The usual panic reaction: as if electrocuted, my body stiffened in the back of the cab, hands plunging farther into my pockets, down to the domain of lint and pennies.
But the marvelous Finnish phone didn't magically reappear down there in the fluff. It was gone.
"You dropped it?"
"Yeah." I remembered scrambling in the dark, using my hands to claw myself up the stairs. I'd never put it back into my pocket.
"Damn. I was hoping you got a picture of that guy."
I looked at Jen in disbelief. "Not quite. I was more focused on the running away."
"Well, sure. The running away was a priority." She grinned. "The running away was cool."
My face may have indicated disagreement.
"Come on, Hunter. You don't mind a little running, do you?"
"I don't mind running, Jen. I do mind running for my life. Next time we break into some place, let's just—"
"What? Take a vote first?"
I took a deep breath, letting the sway of the taxi calm me.
"Let's just not." Then another groan. "I had a picture of the shoes."
"Damn," she agreed.
We were silent for a moment, thinking of that perfect balance of understated style, slow-burning desirability, and coffee-spitting, jaw-dropping eye candy that was the shoes.
"They can't be as good as we remember," I said.
"Nice try. They were."
"Crap." I checked my pockets again. Still empty. "No phone, no shoes, no Mandy. This is a total disaster."
"Not quite, Hunter."
Jen held up what looked like my phone, except it was the wrong color.
Of course. It was Mandy's. She had the same model as I did (but with the red translucent clip-on cover). She was a fierce Early Adopter, and, like me, she used the phone for business. Just the day before, I'd phoned her my picture of Jen's shoelaces.
"Well, that's something."
Jen nodded. There's a lot you can find out from someone's phone.
She began to poke her way through the menu, squinting at the glowing screen. The little beeps gave me a creepy feeling, like going through someone's pockets.
"Shouldn't we call the police or something?"
"And tell them what?" Jen said. "That Mandy missed an appointment? Don't you watch cop shows? She's an adult. She can't be a missing person for twenty-four hours."
"But we found her phone. Isn't that suspicious?"
"Maybe she dropped it."
"But what about the guy who chased us? What about the shoes?"
"Yeah, we could tell the cops about that. About how we broke into an abandoned building and saw the world's most amazing shoes. And then a crazy bald guy appeared, and we ran away. That story should do wonders for our credibility."
I was silent for a moment, out of arguments but still not comfortable. "Jen, Mandy's my friend."
She turned to me, thought for a moment, then nodded.
"You're right. We should try the cops. But if they do listen to us, they'll take Mandy's phone away."
Jen turned back to the little screen. "Maybe she took some pictures."