Skip Case (David Dean Mysteries) (Chapter V, page 2 of 19)


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The crosstown trip through deserted streets took less than ten minutes. The entire city was deep in slumber with the exception of a crazy ex-running back and an exhausted cop intent on killing him.

There was nothing at Ninth and Locust but a boarded-up storefront and a stillness like the day after the end of the world. Nothing but a standalone phone booth. Dean closed his eyes and said to himself, "Vinnie, you wouldn't...." Then, as if on cue, the phone began to ring. Dean slowly unwound himself from behind the steering wheel and crossed to answer it.

"Yellow 42!" came the same anxious voice.

"Vinnie..."

"Don't hang up, Davey. I got no more quarters!"

"Vinnie, tell me where you are so I can come and kill you!" yelled Dean.

"I had to make sure you weren't followed! Fourth and Oak! Fourth and Oak! I swear to God I'll be there!" Dial tone again.

Dean sighed and went back to the car. He couldn't believe he was stupid enough to play Vinnie's silly game. It was like a high school scavenger hunt, absent the babes and fun. But back then he hadn't been dragged from a soft bed and the dream-movies of his mind to chase around the slums of his city.

Fourth and Oak were just as desolate as Ninth and Locust, but as soon as Dean stopped the car, a disheveled figure jumped from the darkness and clawed at the passenger door until Dean reached over and opened it. Vinnie Baratto scrambled into the car, locked the door and buried himself on the floor of the vehicle.

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