This is the continuation of a story. You can read the rest here.
I find it odd that Dixon didn’t press for more information as to why his precious package worth a minimum of five large wasn’t delivered. He hardly reacted when I told him McGinty was out of the picture and he didn’t seem to care who I am as long as I have the package. I find that odd, but I find a lot of things odd, including clowns, commemorative plates and Dixon himself. If I paid money for a delivery that wasn’t made, you can bet I’d be on the horn tout suite with some rather pointed questions in a somewhat stern tone of voice, perhaps with some pounding of fists for effect. Odd.
So, the question–well, one of many–is, where is McGinty and where is the package? That’s about enough puzzlement for one day. Time to head back to the office. I’m hungry. I take another expensive cab ride. I’ve got to figure out alternate transportation soon, since I have a feeling my car won’t be fixed for a while.
A slight boy with shaggy black hair wearing Converse and a Ramones t-shirt removes his posterior from the corner of Bets’ desk when I walk in. “Hey, old man. I was just filling Betsy in on your farm boy.” A skateboard clatters to the floor as he rides it over to the couch and flops down.
Bets looks at me and shrugs her shoulders, which is her half-assed way of apologizing for Macky’s full-assed presence in my office, a practice normally frowned upon by the owner of this establishment, me. Slacky Macky drives me drunky.
Bets holds up two menus. I choose the Chinese one. She picks up the phone. I jerk my thumb at Slacky, “I’m not paying for his.” She simply says, “Lies,” and I know I’ve lost another fight. That makes our record something like a gajillion-zillion to one. I cherish that one though.
Macky is to Bets as Bets is to me; an assistant, protegé and general hanger-on. Macky attached himself to Bets like a pilot fish, and for some reason, she let him. He would do anything for her. I try not to be jealous; I don’t find it fair that in this master/grasshopper triangle we’ve got going on that she doesn’t get nearly as much attitude from him as I get from her. She wouldn’t do anything for me, at least not without grumbling about it and calling me many terrible names first.
“Well?” I sit at my desk and stare at Slacky in my best adult pose. All I really have over him is that I’m technically an adult and he technically isn’t, even though Bets insists that we’re the same age. But, I can legally drink and everything. Also, chest hair.
“Well, farm boy was up to no good, that’s what.”
“Shocking.” I say in my completely un-shocked voice, “How so?” I’m trying to make Macky’s head explode with my mind. I always fail at making heads explode with my mind, but one of these days, I’ll get it right.
“The story goes that farm boy’s squatting outside McGinty’s, keepin’ an eye out for… whatever, when he sees your thugs go in the bookstore…”
“Wait, why are they my thugs?”
He ignores me and continues, ”…He sees your thugs take your girl out and stuff her in the trunk. He grabs a cab and follows ’em, but they shake him. So, that’s when he gets the bright idea to come to us with some bullcrap story about ‘lerve’ and how she done run oft.”
I just love the way kids speak these days. Such mastery of lexicon… such je ne sais quoi.
“Oh, and he’s dead. Ba-boom!” Macky flaps his arms in a vaguely birdish way, but it’s more like a robot’s idea of how a bird would flap without ever having seen a bird. I hate this kid.
“You might have led with that news. Well, now, that is interesting. How do you know?”
“I heard they found a body. So, I go on over to Gower and see the pork tapin’ up their crime scene. Go up to the roof, snap a pic, zoom and boom. Your farm boy ain’t a-gonna farm no mo’. Wanna see?”
He pulls out his phone and rides it over to me on his skateboard before I can respond. It’s a picture of an alley from above. I zoom in and see that it’s farm boy alright, but he has definitely looked better. His body is all contorted in a way that looks very uncomfortable unless you’re dead and his face is bashed in, but those proportions are unmistakable. “So, not natural causes then. Where’d you get the story about the stake out?”
“Word on the street.”
“You can do better than that. Document your sources.”
“Psychic told me.”
“C’mon, Macky. Fists of business.” I do my best kung fu master impersonation to impress upon the youth that I will not take his nonsense for an answer.
“Fine. The cabbie’s a friend. He dropped him here hisself when the dude asked if he knew anyone who could maybe find the girl.” I am wholly impressed at my kung fu intimidation skills for getting Macky to produce an answer until I notice Bets giving him the knock-off-your-crap look she normally reserves for me. It’s nice to see it directed at someone else for a change.
“When did you see the crime scene?”
“Dunno. An hour or two.”
“Gower and what?”
“Good.” I pick up the phone.