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Chapter 31

WE STOOD AROUND as Big Ice made phone calls and left messages.

Dont worry, he said, snapping his phone shut. They know whatll happen to em if they dont call me back in less than ten minutes.

On the wall above a rack of Avirex leather jackets was a flat-screen TV tuned to the BET channel. Big Ice stood up laboriously, found the remote under the cash register, and changed it to CNBC. He stared at the screen intently as a bald white man in suspenders talked about IPOs.

Damn, you think Im bad? Big Ice said. How bout you go after some of those private-equity joints. Those homies buy multinational companies with IOUs an shit. I should try that at Micky Ds. Hey, how much is that Big Mac? Three bucks? Okay, Ill take it, but instead of payin you right now, you can have the five Stacy be owin me whenever. They wouldnt be lovin that shit, would they? But you times that scam by a couple of billion, you get a hospital named after you. Now hows that work?

Emily rolled her eyes at him.

You in the market? she said.

Big turned and stared at her.

I look like someone whos risk-averse to you, shorty? Course, Im in. I be workin my S-an-P portfolio all the time, re-up all those sweet dividends. You think them Knicks floor seats I got come cheap? You want, I could put you together with my broker, he said with a wink.

Would you? Emily said sarcastically as one of Bigs phones rang.

Listen good, Snap, Big Ice said into it. You out on the corner early this morning? Shut up and listen, fool. You didnt see anybody over by the mosque real early, did you?

Big listened, nodding.

Whats up? he said into his cell phone a few moments later. Whats up is some white girl was found dead in the alley, chump, and I dont want to get locked up.

He closed his phone.

Talk to us, I said.

Snap said around five-thirty he saw a white guy get out of a beat-ass yellow van. Reason why he noticed was business is slow that early, and he thought the guy must be a desperate customer. I like to stay out a little earlier and later than everyone else, customers be appreciatin that kind of extra service.

Im sure they do, I said impatiently. Go on.

Well, Snap said this thin, mousy-looking dude with glasses and gray hair, wearing coveralls and wheeling a refrigerator, got out of the van. He figured it was a guy making an early delivery to the construction site or something. White guy came back with just the hand truck, got back in the van, made a U-turn, and took off. I knew not to ask him if Mr. Snap had taken down a plate number.

It wasnt much, but we had something finally.

That help you? Big Ice said, smiling as he rubbed his dinner plate-size palms together.

I dropped the plastic bag of drug money on the counter.

Dont invest it all in one index, Emily called back as we left.

Chapter 30 | Worst Case | Chapter 32