It’s a bad idea, going after the woman. It’s already cost me a sport coat and pair of pants. Nice pants. If I think about it I’m already invested in this case. What case? She has disappeared up ninth and I’m a block away.
On top of that, I’ve pissed off whoever Thorn works for. Thorn’s a common simpleton with bills to pay. But his boss, he’ll come calling on me, no doubt. I round the corner at ninth, pedaling uptown now. The street’s packed with the usual traffic. Trucks double- and triple-parked unload produce, pedicabs slow down the one lane that is moving. There’s no space to squeeze through with the old bike so I jump the curb and now I’m swerving through a mass of foot commuters.
“Get off the curb, asshole,” a guy shouts.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I say.
“Get off and walk it or you’re getting a ticket,” a cop says. “Oh, hey, Pyrus, how you doing? I didn’t see it was you”
I dismount. “Hey, Weed,” I call back over my shoulder. I stop. “You see a pretty redhead in a black skirt come by?”
“‘Bout a minute ago she crossed 19th.”
At 19th, I lose her. I look left. I look right. I check straight ahead. I turn on 19th, heading west, toward the High Line and the Hudson River beyond. It’s a nice day. Maybe I’ll lock the bike and walk, or ride in the park next to the river.
I pass the galleries and coffee shops, peering in the windows to see if I can catch a glimpse of red hair. The galleries aren’t open yet but the coffee shops are crowded with morning types wanting their specialized brews. Just give me a simple espresso and I’m happy.
I’m near the High Line when I hear a rapid firing of shots followed by screams and more shots. I see a man running and shooting calmly on the raised park, an old train line that serviced the butcheries and factories of the former meat packing district.
“Great. Another angry man with a gun,” a woman says. Standing beside me, two cups of coffee in hand, is the redhead. She hands me a cup. “I assume you take it black?”
We stand there and watch the man duck behind cover. He’s cleared the High Line and now he comes to the railing and starts shooting at people in the street below. “Maybe we should get out of here,” she says.
But then a single loud shot cracks and the man tumbles forward over the railing smacking onto the street below him. Later, we’d learn that he killed seven and wounded 23. My buddy Weed, a member of NYC’s finest, heard the shots, grabbed the rifle from the trunk of his cruiser and nailed him with a single shot from a block away.
“I wanted to thank you for stopping that man earlier.”
“Sure. Where were you heading to in such a hurry?”
She takes a sip from her cup. “To see you.”