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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Pelecanos George
 

«The Cut», George Pelecanos

ONE

They were in a second-story office with a bank of windows overlooking D Street at 5th, in a corner row house close to the federal courts. Tom Petersen, big and blond, sat behind his desk, wearing an untucked paisley shirt, jeans, and boots. Spero Lucas, in Carhartt, was in a hard chair set before the desk. Petersen was a criminal defense attorney, private practice. Lucas, one of his investigators.

A black Moleskine notebook the size of a pocket Bible was open in Lucas’s hand. He was scribbling something in the book.

“It’s all in the documents I’m going to give you,” said Petersen with growing impatience. “You don’t need to take notes.”

“I’d rather,” said Lucas.

“I can’t tell if you’re listening.”

“I’m listening. Where’d they boost the Denali?”

“They took it up in Manor Park, on Peabody Street. Near the community garden, across from the radio towers.”

“Behind the police station?”

“Right in back of Four-D.”

“Pretty bold,” said Lucas. “How many boys?”

“Two. Unfortunately, my client, David Hawkins, was the one behind the wheel.”

“You just have him?”

“The other one, Duron Gaskins, he’s been assigned a PD.”

“Duron,” said Lucas.

Petersen shrugged. “Like the paint.”

“How’d David get so lucky to score a stud like you?”

“I’m representing his father on another matter,” said Petersen.

“So this is like a favor.”

“A four-hundred-dollar-an-hour favor.”

Lucas’s back had begun to stiffen. He shifted his weight in his chair. “Give me some details.”

Petersen pushed a manila file across the desk. “Here.”

“ Talk to me.”

“What do you want to know?”

“How’d they do it, for starters?”

“Steal the vehicle? That was easy. The boys were walking down the street, supposed to be in school, but hey. It’s early in the morning, cold as hell. You remember that snap we had back in February? This woman comes out of her apartment, starts her SUV up, and then leaves it running and goes back into the apartment.”

“She forget somethin?”

“She was heating up the Denali before she went to work.”

“Insurance companies don’t like that.”

“She left the driver’s door unlocked, too. So naturally, being teenage boys, they got in and took the SUV for a spin.”

“ I would have,” said Lucas.

“You did, I recall.”

“What happened next?”

“From Peabody, David went south on Ninth to Missouri, then drove east. He caught North Capitol along Rock Creek Cemetery and took that cutoff street west, the stretch that goes by the Soldiers’ Home.”

“That would be Allison,” said Lucas, starting to see it, like he was looking down at a detail map. He had a cop’s knowledge of D.C. because he was out in it, street level, most of his waking hours. When he didn’t have to drive his Cherokee, Lucas rode his bicycle around town. At night he often walked.

“Here’s where they got in trouble. David, keep in mind he’s fifteen, no significant driving experience far as I know, he loses control of the SUV. Sideswipes a lady in a Buick, which knocks her out of her lane and into a couple of parked cars.”

“By now they’d be on Rock Creek Church Road.”

“Yeah, there,” said Petersen. “The woman in the Buick? Claims she’s got neck injuries.”

“That’s not good.”

“I’m gonna work something out with her attorney.”

“This kid’s father must be flush.”

“He is.”

“This where the police come in?”

“Happens to be a patrol car, coupla uniforms idling nose out at Second and Varnum see this collision.”

“And the chase is on.”

“Took the police officer a half minute to put his coffee down and flip on the siren and light bar. By that time, David knew he’d been burned, and he jumps the sidewalk and cuts right onto Upshur Street.”

“Driving on the Sidewalk, that’s a good one.”

“Fleeing and Eluding, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Auto Theft…”

“Kid’s got a rack of problems.”

“He fishtails when he hits Upshur. Comes out of that and pins it. You know Upshur going west there-”

“It’s long and straight. Downhill.”

Petersen leaned forward, getting into it. “This boy is screaming down Upshur, Spero. Blowing four-ways, Wale or whatever coming loud out the windows.”

“Nah,” said Lucas, chuckling.

“What?”

“Now you’re making shit up. You don’t know what they were listening to.”

“True. They’re coming down Upshur, the patrol car, pretty far back but gaining ground, in pursuit. Eventually our boys hit that commercial strip getting down toward Georgia Avenue, at Ninth.”

“I know the spot,” said Lucas. He was drawing a rough map, very quickly, in his notebook.


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