The Dead Bin
by Gary Clifton
Chapter 38: Christmas in Summer
Equality: Whoever decided all men are created equal had not done all the research. Some folks need a little help getting equal.
On the way home, I cell-phoned my doctor’s office. A semi-literate clerk shuffled papers, then said tests of my aching gut were not “quite” finished. I told her I might be finished instead and rolled into my apartment, where I spent the night.
I made the Dead Bin offices by 7:30 the next morning. Harper and Maggs showed up shortly. The three of us conducted a skull session.
“Too late to pursue the smuggling connection of Crawford Liquors and Kuznov,” Maggs observed. “The principals are all dead.”
“We can arrest Stick for murdering the pimp, Buttercup,” Harper said. “I’d sorta figured he’d buried Lola somewhere, but now we know better. If we could find her...?”
Maggs leaned back in her chair. “He coulda learned a piggin’ loop. But, guys, this tying victims to a bed just don’t seem to be his style.”
I said, “Lotta kooks aren’t visible on the outside. We need to set up on Stick this afternoon, see where he goes. Maybe he’ll lead us to Lola. We have to absolutely, by God, find her.”
Maggs and Harper fell immediately to writing reports.
* * *
I retrieved the cash I’d found in Elgard’s shoe, walked to the men’s room and, in the relative privacy of a commode stall, heavily taped the cash inside an envelope with the name “Rosa Petrovic” inked across the front. I slipped out and drove to the sewing shop where Rosa Petrovic labored daily over a machine.
A seemingly normal citizen just happened to be walking past. I flashed a badge, told him I was with the C.I.A., handed him the taped envelope and ten dollars and told him the ten spot was his if he’d complete the patriotic duty of handing the envelope to the office manager. He took the ten, and I watched as he stepped in the front door, then exited. The freshly recruited spy then walked away.
I waited a block down for about two minutes. Rosa burst out the door waving the envelope and a handful of hundred-dollar bills, apparently searching for her anonymous benefactor. I eased away and hoped the cash would at least slightly soothe her pain.
* * *
Back in our basement paradise, we spent a couple hours shaping up an affidavit for a warrant for the arrest of Isaac “Stick” Terrell, charging him with the first-degree murder of Buttercup.
We decided to watch Stick with three vehicles for a spell before lowering the boom. We signed out five walkie-talkies, hoping three would work. Most undercover-type cars of the DPD had no radios. The same old Cutlass I’d used before, a Dodge van, and an old pickup were the only available surveillance units. I grabbed the Cutlass keys.
Then we’d bust his skinny ass for the murder of Buttercup, the pimp. Man, would Grifford get a rise out of that!
Copyright © 2017 by Gary Clifton