“That was the genius, calling from in front of the Hotel Chevalier on his cell phone. Mr. Bertrand Wellman Harkness, V has been shot, and is probably dead. Colsne was shot at too, and—”
I was on my feet and moving, but, while he was talking to me, knowing what was likely coming, Dundee had moved around to the door and blocked my exit. I don’t think I’d fully known just how attached I’d become to Colsne until that moment. Instantly I realized that, since my father had died, my relationship to Colsne had taken on a whole new meaning. Adopted blood is apparently thicker than water too. If someone had a vendetta against Harknesses, that was bad enough, but if he was going to expand operations to those who were already my own second family, he’d better be more than just crazy or bad, because I was about to get both. I gritted my teeth.
“Out of my way, AC. I don’t want to hit a police officer.”
“Cool down, boyo,” he whispered.
“If you don’t,” I gritted, “move, I’ll make you so cool you’ll freeze hell when you get there.”
Dundee stayed planted, and spoke in a more regular voice.
“I’m going in my car, and you’ll ride with me. Cool down. You can’t get there any faster way. He’s alright. The genius ain’t hurt. Okay?”
By some miracle I managed not to pick him up and throw him into the corner where the phone was. He turned, opened, and marched. I was right behind him. There wasn’t room in the aisles for us to walk abreast. I had not cooled down; I was merely focussing my heat. If anyone or anything had attempted to stop or even delay us, I was all set to flatten him, her, or it, and in all reality I knew that Dundee was no less steamed, even if his reasons were different. Somebody was playing solitaire tag on his turf, after he’d been benched. We took the stairs, two steps at a time, at that level, faster than pushing elevator buttons and waiting to float. As we approached his vehicle, he barked to his driver where we were headed, that his job depended on how fast he got us there, and that snow and ice were no excuse. The big limo was roaring out toward the street before we had the doors closed. He was different than, but as good as Bubba.
On the way, only one thing was said. Dundee mumbled a warning to the powers that be, that they’d better not try and block him now. As we approached, on East 61st Street, I could see the blue, red, and white lights flashing. Although the wind and snow were between innings, the clouds were building up in time to Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, and it was heavy dusk. The area was quickly becoming bumper-to-bumper PD and EM vehicles of every size and shade; not that all the extra stuff was going to help, but the Harkness killer had succeeded in mustering official agencies like nothing in my memory. It remained to be seen if the mobilization would foster any meaningful increase in communications and synergy. Before we came to a skidding halt, just barely not slamming into a uniformed squad car, Dundee and I were out and running.
At first I didn’t see Colsne, but then he briefly raised his head. Underneath the canopy of the Chevalier’s main entrance, near the middle of the block, he was surrounded by five patrol boys who didn’t know what to do with him. He was pacing back and forth, and they were moving with him, like seaweed around a trolling sea otter. I strode toward them. Dundee was right with me, and bellowed out for the uniforms to disperse, and they did so, quickly and eagerly, glad to be rid of the responsibility. Colsne, his hands clasped behind his back, under his coat tails, head bowed, continued to pace at warp 11, his legs moving in slow motion. Don’t ask me to explain it; you’d have to see it. When we had joined him he stopped, and snapped at Dundee.
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