“Ms Abrams will take care of your fees, just drop by her desk on your way out” said Meyer as he stood up from behind his desk and strolled to the glass wall of a window looking out over the city.
“Sure thing Mr Meyer” I replied as I picked up my hat and stood up.
“Just one more thing before you go, Mr Devine” he said, before turning back to face me.
“I want this matter to be resolved as quickly as possible. To expedite our affairs I have therefore taken the liberty of appointing another private detective to assist you. You may have heard of him. His name is Berthold Kowalski.”
I felt my hackles rise and blood rush to my face. I paused for a moment, breathed. “Kowalski? You hired that no good bum? With all due respect Mr Meyer, he’ll just get in the way.”
“I’m aware that you’ve had your differences, but he does have some connections which you do not and which may be of use to us. I trust you can work together?”
Oh Kowalski had connections all right. That no good rat had connections with all the scum in this sewer of a town. I cocked an eyebrow and tipped my hat to Meyer, turned around and sauntered out of the office.
I stewed over Meyer’s words as I rode the elevator to the ground floor. Kowalski and I hadn’t parted on good terms last time we met; after all, it had been every man for himself during the internal detective wars which had brought the force to its knees.
Besides, I never liked the way he worked. He’d settle for intangible proof, a whisper in the wind; I needed hard evidence. He’d hang around the hardest, meanest, dirtiest places in town waiting for a clue to be revealed as if illuminated by the beam of a cosmic lighthouse; I was the flatfoot walking the streets, asking questions and taking names.
Damn that shylock lawyer. He knew something I didn’t, in fact he probably knew a lot of things I didn’t. He also knew I needed this job, badly, and that meant he had me over a barrel.
The elevator clunked to the ground floor and a bell pinged as the operator reached out and slid the cage doors open. No sooner had I taken a few echoing steps onto the marble tiled floor of the gleaming reception hall than I heard Kowalski’s greasy toad voice, and my heart sank.
“Devine! Fancy meeting you here!”