Home > Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23)(7)

Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23)(7)
Janet Evanovich

“That does it,” Lula said. “He’s not gonna get away with this. I was all set to have a tasty treat, and now I’m in a cranky mood. If there’s one thing I don’t tolerate it’s a man who doesn’t deliver on a dessert.”

Lula stomped up to the trailer, climbed the rickety steps, and hammered on the door. “Open up,” she said. “You better open this door and give me my Snickers bar or else.”

“Waa, waa, waa,” Diggery said on the other side of the door. “You’re just a sore loser on account of I outsmarted you.”

“Outsmart this,” Lula said, hauling her Glock out of her purse and drilling seven rounds into the door.

About forty snakes rushed out from under the trailer and made off for the woods. I shouted at Lula to stop shooting. And Diggery wrenched his door open and glared out at Lula.

“What are you, nuts?” Diggery said. “You can’t go around shooting up a man’s home. This here’s a respectable neighborhood. Look what you did to my door. Who’s gonna pay to fix this door?”

“Where’s my candy bar?” Lula asked.

“I don’t have no candy bar,” Diggery said. “I lied about the candy bar.”

Lula leaned forward. “I smell Snickers on your breath. And you got a little smudge of chocolate stuck in your whiskers. You ate my candy bar, didn’t you?”

“I was under stress,” Diggery said. “I needed it. I could feel my blood sugar plummeting.”

“Well, I’m not wasting any more time with you,” Lula said. “I got better things to do. And now I got a craving for a Snickers.”

Lula grabbed Diggery by his shirtfront, yanked him out of the double-wide, and kicked the door shut. She wrestled him down the stairs, lost her balance, and the two of them went to the ground. They rolled around a little. Lula got the top and sat on Diggery.

“I can’t breathe,” Diggery said. “How much do you weigh? Good thing for you I ate that candy bar. You don’t need no more candy bars.”

I got Diggery into plasti-cuffs, and Lula crawled off him. We lifted him to his feet and walked him to my car.

FOUR

IT WAS ALMOST noon by the time we left the police station. Diggery was in police custody, waiting for Vinnie to bond him out again, and I was in possession of a body receipt stating I’d recovered Diggery.

“I don’t know why we bother doing this,” I said to Lula. “It’s just wasted time and energy. Vinnie bonds him out, he goes FTA, and we bring him in. And then it starts all over again. It’s like we have a job doing nothing. Doesn’t that bother you?”

“Nope,” Lula said. “I’m in it for the money.”

“The money sucks. Look at this car I’m driving!”

“Yeah, you must not know how to manage your money, because I have a kick-ass car.”

“You make less than I do. You get a percentage of my percentage.”

“True, but I’m also pulling a salary, and I do a little of this and a little of that.”

I cut my eyes to her. “What’s ‘a little of this and a little of that’?”

“It’s my entrepreneurial side. Like, I give hooker lessons on the third Saturday of every month. I help the girls who want to go into the profession. I teach technique. I was one of the few ’hos who could successfully do a thirty-second hand job for those customers in a time crunch. It was an adaptation of the Indian rope burn. And then I give advice on wardrobe, and I help them pick a corner. I tell them it’s location, location, location. And then another enterprise I got going is my bedazzling skills. You’d be surprised how many people want shit bedazzled but don’t have the time. I got business cards and everything.”

“I had no idea you did all that.”

“You bet your ass. I’m not just another pretty face. I got projects. That’s why I got an appetite. It takes a lot of fuel to keep my brain operating. In fact, I’m probably not functioning at full power right now because I didn’t get that Snickers bar.”

“I feel like this is leading up to a stop at the 7-Eleven.”

“Exactly. Not only could I get my Snickers bar, but we could get nachos for lunch.”

I drove Lula to the 7-Eleven on Perry Street. We loaded up on nachos and backtracked to Lincoln. I crossed the railroad tracks, followed Chambers to Hamilton, and parked in front of the bonds office. Ranger pulled in behind me.

“It’s like magic the way he always knows where to find you,” Lula said.

It wasn’t magic. It was GPS. He’d stuck trackers on my cars. I got out and walked back to him.

“I want to take you through the factory tonight,” Ranger said. “They’ll be cleaning until midnight. After that it will be empty except for security. Bogart employs a day guard and a night guard. They each make two rounds. The rest of the time they stay in the guard station at the loading dock.”

“So someone had plenty of time to dip the HR guy in chocolate.”

“You can draw your own conclusions when you see the plant. I’ll pick you up at eleven-thirty.”

Morelli wasn’t going to like this. Ranger wasn’t his favorite person. Ranger especially wasn’t his favorite person when he was alone with me at eleven-thirty at night. Fortunately it was poker night, and Morelli would be doing his man thing with his cousin Mooch, his brother, Anthony, Eddie Gazarra if Shirley let him out of the house, and whoever else showed up with a six-pack of beer.

I watched Ranger drive away and joined Lula and Connie in the bonds office.

“What’s up with the man of mystery?” Connie asked.

“Harry Bogart has hired Rangeman to manage security, and Ranger wants me to go undercover. I’m going to take a job on the line so I can look around.”

“Are you shitting me?” Lula said. “You’re gonna work in the ice cream factory? All my life I wanted to work in an ice cream factory. Maybe you could get me a job.”

“I don’t get to eat the ice cream,” I said. “It’s a job.”

“Yeah, but I bet you get a discount. And suppose you could score a job in the test kitchen? And, like, what happens when the gloppity gloppity machine screws up and doesn’t fill the containers right? What happens to those screwed-up containers of ice cream? I bet they end up in the employee lunch room.”

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