Chapter 35

ROSEMARY McDevitt sat in her Club Jaguar office, her vest and tattoos now covered by a too-large gray sweatshirt. She swam in it, her hands disappearing into the long sleeves. It made her look smaller, less threatening and powerful, and Mike wondered if that was the point. She had coffee in front of her. Mike had one too.

"The cops put a wire on you?" she asked.


"You mind giving me your cell phone, just to be sure?"

Mike shrugged and tossed it to her. She turned it off and left it on the desk between them.

Her knees were up on the chair, again disappearing into the sweatshirt. Mo was outside, waiting in the car. He hadn't wanted Mike to do this, fearing a trap, but he also knew that they had no choice. This was the best lead they had on Adam.

Mike said, "I don't really care about what you're doing in there, except in how it relates to my son. Do you know where he is?"


"When did you last see him?"

She looked up at him with doe-brown eyes. He wasn't sure if he was being worked here or not, but it didn't much matter. He wanted answers. He could play the game back if that helped.

"Last night."

"Where exactly?"

"Downstairs at the club."

"He came here to party?"

Rosemary smiled. "I don't think so."

He let that go. "You talked to him by instant message, didn't you? You're CeeJay8115."

She did not reply.

"You told Adam to stay quiet and it'd be safe. He messaged you that he'd been approached by Spencer Hill's mother, right?"

Her knees were still up on the chair. She wrapped her arms around them. "How would you know so much about his private messages, Dr. Baye?"

"That's not your concern."

"How did you follow him to Club Jaguar last night?"

Mike said nothing.

"Are you sure you want to travel down this road?" she asked.

"I don't think I have a choice."

She glanced over his shoulder. Mike turned around. Carson with the broken nose was glaring through the glass. Mike met his eyes and calmly waited. A few seconds later, Carson broke eye contact and hurried away.

"They're just boys," Mike said.

"No, they're not."

He let it drop. "Talk to me."

Rosemary settled back. "Let's speak in hypotheticals, okay?"

"If that's what you want."

"That's what I want. Let's say you're a girl from a small town. Your brother dies of a drug overdose."

"Not according to the police. They say there is no evidence any of that happened."

She smirked. "The feds told you that?"

"They said they can't find anything to back up the claim."

"I changed some of the facts, that's why."

"Which facts?"

"Name of the town, name of the state."


"Major reason? On the night my brother died, I was arrested for possession with intent to sell." She met his eye. "That's right. I gave my brother the drugs. I was his supplier. I leave that part out of the story. People tend to judge."

"Go on."

"So I formed Club Jaguar. I already told you my philosophy. I wanted to create a safe haven where kids could party and let loose. I wanted to channel their natural inclination to rebel in a protected way."


"So it started that way. I busted my butt and raised enough money to get it off the ground. We opened this place in a year. You can't imagine how difficult that was."

"I can, but I really don't need to hear about it. How about fast-forwarding to the part where you started holding pharm parties and stealing prescription pads?"

She smiled and shook her head. "It's not like that."


"I read in the paper today about a widow who did volunteer work for her local parish. Over the last five years she's skimmed twenty-eight thousand dollars from the tithing basket. Did you see that?"


"But you've heard of others, right? Dozen of cases like that. The guy who works for the charity and siphons off money to buy himself a Lexus-do you think one day he just woke up and decided to do that?"

"I don't really know."

"That church lady. You know what I bet happened? One day she's counting out the money in the tithing basket and she stays late and maybe her car is broken down and she can't get home. It's getting dark. So maybe she calls the taxi company and figures, well, she volunteers all this time and the church should pay for it. She doesn't ask. She grabs five bucks out of the basket. That's all. She's more than owed it. That's how this stuff starts, I think. It's an incremental thing. You see all these decent people getting arrested for embezzling from schools or churches or charities. They start small and move so slow it's like watching clocks-they don't even see. They don't think they're doing anything wrong."

"And that's what happened with Club Jaguar?"

"I thought that teens wanted to party in a social way. But it was like the midnight basketball program. They wanted to party, yes, but with booze and drugs. You can't create a place to rebel. You can't make it safe and drug-free because that's the whole purpose-they don't want it safe."

"Your concept failed," Mike said.

"No one showed-or if they did, they didn't stay. We were labeled as lame. We were viewed like one of those evangelical groups that make you take a virginity pledge."

"So I don't get what happened next," Mike said. "You just started letting them bring in their own drugs?"

"It wasn't like that. They just did. I didn't even know about it at first, but in a way it made sense. Incremental, remember? One or two kids brought some prescription drugs from home. Nothing too heavy-duty. And we aren't talking cocaine or heroin here. These were FDA-approved medicines."

"Bull," Mike said.


"These are drugs. Hard-core drugs, in many cases. There's a reason you need a prescription to get them."

She made a scoffing noise. "Well, sure, a doctor would say that, wouldn't he? Without you being the arbiter of who gets what medicine, your business is dead-and you've already lost a lot of money to Medicare and Medicaid and all the squeezing from insurance companies."

"That's crap."

"Maybe it is in your case. But not every doctor is as caring as you are."

"You're justifying a crime."

Rosemary shrugged. "You could be right. But that was how it started-a few teens bringing in some pills from home. Medicine, when you think about. Prescribed and legal. When I first heard about it, I was upset and then I saw how many kids we were attracting. They were going to do it anyway and I was giving them a safe place. I even hired a medical practitioner. She worked at the club just in case something went wrong. Don't you see? I was getting them in the doors. They were better off here than somewhere else. I had programs too-so they could talk out their problems. You saw the flyers about counseling. Some of the kids signed up for those. We were doing more good than harm."

Mike said, "Incremental."


"So naturally you still need to make money," he said. "You find out how much these drugs are worth on the street. So you start asking for a cut."

"For the house. For expenses. I hired the medical professional, for example."

"Like the church lady needing taxi money."

Rosemary smiled, though there was no joy in it. "Yes."

"And then Adam walked in the door. The son of a doctor."

It was like the cops told him. Entrepreneurial. He didn't care about her reasons really. She may be handing him a line or maybe not. It didn't much matter. She had a point about how people slip-slide into trouble. That church lady probably didn't volunteer her time in order to start skimming money. It just starts to happen. It happened in their town Little League a couple of years ago. It happened with school boards and the local mayor's office, and every time you hear it you can't believe it. You know these people. They aren't evil. Or are they? Is it circumstances that make them do it-or is it more this self-denial that Rosemary was describing?

"What happened to Spencer Hill?" Mike asked.

"He committed suicide."

Mike shook his head.

"I'm telling you what I know," she said.

"Then why should Adam-as you put in your IM-need to keep quiet about that?"

"Spencer Hill killed himself."

Mike shook his head again. "He overdosed here, didn't he?"


"It's the only thing that makes sense. It is why Adam and his friends needed to keep quiet. They were afraid. I don't know what sort of pressure you applied. Maybe you reminded them that they'd be arrested too. This is why they all feel guilty. This is why Adam can't stand himself anymore. He was with Spencer that night. Not only was he with him, but he helped move the body to that rooftop."

A small smile curled her lips. "You really don't have a clue, do you, Dr. Baye?"

He didn't like the way she said that. "So tell me then."

Rosemary still had her legs up and under her sweatshirt. It was such a teenage move; it gave her an air of youth and innocence that he knew was undeserved. "You don't know your son at all, do you?"

"I used to."

"No, you didn't. You think you did. But you're his dad. You're not supposed to know all. They're supposed to break away. When I said you don't know him, I actually meant it as a good thing."

"I'm not following."

"You put a GPS in his phone. That was how you found out where he was. You clearly monitor his computer and read his communications. You probably think it helps, but actually it stifles. A parent isn't supposed to know what their kid is up to all the time."

"Give them room to rebel, is that it?"

"In part, yes."

Mike sat up. "If I had known about you earlier, maybe I could have stopped him."

"Do you really think that?" Rosemary tilted her head as though genuinely interested in his response. When he said nothing, she continued, "Is that your plan for the future? Monitoring your children's every move?"

"Do me a favor, Rosemary. Don't worry about my child-rearing plans, okay?"

She looked at him carefully. She pointed to the bruise on his forehead. "I'm sorry about that."

"Did you sic those goths on me?"

"No. I didn't know about that until this morning."

"Who told you?"

"It's not important. Last night, your son was here and it was a sensitive situation. And then, wham, you showed up. DJ Huff saw you following him. He called and Carson answered."

"He and his buddies tried to kill me."

"And they probably would have. Still think they're just boys?"

"A bouncer saved me."

"No. A bouncer found you."

"What do you mean by that?"

She shook her head. "When I learned they attacked you and the police came by... it was something of a wake-up call. Now I just want to find a way to end this."


"I'm not sure, but that's why I wanted us to meet. To come up with a plan."

He saw it now-why she was so willing to share all this with him. She knew that the feds were closing in, that now was the time to cash in her chips and leave the table. She wanted help and figured a scared father would fall into line.

"I got a plan," he said. "We go to the feds and tell them the truth."

She shook her head. "That might not be best for your son."

"He's a minor."

"Still. We are all in this mess together. We need to find a way to make it go away."

"You were providing illegal drugs to minors."

"Not true, as I just explained. They may have used my facility for the purposes of exchanging prescribed medicines. That's all you can maybe prove. You can't prove I knew about it."

"And the stolen prescription scripts?"

She arched an eyebrow. "You think I stole them?"


She met his eye. "Do I have access to your home or office, Dr. Baye?"

"The feds have been watching you. They've been building a case. Do you think those little goths will stand up to the threat of jail time?"

"They love this place. They almost killed you to protect it."

"Please. Once they get into an interrogation room, they'll fold."

"There are other considerations too."

"Like what?"

"Like who do you think distributed the medications out on the streets? Do you really want your son testifying against those kinds of people?"

Mike wanted to reach across the table and wring her neck. "What did you get my son into, Rosemary?"

"It's what we have to get him out of. That's what you need to concentrate on. We need to make this go away-for my sake, yes, but for your son's even more."

Mike reached for his cell phone. "I don't know what else there is to say."

"You have a lawyer, right?"


"Don't do anything until you let me talk to him, okay? There is so much at stake. You have other kids to worry about-your son's friends."

"I don't care about other kids. Only mine."

He flipped on the phone and it immediately rang. Mike checked the caller ID. It read a number he didn't recognize. He put the phone to his ear.


His heart stopped.

"Adam? Are you okay? Where are you?"

"Are you in Club Jaguar?"


"Get out. I'm on the street heading toward you. Please get out of there right now."