Page 49 of Mystic River


Eve didn't say anything for a bit.

Whitey said, "Why don't you tell us, Diane?"

Diane looked like she needed a drink. "We told Val. That was enough."

"Val?" Whitey said. "Val Savage?"

Diane said, "He was here this afternoon."

"And you told him what Roman said, but you won't tell us."

"He's her family," Diane said, and crossed her arms across her chest, gave them her best "fuck you, cop" face.

"I'll tell you," Eve said. "Jesus. He said he'd heard we were drunk and making asses of ourselves and he didn't like hearing that, and Bobby sure wouldn't like hearing it and maybe we should go home."

"So you left."

"You ever talk to Roman?" she said. "He's got a way of making his questions sound like threats."

"And that was it," Whitey said. "You didn't see him follow you out of the bar or anything?"

She shook her head.

They looked at Diane.

Diane shrugged. "We were pretty drunk."

"You had no more contact with him that night? Either of you?"

"Katie drove us to my house," Eve said. "She dropped us off. That's all we saw of her." She bit down on the last word, clenching her face like a fist as she tilted her head back again and looked up, sucking air.

Sean said, "Who was she planning to go to Vegas with? Bobby?"

Eve stared up at the ceiling for a while, her breath gone liquid. "Not Bobby," she said eventually.

"Who, Eve?" Sean said. "Who was she going to Vegas with?"

"Brendan."

"Brendan Harris?" Whitey said.

"Brendan Harris," she said. "Yeah."

Whitey and Sean looked at each other.

"Just Ray's kid?" Drew Pigeon said. "The one with the mute for a brother?"

Eve nodded and Drew turned to Sean and Whitey.

"Nice kid. Harmless."

Sean nodded. Harmless. Sure.

"You got an address?" Whitey asked.

* * *

NOBODY WAS HOME at Brendan Harris's address, so Sean called in, got two troopers to cover the place and call them when Harris returned.

They went to Mrs. Prior's house next, and sat through tea and stale coffee cakes and Touched by an Angel turned up so loud Sean could hear Della Reese in his head for an hour afterward screaming "Amen" and talking about redemption.

Mrs. Prior said she'd looked out her window around 1:30 A.M. the previous night, seen two kids playing in the street, little kids, out at a time like that, throwing cans at each other, fencing with hockey sticks, using foul language. She thought of saying something to them, but little old ladies had to be careful. Kids were crazy these days, shooting up schools, wearing those baggy clothes, using all that foul language. Besides, the kids eventually chased each other away and down the street and then they were someone else's problem, but the way they behaved today, I mean, is that any way to live?

"Officer Medeiros told us you heard a car around one-forty-five," Whitey said.

Mrs. Prior watched Della explain God's way to Roma Downey, Roma looking all solemn and dewy-eyed and filled to the brim with Jesus. Mrs. Prior nodded several times at the TV, then turned and looked back at Whitey and Sean.

"I heard a car hit something."

"Hit what?"

"The way people drive today, it's a blessing I don't have a license anymore. I'd be afraid to drive these streets. Everyone's just so mad."

"Yes, ma'am," Sean said. "Did it sound like a car hitting another car?"

"Oh, no."

"Hitting a person?" Whitey said.

"Good Lord, what would that sound like? I wouldn't even want to know."

"So it wasn't a really, really loud sound," Whitey said.

"Excuse me, dear?"

Whitey repeated himself, leaning in.

"No," Mrs. Prior said. "It was more like a car hitting a rock or a curb. And then it stalled and then someone said, 'Hi.'"

"Someone said, 'Hi'?"

"Hi." Mrs. Prior looked at Sean and nodded. "And then part of the car cracked."

Sean and Whitey looked at each other.

Whitey said, "Cracked?"

Mrs. Prior nodded her little blue head. "When my Leo was alive, he snapped the axle on our Plymouth? It made such a noise! Crack!" Her eyes grew bright. "Crack!" she said. "Crack!"

"And that's what you heard after someone said, 'Hi.'"

She nodded. "Hi and crack!"

"And then you looked out your window and saw what?"

"Oh, no, no," Mrs. Prior said. "I didn't look out my window. I was in my dressing gown by then. I'd been in bed. I wasn't looking out the window in my dressing gown. People could see."

"But fifteen minutes before, you'd? "

"Young man, I wasn't in my dressing gown fifteen minutes before. I'd just finished watching TV, a wonderful film with Glenn Ford. Oh, I wish I could remember the name."

"So you turned off the TV?"

"And I saw those motherless children in the street, and then I went upstairs and changed into my dressing gown, and then, young sir, I kept my shades drawn."

"The voice that said, 'Hi,'" Whitey said. "Was it male or female?"

"Female, I think," Mrs. Prior said. "It was a high voice. Not like either of yours," she said brightly. "You two have fine masculine voices. Your mothers must be proud."

Whitey said, "Oh, yes, ma'am. Like you wouldn't believe."

As they left the house, Sean said, "Crack!"

Whitey smiled. "She liked saying that, you know? Got some blood pumping in the old girl."

"You thinking snapped axle or gunshot?"

"Gunshot," Whitey said. "It's the 'Hi' that's throwing me."

"Would suggest she knew the shooter, she says hi to him."

"Would suggest. Wouldn't guarantee."

They worked the bars after that, coming away with nothing but boozy recollections of maybe seeing the girls in here, maybe not, and half-assed lists of possible patrons who'd been in at the approximate times.

By the time they got to McGills, Whitey was getting pissed.

"Two young chicks? and they were young, by the way, underage actually? hop up on this bar right here and dance, and you're telling me you don't recall that?"

The bartender was nodding halfway through Whitey's question. "Oh, those girls. Okay, okay. I remember them. Sure. They must have had great IDs, Detective, because we carded 'em."

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