Home > Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22)(6)

Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22)(6)
Janet Evanovich

Lula drove through the campus and parked in front of the Zeta house. It was a large two-story building with peeling white paint and a ragged couch on the patchy front lawn. There was a sign over the door that originally said “Zeta” but the Z had mostly flaked off so it now read “eta.” The door had been propped open with a folding chair, and the smell of stale beer rushed out the open door.

“These Zeta people need a air freshener,” Lula said.

Two guys were slouched on a couch in a common area, watching SpongeBob on a big flat-screen television. I introduced myself and told them I was looking for Ken Globovic.

“Don’t know him,” the one guy said.

“He belongs to this fraternity,” I told him.

“Hunh,” the guy said. “Imagine that.” He elbowed the guy next to him. “Hey, Iggy, do you know someone named Ken Globovic?”

“Nuh-unh,” Iggy said.

“Cute,” Lula said. “How about I sit on you and see if that helps your memory?”

“Haw,” Iggy said. “You gonna lap dance me, momma?”

“No,” Lula said. “I’m gonna squash you like a bug. And before I squash you, I’m gonna let Stephanie here punch you in the face.”

I tried to look threatening, but honestly I wasn’t real big on punching people in the face. I bitch-slapped Joyce Barnhardt once. And I’d kicked a man in the knee last week, but he was armed, and he deserved to get kicked.

Iggy looked up at me. “What’s that thing on your face? Is that a pimple?”

“I’ve been under some stress lately,” I said.

“I can identify,” Iggy said. “You want a beer?”

“No, thank you,” I said.

Four more guys wandered over.

“These ladies are looking for someone named Ken Globovic,” Iggy said. “Any of you know him?”

“Who?”

“Not me.”

“Nope.”

“So you won’t mind if I poke around the house,” I said.

“Poke all you want,” Iggy said. “The Zetas have nothing to hide.”

“Yeah,” one of them said. “We’re happy to show you everything we got. You want to see what we got now?”

Lula leaned in. “You want to see what I got?”

They all thought about it for a beat, and shook their heads no.

“Globovic listed the Zeta house as his address,” I said. “Someone want to show me his room?”

They shuffled around and shrugged their shoulders.

“Guess we gotta go room by room then,” Lula said. “Just to make it official we might bring Stephanie’s ex-boyfriend with us. He’s a cop and you might have to worry about him finding some illegal weed and stuff.”

“Not necessary,” Iggy said, coming off the couch. “Follow me.”

Iggy led the way, Lula and I followed, and the remaining five guys followed Lula and me. We walked out of the room, up a wide winding staircase, and down a long hallway. There was a guy standing at attention in front of an open door. He was wearing a dress.

“Sirs,” he said as we passed.

“He’s a pledge,” Iggy said to Lula and me.

“Why’s he wearing a dress?” Lula asked.

“It part of our gender sensitivity training,” Iggy said.

“Yeah, but I might be offended by that because the color is all wrong for him and that dress got some wrinkles in it,” Lula said.

“Someone get a paddle and give that pledge a whack for having wrinkles in his dress,” Iggy said.

A guy peeled off the pack, and a moment later we heard whack!

“Ow!”

“He’s gonna have a welt,” Lula said. “He should have ironed his dress.”

I cut my eyes to her. “He would have been fine if you hadn’t said something.”

“Well, I just noticed, is all. You think I should tell him about lanolin?”

“No!”

Iggy stopped in front of a room and motioned us in. “Nobody home here,” Iggy said.

I methodically went through the room, looking in drawers, the closet, under the bed. Some of Globovic’s books and clothes were strewn about the room, but the toiletries had been removed from the bathroom. There wasn’t a smartphone lying out. No computer or tablet. It was clear Globovic wasn’t staying here, but I didn’t find a forwarding address.

“I don’t suppose anyone wants to tell me where I can find Globovic, or Gobbles, if that’s what you call him.”

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