Payback Time

Free Payback Time by Carl Deuker

Book: Payback Time by Carl Deuker Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carl Deuker
had beaten Mater Dei.

9
    A FTER THE GAME, I quickly worked my way down to the field. As soon as Kimi saw me, she rushed over. "He's no senior." The words came out fast. "He's a grown man. The close-ups I shot of his face prove it, too. He's got to be a cop. Why else would an adult be in a high school? Come on." And then she was off, before I could say a word, heading into the bowels of the stadium.
    "Where are we going?" I called out as I broke into a trot to catch up.
    "To interview him."
    "But McNulty said no."
    "That was
before,
" she said. "He can't turn us down now that Angel has saved the game."
    We worked our way to the door leading to the locker rooms. Kimi stepped back then and gave me a push. I stood tall, sucked in my gut, and knocked hard on the door. After a minute it opened. "I'd like to interview Angel Marichal," I said, flashing my press pass.
    The security cop—a giant of a guy who could have been a poster boy for LA Fitness—looked at me as if I were a fly that might not be worth swatting. "You from a newspaper?"
    "The
Lincoln Light,
" I answered.
    "What is that? A school newspaper?"
    "Does that matter?" Kimi said.
    He looked past me to Kimi, and the edge in his voice softened.
    "Wait here."
    We stood for five minutes before the door reopened.
    "Coach McNulty said no," the guy said, looking only at Kimi. "I'm sorry."
    As we walked together out of the stadium, Kimi called Marianne. "Where are you?...No, don't come back. I'll take the bus ... Yeah, see you tomorrow."
    "You don't have to take the bus," I said. "I can give you a ride."
    "You sure?"
    "Sure, I'm sure. We could go to Peet's if you want."
    "That sounds good."
    Twenty minutes later we were sitting side by side at the upstairs counter—what I was starting to think of as
our
counter. Kimi was glum, so I asked her to show me her game photos. She held her camera so that I could see. Lots of her photos were great, but the best was a shot of Angel, arms fully extended, making his interception, controlling the football with the very tips of his fingers. "Let's e-mail that one to Chet," I said.
    She shook her head. "There's no point. The
Times
had a photographer at the game."
    "I'll bet he didn't get a shot half as good as that."
    "He was there, Mitch. They won't print anything of mine. You know that."
    Â 
    Sunday morning I checked out the online edition of the
Seattle Times.
The headline read L INCOLN S TUNS C ALIFORNIA P OWERHOUSE . In the right-hand corner was a photo of Horst Diamond unleashing a pass. I read Chet the Jet's article, expecting all the time that the next sentence would detail Angel's last-minute heroics. At the tail end, Chet wrote, "A late interception sealed the victory." And that was it. No name, no description of the incredible plays Angel had made on the previous downs.
    It was poor writing. Chet the Jet should have led with Angel's plays as a hook, and then gone to Horst Diamond. My cell rang. "Have you seen the article in the
Times?
" Kimi asked.
    "I just finished reading it and I don't get it. The only explanation is that he left early and didn't see Angel's interception."
    There was a pause. "I have another idea," Kimi said.
    "What?"
    "Maybe Chet knows Angel is a cop. Maybe he's in on the scheme. Maybe McNulty told him he had to keep Angel's name out of the paper."
    She was talking so fast, I was having trouble keeping up. "You think McNulty knows?"
    "Think about it, Mitch. A policeman couldn't infiltrate a school without help. The undercover cops in Federal Way hung out with drug dealers for months before they made their arrests. The principal knew they were cops, and so did some of the teachers. If Angel is undercover, he'd have the same kind of support. McNulty ... the principal ... the teachers—they'd all have to know."
    "You're pretty sure you're right about this, aren't you?"
    "Only sort of sure, but I'm clueless about what to do next."
    "That makes two of us."

10
    I SAID GOODBYE, closed up my cell, and

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