loading...
Home > Shelter (Mickey Bolitar #1)(10)

Shelter (Mickey Bolitar #1)(10)
Author: Harlan Coben

Spoon fished out another key and opened the door. The school, I knew, had twelve guidance counselors. Each had a small private office within this larger office. Most of the doors were unlocked. We entered the first private office. It belonged to a young guidance counselor named Ms. Korty. Like most people, she had left her computer on for the night, settling for “standby” mode.

Spoon handed me the penlight and nodded for me to go ahead. I sat at her desk and started typing. As soon as I hit the keys, the following prompt popped up: USER NAME:

PASSWORD:

Damn! I hit the return key several times. Nothing. I sighed and looked back at Spoon. “Do you have a clue?”

“The user name is easy,” Spoon said. “It’s just her e-mail. Janice Korty, so it’s JKorty at the school dot e-d-u.”

“And the password?”

Spoon pushed the glasses up his nose. “That’s going to be a problem.”

I tried to think. “How about paper files?”

“They’re kept off-site. And if Ashley is a new student, she probably doesn’t even have one yet.”

I sat back, defeated. Then I let myself think about Ashley. My shoulders relaxed. I thought about the way she nervously played with a loose thread on her sweater. I thought about the way she smelled like wildflowers and when I kissed her, she tasted gently like berries. I know how corny this sounds, but I could kiss her all day and never get bored. Barf, right? I thought of the way she would look at me sometimes, like I was the only person in the universe, and then I thought that this girl, the one who looked at me like that, had just vanished without a good-bye.

It made no sense.

I had to think harder. Ms. Korty was young—the youngest guidance counselor at the school. Something about that triggered a thought. I turned to Spoon. “Who are some of the oldest guidance counselors?”

“Oldest? You mean, like age?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Humor me.”

“Mr. Betz,” Spoon said without hesitation. “He’s so old he teaches a class on Shakespeare because he knew him personally.”

I had seen Mr. Betz in the corridors. He used a walking stick and wore a bow tie. I thought about it—he could definitely be my man. “Which office is his?”

“Why?”

“Just show me, okay?”

When we got back into the hallway, Spoon pointed to the office in the far corner. As we headed toward it, I peered quickly into each office we passed, glancing at the computer monitors for Post-it Notes. No luck. Mr. Betz’s desk had antique-globe bookends and a matching pen holder with his name engraved on it. There was an old Swingline stapler and several Lucite awards.

I sat at his desk and turned on the computer. The same prompt came up: USER NAME:

PASSWORD:

Spoon looked at me and shrugged. “What did you expect?”

Exactly this. I opened the drawer on the right. Pens, pencils, paper clips, a box of matches, a pipe. I moved to the middle drawer. I looked inside, smiled, and said, “Bingo.”

“Huh?”

While it never pays to generalize, those who appear not to be the most computer literate often rely on keeping old-fashioned notes so that they don’t forget stuff like user names and passwords. There, on a classic three-by-five index card, Mr. Betz had written the following:

GLOBETHEATRE1599

If that wasn’t a password . . .

Spoon said, “Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre was originally built in 1599. It was destroyed by fire on June 29, 1613, and rebuilt in 1614 and closed in 1642. A modern reconstruction of it was opened in 1997.”

Terrific. Mr. Betz’s first name was Richard. I typed in the RBetz user name and typed GLOBETHEATRE1599 in as the password. I hit the return button and waited. A little hourglass spun for a second before a screen came up: WELCOME, RICHARD!

Spoon smiled and held up a palm. I high-fived him. I clicked the link for student files and then typed in the name: Kent, Ashley. When her photograph came up—the one we’d both taken for student IDs the first day of school—I felt a hand reach into my chest and squeeze my heart.

“Man,” Spoon said, “no wonder you want to find her.”

If you were creating a graphic dictionary and needed a definition of demure, you would use her expression in this picture. She looked pretty, sure, beautiful even, but what you really felt was that she was quiet and shy and somewhat uncomfortable posing. Something about it—something about her, really—called out to me.

Her file was brief. Her parents were listed as Patrick and Catherine Kent. Their home phone and address on Carmenta Terrace were there. I grabbed a pen from Mr. Betz’s holder and found a scrap of paper.

“Fingerprints,” Spoon said, pointing to the pen. “For that matter, your fingerprints are probably on his keyboard.”

I made a face. “You think they’re going to dust for prints?”

“They might.”

“Then I choose to live dangerously,” I said.

I jotted down the address and phone. I scanned the rest of the page. It said: TRANSCRIPT PENDING. I guess that meant that they didn’t have anything from her old school. There was a list of her current classes, but I already knew those. The rest of the screen was blank. I was tempted to check out my own file—just out of curiosity, I guess—but Spoon gave me a look to hurry. I carefully put the pen back in its place, pretended to wipe away all my prints, and followed Spoon out.

Once outside I checked my phone. Another voice mail from Uncle Myron. I ignored it. Darkness had fallen now. I looked up at the stars in the ink-black sky. It was a clear night.

“Do you know where Carmenta Terrace is?” I asked Spoon.

“Sure. It’s on my way home. Do you want me to take you?”

I said I did. And off we went.

Spoon was on my right, a good foot shorter than me. He watched his feet while he walked.

“In the morning,” Spoon said, “I’m making waffles.”

I smiled. “I know that one,” I said.

“You do?”

“Donkey to Shrek.”

“You play basketball,” Spoon said.

I couldn’t tell if it was a question or statement. I nodded. When you’re six-four, you get used to that question.

“Your name is Mickey Bolitar,” he said.

“Yep.”

“The name Myron Bolitar is all over the gym. He holds almost every basketball record at the school. Most points, most rebounds, most wins.”

As I knew only too well.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs 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
» Fixed series
Most Popular
» 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)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
» Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)
» Norse Mythology