Wolves Eat Dogs

Free Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith

Book: Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith Read Free Book Online
Authors: Martin Cruz Smith
cell would obviously go to the highest bidder. Both also understood that while the Mafia ruled the streets, a subcaste of tattooed, geriatric criminals still ruled the prison yards. If Anton were stuck in an ordinary cell, he would be a shark in a tank with a thousand piranhas.
    Anton couldn’t sit still without twitching a pec here, a deltoid there. “You’re a good guy, Renko. We may not see eye to eye, but you always treat a person with respect. You speak English?”
    “Yes.”
    Anton picked up a copy of Architectural Digest from the bunk and flipped to a picture of a western lodge set against a mountain range. “Colorado. Beautiful nature and, as an investment, relatively inexpensive. What do you think?”
    “Can you ride a horse?”
    “Is that necessary?”
    “I think so.”
    “I can learn. I’ll give you the money. Cash. You go and negotiate, pay whatever you think is fair. It could be a beautiful partnership. You have an honest face.”
    “I appreciate the offer. Did you hear that Pasha Ivanov is dead?”
    “I saw the news on television. He jumped, right? Ten stories, what a way to go.”
    “Did you know him?”
    “Me know Ivanov? That’s like knowing God.”
    “You left a message on his mobile phone three nights ago about cutting off his dick. That sounds like you knew him fairly well. It might even sound like a threat.”
    “I’m not allowed a phone here, so how could I call?”
    “You bribed a guard and called from the guards’ room.”
    Anton got to his feet and threw punches as if hitting a heavy bag. “Well, like they say, there’s a crow in every flock.” He stopped and shook out his arms. “Anyway, if I called Pasha Ivanov, what about?”
    “Business. Somebody has been jacking NoviRus Oil trucks and draining the tanks. It’s happening in your part of Moscow—in your soup, so to speak.”
    Anton circled again, throwing jabs, crosses, uppercuts. He backed, covered up, seemed to dodge a punch and then moved forward, rolling his shoulders and snapping jabs while the cell got smaller and smaller. Anton may not have been a champion, but when he was in motion, he took up a lot of room. Finally he dropped his fists and blew air. “He has this prick in charge of security, a former colonel from the KGB. They caught one of my boys with one of their trucks and broke his legs. That’s overreaction. It put me in a difficult situation. If I didn’t retaliate, my boys would break my legs. But I don’t want a war. I’m sick of that. Instead, I wanted to go straight to the top, and also make a point about the colonel’s bullshit security by calling Ivanov on his personal phone. I said what I said. It was an opening line; maybe a little crude, but it was meant to begin a dialogue. I have body shops, tanning salons, a restaurant. I’m a respectable businessman. I would have loved to work with Pasha Ivanov, to learn at his knee.”
    “What was the favor? What did you have to offer him?”
    “Protection.”
    “Naturally.”
    “Anyway, I never got through and never saw him face-to-face. It seems to me, when Pasha died I was right here, and that phone call proves it.”
    “Pretty lucky.”
    “I live right.” Anton was modest.
    “What did they pick you up for?”
    “Possession of firearms.”
    “That’s all?”
    A firearms charge was nothing. Since Anton always had a lawyer, judge and bail money standing by, there was no good reason for him to spend an hour in jail, unless he was waiting for some bumbling investigator to come along and officially mark how innocent Anton Obodovsky was. Arkady didn’t want to provoke the dangerous side of Anton, but he also didn’t like being used.
    Anton grabbed some travel brochures off the bunk. “Hey, as soon as I’m out, I’m going on holiday. Where would you suggest? Cyprus? Turkey? I don’t drink or do drugs, and that leaves out a lot of places. I want a tan, but I burn easily. What do you think?”
    “You want creature comforts? Quiet? Gourmet

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