Chapter 28

MIKE sat in the interrogation room and tried to remain calm. On the wall in front of him, there was a large rectangular mirror that he assumed was one-way glass. The other walls were done up in school-lavatory green. The floor was gray linoleum.

Two men were in the room with him. One sat in the corner, almost like a scolded child. He had a pen and clipboard with him and kept his head down. The other guy-the officer who had held up the badge and gun in front of Club Jaguar-was black with a diamond stud in his left ear. He paced and carried an unlit cigarette in his hand.

"I'm Special Agent Darryl LeCrue," the pacer said. "This here is Scott Duncan-the liaison between the DEA and the U.S. Attorney's Office. You've been read your rights?"

"I have."

LeCrue nodded. "And you're willing to speak with us?"

"I am."

"Please sign the waiver on the table."

Mike did. Under normal circumstances he wouldn't. He knew better. Mo would call Tia. She would get here, be his lawyer or get him one. He should shut up until then. But he didn't really care about any of that right now.

LeCrue continued to pace. "Do you know what this is about?" he asked.

"No," Mike said.

"No idea at all?"


"What were you doing at Club Jaguar today?"

"Why were you guys following me?"

"Dr. Baye?"


"I smoke. Do you know that?"

The question puzzled Mike. "I see the cigarette."

"Is it lit?"


"Do you think that pleases me?"

"I wouldn't know."

"My point exactly. I used to smoke right in this very room. Not because I wanted to intimidate the suspects or blow smoke in their faces, though I did that sometimes. No, the reason I smoked is because I liked it. It relaxed me. Now that they've passed all these new laws, I'm not allowed to light up. You hear what I'm saying?"

"I guess so."

"In other words, the law won't let a man relax. That bothers me. I need my smokes. So when I'm in here, I'm grumpy. I carry this cigarette with me and long to light it up. But I can't. It's like leading the horse to water but not letting him drink. Now I don't want your sympathy, but I need you to understand how it is because you are already pissing me off." He slammed his hand against the table but kept his tone even. "I'm not going to answer your questions. You're going to answer mine. We on the same page?"

Mike said, "Maybe I should wait for my lawyer."

"Cool." He turned to Duncan in the corner. "Scott, do we have enough to arrest him?"


"Groovy. Let's do that. Put him in the system on a weekend. When do you think his bail hearing will be?"

Duncan shrugged. "Hours from now. Might even have to wait until the morning."

Mike tried to keep the panic off his face. "What's the charge?"

LeCrue shrugged. "We can come up with something, can't we, Scott?"


"So it's up to you, Dr. Baye. You seemed in a rush to get out before. So let's start this again and see how it plays. What were you doing at Club Jaguar?"

He could argue some more, but it felt like the wrong move. So did waiting for Tia. He wanted out. He needed to find Adam.

"I was looking for my son."

He expected LeCrue to follow up on that, but he simply nodded and said, "You were about to get into a fight, weren't you?"


"Was that going to help you find your son?"

"I was hoping it might."

"You want to explain."

"I was in that neighborhood last night," he began.

"Yes, we know."

Mike stopped. "Were you following me then too?"

LeCrue smiled, held out the cigarette as a reminder, and arched an eyebrow.

"Tell us about your son," LeCrue said.

Warning flags shot up. Mike didn't like this. He didn't like the threats or being followed or any of it, but he especially didn't like the way LeCrue asked him about his son. But again, what were his options?

"He's missing. I thought he might be at Club Jaguar."

"And that's why you went there last night?"


"You figured that he might be there?"


Mike filled them in on pretty much everything. There was no reason not to-he had told the police the same story at the hospital and at the police station.

"Why were you so worried about him?"

"We were supposed to go to a Rangers game last night."

"The hockey team?"


"They lost, you know."

"I didn't."

"Good game though. Lots of fights." LeCrue smiled again. "I'm one of the few brothers who follows hockey. I used to love basketball but the NBA bores me now. Too many fouls, you know what I mean?"

Mike figured that this was some disruption technique. He said, "Uh-huh."

"So when your son didn't show up, you looked for him in the Bronx?"


"And you got jumped."

"Yes." Then: "If you guys were watching me, how come you didn't help?"

He shrugged. "Who said we were watching?"

Then Scott Duncan looked up and added, "Who said we didn't help?"


"Have you ever been to that place before?"

"Club Jaguar? No."



"Just to be clear: You're telling me that before last night, you'd never been to Club Jaguar?"

"Not even last night."

"Excuse me?"

"I never made it there last night. I got jumped before I got there."

"How did you end up in that alley anyway?"

"I was following someone."


"His name is DJ Huff. He's a classmate of my son's."

"So then, what you're telling us is that you were never inside Club Jaguar before today?"

Mike tried to keep the exasperation from his voice. "That's right. Look, Agent LeCrue, is there any way we can rush this? My son is missing. I'm worried about him."

"Of course you are. So let's move right along, shall we? What about Rosemary McDevitt, the president and founder of Club Jaguar?"

"What about her?"

"When was the first time you two met?"


LeCrue turned to Duncan. "You buy that, Scott?"

Scott Duncan lifted his hand, palm down, tilted it back and forth.

"I'm having trouble with that one too."

"Please listen to me," Mike said, trying to keep the pleading out of his voice. "I need to get out of here and find my son."

"You don't trust law enforcement?"

"I trust them. I just don't think they see my son as a priority."

"Fair enough. Let me ask you this. Do you know what a pharm party is? The pharm is spelled with a p-h, not an f."

Mike thought about it. "The term is not completely unfamiliar, but I can't place it."

"Maybe I can help, Dr. Baye. You're a medical doctor, isn't that correct?"

"It is."

"So calling you doctor is cool. I hate calling every dumb ass with a diploma 'doctor'-Ph.D.s or chiropractors or the guy who helps me get my contact lenses at Pearle Express. You know what I mean?"

Mike tried to get him back on track. "You asked me about pharm parties?"

"Yeah, that's right. And you're in a rush and all and I'm just blathering away. So let me get to it. You're a medical doctor so you understand about the ridiculous costs of pharmaceuticals, right?"

"I do."

"So let me tell you what a pharm party is. Put simply, teens go into their parents' medicine cabinet and steal their drugs. Nowadays every family has some prescriptions lying about-Vicodin, Adderall, Ritalin, Xanax, Prozac, OxyContin, Percocet, Demerol, Valium, you get the point. So what the teens do is, they steal them and get together and put them in a bowl or make a trail mix or whatever. That's the candy dish. Then they get high."

LeCrue stopped. For the first time he grabbed a chair, turned it backward, and sat with his legs straddling the back. He looked hard at Mike. Mike did not blink.

After some time passed, Mike said, "So now I know what a pharm party is."

"Now you do. So anyway, that's how it starts. A bunch of kids get together and figure, hey, these drugs are legal-not like dope or cocaine. Maybe little brother takes the Ritalin because he's overactive. Dad takes OxyContin to relieve the pain from his knee operation. Whatever. They gotta be pretty safe."

"I get it."

"Do you?"


"Do you see how easy it would be? Do you have any prescription drugs lying around at home?"

Mike thought about his own knee, the prescription for Percocet, how he worked hard so he didn't take too many of them. They were indeed in his medicine chest. Would he even notice if a few went missing? And how about parents who didn't know anything about the drugs? Would they be wary of a few missing pills?

"Like you said, all households have them."

"Right, so stay with me a minute. You know the value of the pills. You know these parties are going on. So let's say you're something of an entrepreneur. What do you do? You take it to the next level. You try to turn a profit. Let's say you're the house and getting a cut of the profits. Maybe you encourage the kids to steal more of the drugs from their medicine cabinets. You can even get replacement pills."

"Replacement pills?"

"Sure. If the pills are white, well, you just put in some generic aspirin. Who is going to notice? You can get sugar pills that basically do nothing other than look like other pills. You see? Who'd notice? There's a huge black market for prescribed medications. You can make a mint. But again, think like an entrepreneur. You don't want some small-ass party with eight kids. You want big. You want to attract hundreds if not thousands. Like you might in, say, a nightclub."

Mike was getting it now. "You think that's what Club Jaguar is doing."

Mike suddenly remembered that Spencer Hill had committed suicide using medications from his home. That was the rumor anyway. He stole drugs from his parent's medicine cabinet to overdose.

LeCrue nodded, continued, "You could-if you were really entre- preneurial-take it to another level. All drugs have value on the black market. Maybe there's that old Amoxicillin that you never finished up. Or your grandpa has some extra Viagra in the house. No one keeps track, do they, Doc?"


"Right, and if some are missing or whatever, well, you chalk it up to the pharmacy ripping you off or you forgot the date or maybe you took an extra one. There is almost no way you trace it back to your teenager stealing them. Do you see how brilliant it is?"

Mike wanted to ask what this had to do with him or Adam, but he knew better.

LeCrue leaned in closer and whispered, "Hey, Doc?"

Mike waited.

"Do you know what the next step up that entrepreneurial ladder would be?"

"LeCrue?" It was Duncan.

LeCrue looked behind him. "What's up, Scott?"

"You like that word. Entrepreneurial."

"I do at that." He turned back to Mike. "You like that word, Doc?"

"It's great."

LeCrue chuckled as if they were old friends. "Anyway, a smart entrepreneurialkid can figure out ways of getting even more drugs from his house. How? He calls in the refills early maybe. If both parents work and you got a delivery service, you are home from school before them. And if the parent tries to refill and gets stopped, well, again, they figure it's an error or they lost count. See, once you start down this road, there are just so many ways you can make a beautiful dollar. It is almost foolproof."

The obvious question echoed in Mike's head: Could Adam have done something like that?

"Who would we bust anyway? Think about it. You have a bunch of rich, underage kids-all of whom can afford the best lawyers-who have done what exactly? Taken legally prescribed drugs from their family homes. Who cares? Do you see again how easy this money is?"

"I guess."

"You guess, Dr. Baye? Come on, let's not play games here. You don't guess. You know. It is nearly flawless. Now normally you know how we'd operate. We don't want to bust a bunch of dumb teens getting high. We want the big fish. But if the big fish here was smart, she- let's make her a she, so we aren't accused of sexism, okay?-she would let the underage kids handle the drugs for her. Dumb goth kids who'd have to move up a step on the food chain to be called losers, maybe. They'd feel important and if she was a grade-A-felony hottie, she could probably get them to do whatever she wanted, you know what I'm saying?"

"Sure," Mike said. "You think this is what Rosemary McDevitt is doing at Club Jaguar. She has this nightclub and all these underage kids go to it legally. It makes sense, on one level."

"And on another level?"

"A woman whose own brother died of a drug overdose pushing pills?"

LeCrue smiled at that one. "She told you that little sob story, did she? About her brother who didn't have an outlet so he partied too hard and died?"

"It's not true?"

"Total fiction, far as we can tell. She claims that she's from a place called Breman, Indiana, but we've checked the books. No case like the one she describes happened anywhere near there."

Mike said nothing.

Scott Duncan looked up from his note taking. "She's smoking hot though."

"Oh, no doubt," LeCrue agreed. "A fine first-class honey."

"A man can get stupid with a woman who looks like that."

"Sure can, Scott. That's her MO too. Gets a sexual hold on a guy. Not that I'd mind being that guy for a little while, you know what I'm saying, Doc?"

"I'm sorry, I don't."

"You gay?"

Mike tried not to roll his eyes. "Yes, fine, I'm gay. Can we move on with this?"

"She uses men, Doc. Not just the dumb kids. Smarter men. Older men."

He stopped and waited. Mike looked at Duncan and then back at LeCrue. "Is this the part where I gasp and suddenly realize that you're talking about me?"

"Now why would we think something like that?"

"I assume you're about to say."

"I mean, after all"-LeCrue spread his hands like a first-year drama major-"you just said you never even met her until today. Isn't that right?"

"That's right."

"And we totally believe you. So let me ask you something else. How's work? I mean, at the hospital."

Mike sighed. "Let's pretend I'm thrown by your sudden change in subjects. Look, I don't know what you think I've done. I assume it has something to do with this Club Jaguar, not because I did something but because you'd have to be a moron to not realize it. Normally, again, I would wait for my lawyer or at least my wife, the lawyer, to show up. But as I've repeated several times, my son is missing. So let's cut the nonsense. Tell me what you need to know so I can get back to finding him."

LeCrue arched an eyebrow. "It turns me on when a suspect talks all manly like that. It turn you on, Scott?"

"My nipples," Scott said with a nod. "They're hardening as we speak."

"Now before we get too gooey, I just have a few more questions and then we can end this. Do you have a patient named William Brannum?"

Again Mike wondered what to do and again sided for cooperation.

"Not that I can recall."

"You don't remember the name of every patient?"

"That name doesn't ring any bells, but he might be seen by my practice partner or something."

"That would be Ilene Goldfarb?"

They knew their stuff, Mike thought. "Yes, that's correct."

"We asked her. She doesn't remember him."

Mike didn't blurt out the obvious, What, you talked to her?He tried to keep still. They had talked to Ilene already. What the hell was going on here?

The grin was back on LeCrue's face. "Ready to take it to the next entrepreneurial level, Dr. Baye?"


"Good. Let me show you something."

He turned back to Duncan. Duncan handed him a manila folder. LeCrue put the unlit cigarette in his mouth, reached in with tobacco-stained fingernails. He plucked out a sheet of paper and slid it across the table toward Mike.

"Does this look familiar?"

Mike looked down at the sheet of paper. It was a photocopy of a prescription. On the top were printed out his name and Ilene's. It had their address up at NewYork-Presbyterian and their license number. A prescription for OxyContin had been written out to William Brannum.

It had been signed by Dr. Michael Baye.

"Does it look familiar to you?"

Mike made himself stay silent.

"Because Dr. Goldfarb says it isn't hers and she doesn't know the patient."

He slid another piece of paper. Another prescription. This time for Xanax. Also signed by Dr. Michael Baye. Then another.

"Any of these names ringing a bell?"

Mike did not speak.

"Oh, this one is interesting. You want to know why?"

Mike looked up at him.

"Because it is made out to Carson Bledsoe. Do you know who that is?"

Mike thought that maybe he did, but he still said, "Should I?"

"That's the name of the kid with the broken nose you were jawing at when we picked you up."

The next entrepreneurial step, Mike thought. Get your hooks into a doctor's kid. Steal prescription pads and write them yourself.

"Now at best-I mean, if everything breaks your way and the gods are smiling in your direction-you will only lose your medical license and never practice again. That's best-case scenario. You stop being an M.D."

Now Mike knew to shut up.

"See, we've been working this case for a long time. We've been watching Club Jaguar. We know what's going on. We could arrest a bunch of rich kids, but again if you don't cut off the head, what's the point? Last night we got tipped off about some big meeting. That's the problem with this particular entrepreneurial step: You need mid- dlemen. Organized crime is making serious inroads into this market. They can make as much from OxyContin as cocaine, maybe more. So anyway, we're watching. Then last night things started going wrong over there. You, the doctor of record, show up. You get assaulted. And then today you pop up again and wreak havoc. So our fear-the DEA's and U.S. Attorney's Office-is that the whole Club Jaguar enterprise will fold its tent and we'll be left with nothing. So we need to crack down now."

"I have nothing to say."

"Sure you do."

"I'm waiting for my attorney."

"You don't want to play it that way because we don't think you wrote those. See, we also got some legitimate prescriptions you've written. We tried to match the handwriting. It isn't yours. So that means you either gave your prescription pads to someone else-a big-time felony-or someone stole them from you."

"I got nothing to say."

"You can't protect him, Doc. You all think you can. Parents try all the time. But not this way. Every doctor I know keeps pads at home. Just in case he needs to write a prescription from there. It is easy to steal drugs from the medicine cabinet. It is probably even easier to steal prescription pads."

Mike stood. "I'm leaving now."

"Like hell you are. Your son is one of those rich kids we talked about, but this graduates him to the big time. He can be charged with conspiracy and distribution of a schedule two narcotic for starters. That's serious jail time-max of twenty years in federal prison. But we don't want your son. We want Rosemary McDevitt. We can cut a deal."

"I'm waiting for my lawyer," Mike said.

"Perfect," LeCrue said. "Because your charming attorney has just arrived."