The punk screamed at Becker, “Megan belongs to my friend Eduardo! You stay away from her!”
“Where is she?” Becker’s heart was racing out of control.
“It’s an emergency!” Becker snapped. He grabbed the kid’s sleeve. “She’s got a ring that belongs tome. I’ll pay her for it! A lot!”
Two‑Tone stopped dead and burst into hysterics. “You mean that ugly, gold piece of shit is yours?”
Becker’s eyes widened. “You’ve seen it?”
Two‑Tone nodded coyly.
“Where is it?” Becker demanded.
“No clue.” Two‑Tone chuckled. “Megan was up here trying to hock it.”
“She was trying to sell it?”
“Don’t worry, man, she didn’t have any luck. You’ve got shitty taste in jewelry.”
“Are you sure nobody bought it?”
“Are you shitting me? For four hundred bucks? I told her I’d give her fifty, but she wanted more. She was trying to buy a plane ticket‑standby.”
Becker felt the blood drain from his face. “Whereto?”
“Fuckin' Connecticut,” Two‑tone snapped. “Eddie’s bummin'.”
“Shit, yeah. Going back to Mommy and Daddy’s mansion in the burbs. Hated her Spanish homestay family. Three Spic brothers always hitting on her. No fucking hot water.”
Becker felt a knot rise in his throat. “When is she leaving?”
Two‑Tone looked up. “When?” He laughed. “She’s long gone by now. Went to the airport hours ago. Best spot to hock the ring‑rich tourists and shit. Once she got the cash, she was flying out.”
A dull nausea swept through Becker’s gut. This is some kind of sick joke, isn’t it? He stood a long moment. “What’s her last name?”
Two‑Tone pondered the question and shrugged.
“What flight was she taking?”
“She said something about the Roach Coach.”
“Yeah. Weekend red‑eye‑Seville, Madrid, La Guardia. That’s what they call it. College kids take it 'cause it’s cheap. Guess they sit in back and smoke roaches.”
Great. Becker groaned, running a hand through his hair. “What time did it leave?”
“Two a.m. sharp, every Saturday night. She’s somewhere over the Atlantic by now.”
Becker checked his watch. It read 1:45 p.m. He turned to Two‑Tone, confused. “You said it’s a two a.m. flight?”
The punk nodded, laughing. “Looks like you’re fucked, ol' man.”
Becker pointed angrily to his watch. “But it’s only quarter to two!”
Two‑Tone eyed the watch, apparently puzzled. “Well, I’ll be damned.” he laughed. “I’m usually not this buzzed till four a.m. !”
“What’s the fastest way to the airport?” Becker snapped.
“Taxi stand out front.”
Becker grabbed a 1,000‑peseta note from his pocket and stuff edit in Two‑Tone’s hand.
“Hey, man, thanks!” the punk called after him. “If you see Megan, tell her I said hi!” But Becker was already gone.
Two‑Tone sighed and staggered back toward the dance floor. He was too drunk to notice the man in wire‑rim glasses following him.
Outside, Becker scanned the parking lot for a taxi. There was none. He ran over to a stocky bouncer. “Taxi!”
The bouncer shook his head. “Demasiado temprano. Too early.”
Too early? Becker swore. It’s two o'clock in the morning!
“Pidame uno! Call me one!”
The man pulled out a walkie‑talkie. He said a few words and then signed off. “Veinte minutos,” he offered.
“Twenty minutes?!” Becker demanded. “Y elautobus?”
The bouncer shrugged. “Forty‑five minutos.”
Becker threw up his hands. Perfect!
The sound of a small engine turned Becker’s head. It sounded like a chainsaw. A big kid and his chain‑clad date pulled into the parking lot on an old Vespa 250 motorcycle. The girl’s skirt had blown high on her thighs. She didn’t seem to notice. Becker dashed over. I can’t believe I’m doing this, he thought. I hate motorcycles. He yelled to the driver. “I’ll pay you ten thousand pesetas to take me to the airport!”
The kid ignored him and killed the engine.
“Twenty thousand!” Becker blurted. “I need to get to the airport!”
The kid looked up. “Scusi?” He was Italian.
“Aeroporto! Per favore. Sulla Vespa! Venti mille pesete!”
The Italian eyed his crummy, little bike and laughed. “Venti mille pesete? La Vespa?”
“Cinquanta mille! Fifty thousand!” Becker offered. It was about four hundred dollars.
The Italian laughed doubtfully. “Dov'e la plata? Where’s the cash?”
Becker pulled five 10,000‑peseta notes from his pocket and held them out. The Italian looked at the money and then at his girlfriend. The girl grabbed the cash and stuffed it in her blouse.
“Grazie!” the Italian beamed. He tossed Becker the keys to his Vespa. Then he grabbed his girlfriend’s hand, and they ran off laughing into the building.
“Aspetta!” Becker yelled. “Wait! I wanted a ride!”