Chapter 16

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“MOOCH.” KIRK BARKED INTO his cell phone as he drove toward downtown Manhattan. “I’ve got a name for you. I need to know where to find this chick. Now.”

“Hold on, man. I’m putting you on speaker.”

Kirk could hear Mooch shuffling papers and muttering, “Sometimes I think I would’ve been better off going to jail.”

“What are you doing?”

“Trying to find my chair. Hold on one sec.” Then Mooch yelled, “I heard you the first time, Mom. I’ll take out the garbage when I’m finished with this call.”

Kirk moved the phone away from his ear and pounded the car seat with the side of his fist. Waiting was one thing he did not do well.

Finally, Mooch said, “Okay, I’m back. Give me her name.”

“Isis Kanika. First name spelled I-s-i-s. Last name, K-a-n-i-k-a.She’s the woman in the drop-off picture. I need to know where she went or anything that will give me a last-known address, place of employment, family members, and if she has been or is married. I need everything you can find about her.”

He could hear Mooch typing, so he clenched his fist and tried to be patient. He glanced at Geoff in the passenger seat. The reporter seemed engrossed with something on his laptop. Probably his latest squeeze on Facebook. Kirk shook his head. Nothing made him angrier than all this techno garbage. Internet, cell phones, iPods, or pads, or whatever they were. What would they come up with next? Antennas to screw into the techies’ dimwit brains? He liked it better before the world turned electronic and people actually had to talk to each other rather than constantly check Twitter and Facebook.

He put the phone back to his ear. “Got anything, Mooch?”

“Hold on. I’m tracking her from where she left the warehouse, following her truck. Okay, she turned into a parking garage on Forty-Fourth and Fifth Avenue. It looks like an office building of some kind.”

When he heard that, he almost lost it. “Wait, you could have done that a year ago! Why didn’t you do that a year ago?” he yelled.

There was silence on the other end and for a moment Kirk thought he hung up on him. “Mooch? If you—”

“You owe me some respect,” Mooch said. And for the first time, there was a hard edge to his voice.

“You don’t get respect, you earn respect—”

“Danggit. Just trust me. I couldn’t get it for you a year ago and now I can.” His voice turned flat. “And that’s that.”

Kirk grudgingly accepted his words.

“So. Now you have an address,” Mooch said.

“Great. Does it show her coming out?”

“No. Just going in. That’s all I got. As far as a home address or anything like that, all I could find are files from something called the Black Widow Project.”

“I got that already. Keep looking. And one more thing: try to find out what that project was all about and why she left, if you can. They said she was killed in action, but she looked alive to me.”

“Fine, but I want four large pepperoni pizzas delivered to my house. I don’t work well on an empty stomach.”

“Four pizzas? Ha! Now you’re pushing it. Just get to work, Mooch, or I might forget to be so nice to you.” He hung up the phone and turned to Geoff. “Hey, I need you to send some pizza to Mooch’s house. You think you can take care of that?”

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