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Now & Then: A Spenser Novel

"How come I got to mug her?" Hawk said.
"Sell the mugging," I said. "You're a big scary black guy. People expect to get mugged by big scary black guys."
"I too dignified-looking to be a mugger," Hawk said.
"It'll be dark," I said. "Besides, I don't want her to recognize me later."
"How about the guy? If he walks her to her car? What you want me to do with him."
"After the evening he has spent, would you get up and get dressed and walk down to the garage?
"Good point," Hawk said.
"And she's not going to raise a ruckus either," I said. She's not supposed to be here."
"Okay," Hawk said.
Hawk pulled the car up to the corner and turned off the lights. "Don't want her copping the plate numbers," he said.
Hawk turned the collar up on his leather trench coat and got out into the downpour. He walked down the street away from me and turned into the garage. I punched the radio on.
"Until tomorrow," Perry's voice was saying.
"Yes," Jordan said.
There was silence.
Then Jordan said, "I love you."
"I love you too, my friend," Perry said. "I love you very, very much."
Too many verys, I thought. Insincere. The door closed. She walked to the elevator.
It went down. She got out. I could hear her heels on the concrete floor of the garage. Then I heard her stop.
"I'll take the bag," Hawk said.
"Don't hurt me," she said. "You can have the bag. I won't give you any trouble. Just don't hurt me."
"Car keys in the bag?"
"Yes. Take the car if you want."
I heard Hawk rummage in the bag. His hand an inch from the transmitter.
"You take the keys," he said.
I heard him walk away from her. In another moment he was out on the street. In another couple of moments he was in the car, the rain glistening on his shaven head. He plonked the bag in my lap, fastened his seat belt, and we drove away.
Then I shut off the radio, took the bug out, and switched it off. I put the bug and the tape recorder in a gym bag in the back seat.
"Easy," Hawk said.
"Thinking of taking it up?" I said. "Some sort of regular basis?"
I took Jordan's wallet out of her bag. There were two twenties, a driver's license, a Concord College ID, and some credit cards.
"Augment my income," Hawk said.
"You gave her back her car keys," I said.
"Gentleman Mugger," Hawk said.
There was a small emergency makeup kit in the bag, a small blue notebook, two ballpoint pens, an emery board, a packet of Kleenex, and a pair of reading glasses. The notebook was devoid of notes.
"Want to split the forty dollars?" I said.
"Split, hell," Hawk said. "I done all the mugging."
I handed him the two twenties.
"Fair's fair," I said.

Excerpted from NOW & THEN: A Spenser Novel © Copyright 2011 by Robert B. Parker. Reprinted with permission by Putnam. All rights reserved.

Now & Then: A Spenser Novel
by by Robert B. Parker

  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0399154418
  • ISBN-13: 9780399154416