as a dishwasher and her-oin tester. He was one of many confidential infor-
mants that Vaughn kept
and cultivated around the
city. The ballistics report
had determined thatthe slugs retrieved from
Odum’s apartment came
from a .22, a weapon
favored by assassins.
“The suspect is Robert
Lee Jones, correct?”Vaughn nodded.“Street name Red.We just need toput the brace-lets on him.We’re close.”
“I’ve beentryin to gethold of you.
You take your
“I’m more com-fortable in my own
“It has a two-way in it,
“Yes, sir,” said
Vaughn. “But some-
times I forget andleave it off.” Truthwas, he didn’t like
to be bothered with theconstant crackle of the radio while he was doing his job. The
talk over the police frequency almost never had a thing to
do with him.Harp drew a pencil from a leather cup and tapped it on
his desk. “Your boy Red and his partner robbed Sylves-
ter Ward in his own house. Happened early this morning.Y’know that?”
“First I heard of it,” said Vaughn. He was intrigued, but he
tried not to let his emotions play out on his face.“Know who Ward is?”
“That would be Two-Tone Ward. The numbers man. He
controls the policy racket in the city.”
“Correct. He reported the crime soon as it happened. But
Ward didn’t call the MPD. He called his city councilman.
And the mayor, for all I know. And then
got the calls. More
than one. Matter of fact, these politicians have been up myass all day. They want to know when we’re gonna get this
joker off the street.”
“I’m sorry about the trouble it caused you, sir. If you
want me to explain the progress of my case to any of those
“Yes, sir.” Vaughn smiled, displaying his widely spaced,crooked teeth. The younger cops called him Hound Dog,
claiming he looked like that big dog in the cartoons, the one
with the scary choppers and the spiked collar. Vaughn pre-
ferred to think of himself as a less pretty Mitchum. Or Sinatra
on the cover of that record
No One Cares,
seated at the bar in
raincoat and fedora, staring into his rocks glass. Not too gonefor 52 years old anyway. He smoothed out the brim of his hat.
“It’s unusual for a guy like Ward to call the authorities, evenafter he’s been victimized. I mean, there’s a code.”
“They broke it. Red and his partner beat Ward like an ani-
mal before they left his house. From what I hear, Ward wasn’t
even resisting.”“Sounds like
“Red Jonesisn’t looking
forward to retire-
ment or old age,
lieutenant. He’s living
for this summer. Today.
People all over the city are
talking about him. The noto-
riety pours gasoline on his fire.
That’s what he wants. He’s
building his own myth.”
Harp slipped the pencil back
into its cup. He relaxed his shoul-
ders and sat back in his chair.
“Bring the motherfucker in.”“Bet on it,” said Vaughn.
“And keep your radio
Walking out of theoffices, Vaughn put hishand in his pocket and
touched a slip of paper. It
was the message from Mar-
Vaughn bought a ticket at the
Lincoln box office and went
through the lobby to the audito-
rium. The 5:30 show was about
Buck and the Preacher
had been held over, but first the projectionist was running a
reel of trailers for the current features playing at other Dis-
trict Theaters, a chain whose bookers programmed films for black audiences in black neighborhoods. Vaughn let his eyesadjust and watched the promo for
The Legend of Nigger Char-lie,
currently running down at the Booker T.
How the West Was
thought Vaughn as he spotted Martina in one of
the middle rows and made his way to a seat beside him.
“Just got your message, baby,” said Vaughn, leaning close to
Martina so he could keep his voice low and still be heard.“You weren’t followed or nothin, were you?” Martina waswearing a dress, heels and red lipstick.“No. This about Red Jones? ’Cause I already know aboutthe Sylvester Ward robbery.”“That’s not why I called you.”
“I gotta find Red. Get me his location and I’ll make it worth
“Money,” said Martina huskily, with a dismissive wave of his hand. “Cash ain’t gonna do nothing for me, unless you
got a lot
it.”“Tell me what’s going on.”
In the light coming from the screen, Martina’s features
were angular, masculine and troubled.“Tell me,” said Vaughn.
“Hitter name of Clarence Bowman came into the diner
earlier today. Was talkin to Gina Marie.”“I know Gina.”“Many do. Bowman had Gina Marie call some woman up
on the phone and ask her when her man was gonna be hometonight. I had the impression that Bowman was about to put
work in. The contractor had to be his runnin boy, Red.”“
man?”“A prosecutor. Cotch-somethin.”“Cochnar?”
(continued on page 000)