Cucumber: Season 1 | Week's top | The Doctor Blake Mysteries
Home > Turtles All the Way Down(4)

Turtles All the Way Down(4)
Author: John Green

“This is what I was telling you about!” she said as the radio continued, “—one-hundred-thousand-dollar reward for information leading to the whereabouts of company CEO Russell Pickett. Pickett, who disappeared the night before a police raid on his home related to a fraud and bribery investigation, was last seen at his riverside compound on September eighth. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is encouraged to call the Indianapolis Police Department.”

“A hundred thousand dollars,” Daisy said. “And you know his kid.”

“Knew,” I said. For two summers, after fifth and sixth grades, Davis and I had gone to Sad Camp together, which is what we’d called Camp Spero, this place down in Brown County for kids with dead parents.

Aside from hanging out together at Sad Camp, Davis and I would also sometimes see each other during the school year, because he lived just down the river from me, but on the opposite bank. Mom and I lived on the side that sometimes flooded. The Picketts lived on the side with the stone-gabled walls that forced the rising water in our direction.

“He probably wouldn’t even remember me.”

“Everyone remembers you, Holmesy,” she said.

“That’s not—”

“It’s not a value judgment. I’m not saying you’re good or generous or kind or whatever. I’m just saying you’re memorable.”

“I haven’t seen him in years,” I said. But of course you don’t forget playdates at a mansion that contains a golf course, a pool with an island, and five waterslides. Davis was the closest thing to a proper celebrity I’d ever encountered.

“A hundred thousand dollars,” Daisy said again. We pulled onto I-465, the beltway that circumscribes Indianapolis. “I’m fixing Skee-Ball machines for eight forty an hour and there’s a hundred grand waiting for us.”

“I wouldn’t say waiting for us. Anyway, I have to read about the effects of smallpox on indigenous populations tonight, so I can’t really solve The Case of the Fugitive Billionaire.” I eased Harold up to highway speed. I never drove him faster than the speed limit. I loved him too much.

“Well, you know him better than I do, so to quote the infallible boys in the world’s greatest pop group, ‘You’re the One,’” which was this super-cheesy song I was way too old to love, but loved nonetheless.

“I want to disagree with you, but that is such a great song.”

“You’re. The. One. ‘You’re the one that I choose. The one I’ll never lose. You’re my forever. My stars. My sky. My air. It’s you.’”

We laughed, and I changed the radio station and thought it was over, but then Daisy started reading me an Indianapolis Star story from her phone. “‘Russell Pickett, the controversial CEO and founder of Pickett Engineering, wasn’t home when a search warrant was served by the Indianapolis police Friday morning, and he hasn’t been home since. Pickett’s lawyer, Simon Morris, says he has no information about Pickett’s whereabouts, and in a press conference today, Detective Dwight Allen said that no activity on Pickett’s credit cards or bank accounts has been noted since the evening before the raid.’ Blah-blah-blah . . . ‘Allen also asserted that aside from a camera at the front gate, there were no surveillance cameras on the property. A copy of a police report obtained by the Star says that Pickett was last seen Thursday evening by his sons, Davis and Noah.’ Blah-blah-blah . . . ‘estate just north of Thirty-Eighth Street, lots of lawsuits, supports the zoo,’ blah-blah-blah . . . ‘call the police if you know anything,’ blah-blah-blah. Wait, how are there no security cameras? What kind of billionaire doesn’t have security cameras?”

“The kind who doesn’t want his shady business recorded,” I said. As we drove, I kept turning the story over in my head. I knew some edge of it was jagged, but I couldn’t figure out which one, until I snagged a memory of eerie green coyotes with white eyes. “Wait, there was a camera. Not a security one, but Davis and his brother had a motion-capture camera in the woods by the river. It had, like, night vision, and it would snap a picture whenever something walked past—deer or coyotes or whatever.”

“Holmesy,” she said. “We have a lead.”

“And because of the camera at the front gate, he couldn’t have just driven off,” I said. “So either he climbs over his own wall, or else he walks through the woods down to the river and leaves from there, right?”

“Yes . . .”

“So he could’ve tripped that camera. I mean, it’s been a few years since I was there; maybe it’s gone.”

“And maybe it’s not!” Daisy said.

“Yeah. Maybe it’s not.”

“Exit here,” she said suddenly, and I did. I knew it was the wrong exit, but I took it anyway, and without Daisy even telling me to, I got in the right lane to drive back into the city, toward my house. Toward Davis’s house.

Daisy took out her phone and raised it to her ear. “Hey, Eric. It’s Daisy. Listen, I’m really sorry, but I’ve got the stomach flu. Could be norovirus.”

“. . .”

“Yeah, no problem. Sorry again.” She hung up, put her phone in her bag, and said, “If you even imply diarrhea, they tell you to stay home because they’re so scared of outbreaks. Right, okay, we’re doing this. You still got that canoe?”

THREE

YEARS BEFORE, Mom and I had sometimes paddled down the White River, past Davis’s house to the park behind the art museum. We’d beach the canoe and walk around for a bit, then paddle back home against the lazy current. But I hadn’t been down to the water in years. The White River is beautiful in the abstract—blue herons and geese and deer and all that stuff—but the actual water itself smells like human sewage. Actually, it doesn’t smell like human sewage; it smells of human sewage, because whenever it rains, the sewers overflow and the collective waste of Central Indiana dumps directly into the river.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
Most Popular
» Turtles All the Way Down
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)