"What makes you say that?"
He tapped his temple. "I got a logical mind. Analytical, right? I bet I could be a peeper just like you."
"Gee, Teddy, sure. I don't see why not. The truth is I stored some boxes at John's while I was in the middle of a move. My stuff must have gotten mixed up with his when he left Santa Teresa. By the way, which storage company?"
His expression turned crafty. "What makes you ask?" He said, in a slightly mocking tone.
"Because I'm wondering if he's still in the area somewhere."
Teddy shook his head, way ahead of me. "No go. Forget it. You'd be wasting your time. I mean, look at this way. If the guy used a phony name, he prob'bly also faked his phone number and his home address. Why contact the company? They won't tell you nothin'."
"I'll bet I could get the information. That's what I do for a living these days."
"You and Dick Tracy."
"All I'm asking is the name."
Teddy smiled. "How much's it worth?"
"How much is it worth?"
"Yeah, let's do a little business. Twenty bucks."
"Don't be silly. I'm not going to pay you. That's ridiculous."
"So make me an offer. I'm a reasonable guy."
"All I'm saying is you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours."
"There can't be that many storage companies in the area."
"Fifteen hundred and eleven, if you take in the neighboring counties. For ten bucks, I'll tell you which little town it's in."
"Come on. How else you going to find out?"
"I'm sure I can think of something."
"Wanna bet? Five says you can't."
I glanced at my watch and slid out of the seat. "I wish I could chat, Teddy, but you have that appointment and I have to get to work."
"Whyn't you call me if you change your mind? We could find him together. We could form us a partnership. I bet you could use a guy with my connections."
I picked up the cardboard box, made a few more polite mouth noises, and returned to my car. I placed the box in the passenger seat and then slid in on the driver's side. I locked both doors instinctively and blew out a big breath. My heart was thumping and I could feel the damp of perspiration in the small of my back."John Russell" was the alias for a former Santa Teresa vice detective named Mickey Magruder...my first ex-husband. What the hell was going on?
Copyright Sue Grafton. Excerpted with the permission of the publisher - Henry Holt
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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