"And if it becomes a story?" Fred said.
"You're my first phone call. Now, what does Woods do on the fifth?"
Jacobs nodded, bit into his second burger, and talked with his mouth full.
"If you looked him up on the payroll, he'd be some PR flack. Probably pulling a hundred K a year. Wilson's got half a dozen of 'em stashed there."
"And what does Johnny really do?"
The reporter spread a smile across his face. "He's what we call a fixer."
"Yeah, a guy who fixes problems for the Fifth Floor. Makes things go away. And greases the machinery. All at the same time."
Jacobs' cell phone chirped. He held up a hand and flipped the phone open. "Yeah." He listened, grunted a few times, and began to scribble furiously on a napkin.
When he finished with one napkin, Jacobs gestured to me. I pushed a pile more over to his side of the table; the reporter continued to write. I finished my burger, then my beer. Jacobs snapped the cell shut and stood up.
"You want to know what Woods does?"
Jacobs headed to the door. I followed. A primer, apparently, was in the offing. On how problems got fixed in Chicago.
Excerpted from The Fifth Floor by Michael Harvey Copyright © 2008 by Michael Harvey. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
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