ’ninety-two they were all wet. They dropped them in these boxes and forgot about them. Nobody’s ever looked through them all.”

“Is that what we’re doing tonight, Harry?”

He looked up at her and smiled. He nodded.

After they were finished eating they decided that they would take a carton each. Bosch suggested that they take them out onto the back deck because of the musty smell that would come from the cartons once they were opened. Rachel readily agreed. Bosch lugged the cartons out and then got two empty cardboard boxes from the carport. They sat down in deck chairs and began the work.

Taped to the top of the carton Bosch chose was a 3 x 5 card that said MAIN FILE CABINET. Bosch took the top off and used it to try to wave away the fumes that came out. The carton contained mostly pink pawn slips and 3 x 5 cards that had been haphazardly put in the container as if with a shovel. There was nothing ordered or neat about the records.

Water damage was high. Many of the slips had stuck together while wet, and the ink on others was smeared and unreadable. Bosch looked over at Rachel and saw her dealing with the same issues.

“This is bad, Harry,” she said.

“I know. Just do the best you can. It might be our last hope.”

There was no way to begin but simply to dig in. Bosch pulled out a wad of slips, brought them up to his lap and started going through them, attempting to make out the name, address and birth date of each customer who had pawned something through Fitzpatrick. Each time he looked at a slip, he checked the top corner with a red pencil from the dining room table drawer and dropped it into the cardboard box on the other side of his chair.

They were at it a solid half hour, working without conversation, when Bosch heard the phone in the kitchen ring. He thought about letting it go but knew it might be a call from Hong Kong. He got up.

“I didn’t even know you had a landline,” Walling said.

“Not many people do.”

He grabbed the phone on the eighth ring. It wasn’t his daughter. It was Abel Pratt.

“Just checking on you,” he said. “I figure if I get you on the house line and you say you are home, then you’re really home.”

“What, am I under house arrest now?”

“No, Harry, I’m just worried about you, that’s all.”

“Look, there will be no blowback from me, okay? But home duty does not mean I have to be at home twenty-four-seven. I checked with the union.”

“I know, I know. But it does mean you do not take part in any job-related investigation.”

“Fine.”

“What are you doing, then?”

“I’m sitting on the back deck with a friend. We’re having a beer and enjoying the night air. Is that okay with you, Top?”

“Anybody I know?”

“I doubt it. She doesn’t like cops.”

Pratt laughed and it seemed that Bosch had finally put him at ease about what he was doing.

“Then, I’ll let you get back to it. Have a good one, Harry.”

“I will if I can stay off the phone. I’ll call in tomorrow.”

“I’ll be there.”

“And I’ll be here. Good night.”

He hung up, checked the refrigerator for hidden or lost beers and returned to the deck empty-handed. Rachel was waiting for him with a smile on her face and a water-stained 3 x 5 card in her hand. Attached to it with a paper clip was a pink pawn slip.

“Got it,” she said.

She handed it to him and Bosch stepped back inside the house, where the lighting was better. He read the card first. It was written on with blue ink that was partially smeared by water but still legible.

Unsatisfied Customer-02/12/92

Customer complained that property was sold before 90-day pawn period expired. Shown pawn slip and corrected. Customer complained that 90 days should not have included weekends and holidays. Cursed/slammed door.

DGF

The pink pawn slip attached to the complaint card carried the name Robert Foxworth, the DOB 11/03/71 and an address on Fountain in Hollywood. The item pawned on October 8, 1991, was listed as an “heirloom medallion.” Foxworth had been given eighty dollars for it. There was a fingerprint square at the bottom right corner of the slip. Bosch could see the ridges of a fingerprint but the ink had either worn away or leached out of the paper because of the moisture contained in the storage carton.

“The DOB is a match,” Rachel said. “Plus the name connects on two levels.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, he took Robert forward when he used the name Robert Saxon and he took the Fox in Foxworth forward when he used Raynard. Maybe that’s where this whole Raynard thing came from. If his real name is Foxworth, maybe when he was a kid, his parents told him stories about a fox named Reynard.”

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