Grab, стр. 1

Grab

( Letty Dobesh Mystery - 3 ) Blake Crouch

Letty Dobesh: thief, junkie, pick-pocket, felon. But now, for the first time in ages, she's also clean and sober, just out of rehab, and on a cross-country trip to reunite with her estranged little boy. 

Enter psychotic mercenary Isaiah Brown with a proposal that scratches at her oldest itch, something Letty has dreamed of all her life—the ultimate Vegas score. An ingenious plan to take down a casino that might actually work. 

All that's standing between Letty and an inconceivable pile of money is the pick-pocket of a lifetime. One risky, impossible grab. Pull it off, and retire. But mess things up, and Letty Dobesh will lose everything she holds dear, including her life.

Grab

a Letty Dobesh thriller

by BLAKE CROUCH

1

Letty Dobesh reached to freshen up a trucker's coffee from behind the counter. His name was Dale or Dan or Dave—something that started with a D. He was a regular. A creepy regular. Came into the diner several times a week. Tall, lanky, never-tipping guy who always wore a red down vest and a John Deere mesh hat.

As Letty filled his mug, he grinned, said, "Know what would look good on you?"

This should be good.

"No, what's that?" she asked without risking eye contact.

"Me."

Now she did meet his eyes. They were small and brown and contained a volatile energy that she recognized—he was a hitter.

"That's beautiful," she said. "You should write Hallmark cards."

The man laughed like he wasn't sure if he'd been insulted.

Her manager called her name from the grill.

"Be there in a sec!" she said.

"No, Letisha. Not in a sec. Now."

She set the pot of coffee back on the warmer and wiped her hands off on her apron. An image blindsided her: Letty at seventy, hobbling around the diner on arthritic feet, hands like claws from a lifetime of this.

The manager was a short, sweaty, unpleasant man. He wore black jeans, black sneakers, and a white Oxford shirt with a hideous Scooby-Doo tie. Same outfit always. As she approached, she saw that he held a wire brush in his right hand.

"Good morning, Lloyd."

"Bathrooms. They're disgusting. You were supposed to clean them yesterday."

"Lloyd, I haven't had a chance—"

He shoved the wire brush into her hand. "With a smile."

"I'm smiling on the inside."

# # #

Letty scrubbed furiously at a beard of dried shit affixed to the inside of the toilet.

The noise of the jukebox was indistinct through the concrete walls, but a new refrain had taken up residence in her head.

This is my life.

This is my life.

This is my beautiful life.

When the toilet bowl was pristine, she stood looking out of the small window behind the sink. The view was down Ocean Boulevard. Vacation cottages and high rises all oriented east toward the sea.

There were bars over this small window, and Letty somehow found it fitting. She'd been out of prison now almost ten months, had been clean for half a year, but she hardly felt free.

She was thirty-six years old and she had just worked herself into a sweat cleaning a toilet in a diner.

Bad as prison was, the walls that had kept her in her cell and in the yard had never screamed hopelessness as loud as the barred window in this tiny bathroom. In prison, there was always something to look forward to. The promise of release, and beyond, the possibility of a Life Different.

She felt a sudden, irresistible urge to get high.

You don't do that anymore.

Why?

For Jacob.

She needed to distract herself. If she was back at the halfway house across the sound, she'd either jump in the shower or go for a run. Do something to break that death spiral thought pattern. Here at work, she could just plug herself into serving the customers. Her therapist, Christian, would tell her to challenge the thought to use. To stop, take a moment, and analyze the error in it.

Where is the error? I feel bad. Getting high will make me feel good. Doesn't get much simpler than that.

But it's not that simple, Letty. Because you won't use once. If you start, you will use until you're broke or dead or back in prison.

A layer of tears fluttered over the surface of her eyes.

There was a knock at the door.

"Just a minute!"

She wiped them away. Smoothed her blue and white dress. Pulled herself together.

Lifting the cleaning supplies, she opened the door.

The trucker in the John Deere hat stood in the alcove that accessed the men's and women's restrooms.

"All yours," she said.

He crowded into the doorway.

"Letisha, right?"

"That's right."

"Wanna earn your tip? How's about we go back in there for a spell?"

Letty pushed up against his scrawny, fetid frame. Reaching down, she grabbed his groin and pulled him toward her.

He said, "Oh hell yeah."

Bulge in the vest. Left side. Wallet.

With their lips an inch apart, Letty smiled. She released his manhood and drove her knee straight up into his balls at the same instant her right hand slid inside his vest, fingers diving into the pocket. She snatched the wallet as he keeled over onto the floor. Would've hit him again but Lloyd had appeared at the end of the hallway that opened into the diner, his face twisted up with rage.

"You junkie whore. I didn't have to give a convicted felon a job."

"He was trying to—"

"I don't care. You're fired. Get out."

Letty ripped off her apron and dropped it on the floor beside the moaning trucker who'd gone fetal in the corner.

# # #

She rode the bus into Charleston. Sat in the back going through the trucker's wallet. His name wasn't Dale, Dan, or Dave. It was Donald, and for a cheapskate, he carried around fat stacks—$420 in cash and three credit cards.

She whipped out her jailbroken iPhone which she'd retrofitted with a wireless card-reader. Started scanning Donald's Visa, Mastercard, and Amex, dumping sub-$100 deposits into shell accounts.

2

Letty put her hands behind her head and interlaced her fingers. She liked this couch. The leather was always warm. She liked the afternoon view through the open window in the back wall where the two blues met—sky and ocean. The air breezing through was tinged with salt and suntan lotion and the sweet rot of seaweed.

"You got fired?" Christian said. He was seated at his desk several feet away.

"This morning. I'm leaving town tonight. I've already cleared out my room at the halfway house. Won't miss that place."

"I thought we agreed it would be a good idea for you to hold down that job at least through Christmas."

"I'm done with this place."

"Where will you go?"

"Oregon."

"To see your son?"

"That's the plan."

"Do you feel you're ready for that? Ready to reenter Jacob's life on a permanent, reliable basis?"

"It's the only thing I'm living for, Christian."

"That means this is our last session."

"You've been great. The best part of my time here."

"Are you anxious?"

"About leaving?"

"It's a big deal."

"I know it is."

"How do you feel about it?"

"Ready."

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