Saturday, March 31, 11:15 a.m.

The waitress arrives with my Diet Coke just as Jack starts talking about murder.

“Leo knows the man in the green suit,” Jack says. “He told Leo about people he killed so he could write about it in that crime blog of his. In return, Leo says he gave the man a dossier about me.”

The waitress nearly drops the plastic cup of soda, sloshing a great puddle onto the tabletop. She beats a hasty retreat.

“Do you believe him?” I say, brushing futilely at the spreading lake of brown fizz.

Refueled by his earlier Scotch, Jack shrugs. He grabs several grubby napkins from an abandoned table and sponges patiently at the soda. I wait impatiently.

Finally, I blurt, “Well? Do you trust him or not?”

“I don’t know,” he says. “Some of what he told me rings true. But…no, I don’t trust him.”

“Who do you trust, Jack?” I say.

He tosses the sodden napkins onto the opposite table, then turns his eyes on me. They are so cold and so compelling.

“I don’t trust you,” I say, before he can say it. “You’ve lied to me.”

He exhales. It’s not exactly a sigh.

“But I’ve never lied to you,” I add.

Even as I say it, I realize that it’s a lie. But I don’t correct myself.

“I trust you,” he says.

“Leo’s telling the truth about the dossier on you. He sent it to me, too.”

“Why?” Jack says.

“Because he hates you,” I say.

“What’s in it?” he says.

“All the dirt that’s fit to dish,” I say. “Your DUI records. Your—wait. First, you tell me how you found out I went to Catholic school for three years. Then I’ll tell you.”

Jack eyes me appraisingly for a moment.

“Did what Leo gave you change your opinion of me?” he asks.

“Sort of,” I say. “I understand you better now, if you know what I mean.”

“Leo says the man in the green suit is mad at me,” Jack says. “He’s coming after me.”

“I bet you wish you’d killed him in that alley after all,” I joke.

Jack does not look amused.

“Do you actually believe that Leo knows him?” I say. “He’s been known to exaggerate.”

“He’s a miserable little punk,” Jack says.

“Sure he is,” I say. “But is he a liar?”

“Yes, he’s a liar,” Jack says. “His reporting at the Washingtonian was full of factual errors and misquotes. And his blog is a plagiaristic disaster.”

“But?” I say.

“But,” Jack sighs. “But he reported details from the condo murder that the cops didn’t release to the media. I checked with Harry Dekins. He confirmed it was all true.”

“Are you sure Leo’s not the man in the green suit?” I say.

Jack hesitates.

“He can’t be,” he says.

“So…” I say.

“So…someone’s after me,” he says.

I nod.

“And you,” he says.

 

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