"Look, beautiful, I don't care how you spend your time, but I've got a job to do, so take those gorgeous gams of yours and flake. And don't call me. When I have an answer I'll let you know." She gave me that pouty little-girl look that had suckered Junior and gotten Short Willie killed but quickly saw it was no dice. Motivated by my entreaty—and the heater I was loading with hollow points—she turned and left the way she came in, hips swinging like DiMaggio.
With little Miss Trouble out of the way, I got on the horn to the five-seven. My old pal Shaughnessy wasn't around and neither was Falco. I knew from past experience that I would get bupkes from the desk sergeant (besides his opinion of my mother and various impossible anatomical suggestions), so I hung up and hit the pavement, heading for the West Side.
It was getting dark by the time I reached the corner of Melbourne and Hicks, the usual place of business for Malcom Roswell. Known to friend and foe alike as “Spit,” Roswell was a small-time fence and full-time stoolie who would spill on Mother Teresa for the right price. How he managed to retain a physical presence on the planet was beyond a simple gumshoe like me, but this was one of those times in life I was grateful that some things didn’t make sense. Not seeing the canary of Collinwood, I found a recessed doorway nearby and settled in, figuring he was bound to show.
After cooling my heels for an hour, the lease on the coffee and bourbon I’d had for lunch expired. Spit seemed to be a no-show, so I ducked into the alley behind Hicks street to pay my water bill.
The alley had seemed deserted, but I thought I detected a shadowy movement in the evening fog. With the reassuring presence of a .45 auto in my shoulder holster, I crept forward along one graffiti-covered wall. As my eyes adjusted to the gloom, I discovered the source of the furtive movement—a furry, four-legged member of the order rodentia. He and several associates were busily tucking into the face and soft tissue of one recently deceased Malcom “Spit” Roswell. To avoid possible entanglements with the boys in blue, I departed the scene of metaphorical cannibalism with unseemly haste, and headed back to my office. Oh well, I told myself, look at the bright side, Blakey old boy: the world was becoming more rational by the minute.