Ah the first think of the morning, when the mind’s just emerging from the fog of booze and disjointed dreams and has started taking stock of reality.
Shell burn, that’s what I notice first. Some hired goon fired off a couple of rounds; I barely avoided the first one. Just managed to flit round a corner as the shell disintegrated some of the masonry but not before it lightly skipped across my thigh, leaving a red welt on my skin and a stink of burnt gunpowder which still hasn’t left my nostrils.
His trigger happy demeanour wasn’t the result of childhood emotional baggage; the dame he’d been escorting was somebody important. Now I came to think of it she was a dead ringer for some gangster’s moll I’d seen in the papers a while back, even down to the way she pouted while she sucked on the end of a candy nova cane.
Eva – that was her name. Eva Perot. A singer at the Kitty Kat Club down on South Side, voice that sounded like the only genuine orgasm your old lady ever had. She was beautiful too, those eyes, those lips, they could lead a man all the way to bed…
…or to his grave. Nick Moretti was the jealous type, and he’d put better men than me under the ground for less. There again Nick was dead, shot up in a gunfight two years ago with enough holes to turn him into Swiss cheese. She’d disappeared, left town so they said.
Why was she back, and what did her bodyguard care if I happened to be walking down the same back alley?
I needed to find out. Stupid I know; asking questions would alert any connections she had and I might end up with worse than a weal next time I met her friends, but that was the problem with me. I could never let go after I caught the scent, and I smelt something fishy about that broad.
I couldn’t just go after her like that though; I wasn’t a cop after all, only a PI. I needed some legitimacy, I needed a client. I decided to pay old Ms Frederickson a visit. She’d hired me two years ago and she’d probably hire me again.
Eva had made moves on Fredrickson’s nephew right before she’d left town, and since that nephew was her only living relative and heir to her fortune she’d taken an interest in Eva the singer, recognising her for the two-bit floosy that she was. Ms Fredrickson would be very interested to learn that Eva was back in town. Of course, this would necessitate about two hour’s car ride to her sprawling estate.
With herculean effort I raised the lead weight of my head off my pillow, swung my legs over the side of the mattress and sucked sour fuzz off my teeth, squinting at the bright sunlight shining through the slats of the window blinds.
Damn, this was going to be a long day.