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Chapter nineteen

When I got to my father’s apartment, Ruiz was parked outside of the building.

“Get in.”

“I want to go over a few guidelines with you.” Before I could even get seated comfortably, he said, “You haven’t taken my advice. I see you still hanging with that faux guitar player who’s camped upstairs from your grandmother’s.”

“What are you talking about - phony? Have you heard him play?”

“No, I don’t do subway concerts on my days off. But when I checked out his apartment and saw that fat ass baby grand in the living room, I wondered how he got the cash for that.”

“Noah got that real cheap from a hotel going out of business.”

“Steinways like that don’t come real cheap. So if he‘s not picking up the check for your fancy lunches in Bryant Park, I wouldn’t be putting out for him.”

“Ruiz,” I shouted, “who are you to be telling me who I should or shouldn’t hook up with?”

Ruiz burst out laughing. “You are pretty hot when you’re mad. You got it bad for that guitar boy.”

I took a breath to calm myself.

“Zoe, Oh, I saw your cat eating the garbage behind the building the other night Lots of good care from guitar boy.”

I was in the middle of saying,” You’re just jealous,” when Ruiz got a call.

As Ruiz grabbed his phone, his face showed sheer disgust. He screamed, “What the hell? You got to be kidding me. No, that’s no coincidence. That’s Dylan, Chase’s brother from the tech dept in the Forty Second Street Library. Yeah, I’m on it. Zoe, get out of the car.”

“What happened to Chase’s brother?” I said as I fumbled with the door handle.

“Get out of the car Zoe. Now!”

The car was moving, siren on, emergency light flashing. While I stood on the curb, Ruiz yelled to me, “Hit and run.” I had heard Ruiz say it was no coincidence.

The news on my phone described the hit and run. Dylan was riding his bike in midtown

when according to eye witnesses, another bicyclist closed in on Dylan. Several pedestrians agreed that Dylan was deliberately cut off right near an open manhole. When Dylan tried to swerve, the other bicyclist leaned over and pushed the bike so hard that it broke through the protective barrier and Dylan and the bike plunged into the manhole. Dylan, unconscious, was rushed to St. Luke’s. Before the police arrived, the perp slipped away into traffic. There was a number to call if anyone had information.

I wanted to call Ruiz. Where was he? In St Luke’s Emergency Room - that’s where Ruiz was. Déjà vu- that nightmare of Mere’s final moments came back like a bat hitting me in the face.

Everything now seemed to be closing in on me. I was getting to the point of freaked out. I kept thinking about Mere’s murderer now trying to kill Chase’s brother. I use to love people watching, especially in colorful New York neighborhoods like Tribecca, Soho, or the Village. Now everyone in every section of the city looked capable of murder.

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