THE SUPER WAS nowhere to be found. The closest occupants to the basement were in a crack house on the second floor, but to no one’s surprise, the strung-out inhabitants hadn’t noticed anything.
I was happy for the cold rain now as I climbed out of that hot pit. I needed something to wash the smell of death from my clothes, off my skin.
Despite our attempts to keep things under wraps, I spotted the police reporter from the Post standing behind the police tape among the half dozen Briggs Avenue drug dealers. Once the word was out, reporters and producers would pounce on Briggs Avenue like sharks on chum. A billionaire’s kid getting kidnapped and ritually murdered wasn’t just news, it was the next news cycle.
I headed for my car when I spotted the first news van. Media storms were like real ones, I’d found. The only way to truly withstand them was to evacuate immediately.
Emily was coming out of the corner bodega as I got to the car. She took the items from the bag as I cranked the heat in the front seat. Paper towels and a couple of cans of Coke.
“They didn’t have any Scotch, but at least it’s full sugar,” she said, handing me one.
I put the cold can to the back of my neck before I crunched it open.
“Full sugar,” I said. “I just might have to tell your supervisor about you, Emily Parker. Not for nothing, but you were great in there. You know your way around a body. I thought you were just a kidnapping expert.”
“I did time in the Behavioral Analysis Unit as a profiler,” she said offhandedly. “Lucky me, huh?”
I watched her rub her hair with a wad of paper towels. It was the color of black cherry soda where it was wet along the nape of her neck, I suddenly noticed.
She paused as the ME’s techs brought out Jacob in a plastic bag. They slid him into the back of the beat-up Bronx County Medical Examiner’s van parked beside our Impala.
“I lost four,” Emily said, staring out the rain-streaked windshield.
“What are you talking about?”
“Dunning was so impressed that I had found three, but nobody told him that I lost four,” she said, looking into my eyes. “Actually, five now,” she added.
I lifted my soda and took a sip. It wasn’t black cherry, which I had a distinct pang for all of a sudden, but the sugar rush would have to do.
“Three for seven,” I said. “That’s great. If this were baseball, you’d be Ted Williams.”
“This isn’t baseball, though, is it?” Emily said after a moment.
I took another sip of my Coke and dropped the transmission into reverse to let the death van out.
“You’re right,” I said as we bumped off the sidewalk onto the wet street. “There’s no crying in baseball.”