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Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 32

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Sherlock continued, "I'm wondering what their lawyers will be cooking up for Dieffendorf and Gerlach to tell us."

Georgie said, "Lawyers are a pain in the ass."

"What?" Bowie said, his second taco halfway to his mouth.

"I've heard you say that, Daddy, several times. You were pretty pissed off."

" You listen to me, kiddo, you do not say that word either. Nor do you say 'crap.' Okay? It's not polite, particularly for a kid. You've got to be eighteen before you can say those things."

"All the kids at school say them, and lots more stuff. I even heard my teacher tell her ex-husband to piss off just outside the classroom. All of us heard her. And he was really mad. He stomped off down the hall, we heard that too. When Mrs. Reems came back in, her face was red."

Bowie looked ready to laugh and yell at the same time.

Erin took Georgie's face between her hands. "Listen to me, Small Person, your dad's right. Eighteen is the magic number in your future. Until you're eighteen, you have to try to have the cleanest mouth in Stone Bridge, okay?"

"But all the kids talk like that, Erin, it's no big deal."

Bowie said, "Georgie, if you talk like that, everyone will think I'm a lousy parent."

Georgie's lower lip fell.

"All the kids, Georgie?" Sherlock asked. "Surely not. Sean doesn't, nor do his friends." She crossed her fingers. He was two years younger.

Georgie nodded vigorously.

Bowie said quietly, "Georgie Loyola Richards, you will not say bad words," and he looked at her straight on, in silence.

Georgie took a big bite of her taco and chewed hard.

"Her middle name is Loyola?" Sherlock grinned at the little girl. "I like it."

"It's was for her grandfather, Sean O'Grady, and yes, he graduated from Loyola, valedictorian of his class. Story goes he downed six shots of Irish whiskey and passed out in a closet."

Erin said, "I remember when I was Georgie's age, there was a Mr. O'Grady-he lived one street over-but he was a gambler and a bad one. He had what my dad called negative luck. He pawned his wife's wedding ring and the poor woman thought she'd lost it. She hired me to find it and I tracked down the pawn stub in Mr. O'Grady's dresser drawer. Mrs. O'Grady didn't speak to him for months, as I recall."

Everyone laughed, and the tension disappeared.

Sherlock started telling them about the case in Washington, D.C.

Georgie, all ears, ate three tacos.


It was Sherlock who tucked Georgie in that evening and read her the next chapter of her Nancy Drew mystery. Erin and Bowie cleaned up the dishes in Erin's small kitchen.

Erin cupped her hand to her ear.

"What?" Bowie asked.

"I can't seem to hear Sherlock reading to Georgie. And her bedroom is only one crappy-thin poorly constructed wall away."

Bowie vigorously dried a cup. "Sorry about that, but you know it's usually true."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. You're off the hook." She tossed him a dry dish towel.

Bowie stared at a wet glass. "Sherlock was out of line to take you to see Jane Ann Royal."

She grinned at him. "Is that snark I hear? Why would you care if Sherlock took me along?"

"You're not FBI, Erin. You're a civilian. She shouldn't have taken you anywhere related to the investigation, and this interview was official."

Erin threw a handful of soapy water at him.

"Hey!" He wiped off his face and frowned at her.

"Sorry, but you deserved that, Bowie Richards. I'm good, and you're supposed to have the brains to know to use good people whenever you can. You and your precious FBI-like Agent Cliff got all that much information out of Andreas Kesselring?"

How did she know about that? He had no smart reply ready. Because he wasn't stupid, Bowie shut up. He dried another glass. "I was with Agent Kesselring most of the day."

"If I tell you about our meeting with Mrs. Royal, will you tell me about what you and Agent Kesselring did?"

He dried two plates before agreeing.

After Erin told him her impressions of Jane Ann Royal and what the woman had said, with many questions thrown in by Bowie along the way, he nodded. "So both you and Sherlock think she knows quite a bit about what her husband's doing, and she's just playing dumb. Sort of like Madoff's wife did a couple of years back?"

"I don't know how much Jane Ann actually knows, but I'll tell you, she puts on a good act, all straightforward and open, but she knows more than she lets on. And Sherlock, the consummate professional, agrees with me."

"All right, all right, I'll drop that if you will. The tennis pro, did you speak to him?"

"No, he just waved and left. Mrs. Royal said she hadn't decided to sleep with him yet. Evidently he wouldn't be the first tennis instructor she's bedded. She likes them young and hard. She said her husband prefers women nearer to his own age, like Carla Alvarez. An interesting reversal. I wonder if she's right. His name is Mick Haggarty and he really wants to be an actor. If what she says is true, he may not know much."

"Neither you nor Sherlock trust her, either. We'll see. I'll check out the tennis pro."

"Mick Haggarty. He's a tennis pro at the Glenis Springs Country Club right down the road."

Bowie nodded, put another glass in the cupboard. He was building a military-straight line of glasses.

She said, "Georgie was telling me about your long commute, how you get home tired a lot of nights. She said you were thinking about leaving Stone Bridge and moving to New Haven."

"The commute's not all that bad, really, but she's right, I am thinking about putting my house up for sale." He paused, frowned. "I don't know how she knew that."

"The kid's precocious, reads people, particularly you, very well, and she's a great eavesdropper. Actually, now that I remember back, I started early as well. I was a champ by Georgie's age. No one said anything I didn't pay attention to."

"That's what's in my future? Whispering whenever I'm in the house? Maybe it was a mistake to settle here in the first place, but given the current market, I may not have a lot of choice. Thing is, Georgie's school was highly recommended by a friend of mine in L.A., and that's what locked me on target. Georgie really likes her school, likes the kids, sure likes her dance class and teacher."

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