"You're kidding."

"Well, not enough for you to hire a lawyer and start giving away your assets. They know you were the last person seen with Michael, but the accident was just that. It was an accident."

"What about the brakes?"

John shrugged.

"How did they explain that?"

A loud pop sounded from somewhere down the beach. For a second, John's heart stopped. He thought another bullet ripped through the wall. He shook off the paranoia and continued, "they didn't say."

Her face was a wash in confusion.

"He didn't mention it and neither did I. Now I don't know if my old friend was sandbagging."

She took a sip from her can of Pepsi. "You guys always play these games with each other?"

"I was thinking that if I were to tell him, he might want to know how I know."


"Then you'd have to reveal some kind of a source."

"That and admit that I've been checking behind him. Checking behind a detective is one thing, but finding something is another."

She sat for a minute, crossed and re-crossed her legs. "What do we do now?"

"I need you to tell me a little bit about your new manager. His name is Taylor? Hank Taylor?" John asked, reaching for something to write with.

"That's right," she said.

"Brad has just told me that Taylor Time Entertainment has just purchased one of Michael's studios. It's not official, but I believe him."

"That's his company all right. Well, him and his family own and run it from somewhere up north."

John was writing. "Pennsylvania," he added.

"That's right. They've always felt that Michael had a lock on this region and that a lot of good talent was being swallowed up by him when some other management group could have been given a fair shot."

"Some other group being Taylor Time?"

"I guess so."

"How did you get signed with him when you were still with Michael?" John asked. He had the end of a ballpoint pen between his front teeth.

"Actually, I signed with Taylor right after Michael's death. Michael told me about them, though. He warned me to look out for them and that they would probably approach me when word got around about my deal in Nashville. He sort of talked me into signing with them in a round about way. I hate it all had to play out the way it did."

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