Ghostman

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Authors: Roger Hobbs
He had a cellular code from Virginia, which was a little unusual but not completely unheard-of. People have cell numbers from all over the place. The phone rang. By the time the answering machine picked up, I was already halfway to the rental-car desk. An electronic voice. You’ve reached this number. Please leave a message after the beep.
    I waited for the beep. “Call home immediately,” I said. “Father isn’t angry, he just wants to hear from you.”
    I killed the call and glanced down at the screen. Ribbons’s number was already logged on the phone’s record, permanently written onto the data chip. I took the battery out and crushed the small data card. I threw the phone away in a trash can. I had another international phone in my jacket, but it was the last one.
    The federal agent was waiting for me at the bottom of the escalator.

8
    I don’t run from federal agents. I run from cops, sure, because I might have a chance of getting away. But running from a federal agent is like trying to hide in a labyrinth. You might be able to prolong the chase for a while, but in the end the minotaur’s going to catch you. Feds don’t mess around. They always get the people they’re looking for, so you’d better make sure they’re not looking for you in the first place.
    The only solution is to play along. I didn’t speed up or slow down. I just leaned against the escalator’s railing and let it bring me slowly toward her.
    I knew who was waiting for me. She had the right wrinkles in her suit and worn-out edges on the soles of her sensible leather flats. Her skin was the color of coffee creamer and she was slender, but not thin. She had curves in the right places and a stern sort of intelligence to her. I imagined that she was a swimmer. Her curly brown hair was bundled back. Shoulder length, no nonsense.
    She stepped in front of me and flipped open a leather badge booklet. Inside was a small gold shield with an eagle and the words Federal Bureau of Investigation .
    She said, “Are you the passenger from the Citation Sovereign?”
    “Yeah,” I said.
    “Can I have a word?”
    “What is this about?”
    “Do you know a man named Marcus Hayes?”
    I didn’t answer. Not right away. I would have walked away right then, if she weren’t so goddamn pretty. “I’m sorry,” I said. “You must have the wrong person. I don’t know anyone by that name.”
    “You just stepped off his jet, so I’m betting you do.”
    “I want to see your badge again.”
    “Show me your identification and we’ve got a deal.”
    I considered it for a second. It is for moments like this that people carry fake driver’s licenses. Travel agents rarely give them a second look, and regular police don’t have enough training to tell the high-quality fake ones from the real ones, because every state has different security features. But Jack Morton was clean. If I played the odds, showing her his driver’s license would be almost as safe as refusing to show her anything at all. It was within my rights just to walk away, but that would make me look suspicious.
    I took the card out of my wallet. She looked at it, then up at me. We matched perfectly. For all she knew, the photograph could have been taken today. If she could tell it was a fake, she didn’t let on.
    She put the license back in my hand, then slid her shield booklet off her belt and gave it to me. It was a thin leather wallet with the gold insignia and a card in a viewing flap. Rebecca Lynn Blacker . Five foot six, pale eyes, tan skin, just north of thirty years old. I took out the card and rubbed it between my fingers. It felt real.
    I looked up.
    “All right,” I said.
    She took the badge back. “Mr. Morton, you’re in from Seattle, right?”
    “Yes.”
    “You hear about the armored car that got robbed this morning?”
    “I saw it on the news on the flight.”
    “I didn’t. I got a phone call. I’m on vacation, you see. I was taking my two weeks down in Cape May. This

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