OTHER BOOKS BY FRANK HICKEY The Honey Drippers Leroy Starched Collars Peeny Bubba and Jerry In Articulo Mortis All of Frank Hickey’s books are available through his publisher, Lulu Publishing, at: http://www.lulu.com/hickey




Missouri. 6 . Thanks are due to many friends and family. Louis. Any resemblance is entirely accidental and unintentional. public and private buildings and such are used herein without regard for accuracy – or whether in fact they even exist. of course. does exist and is fondly remembered by this writer. St. Street names.AUTHOR’S NOTE Events and persons depicted herein are wholly fictitious.

‘He was forty before he knew there was something called white wine.’ 7 .

8 .


10 .

11 . Their almost simultaneous deaths that day back then are as vivid in my mind as if they occurred just yesterday. I can visualize her coming out of school. It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day. a Japanese detective whom I had worked with in years past during the American Occupation of Japan after World War II. My friends coaxed me to take a long trip – go back to Ireland. I’d simply lost it. the country where Mona and I had adopted Michiko. Me – I was absolutely no help to them. I tried going back to Japan. I swung between the darkest suicidal planning to the wildest fantasies of revenge. I do it every day – and I always will. Louis police department. and a separate valentine just for me. or any other holiday. a valentine she would have drawn for Mona. her mother. If Michiko were alive today she’d be in full time grade school. the calm and green of the birthplace of my parents. holding forth her latest art creation – more likely two of them. 1960 – Valentine’s Day. her daddy. and every friend I had. who died with her that terrible day just a few short years ago. I did. but it didn’t help. mumbling to myself. with that beaming smile of hers. I roamed the streets day and night. I tried to escape my demons by just giving up. for me to remember them both. I went off the deep end with guilt – and all the other emotions further reinforced my guilt. A close friend there.*** Today is the 14th of February. over a year to identify the perpetrators and all the persons in any way involved. helped me get my head back on straight even as he was coping with the recent death of his wife of many years. The only thing I learned was that there were many other people with sufferings just as severe as mine. skipping. It took the St.

Slats gave me a complete and full deathbed confession. spent her few remaining days propped up in a wheelchair drooling into her lap after being gunned down 12 . He went straight to the morgue. rode in the ambulance with me to the hospital. I couldn’t ride with Mona who was in another ambulance that had departed our house a few minutes earlier. I got no sense of personal satisfaction out of it. shot him on the spot.As I sit here watching the dust devils dance in the sunlight streaming in the window I can hear the familiar sound of an approaching siren of a city ambulance. All the others involved were already dead except for one. I don’t know if anybody rode with him. I still wake up with nightmares of the noise and heat from the roaring fire as the ambulance door was slammed behind me. Another friend. When Slats realized he was going to die soon he made sure nobody would survive to beat the rap. Although he implicated all the other parties involved and completely cleaned the slate all the way back to the Deckard affair. Both lights of my life were extinguished in the span of just a few minutes that late afternoon. My first ambulance ride was when I was shot by disgraced Assistant Chief of Police Paul Deckard in a downtown nightclub. The growling wail will peak shortly and then fade away as it goes on to city hospital. The major events in my life seem to all be associated with the number of times I’ve ridden in one of those big red Packards. The third and last ambulance ride I took was this past winter. The second time was when I rode in the same ambulance as Michiko after the explosion and fire. “Slick” Jones. Detective Vince Pallazola. The real brains of the gang and the last to go. One of my friends. Deckard didn’t get an ambulance ride. The patient was Robert “Slats” Slattery. Misty Laine. Slats was DOA when we arrived at City Hospital.

I’m still alive. made up his mind to support his family the tried and true Irish way. No one cared to step forward and claim any family relationship to her. good looking wheelerdealer. in the space of just a few months. none pleasant in any sense of the word. She was probably correct. He opened a small neighborhood saloon in “Kerry Patch” the north St. Louis neighborhood I grew up in. “the old sod”. Their modest estate devolved to me and my older brother. Jamie. She had. gone from a high flying. at least as I recall her. who is a priest. I believe in the minds of everybody who had ever had contact with her during the small reign of terror she afflicted upon us. also an Irish immigrant. 13 . I wonder why as I sit here playing with paper clips and contemplating what to do with the rest of my life. and a little cash. Louis. to nothing but a fistful of dust. Fittingly. which he promptly surrendered to his superiors. including the building it is in. Most of his customers and he knew each other from their youth back in County Kerry. The growl and wail of those ambulance sirens bring the memories flooding back. In my case such retribution did nothing to restore those loved ones I had lost. My mother was an Irish immigrant who spent her life. Driscoll’s saloon on the corner of Jefferson and Cass avenues is a classic turn of the century watering hole. either rattling her rosary beads or telling me that I was never going to amount to anything. Since he was under a vow of poverty we agreed to split the estate so that he took all cash. I took the saloon. her remains were cremated by the city. Both of my parents passed away while I was in Europe in the army during World War II. My father. *** I was born and raised in St.by Slattery.

We even had a dog for chrissakes. very big. especially right now. Both M. Last time I measured I stood five nine. a guy who owns two saloons and who doesn’t go to church. a classy nightclub in an upscale neighborhood. Anyplace else would just cause me to remember how nice the house was that Mona and I lived in with our Michiko. about six foot five and three hundred and twenty pounds. The owner of this thriving firm. I also own another saloon. October 1945 to be more exact. aka a nasty divorce. He had been injured in 14 . on the other hand. I must point out that there is a third anchor in my life. I thought buying a nightclub with a grand piano would give Mona a chance to resume her professional career again. Slick is black.s but in different places. Lest people think I’m only a two dimensional person. I’m still at my old pre-war fighting weight of about one sixty. Saint Louis Bail Bonds in the sixteen hundred block of Olive street. My friends have given up trying to coax me to move somewhere else into more palatial digs. Mona and I had just married after I’d recovered from the Deckard wounds and I was still feeling guilty because I’d messed up her cabaret singing career with the shootout in the club where she was working. ‘Slick’ is my closest friend. very black. have one of those ruddy pink Irish complexions that won’t hold a suntan no matter how hard I try. is the same John Paul ‘Slick’ Jones who rode in the ambulance with me after Deckard plugged me. Slick and I had both been in Europe in the army. I got lucky and bought the original owner out when he ran into some bad luck. catering mostly to Negro clientele. *** Slick and I go way back.P. none of which is fat.I’ve done nothing to change it or the flat above it on the second floor – which is where I live now. and big. I.

it ain’t very hard. Most importantly he can sense when any one of them is getting itchy feet.I. and all the other holidays. When we took our discharges in 1947 I convinced Slick he could do well in civilian life in St. Louis. almost entirely because Slick and a few other folks took a chance and trusted him. Our troopships arrived in Tokyo Bay just days after the Japanese surrender. Always will be. truck headed to Yokohama. He makes sure they all know their court dates and how much they still owe Slick on their account. has turned out to be a steady reliable office manager for Slick. the Yokohama Criminal Investigation Detachment. His troopship of European theater replacements was diverted through the Panama canal to the Pacific theater. like today. I had been sent home from England for pop’s funeral and then was shipped out of Fort Ord. I’m told that I’m slowly recovering from my grief. At least now I can face people and carry on some sort of intelligent conversation again. He had been one of Slick’s earliest clients and has never gotten over the fact that he is on the street now instead of in the joint. mostly. Wilbur has the added advantage of knowing almost all of Slick’s current clients. Valentine’s Day though. Within days we found ourselves working as partners in one of the army’s first racially integrated units. *** Wilbur Foshee. just sitting here in Slick’s office. New Jersey awaiting shipping orders when the war ended in Europe.Italy and. California. in either one of my saloons or. We first met each other when we were loaded into a G. As he talked on the phone at his desk up front he 15 . While we were at sea the Japanese surrendered. after being patched up. they’re murder. If anybody wants to find me. Trying the old bullshit routine on Wilbur just doesn’t work. Anyway I spend my time. was at Camp Kilmer. one of Slick’s projects.

I am most comfortable strolling around the corridors of City Hall with my various little chores scratched out on the back of an envelope. The two saloons pretty much run themselves. he looked like a million bucks. That decision was more a convenience for Slick and me to stay close rather than a necessity. A pocketful of Dutch Masters and a few tickets to the next wrestling matches can get a lot accomplished. As he carefully put the hat down on an empty chair he shot me a quick glance and spoke. I don’t really need an office to entertain clientele. With the city courts and jail right next door it is very convenient for Slick as well. I can just trot out the door and through a couple of crosswalks to City Hall at 1200 Market. They enjoyed helping another Irishman out. I found soon enough that it didn’t lend itself well to formalities. The 1600 Olive street address is handy though. As always. Today he was wearing a dark gray pinstripe suit. A very light gray homburg graced his shining pate. or my stuff. gold cufflinks and a light blue and navy striped necktie with matching pocket hankie. That role came to me as part of the package of taking over his old saloon. When Slick opened this office location at 1600 Olive after he and I had been firebombed out of an earlier office we shared. ‘Wilbur? Anything hot for me?’ 16 . a two button single breasted model with a starched white shirt. My other activities are similar to what my father had excelled at – smoothing out bureaucratic kinks at City Hall for friends in need of a little hand holding. Pop knew every Irishman on the city payroll and enjoyed asking them for a little help. we agreed that one small room in the rear of this otherwise bare storefront would be reserved for me. As Wilbur turned back to his phone I heard Slick’s key scratching in the back door.turned back toward me and flipped his eyebrows at the rear door.

Vandeventer avenue.’ ‘Okay.’ He picked up the phone call tickets. then another right on Market and headed west to my old beat. What you hungry for?’ ‘Ribs sound good.’ ‘I got nothing going on – thought you might wanta go get some chow.’ He pulled a right coming out of the alley. It’s old and not very wide. The clock was just a bit past one o’clock when we started to park at the curb in front of Heaven – the Home of Adam’s Rib. ‘You’re driving. ‘What the hell you sitting in here for? It’s a nice day outside. The street right here is only a few blocks removed from the earliest settlement of the town. Slick’s Buick is a tipoff that he is inside or close by.‘Nuthin. Coupla phone calls – I put ‘em on your desk theah. Thanks. Howsabout some ribs? Or maybe something else. One – automobiles trying to pass streetcars on the right could scrape parked cars.’ So we went back out the rear door and got into Slick’s Buick parked there in the alley. Parking on the street in front is hazardous for several reasons. boss. Sometimes he prefers to keep a low profile. 17 . Secondly. Your call on where to eat.’ ‘Good. Before I enlisted I really enjoyed pounding this beat. shuffled through them and leaned in the doorframe to my room.

‘Shit.’ ‘Yeah. ‘I guess we coulda just pulled in anywhere here on The Hill – if we wanted Italian. ‘I’m leaving my coat and tie in the backseat. west on Chouteau and then north on Kingshighway cutting across the eastern boundary of The Hill. It really was a pretty day as Slick had pointedly noted to my attention earlier.’ ‘That’ll work. Jesus. At Little Sicily’s we can eat in shirtsleeves.’ It was almost one thirty when we parked at Kingshighway and Delmar.’ ‘Whassamatter?’ ‘I can’t eat ribs in these clothes. As we skirted the lower edge of the Italian enclave I said. How about we get some Italian? You can wear a bib at Little Sicily’s.’ He ignored my wisecrack and just continued up Vandeventer to Chouteau. I’ll look just like one of the neighborhood natives. This ain’ no good. Sunny and not a cloud in the sky. You mind?’ ‘Naw. This is a new suit and tie. but a lotta those places would expect me to keep my suit and tie on. Les’ go somewhere else. Gonna put the cufflinks in my pocket so I can roll up the sleeves. Adam’s damn sauce’ll eat a hole right through this shirt.’ ‘Sure. Everybody else in there’ll have one on too.’ 18 . Just a little more suntanned than all the other Sicilians in there.

‘Whut’s this heah? Yeah. I decided I’d keep my mouth shut and see where this went. Slick pushed one of his super sized fingers against the steamed up glass. ‘You gentlemen together?’ ‘Yessuh.’ ‘Hell with ‘em.’ ‘Amen to that.I had to laugh at him. With Slick what you saw was what you got. ‘Slick? You don’t think people gonna laugh at you? Middle of February and here you are waltzing around like it’s July. Open the car door – lemme toss my coat in there.’ This from Slick with an innocent look as he clocked the selections under the glass.’ ‘That’s okay.’ ‘Now you talking. with the red 19 .’ He pushed the door open and barreled in ahead of me and headed straight for the steam counter. I was tieless and wearing a blue blazer – didn’t feel all suited up like he must have. too. too?’ I hadn’t thought about that. I’m hungry. Why don’t you take your coat off. just so they don’t cut our rations. The guy behind the counter looked vaguely familiar. partner. He eyeballed me and Slick kinda funny. They gonna spot that mick face of yours right off. He be my brothah. but don’t expect to fool anybody in here. brother. ‘You’re right. if Slick had pushed ahead of me and we might have a little argument over who he should wait on first. He was wondering. Yeah. I think.

’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Give him the frigging lasagna. I thought I’d better step in and lend a hand. and told the guy ‘Gimme the goddamn lasagna – and give my little brothuh here the spaghetti and meatballs. I didn’t know how much longer I could maintain a straight face. The counter guy was swiveling his head around looking for help. He wasn’t Italian and wasn’t prepared to answer questions from the customers.’ As the steaming plates were put up on top of the counter for us to lift down and place on our trays Slick let 20 . I’ll eat both of ‘em. ‘Guido. He leaned over the counter. ‘Sonny? Mama said you ain’t supposed to be eating stuff like that. A guy in a chef’s hat was sticking his nose out the kitchen door. man here sez he can’t eat nuthin with red sauce. I poked Slick in the arm. ‘How you gonna explain that to mama. ain’t you?’ I smirked a little for the benefit of the nearby customers who were wondering whether they might better move to another table or expect to take sides here. as much as he could. ‘Oh oh. Cavalry coming in from the rear!’ The desperate counterman turned to him.’ Then he scowled at me. I ain’ buying you any goddamn cheesecake either – yo’ don’ clean your plate. Is that just plain ole spaghetti? What?’ He knew damned well what it was.sauce. you right – an’ you gonna snitch on me if I don’. huh? Not eating yo’ food – yo poor brothuh gotta help clean yo’ plate.’ Slick was watching me out of the corner of his eye. din’t she? Said you should eat more green stuff.

‘Better gimme a bunch of bibs. ‘That counterman – know who he is?’ ‘No.’ ‘Small world. It looked like he’d either dined alone or had been compelled to eat mine as well as his. His show was more for my benefit than for the rest of the people in the restaurant. Should I?’ ‘I guess not. Caught him trying to pop a Chevy car trunk about one in the morning. too? Go up there and tell the guy you want two cheesecakes – and a coupla black coffees. I doubt it. ‘Guess I was hungrier than I thought. A few minutes later I found I’d slurped up the whole plate of spaghetti in nothing flat.’ I did.go with one more volley. as he’d threatened to do a few minutes earlier. but I think I busted him as a teenager back before the War. As I put the cheesecake plates down on our table I spoke. didn’t want to steal the whole car. just the spare tire. When the guy looked over at our table all the plates were now in front of Slick. How’s your lasagna?’ ‘What? You wanna eat that.’ 21 . Looks like he’s had more than a few bumps in the road since then.’ Actually I didn’t think I was all that hungry. ain’t it? Think he remembers you?’ ‘Naw. Strange. too. Slick knew I had been off my feed ever since Mona and Michiko had died.’ ‘Looks like maybe he’s a drinker. He ain’ hardly housebroke yet.

They’d been growing grapes and making their own wine in their basements as long as they been here – just like they did back in the old country. and bring it back – alla the way from the beach below San Diego to Los Angeles – pocketful of money – no license to drive – no coppers to stop me.’ ‘These Italian folks on The Hill – they all like to make their own wine. Many. The federal laws simply succeeded in creating a whole new industry. Slick?’ 22 . was still there – so. Then when the distillers had to close down – the public demand. After all he’s got his own jug back there – homemade wine right outta his own backyard here. it didn’t take much to get going. good booze that had come up by boat from Mexico. if not most. Before that the distilleries had everything nailed down tight.’ ‘The making of wine for personal consumption was totally unaffected. I know out in California the booze flowed like water.‘Could be. He’ll give a guy a job if he can stay off the sauce until after work. Prohibition didn’t interrupt things there at all. I was sent to pick up a load.’ ‘Yeah. don’t they?’ ‘Yeah. It got to be a joke. Only thing the government did was worry that the tax stamps were properly paid for and nobody was watering or switching what was already tax stamped.’ ‘How old you think you were then.’ ‘What’s all this stuff you hear about bootlegging then? I never did understand alla that – even though I was making pickups and deliveries when I was a kid. of the existing saloons simply switched the main entrance to a back door. from folks who didn’t make their own wine. Old Guido Rogelio back there in the kitchen.

’ ‘Maybe it was different – the bootlegging I mean – in other places. Next thing I knew they had me and a couple of other recruits packed off to Fort Sam Houston in San Antone. like you said before – when we were back in Japan – if you’d stayed out in California you might not have lived to have many birthdays. always worded the same ‘detected the unmistakable odor of fermenting mash. but the recruiters in there figured they would gamble on me. If I hadn’t been so big I think they mighta thrown me out. I dunno – probably fourteen or so. especially in the big cities in the north. They’d spot smoke and crawl in close and sniff. Ain’t never looked back. Folks were playing rough out there – kid like you woulda been expendable. the story I heard was that the federal revenue agents.‘Shit. Sold the car in Juarez and walked across the bridge back into the States. I know that. Did you ever hear how come bootleggers moved their stills from barns out in the country into the cities?’ ‘Well. the revenooers. ain’t it? Yeah. Then they’d run back to town.’ ‘Yeah.’ 23 . Saw a Recruiting Station right there a block from the town plaza – lied about my age. go into a judge with a sworn affidavit for a search warrant. my friend. and I ain’t never been sorry either.’ Get a search warrant every time.’ ‘So you just flat stole the car you were using and drove away?’ ‘Hard to believe. would prowl the back country roads down south sniffing for the smell of fermenting mash.’ ‘Yeah. I drove that sonovabitch all the way to El Paso – good deal of it south of the border. Wasn’t shaving yet.

It pissed them off about the fermenting mash smell thing. None of that laying in the weeds with a pair of binoculars anymore. but they found they couldn’t creep up on a cramped second floor flat like they used to do coming up on a barn. bakery. with just a little landing right in front of the door at the top. They were well organized – city businessmen.’ ‘So.‘Sounded good – not many judges probably really knew. et cetera all interfering with their observing. The stairs were always pretty narrow. . . The yeasty smell from the bakery was a lot like the yeasty odor from the stills and that screwed up the Feds’ search warrant affidavits. I’ll bet it was a helluva lot harder to maintain a surveillance on a busy location like a street corner. or cared to know.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Right.’ ‘So. what the hell fermenting mash was supposed to smell like. the bootleggers now – they weren’t all just hillbillies anymore. so somebody devised a battering ram . you might say.’ 24 . ‘ ‘Battering ram?’ ‘Yeah. So they started moving their operations into the big cities. church. the best locations were usually upstairs directly over a bakery. Somehow or other the feds managed to overcome the search warrant affidavit problem after a while. They took a railroad tie and pounded spikes into each side of it – then they’d rush up the stairs with it and slam through the door – which was usually pretty flimsy. They figured they needed as much surprise as they could get. you’re getting ready to tell me what they did?’ ‘Right.

We decided to be civilized about it all.’ ‘So – the bad guys started bricking up behind the door. I can’t change – and neither can she. It was a constant battle of wits between the government agents and the bootleggers. I don’t think he would have been interested in expanding.‘Uh huh.’ I asked.’ ‘Some day – maybe we’ll ask him. Right?’ ‘Right. ‘I talked with Velma and Jaypee last night.’ ‘She’s really that scared of us screwing up again? Maybe getting hurt?’ 25 .’ ‘Old Guido back there – probably didn’t much care – had his own grapevines anyway. The lunch crowd was long gone.’ ‘Yeah. but the grand experiment with Prohibition was one big flop.’ We sat for a while longer over several cups of coffee and cigarettes. ‘fraid not. I don’t know that had anything to do with it. put another door in the side wall next to the landing. ‘Any change there?’ ‘Naw. Each of us waited for the other to start the personal conversation. This little business he’s got is pretty good just like it is. Finally Slick did.’ ‘And the government agents couldn’t turn their battering ram to the side because there wasn’t enough room.

That’s what everybody is telling me anyway. . He and I were predestined to step in shit – anywhere and often judging by our performance to date. You doing anything yourself – to help? Or just sitting staring out the window when an ambulance goes by?’ He’d apparently been coming up the alley a while ago when I was sitting there listening to the passing ambulance. doncha?’ ‘Hell yes. pal. ‘ ‘Don’t start that crap about me and the honey dripper again. fer chrissakes. Only Slick would dare do this to me and not risk a knuckle sandwich. When I didn’t have an answer for that he pressed on. I know you. ‘Still smell that thing I bet – when you wake up in the night?’ I had to laugh.’ ‘I think they’re right.’ He grinned at me.He gave me that stare of his. I guess it’ll gradually get better. ‘You go right for the jugular. ‘Would you disagree with her?’ That shut me up. . ‘So whatcha doing – going back to the corridors of City Hall? Slapping backs and trading bullshit there again? Huh?’ 26 . ‘You sleeping any better?’ ‘Sorta. I can remember . He was right – and so was Velma.

I think he did what was expected – of him.‘A little. Retired from his psychiatry practice is what I heard. Not like before – but I’ve been back a few times. ‘Ever hear of James Randolph Barclay?’ ‘Don’t think so.’ ‘You wouldn’t. This one just blossomed out into the open air this morning.’ 27 . Most of ‘em are anxious to cop a quick plea. just don’t give up. Lemme change the subject.’ ‘Aha. Who’s he?’ ‘James Randolph Barclay is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow. He local?’ ‘Naw. able to commute into the big city if he needs to. The police and courts keep a lid on those things because of the potential for further harm to the child victims. Never heard of him. Asshole defendant is demanding a jury trial. Thinks he’s smart.’ ‘I haven’t heard of any molestation cases around town here. What?’ He snapped his Zippo on another Camel.’ ‘Hmm.’ ‘Yeah. not like most other clowns who do that. Lives on a little farm in Connecticut. This guy wants to challenge the system.’ ‘It’ll get better. under subpoena to testify as an expert in a nasty child molestation case. exhaled a cloud of blue smoke and asked.’ ‘Okay. Folks are afraid to ask me for much – not like it used to be.

‘Well. I didn’t think it would be too smart.’ When we got back to his car we found a parking ticket on his windshield. ‘Better get there on your own. huh?’ ‘Yeah.’ I left a buck on the table and waved to the counterman. Got a limp wave of a spatula back. The good doctor ought to make an interesting witness. on my part. The beat copper was nowhere to be seen. Yeah. ‘Just thought you might want to sit in the back row. lemme get these cufflinks put back in and I’m ready to be seen on the street. Slick pulled his bib off and inspected his shirtfront. He’d never have brought it up unless he had a good reason and. my friend. Good thing. to dismiss his suggestion. am I?’ I knew this was something well thought out in advance by Slick. is why James Randolph Barclay is being brought to our fair city by Judge Wild Bill Glennon.’ ‘Well. partner or not. you survived. I figured I’d best keep my mouth shut.’ Slick was watching my reaction as he spoke. maybe somebody’ll teach him different.’ ‘Hell. 28 . I don’t see any spots.’ ‘Right. I ain’t doing anything else.’ ‘Which. ‘Looks okay. Don’t think we want anybody seeing us together and then asking questions about what we’re doing.

’ ‘Whaddaya gonna do?’ ‘Drive around the block. ‘This is Eddie Moorehead.’ ‘Pull into the curb – right in front of him. Howya doing?’ ‘Lissen. we’re in a hurry but I thought you might need this. I noticed he didn’t want to lean over all the way and breathe on me.’ I rolled down the window as I reached into my pocket. I bet. I think we’ll find him taking his ease somewhere close by after all the exertion of lifting your wiper blade.After we got in the car I reached over and pulled the ticket from his hand. ‘Doncha know this corner is part of my old Tenth district? What’s the copper’s name on this thing?’ He pulled out into the traffic as I scanned to the bottom line. ‘Sonovabitch just cadged a coupla quick belts. dumbest shit in the world.’ I nodded toward the door of the saloon and stuck the ticket and a package of gum in his hand. ‘Yeah. Ed. He’d get lost if he had to help an old lady cross the intersection and then have to find his way back alone.’ As we came back around onto Delmar from the east I spotted Moorehead as he was exiting Grady’s saloon. Dan Driscoll here – long time no see. ‘Hey Ed. Slick put the car in gear as soon as I punched his leg with my left hand.’ He squinted in at us. 29 . Hi Dan.

A surprise cold front descended on the city overnight. Anytime. we can do it. ‘Yeah?’ ‘Mal. I phoned the booth up on Grand Avenue and waited for Murph to answer. This is Dan. for your kind assistance. I’ll be inside the front door watching for you.’ “Good.Slick watched in the rear view mirror as we pulled away. yeah. Dan. Might take us a little longer but. I think your balls are growing back. Yeah. amigo.’ *** The unseasonably sunny weather of Valentine’s Day didn’t last long. Worked pretty good while he still had booze breath. didn’t it?’ ‘Dan. Think you can navigate the ice this morning and get me down to the courthouse?’ ‘Sure. glad to hear you there. along with freezing drizzle. Thank you.’ ‘Anytime. I had considered taking the Jefferson streetcar and transferring to Olive. you gonna be just fine. then just walking over to the courthouse.’ ‘I think he gets our message. ‘He’s just put the ticket in his pocket and started unwrapping the gum. After I took a look out the window I figured it was better to have some portal to portal transport instead. sir. my man.’ 30 .

Murph showed up in less than ten minutes. Mal.’ ‘Yeah. I’ll walk the rest of the way.’ 31 . I ain’t going nowhere until they open this up again. ‘Goddammit. As I ducked out the front door of the saloon I got a collarful of rain water from the leaky gutter over the door. With a friend like Malachi Murphy on tap I don’t worry about servicing the damn thing.’ ‘Looks like he might have a broken leg – lookit that foot sticking out funny there. Murph noticed it first. don’t it?’ Peering through the windshield I could see that he was correct. ‘Some poor bastard musta taken a header there on the steps. As we came down east on Market from Union Station the traffic seemed to have slowed down to a crawl as we neared the courthouse area. ‘Looks like we got an ambulance clogging things up there.’ We made pretty good time considering that the streetcar tracks were especially slippery. more importantly on where the hell to park when I get downtown. You might wanna come back and get in and go back home.On days like this my decision to no longer cope with owning an automobile anymore makes a lot of sense. There were a few idiots out spinning their wheels but most drivers were being careful. I gotta remember to get that damned leak fixed. Let me out here. It looked like there was a pedestrian down on the sidewalk at the foot of the steep steps up into the courthouse. or getting it repaired – and. I tellya what.’ ‘Okay.

The guy on the ground was trying to help them. He was conscious but obviously in a lot of pain. He eased the ambulance out from the curb. Can you make sure it gets to wherever I’m headed?’ ‘Will do. took a right turn for City hospital and opened up with his siren. probably there as a witness today in court. Didn’t look like any of the lawyers I knew. A copper. Better get going. Finally they got him on the stretcher. They were having trouble. Everybody was standing stiff legged as though this would keep them from going down. They were about to slam the door when the guy raised up. was attempting to help the ambulance chauffeur slide the stretcher under the guy without killing him. The guy on the ground was a neatly dressed older white man.’ The driver slammed the big back door shut and climbed in the front. too.It was slippery as hell when I got out of the cab. The bystanders were beginning to participate with their advice on how best to do it. ‘This it?’ “Yes. He wasn’t going anywhere. sandwiched in where he was. He looked like he was about to pass out again as they lifted him into the ambulance. got good traction and headed to 12th street. ‘Wait! My briefcase and luggage – where is it?’ The copper went back through the crowd to the foot of the steps and retrieved a good looking briefcase and a small piece of luggage. I pussyfooted to the sidewalk and eased my way through the crowd that had gathered. 32 . Murph was right.

It felt nice and warm when I got inside. ‘Going back home. didn’t it?’ ‘Yeah. How about we go visit the sick at City hospital?’ 33 . Dan?’ ‘No. Think you could take these things of his and get them over to City hospital for him?’ ‘Sure. Dan Driscoll – right?’ ‘Yeah. He needed to get inside and in to court – fast.’ ‘Thanks. ‘Hey.’ ‘Looked like he busted the hell outta his leg. then hit a spot of ice and came back down ass over teakettle all the way to the bottom. but – yeah – I’ll do it. Lissen – I gotta get inside to testify. Doubt if he’ll be able to wear his own pajamas for a while.As the crowd dispersed the copper was standing there looking like he was heading out of town with his luggage in one hand and briefcase in the other. See you around then.’ I waddled back up the icy sidewalk to Murphy’s cab. What the hell happened here?’ ‘Aw. ‘Guess I’ll skip watching any expert testimony today. Poor bastard got all the way to the top of the steps. He ain’t going anywhere for a while.’ I watched as he gingerly climbed the steps and disappeared inside.

‘No. everything’s cool here. Sez he’s feeling real good about getting back into school. boss. ‘Pete. The sun was out and although on the chilly side. Mal. then figured out a way to get back in even without the G. I’d gone out to the Club on Maryland. it was dry – no more ice. After that he and wifey can go back to making babies. What’s he up to?’ ‘He phoned yesterday – real proud of himself. just to show myself and see how Pete Conrad the new bartendermanager was doing who had replaced Carl Warnecke.’ 34 . Apparently the law professors have a bit more respect for him – ‘cause he dropped out to support his pregnant wife. Anything you need?’ Pete Conrad had some prior experience as a club manager so I felt pretty good about being able to help Carl Warnecke get back in school – where he belonged.’ ‘Great. howsit going? ‘Fine. Bill.I. glad he made the switch from psychology to law. What can I get you?’ ‘Just a bit of tap water on the rocks. But who cares?’ *** It was two days later – mid afternoon. Now if he can just hang in there until he gets his shingle. You hear the latest about Carl?’ ‘Guess not.‘Anybody we know?’ ‘I don’t have a clue.

That was apparent from his face. Thanks.’ ‘I think I know who that might be. 35 . If he left a number. however. You musta helped this guy out somehow. Doktor Barclay. lucid and obviously unaccustomed to not being in control of things around him. I walked in. ‘He say what his name was. My guess was correct. Said some guy was trying to locate you. Got a nickel in the register there for the phone?’ I took his nickel and walked to the phone booth back by the restrooms. He was.‘Oh. just keep it there until I get back. My man was in the far bed – with a hip cast plus bandages on his head. Barclay. he say. Herm?’ ‘Ja. ‘Doctor Barclay? Dan Driscoll. How you doing?’ ‘That some kinda trick question?’ He was hurting. almost forgot. It was the guy who had fallen down the courthouse steps. Herman. *** He didn’t look quite the same as I poked my head into the double room. Right before you walked in – Schultzie phoned from your other place.’ ‘Okay.’ So I headed from Maryland directly down to City hospital. It felt strange that the guy I intended to monitor in court two days earlier is the same guy I’m going to visit now. The other patient was outta it. ja.

maybe 36 . As soon as I was awake enough after this monstrous cast was put on me – I started asking questions.’ ‘How’d you figure out who I was?’ ‘I was concerned about losing my briefcase and that piece of luggage. They tell me you spend a lot of your time down around City Hall ‘doing things’ – I believe that was how they described it – yes. judges.’ ‘Afraid you were slightly misinformed.’ “Lots of folks here know you – by your reputation. I have been treated here in this same hospital for gunshot wounds. Important papers and such in there. I had no such high motivation to be here. Mr. Actually I’m in the midst of writing a book. I came here to observe some proceedings. Mr.’ ‘Also a one time policeman here in St. ‘doing things’ for people.‘You didn’t need to make a personal call on me here. Somebody suggested I might want to sit in the courtroom and listen to your performance. ‘Well. attorneys.’ ‘Well. too – right?’ ‘You have been doing your homework. I just wanted to thank you for your help the other day. Driscoll. Driscoll. I guess that qualifies me for some sort of celebrity status. Louis. possibly to interview some court personnel. Turns out you are a bit of a local celebrity – that right?’ I gave him my best Irish grin.’ ‘Oh?’ ‘Yes. I had heard you were coming to town to testify in our courts.

’ ‘Well. ‘Doctor. He dozed off a bit from time to time. when I’m not there. Dan? What are you suggesting’ more comfortable’ – what does that mean?’ 37 . anybody back where you came from?’ ‘No.’ I finally said what had been roiling around in my mind ever since I stepped into the room. ‘What are we talking about here.’ ‘Doc. I’m a loner you might say.’ ‘That sounds more interesting than just being an expert witness. I’ve done my share of that as well. but thanks for asking.’ So we talked back and forth a while. ‘My saloons work well. ‘Probably going to be a while before I’m released here and able to visit any of your establishments. do you need me to notify any family or business associates. Nobody back anywhere worrying about me. so I stayed. uh – do you mind if I call you by your first name. Nobody came in the room to run me off. would you be offended if I suggested you might want to transfer out of this public facility into something more comfortable?’ He leaned his head back on the pillow and cocked an eye on me.review some court documentation – try to gather material for my writing. ‘You have no place else to go? You sit here with me when you could be out making money somewhere else.’ He grimaced a little as he sought to find the best position to get into.’ I laughed at that. maybe even better.

with two uniformed attendants. to the Samuels Clinic. ‘Maybe I should change the focus of my book. I do. *** ‘Dr. This is a fine facility. What are my alternatives – with this cast?’ ‘There is a small private hospital here in town. but it is old and overcrowded. You know how he is. Wayne was glad to do it?’ ‘Oh yeah. and his personal effects including briefcase and one piece of luggage. You know how it works. No strings attached. Go ahead. I know what you are going through. Your Doctor Wayne Samuels sounds like an interesting fellow. I don’t need to be specific about that.’ That night a private white Cadillac ambulance. Apparently I met his threshold requirements. swiftly transferred the patient Barclay.‘I’ve been here as a patient. ‘Long term’ here means less timely responses to your requests. Who is the doctor? What kind of cases does he handle there?’ So I told him. ‘Okay.’ ‘Yes. He smiled when I’d finished. forever indebted to us – in his eyes anyway. The doctor who owns and operates it is a close friend. I’ve been there myself – after I had been shot. I’m sure you would be much more comfortable there until that large cast can be removed and replaced with something else. If you like I’d be happy to arrange for your transfer there.’ He was watching closely as I made my pitch.’ 38 . do I? You’re a doctor.

trying to get the prosecution to back off a bit.’ ‘No need to tell me that. I called and sweet talked Stormy 39 .’ ‘Two and two sometimes makes five – don’t it?’ ‘The molestation case went down with a plea anyway. of course. Seriously. Didn’t work. I think some of the court clerks got their gossip wires crossed. Since I lived on the second floor.‘Yeah. Just a lot of last minute blustering from the defendant. If the classification folks don’t get him safely isolated he’ll find out what big league molestation really is. Whoever made the decision to place Lent in these months knew how to make you feel bad. won’t it?’ *** I hate this time of year. Christmas is over and now it’s just a matter of grinding through the gray and gloomy days of February and March – sometimes even April. I guess I’d better get up there for a visit – extend our thanks in person and check on Barclay while I’m there. I was in to Slick’s shop almost every day.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Wait’ll that asshole gets in the pen.’ ‘Serve him right. I liked to hit the club on Maryland Avenue most Saturday nights to listen to some good jazz. he’s a helluva good friend to have. Lissen. I coped with it by drinking a lot of coffee and shooting the shit with everybody and anybody. They had a molester coming up in one court and Barclay was apparently just going to visit another judge. don’t ever disillusion him. I’m sorry I gave you the wrong scoop on him. I was in my old saloon every day and some nights I’d hang around in there.

let’s visit a bit. should have been directed to one of our city’s public institutions. He has long been accused of also treating the occasional gunshot patient whom. Barclay to me. how are you?’ ‘Fine. Haven’t seen you in a while. ‘I appreciate your thoughtfulness in sending Dr.’ 40 . as always. Stormy has that effect on you when you got the blues. The ‘business’ at City hall was gradually coming back so. ‘Dan. ‘Great. Good for business – and for me. I let a few days pass after his transfer from City hospital to the Samuels Clinic and then went there with the intent of thanking Wayne Samuels for his generosity. Dan. makes no bones about the fact that he is a surgeon. the authorities believe. He has acknowledged to me that he has done abortions for some of our town’s ladies best known for their frequent mention in the local newspapers’ society columns for their lavish entertainment soirees. as I’ve probably already said.Knight into coming in there several weekends. Come on in. a good one. How about yourself?’ He laughed. weather permitting. that he has an unorthodox practice which caters to well to do patients. some of whom are most concerned about their privacy especially if the ailment being treated is of an embarrassing nature.’ Wayne Samuels. All of it was helping me regain my equilibrium. Doc. He is respected in the professional community and respected in the lay community. When I arrived Wayne Samuels was standing in the foyer as though he was expecting me. I’d make the rounds there as well. What probably helped most during that period was the unexpected friendship that developed between me and Doctor Barclay.

I suppose. It’s good that he is retired. its good. do we?’ I had to smile.’ ‘You better tip him off about our ‘grande dames’ here in town – lotsa widows would love to hook a guy like him. Frankly. It’s early on. His reputation for patient confidentiality would have been destroyed if ‘somebody’ spotted ‘somebody else’ there.’ 41 . and he’s still got that load of plaster from his armpit to his ankle. Wayne Samuels was not into working with crowds. Every day is better than yesterday. He’s going to be a good patient.’ ‘Well. he doing okay?’ ‘Yes. This clinic was so cozy you felt like if you bumped into somebody else here you’d think you were in the wrong place. I’m looking forward to having his company here – have some intelligent conversations about our shared profession.’ ‘They do an admirable job there. A guy with his credentials shouldn’t be consigned to a warehouse like City hospital. It’s just when you’re dealing with volume you have to cut the corners on the little things. ‘So.’ ‘Other patients can be a problem. of course. Dan. Here we don’t have that problem of overcrowding. that he doesn’t have family back up east all worried about him.‘I came here today to thank you for accepting him as a patient. That gave him the added luxury of manipulating his schedule so there was never going to be the risk of overcrowding. Most of Wayne Samuels’ clientele was non-emergency. elective surgery stuff. too.

’ ‘Good idea. You’re a gentleman and a scholar. I thought we had a rule here – about eating and stinking up the place. He’s still hurting.’ *** ‘Hey Wilbur! What the hell is going on here?’ ‘You mean the dirty dishes. doc. boss. Can you wait a few days? Then give me a call first. Okay?’ ‘Thanks. he got a pretty good clout on his head.’ ‘Think he’s up to having any visitors yet?’ ‘Uh. or anything? Although I guess he’d have everything he needs in that luggage he was carrying.’ ‘All? What’s that supposed to mean?’ 42 .’ ‘Yeah. too. I’m flexible.’ ‘I’ll tell him you were here.’ ‘Aw shucks.‘Yeah. I know. In addition to the leg problems. you came at a bad time. You want me to get anything for him? Razor. We all know. I’ll check around and see if I can find a good portable for him. I’ll give him the benefit of some of my personal experiences with that.’ ‘I think that’s right. boss?’ ‘Damn right. When he’s more mobile I’m guessing he’ll want a phone and a typewriter first thing.’ ‘Sure. I’ve got him on some heavy duty sedation right now.

too – further up the block. might want to eat some leftovahs.’ ‘Yeah?’ ‘And some of the guys say they been seeing it. Just start from the top. That right?’ ‘Well. yeah. okay?’ ‘Well.’ ‘Don’t gimme that darkie shit.’ ‘Where you getting leftovahs – leftovahs on a plate?’ ‘Man. . alla us – we worried about him.’ ‘Him?’ ‘Yeah – the little dog. Let’s hear it – all of it. We rightly don’ know what to do. you trying to coax it to come inside here.’ ‘So?’ ‘Well.’ ‘So. boss. Don’ look too strong – or healthy. Here we go. We thought maybe it be hungry. theah’s a little dog been coming aroun’ in the alley.’ 43 .’ ‘Oh Jesus.‘Well. . You gonna make me get sumbody else in a lotta trouble. boss. damn – it’s cold out there – an’ .

‘Well, boss, the plates – they coming from the diner up the street. One of our boys washes dishes there.’ ‘Yeah. That’d be Floyd.’ ‘Right. Floyd Jackson. You got his bond for a lotta stuff. He be a good client . . .’ ‘Alright. So Floyd’s giving you leftovers on a plate from the diner.’ ‘Right. So I put ‘em out in the back fo’ the dog.’ ‘Why you do that?’ ‘Say what?’ ‘I say: Why you do that? Why don’t Floyd feed the dog hisself?’ ‘Diner closes at night, ain’ nobody there aftuh midnight. Here, we’re open alla the time – all night.’ ‘So, who cares? The dog – he eating outside.’ ‘Well, ah – thas’ the problem, boss.’ ‘Ah. Finally. You gonna tell me.’ ‘Yeah, boss. See we figgered maybe if we put food out in the same place every night – then maybe the dog wouldn’t be so scared of people – you know?’ ‘As a matter of fact, Wilbur – No, I don’t know what the hell difference it makes. Who cares? If the dog eats and is still scared of people. What difference does it make?’


‘Well, boss. We ain’ sure, but we think – the dog he blind mebbe.’ ‘Ah shit.’ *** The coming of spring was a struggle. Hints of fair weather overwhelmed with that gray drizzly shit that seemed able to penetrate boots and field jackets right to the bone. Slick and Wilbur – and all of their jokers – had built a doghouse of sorts out in the back. Had it all padded with old blankets and such, hoping to entice the stray into bunking there overnight. No luck. ‘The mutt ain’t going for it, huh?’ ‘Naw. He’s really been spooked, I guess. If he don’t settle down he gonna be hit by a car.’ ‘Well, shit.’ ‘Worst part of it is that the damned cats are coming from all over.’ ‘You mean we got stray cats? Here in downtown?’ ‘Betcher ass, man.’ ‘Why doncha quit putting the food out for a day or two?’ ‘Why’s that?’ ‘Maybe I’ll try something different.’ ‘Worth a shot.’ 45

‘He ever come around in the daylight?’ ‘I dunno. Ask Wilbur.’ *** Doctor Barclay was faring pretty well under the hands of Wayne Samuels. ‘Hey, doc. Got you a new cast there, eh?’ ‘Oh, hi Dan. Yeah. What do you think? Look any better?’ ‘Oh yeah. Lot lighter too, right?’ ‘You can say that again. Wayne says I’ll be able to get in the shower – do all sortsa stuff again.’ ‘No skiing down courthouse steps though, right?’ ‘You can put your money on that one, Dan.’ So, we talked for a while just sitting in the second floor sunroom, the same room where Slick and I had spent quite a few hours with Stormy Knight when we were desperate for leads to who wanted to take down her and Vince Pallazola. That was a tough one – Stormy Knight, a black club songstress and Vin Pallazola, the pride of The Hill and night shift commander of the Second Police District there, gunned down together in a drive by shooting. Two of the unlikeliest to be out on a date together shot at by a nut or nuts unknown. When you’re up against the criminal mind, don’t expect things to be logical. ‘So, you think you’ll be able to get back to work on your book while you’re laid up here?’ 46

‘Sure. Just feeling kinda lazy right now – no deadlines to meet. I give it a lot of thought, so time is not being wasted.’ ‘Good. Like I told you – don’t be bashful. If you need any help, running errands for you – whatever. Just say the word.’ ‘I will, Thank you. Now, you tell me – how are things going?’ So we talked a lot more. We talked about my loss of Mona and Michiko – about Slick’s loss of Velma and Jaypee – about how the two of us had just about decided we maybe made a big mistake in leaving the comforting arms of the Army to try to make it as civilians. ‘What do you think are the odds, Dan, of Velma coming back to Slick?’ ‘Frankly, Doc, I’d say pretty close to zero.’ ‘Probably right. From what you’ve been telling me, even though you guys are not licensed private investigators and have no legal authority, the two of you continue to get all tangled up in things that begin quite innocently and then explode in your faces – time and time again.’ ‘Yeah, that’s right.’ ‘Your buddy, Slick, has a remote chance of reclaiming his marriage but only if he does a total change of character, which you would agree is highly unlikely. Correct?’ ‘That’s right. He’s a good businessman, does well with the bail bonds business. When he gets into the ‘off the books’ stuff – usually with me – that’s when the poop hits the fan.’ 47

and your little girl.’ ‘Don’t throw those ‘but’s in the conversation. Mona.’ ‘And you – you own two successful saloons. that’s true. . making plenty of money for you – all legal and above board. in spite of the fact that your wife. of doing favors for people. yeah.’ ‘Like hell ‘guess so’! You know good and well that if you had stuck to just pulling pints in your father’s saloon that Mona and Michiko would probably still be alive today. Ask yourself. I guess so. We both do.’ ‘Yet. . Dan – isn’t it just possible that everytime you and Slick do get burned so badly that it all started out with some seemingly innocent request from a friend – to lend a hand to them? To go ‘off the books’ a little to get that done?’ ‘Well. when some crisis appears on the horizon. you know then what the basic problem is?’ ‘Yes. right?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Aha.‘So. Michiko. but . half cocked some might say. you and Slick still feel the temptation to continue to do so? Right?’ ‘Yes. It’s true. Right?’ 48 . both lost their lives because of these activities on your part. that you two tend to jump at opportunities to go off. if you want to call it that. something that the two of you feel you can ‘handle’?’ ‘Yes. Also I have my pop’s old business. isn’t it.

’ ‘Dan? Are you listening to yourself? You guys are never totally blindsided when you go into these ventures. ‘Yeah. I need some help here.’ ‘I think we both sensed that. I’m just totally screwed up.’ ‘Hey. Dan. I know Slick knocked himself out to stay in the army after he’d been wounded in Italy. It’s doubtful either of you could successfully change your spots. What should I do?’ ‘Or maybe – not do?’ ‘Yeah – not do. He’s good. You see that? You know ahead of time – yet you blunder in anyway. but I would never have met and married Mona and she and I would never have adopted Michiko. No farting around. If you’d both stayed in the army – from what you’ve told me about some of your crazy exploits in Yokohama – you each would have probably gotten into official trouble there. I know what you are saying is true. You’re the psychiatrist here. you think I ought to go visit with Barclay. I do. told me he really put the heat on an army doctor to certify that he was eligible to return to duty. but simply put – you two guys were born to be poison. too?’ ‘Yes.He was beginning to get under my skin more than a little so I shot right back at him. too. I agree. He ain’t just your garden 49 . He socked me right between the eyes.’ *** ‘So. I’d have felt like hell if I got him in any trouble in Japan after all that he’d gone through.’ ‘I’ll yield to you on that point. Doc.

too.’ 50 . a psychiatric specialist. He’s an M.’ ‘Won’t hurt.’ ‘I think I better do it. or anything?’ ‘Naw. He doesn’t charge. but I’m sure she’ll notify me – won’t want me claiming she did something behind my back.D.. He bores right in on you with plain English.’ *** The spring struggled. holds umpteen degrees from universities here and outside the country. okay?’ ‘Right. although since we’re officially divorced she don’t owe me a damn thing – except if it pertains to Jaypee.’ ‘Lemme know if I can do anything. Think he speaks several languages. but old man winter wasn’t too cooperative. ‘I’m feeling bad. You don’t get away with bullshit.variety psychologist. I talked with Velma and Jaypee last night. we didn’t do nuthin’ about that stray dog I’d been feeding. ‘Well. St. Bossman. Patrick’s Day and Easter were in the offing. I’m not sure but I think she’s ready to waltz down the aisle again.’ ‘Why’s that?’ ‘Aw. if he can work a miracle on you. He’s sharp.’ ‘She didn’t tell you what kinda gift you should send. then I guess I might give him a visit.

I’ll override Danny. lay around and get fat.’ ‘You want me to bring the dog down here?’ ‘Yeah. all matted up bad.’ ‘Sounds good. City food inspectors won’t allow that.‘Yeah. Get him inside. You and alla these othuh niggahs coming and going here – probably scare the hell outta the dog. Maybe we ought to rethink our position. boss. He’s a mutt. Le’s quit farting around with the food traps in the alley.’ ‘Um. He shut up and come hide under my desk. Wonder what ever happened to him?’ ‘Floyd says the dog gave up on us – he back up the street in the alley behind the diner.’ ‘Shit. If he’s a biter or a bad barker then we gonna have a problem giving him back to Floyd?’ ‘Naw. at least he ain’t been run over – yet. What kinda dog is this? Big – little? What?’ ‘If yo’ looking fo’ a pedigree – fuggedaboutit.’ *** 51 .’ ‘Well. not too big – skinny as hell – and dirty – real dirty. feed him something – then Danny or I’ll take him to a vet and get him cleaned up. We made a mistake cutting off the food you were putting out there. You just work something out with Floyd.’ ‘They can’t let him come inside the diner. After that he’s gonna have to learn to be an inside dog. Le’s do it. shitty dirty fur.

Dan. . . Ain’t never gonna forget that damn night when we raided the Sakura Port dancehall.’ ‘I guess by the time the war ended the people there had eaten everything but their shoes.’ *** We took him up on Newstead. to Vic Trahan.’ ‘So. No cats either come to think of it. He’s a homeless stray been hanging around the alleys downtown. ‘What is it about stray dogs?’ ‘I’ll tellya.Floyd and the folks up at the diner were glad to see Wilbur volunteer to take the dog off their hands. how you wanna work this with Bozo the dog? He oughta be glad to get outta the rain too. Back when we were in Japan – didja ever notice – no dogs. This another one that followed you home?’ ‘Naw. So . We figured he was gonna either die or get run over if somebody didn’t do something.’ ‘Damn right – and I remember how that damned cold drizzle felt when we were out in it all the time there. In this crappy weather everybody was feeling guilty. Those shoes he was wearing – might as well have been barefoot. I’ll never forget Renji Takasu trying to run in the rain chasing those clowns of Monkeyman’s. partner. ‘Hi. stray or otherwise?’ ‘You’re right. Took all of us most of the next day to dry out and get warm again.’ 52 . the same vet where I’d taken the blindman’s dog I’d ‘inherited’ – back in happier days.

’ The vet worked on in an awkward silence for a while. I can treat that to prevent any infection.’ ‘I don’t think I’ll agree with you on the dog getting lucky. You know that he died – along with my wife and daughter when our house was firebombed. I’d suggest an immediate grooming session. I’m sorry. Dan – I’d forgotten about that. Jeez. then raised up.‘Well. 53 .’ ‘That’s okay.’ He elicited a weak wag from our patient as he rubbed his neck. He does have some damage to one eye – I think he came in second in a fight with some alley cat. he sure isn’t the specimen that German Shepherd was that you brought in here last time. nothing special. wasn’t he?’ ‘Blindman had himself a fine animal there. ‘This guy is a mixed breed of some sort. that was some dog. He’s undernourished and is going to need some work to get him back in proper trim but fundamentally he is in good health. He’s reached maturity so there will be no more growth. That dog got lucky when you agreed to take him when the blindman died. I don’t think the dog or my wife or my daughter had even an instant before they were completely overcome by the blast.’ ‘Oh. ‘Well. At least that’s what everybody tells me. I’m not sure whether the sight in it will be affected or not. Judging by his teeth and other parameters I’d say he’s maybe six or seven years old. let me tell you what we’re looking at here on the table.’ ‘Yeah.

’ ‘I think this gang of ours at the office can handle that. ‘Mal? Doncha think we oughta leave the mutt here for a coupla days?’ Malachi Murphy had volunteered to bring me and the dog to the vet’s office.get rid of all the varmints living on him right now. you want to hop up here and let me check you too?’ ‘Get outta here. He owns his vehicle and he operates independently.’ I looked at Murph.’ ‘As I said – no problem. Thanks. I seriously doubt that any other cabbie in town would have let us put one foot – or paw – in his ‘clean’ cab. as long as you’re here. let me apologize for my unthinking handling of the loss of your family and the other family pet. I’m awfully sorry about that. Murph is just not your regular garden variety cabbie. I‘ve seen the size of the needles you vets use. Probably work out well where not much is demanded of him except his friendship. He seems friendly enough so I’d hazard a guess that he’ll be a loyal companion and probably very trainable. Doc. Then he should be dewormed and given his shots. does it?’ ‘No. Don’t see that he’s interested in looking for fights or barking his head off all the time. 54 . Then.’ ‘Don’t sound too bad.’ ‘Good.’ ‘No problem – and again. With a handful of steady rides like me he does just fine financially.

‘Yeah.’ ‘Ooh. Dan.’ ‘Bet he didn’t waste any time. *** ‘Anything much happening?’ ‘Yeah. . I can see Slick. . that don’t sound too good. Somebody phoned me here to tell me about it. just waded right in and busted a couple of heads. Slick get back yet?’ ‘Naw. and Slick stepped in and put a quick stop to it before it got outta control. I ain’t too good with animals.’ Wilbur shook his head.‘Sure. Said the press was there wanting a story and the poleece 55 . can’t you?’ ‘Yeah – all calm and quiet. maybe talking up some new business – then hears the commotion . Slugged a bailiff and they say after that all hell broke loose. All he had to do then was slap some cuffs on the clowns. Some young cop. you know?’ So we left the mutt there and headed back downtown in Mal’s cab.’ ‘Yeah. A couple of Slick’s finest decided they’d do a ‘Custer’s last stand’ imitation over at the courthouse. Just so I got somebody in the backseat with him whenever we bring him home. no problem. Dan.’ ‘Ah. I think the young cop was actually relieved Slick was right there. dumb shits.’ ‘So. Bunch of innocent folks coulda got hurt. there to testify.

were holding Slick for a bit until they could write alla their reports. he looked like he’d been in a fight. He restrained himself. In a word.’ ‘I sho he gonna do that. as he looked around the office. ‘You see the damage those two clowns did to my clothes? Good thing that young copper was there. ‘Where the hell is Renji when you need him. with some considerable effort. huh?’ I had to laugh. ‘You mean you couldn’t handle two little pissants on your own? Wilbur sez folks saying you had to be helped by some young poleece officer.’ ‘Hope Slick don’t rush outta there without asking the court to revoke their bonds – get himself off the hook on any responsibility for delivering those clowns back to court.’ He looked at both of us.’ His suit coat looked like it might be torn. He can do without business like that. His shirt was open at the collar. ‘What started it all?’ 56 . Wilbur tried to look busy on the phone as we heard Slick coming in the back door. spread his hands wide from his massive frame and spoke.’ *** I settled in at my desk and figured I’d just wait for Slick to show up. I was so goddamn mad I woulda killed both of ‘em. His trousers were rumpled.

’ ‘Judge on the bench when it happened?’ ‘Hell no. I’d guess that. if anything. Nobody paid any attention. We each got a couple fistfuls of ass and pants but the guys kept swinging and yelling. Then one of ‘em said somethin’ – the other guy takes a swing – and all hell broke loose.’ ‘So.‘Whoever was trying to get everybody lined up for the docket call seated them down next to each other in the jury box. different arrest dates. Just a few minutes there and my goddamn clothes ruined. even if he released them on a higher bond. He agreed. When he finally came out. At first it was just mouthing off. The bailiff. I was just coming in the courtroom door. I got one hand loose and popped my guy a good lick and dropped him. he looked around and then eyeballed me – said ‘Mr. I also pointed out that they had demonstrated their lack of respect for the court and that I believed. Some other folks turned up with handcuffs and we got everybody sorted out pretty quick. Nobody knew that these two clowns had both been screwing the same girl before they got arrested. We saw what was happening and jumped in. probably the same guy that seated them there tried to break it up and got knocked on his ass for his trouble. they’d pose a risk to the community. Separate charges. Bondsman? Do you have any business you’d like to bring before the court before we start the docket?’ He could tell from my appearance that I’d probably be holding the paper on one or both of our clowns. About the same time the copper was getting on top of his side of the show. The young copper right behind me.’ 57 . You know? Anyway they started in on each other right away. what you tell him?’ ‘I told him that I wanted bond on both to be revoked immediately. he probably locked himself in chambers.

even if only for that one day. They weren’t interested in dyed popcorn or little green flags.’ ‘Yeah.’ *** We made it to St. No bond. Nobody arrested. the place was packed with neighborhood Irishmen. an entirely different ballgame. Other than Herman Schultz. The King’s Lads did a pretty good job of interspersing an occasional ‘Oh Danny Boy’ in with their regular repertoire. At the club on Maryland we were rather calm. depending on whether or not you’re a serious beer drinker and are Irish. my longtime bartender. Word gonna spread out theah. Had to stand around there in the hall while the cops gathered the facts for their reports. That may or may not be good. At Jefferson and Cass it was. boss. bought a bag of about 25 lbs. Patrick’s Day and lucked out on the weather.’ ‘Probably a good thing they did their stupid imitation in public – in a courtroom. yeah. some green paper napkins and some little green flags for everybody’s lapel. You the man. Then a couple newsies turned up and I had to go through the drill again with them.’ ‘What do you want to bet you’ll get pretty good advertising in the papers?’ ‘Yeah. They knew how to 58 . of green popcorn.‘And?’ ‘Remanded. as they say. Me standing there with my ass hanging out a rip in my pants. I’m still pissed though about messing my clothes up.

which they did – to a fare thee well. Some with names like Falsetti. We never ran any statistics on it but it did seem to me that Slick’s bond business was now servicing a significant number of white clients. I’ll ride with you. ‘C’mon. and the like had to put on their Irish face. Nobody was arrested there either. I didn’t see it but somebody said we had a streetcar parked in the middle of the street outside while the motorman was in the saloon. ‘Twas. ‘Twas worth it. Everybody departed at closing time and headed home where the ‘lady of the house’ was waiting to burn their ears. all he had to do was say so. Maybe on the way back we might stop and buy some dog food and stuff for him. I wasn’t there at the time so. I liked seeing that. Bauer. much to everybody’s surprise. I didn’t interfere. Slick was getting lots of pats on the back for taking down those two idiots at the courthouse. but he knew that if he ever needed any help from me.commemorate this holiday. Slick spoke up. Murph. or offer any advice. When the dog was ready we had to decide how to pick him up.’ *** Slick and Futterman had restored Slick to his sartorial elegance once more. Murph insisted that somebody needed to ride with the dog in the back seat of the cab.’ 59 . We had a fair number of Irish coppers pop in the back door. aye. Wilbur had been correct. *** The mutt turned out to look fairly presentable after Doc Trahan was all finished with him. Schultzie gave them an odd eyeball as he pushed free mugs of suds in front of them.

‘First thing. a box affair with an old G. He stood there with a sorrowful look on his face thinking he’d already done something wrong. keep filled with water for the horses to drink. Plus he probably still wasn’t used to being so clean. his head hung low with the damaged eye now permanently closed.’ We fixed up his bed in the room that was supposed to be my office. “Lissen. perfect. let’s keep his food and water bowls in the crapper.’ Wilbur. We gotta come up with a name for him. the folks who run the little Chinese laundry. Believe it or not. from time to time. He has two old horses he’d bought from a dairy and. Murph. Slick and Murph came back with the dog and a bunch of stuff for him. Mebbe the dog can have some fun with the horses there.’ 60 . blanket we’d cut up into smaller pieces. too. all looked at the dog. he leaves the horses and a bale of hay on the lot for a few days. His tail drooped. A building had once stood there but was apparently destroyed in a fire. Slick. There is a wash tub back there that the Chinese couple next door on the other side of the lot. and I.As I may have previously reported we have an empty lot next door here on Olive. the guy also left a couple of bald tires there for the horses ‘to play with’. ‘POPEYE!’ ‘Yeah. Anyway. The site was scraped clean and is used on occasion by a guy who is trying to start a carriage rides business.I. okay? And – now everybody please put the lid down! Don’t want him slurping outta the commode.

‘Okay. think we need an assignment sheet for who takes him for a walk – and when?’ ‘Why not? Give the customers here something to do.’ ‘Slick? Why is it? Everything we do – no matter how simple – turns into a major project. the psychiatrist?’ ‘In a day or two. lists. alla that shit. but it still smarts a little don’t it?’ ‘Mostly because of what you and I did – not her. When you gonna go talk to Dr. ‘Some of these guys – they ain’t been too friendly with dogs. Barclay. any animals.’ Wilbur spoke. fix up a sign-in sheet for those who do want to volunteer. schedules.’ *** Slick got his ‘Dear John’ letter a little after Easter. I guess. Wayne Samuels and Dr. Then we screw it up.’ *** Dr. Might be afraid. my friend.’ ‘You got an amen on that.’ ‘Just talent for it. after I get past this letter. James Barclay have developed a professional and personal relationship that 61 .’ ‘Well. Let’s buy a collar and a leash before we start or that damn dog might decide to run back to the alleys. ‘No surprise.’ ‘Yeah.

He senses that but apparently sees no need to challenge me on it. according to Wayne Samuels. I could never have let that happen to him. Wayne?’ ‘Oh yeah. to visit some more with him. Not yet. 62 . We sit for hours and discuss all the world’s problems. too – rather than moldering away in a City facility somewhere. or anybody with his brains. Fascinating guy. No. in fact. I had been an occasional visitor at the clinic. he and I sit and have a few belts to loosen up our tongues and then have a dialogue every night. You gotta prove your point to his satisfaction or you lose the argument. is also a factor to be taken into consideration. If pressed by Barclay I guess I’d have to admit that some of my visits which were ostensibly to visit Dr. Samuels were. Two sharp minds. I have come to feel that Samuels and Barclay are both the type of friends I would like to keep.’ *** I decided it would help me to have another sitdown with Barclay. His age. He is out of the big cast so his mobility has improved significantly. Barclay has made significant progress.’ ‘Oh.both are enjoying very much. I think I know Wayne pretty well but Barclay – not so. ‘You getting to know the old doc pretty well. they enjoy bouncing ‘what ifs’ off each other.’ ‘Much better for him being here. not a big booster of blind faith. would have driven him crazy. He’s a real challenge to my intellect. however. He approaches subjects as a scientist.

If you go into something. Bottom line: I sacrificed my wife and daughter because of it. admit to yourself that it could blow up in your face – again.’ ‘Dan.’ ‘Aw shucks.‘Dan. to a fundamental decision you are someday going to have to make.’ ‘And?’ ‘And – if I want to have a normal family life again – THEN I’m going to have to cease and desist on the goofy stuff. always will – but you’ve shown me that I cannot undo my past mistakes.’ ‘That’s correct. doc.’ ‘Yeah. That’s perfect terminology for that. all kidding aside.yeah. in my mind. But how do you feel about it now?’ ‘Guilty.’ 63 .’ ‘I know. your mastery of the psychiatric language is amazing. I couldn’t have said that better myself – ‘goofy stuff’ . About all I can do is warn you to think first – before you leap. You have made progress. Me and Slick – always seem ready to jump into anything the least bit adventurous. since we’ve crossed paths here – how do you feel? Do you think anything has changed in your outlook?’ ‘No doubt about it.’ ‘That translates. I know. You’ve shown me that the root of my failures have been in the stupid stunts I’ve pulled.’ ‘Yeah. gotta move ahead. Either never get married and continue my life as I have done to date.

Don’t know how he’ll behave when he sees the new neighbors.’ ‘Not yet.’ ‘That’s fine.’ So we got the doggie thing all worked out. if you decide to marry again – then?’ ‘Give it up. too.’ ‘Won’t be a problem. ‘Just thought I’d check in with you folks. I’m going to be leaving Bonnie and Clyde in the lot for a while. they’d love it. The old Chinese couple live in back of their laundry. The three of ‘em will probably all be over lapping out of the water tub together before you know it. Maybe never. We just adopted the mutt here. Think it would be okay if we lean over the fence and pet ‘em?’ ‘Sure.’ ‘How they feel about dogs?’ ‘They’re used to getting yapped at all their lives. Apples and carrots – big favorites. No problem.’ ‘Think you’re up to that? A total change of lifestyle.’ ‘We just wanted to make sure. We noticed 64 .‘Or. They take handouts.’ *** The guy with the two horses next door came in one day to introduce himself.

He give you what your options are?’ ‘Yeah.that they enjoyed the horses as occasional neighbors. Said if I don’t plan on a ‘normal’ family life then just keep up the bullshit routine of periodically getting myself screwed up.’ ‘Yeah. on his new leash. Told me they were the same as yours. They nodded bashfully and smiled as the dog stopped for a bit of petting.’ ‘Pretty damn discouraging. so Wilbur made a point of walking Popeye. Only difference is that your family was entirely wiped out in the explosion. Barclay. *** Slick finally bit the bullet and scheduled a couple of sessions with Dr. The old man scratched one of the bent ears and said ‘He no pekingnese. In other words. I figured that whenever he was ready he’d give me a report. I think Barclay was trying to get me to admit that I never had a family. I stole some pimp’s car and money 65 . My family has been removed from me by court order. I don’t remember ever having any son-mother feelings toward any of the whores there in L. up the alley in the evening when the old folks were taking the evening breeze there. ain’t it?’ ‘Well. maybe shot or killed.’ So Popeye added two more conquests. I don’t know.A. If I want to marry again – then I damn well better abandon all the hotdogging shit we’ve been doing in the past. if I don’t care – and it won’t hurt anybody else – then do whatever I damn well please. but he nice dog. ‘I think that doc has us pegged. Like ear scratch.

’ ‘Yeah.’ 66 . . Were you satisfied to just sit on your ass on a barstool and make your money? Hell No! Was I satisfied to just make money off of the bail bonds business? Hell No!’ ‘Well. So for me – the army was the closest thing to what you might call a family – for me. . I can see that. Barclay’s analysis shining down on us – where we made our first big mistake. Neither did you!’ ‘Right. Neither one of us is going to spend the rest of our lives like all the rest of the people around here – going to church. brother thing – altogether different from you. you’re right there – I guess.’ ‘No guessing about it. with the bright light of Dr. was when you and I decided to leave the army in Japan and go for it as civilians. You know me. We didn’t make the necessary adjustments in our thinking as to how to earn the money and fame – just as plain civilians.’ ‘What was wrong with that?’ ‘Simple. working a forty hour job. but it came with the territory. my friend.’ ‘As I see it. I know you. We both come back here and immediately start trying to be successful civilians – businessmen. and it was a joint one.’ ‘Oh?’ ‘Yeah. all the way to Fort Sam Houston in Texas to enlist.and ran away. lying about my age even.’ ‘Fame? That’s horseshit. I had the mother. family men. I never cared about fame. father. all the trappings. punching a time clock.

just blunder on. I’m going to go it alone – never be responsible ever again for anything like what I did to Mona and Michiko. I’m going to change my style. No more starry eyed romances. not thinking.’ We sat silently. I ain’t saying we couldn’t force ourselves to do that.’ ‘Yeah. That’s business.‘Yeah . In your case – Mona and Michiko paid the ultimate penalties. . not evaluating the risks. 67 .’ ‘Me too. True.’ ‘Oh?’ ‘Yeah. Their yard was completely fenced so it was safe to put Popeye down in there without a leash or anything.’ *** Popeye made quick friends with Bonnie and Clyde next door. What I’m saying is that we didn’t approach civilian life that way – so we paid the penalties.’ ‘Salright. ‘Barclay’s right. . Both of us knew that what Slick had just articulated was right on the money. all of it. that’s different. . .’ ‘Except when you’re knocking heads over there at the courthouse?’ ‘Well. I’m sorry if I ran all over you there about what you did . Doctor Barclay had pegged us both – right outta the box – just a couple of hotdogs. I don’t feel any better but at least now I know not to hurt anybody else anymore.’ ‘Well.

I pretty much let the ‘fixing business’ at City Hall just slide into oblivion. Slick was busy. just about at death’s door. Playing keep away with the little guy. Wilbur had him figured out. All his clients were comfortable with him. He was like Will Rogers . He was businesslike with them and didn’t make any distinctions among his clientele. The horses enjoyed picking it up in their teeth and trotting around the yard. but his heart was sure as hell in the right place. Most folks eventually figured out that they could do the same thing themselves as they used to ask me to do for them. Whites felt good about asking Slick to cover their bonds. He and Wayne Samuels had hit it off well which facilitated the recovery considerably. like the true professional that he seemed to be. It was really something to see – how a scruffy mongrel mutt. much more than I had in the past. *** As Dr. Barclay continued his recovery. The bonding business by now had become color-blind.We put one of his rawhide bones in there. It’s not too unpleasant when you listen to the ring of the cash registers. was able to bounce back. 68 . He still could win top honors in the ugly contests. ‘I guess we ain’t got us a watchdog heah. he chafed at his inability to counsel with psychiatric patients even though he had told us that he had pretty much abandoned his fulltime practice up in New York.Never met a man he didn’t like. do we?’ *** I kept busy with the two saloons.

‘Where’d you guys pick up this bag? Haven’t seen one as old as that since Disraeli was a pup.’ 69 . Ain’t that right. Slick Jones is the biggest and meanest . pretty scuffed up. Have you. then called to cancel it when Slick and I showed up at the clinic with a doctor’s bag filled with ‘medicine’.’ ‘Dan? You let Slick malign you like that?’ ‘What am I going to do? He’ll beat me up if I disagree with him. Wayne?’ ‘He’s telling the truth. We’re a match made in heaven. ‘Doc. . .’ “You two know Wayne well enough. religion and scotch. Our professional disciplines will never intersect. ‘How many bottles you got in here anyway?’ ‘Four was about all we could squeeze in there and still pick it up without the handle falling off.‘He and I both share the same views on politics.’ ‘And Driscoll is the littlest blarney machine here in town. If anybody can spot a smoke blower. it’s him. Jim. Wayne Samuels had made sure there was a table in the back for us in the hotel’s club. don’t you? Isn’t he just blowing a wee bit of smoke?’ Slick answered for us. you got the premier smoke blower of all time sitting here right next to me.’ The four of us were having a good time. Wayne?’ ‘Naw. ain’t it?’ Wayne Samuels reached in the bag.

I leaned forward to hear what Barclay was going to say.’ Slick and I. Now I feel obligated. of course. Barclay was better able to control his expressions. ‘All jokes aside. dare we ask – what gives here?’ ‘Well. ‘So. What can I do?’ He ducked his head into his glass to conceal the grin. The old shrink here is about well enough to load on a plane and send packing back to the Big Apple. Wayne Samuels was feeling good because he had succeeded in enticing Barclay to put down some roots here in St. thanks to Dr. Barclay was feeling pretty good because Wayne Samuels had made sure he mended under first class conditions. Dan. It seems that some of my surgery patients have developed professional relationships with him. Barclay spoke.The occasion was nothing special. I’ve been treated royally here. This was good booze and there was nothing else here to soak it up when it hit the stomach. were rapidly becoming shitfaced. Louis. and it’s true – I have counseled informally with some of the ladies who frequent his offices. Reminds me of the sort of practice I’ve had back east. I looked over at Slick. Slick and I were feeling pretty good after our sessions with Barclay. on their behalf you understand.’ ‘Oh?’ ‘Yes. ‘If I may respond?’ ‘Yes. Samuels. He seemed preoccupied with his Zippo lighter. I think. So 70 . to offer him a place to roost. that would be a problem here – if he did that. However.

let’s just say we reached a quick mutual agreement.’ ‘This place of Wayne’s can kinda grow on you – you know? Like a country club in here. No sir.when the subject came up about my leaving.’ ‘Yes. I didn’t want to take any of it home. good. ain’t it?’ ‘Who wants to sue the City? No deep pocket there to make a quick settlement offer. Slick.’ ‘That’s true. doc. we thought you were a goner. when you did that pratfall on the courthouse steps. well .’ 71 . then we’ll go from there.’ ‘Itsa wonder some lawyer didn’t just jump in that ambulance. I’m not going to go into this like a young doctor fresh out of school.’ ‘Well. . I’m going to keep my license up to date back home but my primary location will be here. If Wayne has a candidate and gives me a call. A couple of pros. We did our level best to bury those soldiers that we’d brought in the bag.’ ‘I didn’t feel so goddamned perky myself when Dan came to visit me that first time at City Hospital. .’ I couldn’t help but note the comparison of his future plans with the manner in which he and Wayne Samuels had deftly maneuvered Slick and me into counseling. ‘Boy.

he offers you an ice water enema. He do that to you.‘Yeah. would we?’ 72 . If you ever need my help. Let’s stay in touch. We all walked behind Barclay’s wheelchair and got him settled in for the night. Sneaky. When we finally decided that we’d all had enough and still had tomorrow to face Slick got up. Very much. he just makes sure my supper tray doesn’t quite measure up. whaddaya think?’ Wayne Samuels phoned Murph to bring his cab around while Slick and I prettied up in the restroom. When he thinks you’re feeling sorry for yourself. partner?’ I laughed as Slick slowly field stripped his cigarette. ‘I guess we better head for the barn. sneaky. No little vase of flowers – maybe the vegetable is a cold puree of turnips. We’re as close as your phone. with the rear door open. ‘Wouldn’t have wasted this butt back then. my boy. Doc?’ ‘No.’ Wayne responded.’ It went on like that for several hours. Dan. ‘Enjoyed ourselves. ‘We never close. you can call Wayne – or call me direct. Slick looked at me. ‘Is that our rickshaw. gents. like a police station.’ Barclay raised his head from the pillow.’ Murph was standing by the cab. Wayne. doctors. ‘I’ll give him a big Amen on that – same goes for me.

‘Wanna go eat?’ ‘Yeah. 73 . funny lights on the walls. They’re going for a June wedding.Malachi Murph let us doze in the backseat as he quietly maneuvered through the late night traffic. *** One day a week or so later Slick came in my room. In fact I think it was there back during Prohibition. sounds like all the flowers and stuff that goes with it. ‘What are you hearing from Detroit? Anything?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Me too.’ We were in a Chinese place that looked like it had been there forever.’ Six months ago if I’d said that I was starving you wouldn’t have believed it. I’ve quit smoking a hundred times’. I hope not. I’m feeling pretty good nowadays. You know – the guy that says ‘I can do it. Food was adequate but couldn’t compete with what we had been served back in Yokohama at Wei Ai Ei’s Golden Dragon. I’m starving. High backed uncomfortable booths. Obviously. *** ‘Think Barclay’s treatments last long?’ ‘Like giving up cigarettes maybe. I don’t remember getting in bed that night. I asked. ‘Well.

’ 74 . I believe the new guy is a young black doctor – so maybe she’ll get lucky this time around.I’m alerted to the date so I can deduce that I should not consider coming up there then to visit with Jaypee.’ ‘Yeah – good at that. ‘Matter of fact I am. No grudges to hold. though. ‘You feeling pretty frisky there aincha?’ I grinned.’ He glared across the table – the ten pound glare. naw.’ ‘He’s something. . You don’t even realize he’s treating you. I’ll work with her on the visitation thing.’ I didn’t know what to say because I wasn’t sure how he was feeling about a trip back down the aisle himself. He brought me outta my funk in nothing flat. can you?’ ‘Naw. so I just worked on trying to stab a prawn with a chopstick.’ ‘Knowing her – she’d rip . All I care about is that the new guy hits it off with Jaypee. . ain’t he?’ ‘Smart man – knows how to blend in the science with the bullshit.’ He laughed. ‘You can say that again.’ ‘Can’t really fault her on that. I think old Doc Barclay’s magic elixir is doing the trick. ‘Knowing her – she’d rip the new guy a new asshole if he messed up taking Jaypee into the family picture.

He so damn skinny when we first got him – hard to tell. It’s pretty clear to me that married life is not for me. evenings.‘I still feel guilty as hell about Mona and Michiko but now I understand why – and now I can function in the present and the future.’ *** Wilbur had a list of two pages – guys who wanted a turn at taking care of Popeye.’ He grinned. He just gobble it up. Damn dog ain’t smart enough to say ‘No’. ‘Hey.’ ‘I think I can say the same for myself.’ ‘The horses around much?’ 75 . Somebody else was responsible for food and water. We don’t want ‘em bringing in food from outside. At least I think I’ll be able to.’ ‘Better keep an eye on the guys. They even had a latrine detail to clean up the poop on the sidewalk.’ ‘Oh boy. The dog was loving it. this dog – he getting too much to eat?’ ‘I dunno. afternoon. Nobody deserves me – bad news. He looking good now. morning.’ ‘I think the old chinaman been slipping him some stuff. ‘In spades – for me.’ ‘Me too. They had a regular walk schedule.

‘They come and go.’ 76 . She acted like she wasn’t interested – then bam! – grabbed that tire right outta his mouth.’ ‘I be damned.’ ‘Naw. his name is Larry Schwartz.’ ‘What Clyde do?’ ‘Clyde wanted to get the tire back. but I ain’t gonna go look in their mouth and count how many teeth they missing. I think that guy. has some other place for them.’ ‘Wonder how old they are?’ ‘How can you tell? They look pretty good to me. he probably cares enough to look out for them. In the early evening – if they in there – I think they ain’t ready to settle down for the night – old Clyde looks around for that old tire – picks it up in his teeth and carries it around.’ ‘I see Larry got a roof on poles put up. One night he was waving it around – nose to nose with Bonnie. but she turned her ass to him – kept the tire up front where he couldn’t run aroun’ and grab it back.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Yeah. too – just uses this yard as a place to leave them for short periods. So.’ ‘Yo’ kidding. Those horses are smart enough to get under there when it’s raining – or when the sun gets too hot.’ ‘Old Clyde – he like to play around more than Bonnie.

Then again.’ ‘I been hearing things – on the street – over at the courthouse. ‘This might be nothing – I dunno.’ ‘What we talking about?’ ‘Something we might want to studiously avoid – not like we used to do before.’ ‘What we talking about?’ ‘Well.‘The ole Chinaman he like to come outta his shop and lean on the fence – talk to ‘em – give ‘em a sugar lump. . . Ain’t nobody don’t like a horse. partner. le’s talk. ‘I got some bad feelings about this one. Yeah.’ 77 .’ ‘I’m all ears.’ ‘Oh.’ ‘Oh shit. Thought you might gimme your feelings about it.’ Slick pulled up a chair and leaned back to push the door of my office closed.’ *** ‘Hey bud. it might be something the police can handle.’ *** So then he told me.

though. Ever wonder.’ ‘Ramifications? What the hell you talking about? Every job we’ve ever taken on had ramifications. But after a while I noticed they get kinda fishy eyed when they see I might be listening. but not like this.’ 78 .’ ‘I know. Can’t bring themselves to discuss it as a legitimate disease. but more than that. act like maybe they’re talking about something embarrassing – you know.’ ‘Since when did the size of a problem slow you – or me – down?’ ‘This thing has ramifications.’ ‘Yeah. so they kinda shut up. He shook his head – like he was clearing it of cobwebs.‘Think ole Doc Barclay might get on your ass if you play around with whatever it is?’ ‘Yeah. I’m afraid this could be a blockbuster. Lotsa folks in this town seem to think that cancer is something only bad people get – like syphilis or something. figured it was best to let him bring this out at his own pace.’ I sat for a bit. Same thing about lotsa stuff.’ ‘Yeah. why they don’t seem to consider alcoholism as a disease – just some kind of ‘bad habit’ thing? Don’t make sense. ‘I been overhearing folks talking – never pay much attention to what I overhear in a courthouse hallway. and finally spoke.

‘No.’ ‘Right.’ ‘Come on. I don’t have a big word for it. You’re dancing all around but not saying anything. Roscoe’s.’ ‘Like I say. the bottom line is that the black community – at least as best I can tell so far – is concerned about some sort of out of town threat coming into town. What the hell are you trying to say?’ ‘Aw. Okay?’ ‘Go ahead. Bear in mind now. That’d make it easier. screwing up the black community – that sort of thing. I hear folks talking – at the courthouse – I can’t butt in and say ‘What you all talking about?’ – so I just pick up bits and pieces.’ 79 . You’re getting there. when I say ‘other parts of town’ I’m limiting myself to the black neighborhoods. from saying I got a four out of my two and twos. So then I notice the same kind of conversations going on in other parts of town.’ ‘Yeah – Adam’s Rib. those kinds of places where almost everybody is black and they start letting their guard down and talking.’ ‘Well. very far. it don’t.’ ‘And these bits and pieces are starting to make some sense?’ ‘They are – but I’m far.’ ‘Bugging you? Right?’ ‘Right. but I still don’t know what the hell we’re talking about here. Lemme just kind of lay it out.

no matter how slight.‘That’s pretty damned vague.’ ‘Why not?’ ‘I already been asked for my advice. ‘I heard this indirectly – came to me through a guy who sings in the churches and synagogues. Bunch of drunken Irishmen didn’t know anything – and didn’t much care about anything that affected the black community.’ ‘So. I guess. hoping to be accepted here. It was there that I might have stumbled on something from one of the musicians. could be anything.’ 80 . You don’t have any idea – yet – as to who or what the threat is?’ ‘Not yet. too. I talked a bit with some of the regulars at my club. partner. Seemed like their memories were rather short – only been a few years since they were on the outside looking in. the least little perceived advantage one group has over another is taken as proof positive that ‘we’ are better than ‘them’. sounds like you’re gonna either have to act like a member of the black community and ask some folks to tell you what has them all stirred up – or – follow Doc Barclay’s advice and just keep your nose out of it.’ *** I fished around a little at the saloon. Could be the government. A few suggested even that anything that could clean up the black community should be welcomed by the city.’ ‘Aw shit.’ ‘Can’t.

’ ‘I don’t see the connection. he’d sing in the black churches too but they seem overloaded with talent of their own. yeah.’ *** I didn’t see Slick for several days. what this Irish tenor-Jewish cantor have to say?’ ‘He has a lot of black musician friends. gets together and jams with them on weekends.‘Does both?’ ‘Oh yeah. .’ ‘Damn.?’ “As best they could figure it out. I was pretty busy and I felt sure that he was busting his ass on the bail bonds business and then adding to that a lot of time spent trolling his black neighborhood sources about the gossip thing. Don’t know how he does it – doesn’t understand the words of what he is singing but he just goes for the sound. Learn something new every day. We 81 . He can sing at a catholic wedding and then go to a temple or synagogue and perform there without a problem. this black out of town church group is looking to infiltrating up here by using the drawing power of their musicians. No. So. We both seemed to be going in different directions. this guy enjoys singing.’ ‘Aha. Anyway he says they – the black musicians – are talking a lot about some big move – coming in from out of town – somewhere south of here – planning on taking over an established black church here. Black musicians – black church? Ah . . Come to the little neighborhood church and hear all the out of town talent thing?’ ‘That’s what it sounds like.

Slick.’ So I told Slick what little I had learned about the black church music thing.finally managed to meet on a Sunday morning – at the Cass Avenue saloon. etc. Keep your cool. Louis blue laws require saloons to be closed on Sunday mornings. I know.’ ‘Yeah. I think that’s what it’s going to turn out to be. I just got a bad feeling – these folks are giving out bad vibrations about this thing.’ ‘You gonna do it?’ ‘Yeah.’ If it sounds like they got a genuine problem and actually do need my help – well . . wanted my moustache trimmed up and old Roscoe said he’d been asked to see if I’d agree to meet with one of the preachers tomorrow.’ ‘Don’t get all twisted up in your underwear now.’ ‘Ah. let a little air in but it won’t get rid of the smell in here. St. ‘Yeah. You don’t have to agree to anything tomorrow. I was at Roscoe’s barber shop yesterday. Yeah. like I said at the start – if it’s a bullshit thing then I’ll politely decline ‘too busy. we’ll see. maybe later on.’ ‘Wonder why?’ 82 . ‘Why don’t we open the windows and maybe the back door? Let a little fresh air in here – damn place stinks of stale beer and cheap cigars. You want something to drink – maybe some coffee?’ ‘Naw. This place is permanently stunk up.

Mom and Pop opened the place probably a few years before that. Took a hell of a long time for them to eventually buy the building. as soon as they scraped up enough money to pay a month’s rent and buy the first keg of beer. Tha’s good. Not a single word exchanged between us about Slick’s Monday meeting.’ ‘About what?’ ‘The smell in this place. Asking premature questions of the gossipmongers won’t get you very close to actual facts. though.’ It was a pleasant Sunday so we got in Slick’s car and drove over to the old 1904 World’s Fair Fairgrounds on Natural Bridge to watch all the young dudes work out their sports fantasies. I’m fifty.’ ‘You get about a B-Plus on the fly strips.’ ‘Right. Sounds like they’re reading a lot more threat into it – whatever the hell ‘it’ is. How many years this place been in the Driscoll family?’ ‘Well. I dunno. We sat there until sunset.‘I dunno.’ ‘Best that you wait until after the meeting with the preacher. 83 . please – and I think you’re right.’ ‘And how many thousand cigar butts been ground out on the floor when they missed the spittoons?’ ‘Don’t even try to calculate all the spilled beer.’ ‘Can I get you that Coke now?’ ‘Yes. yeah. Do the arithmetic.

lady – unless you want a table?’ ‘No. This is just for me to listen to what the man got to say. hell.’ She winked and gave me that deep down laugh of hers. thanking the gods that be for not having a loud jukebox in the saloon downstairs.’ Slick had talked with Roscoe and told him he would meet with the preacher. no. He talk a little funny. Nothing much going on around City Hall but I’d do a walk through there every week or so. however. The crowd was kinda light because of the rain.*** ‘Poindexter? “Juicy” Poindextah?’ ‘Wilbur. I like to kid myself I don’t hang over the edges of a stool too much. that this single meeting was not to be taken as any kind of commitment that he would do anything further. This is just fine. I’d take a run out to Maryland Avenue maybe twice a week. 84 . Old preacher Poindexter. ‘C’mon and pull up a stool here. that ain’t nice making fun of people’s names. When he try to say Lucius Poindextuh.’ ‘Aw. ‘I told him. try to catch at least one evening when the entertainment was going on. We all laugh about it and jes’ call him ‘Juicy’ Poindexter. it comes out sounding like ‘Juiciest Poindextuh’ or like that. He insisted. He got sumthin wrong wit his mouth.’ *** I just kept muddling along – staying in the flat upstairs on Cass. jes talk funny. He a good man. especially a preacher’s name. One rainy Saturday night I was roosting at the end of the bar in the club when Stormy Knight ended her last set.

’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘I am. You know anymore than that?’ ‘No.’ 85 . I am – for an old bat. She poured half a glass and downed it. ‘What’s Slick up to.’ ‘Well. at this moment I don’t. without being asked. Dan. Stormy.‘You sound like you’re feeling pretty good. Otherwise. Dan? I’m hearing things on the tom-toms out there – sound a little strange. then poured the rest in the glass and pushed the bottle back to Pete. Maybe then we’ll be able to get a handle on it.’ We sat for a bit and just schmoozed.’ Pete Conrad. Then she hit me with a question. slid a glass of ice and a bottle of Seven Up in front of her. Heavy duty stuff. I don’t understand what a little old Negro church – been there forever – is suddenly the cause of so much whispering. Stormy. You hearing something about Reverend Poindexter’s church. it was just old biddies gossiping about whose daughter got pregnant. from what little I know – or hear – I think it might be something strange.’ ‘This stuff sounds like something different. Slick is supposed to meet with Poindexter sometime soon. Used to be all we ever heard about places like that was who died for the last funeral. All old folks. ‘Gotta keep the old pipes cooled down. too?’ ‘Yes I am.

Murph’s cab is waiting outside. You sure Mistuh Murphy won’t mind going a little outta his way to drop me?’ ‘Mal Murphy is the most agreeable Irishman in this town. Roscoe was just passing it on. the barber.‘I ain’t much for going to church – you probably figgered that out already. I’m about to head for the barn. but.’ 86 . Grab your purse. then he started having second thoughts. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear from Slick. Those old gals are really in a dither. I think.’ *** ‘Old fart!’ ‘Who you talking about? Roscoe.’ ‘So you drew a blank?’ ‘Sure sounded like it. My guess is that there’s nothing to it – something fairly innocent getting embellished every time it is retold. Both of ‘em. I have to say.’ ‘Hey. That’ll save me cab fare. One thing led to another – first thing you know almost everybody black in this town are girding up for a big takeover of Poindexter’s church. Seems like he got himself involved in some kind of little scam – might be perfectly legitimate – but after he got involved. No problem. Juicy Poindexter – I met him and grilled him pretty good. listening to all these old ladies in the beauty parlor – you’d think it was the devil himself coming to town for Armageddon. or ‘Juicy’. listen too much to the old ladies’ gossip. sweets. the preacher?’ ‘I guess I could make that plural. Can we give you a lift anywhere?’ ‘Thought you’d nevah ask.

yeah. peeling paint. Said he was bragging about how busy his church was. likes to hear himself talk and this time he put his foot in his mouth real good.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Yeah. cracked linoleum floors. leaky roof. burned out lightbulbs. Most of ‘em have been and remain dirt poor. I’d guess that this was over a few bottles of Sweet Lucy. He probably isn’t the best educated man of the cloth. Juicy Poindexter has been leading his small flock for many years. but I didn’t figure I needed to know that.‘So – what’s the real story?’ ‘You have to understand most black churches have roots that go pretty deep. Don’t make much money but he’s got job security you might say. so I didn’t ask. but it appears that he also has a big mouth.’ ‘Put his size elevens in his mouth?’ ‘He thinks he did. but he knows enough bible stuff to put on a pretty good sermon every Sunday – and he’s got the funeral stuff down pat.’ ‘What he do?’ ‘He said he was at a meeting of some southern preachers – all black – and each one was trying to outdo the other.’ ‘Ah.’ ‘Oh?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Well. so busy he was thinking maybe he needed to look around for a – his words: ‘an associate 87 . I pretty much guessed that. You name it.

Never thought anybody in the group was paying too much attention. I gotta get out of here. I’ve already cut all my ties here. sorry ‘bout that – phone the guy back and make some excuses? Cut him off before he leaves Oklahoma.’ ‘The plot is thickening. I’ve gotta leave town.’ ‘Can’t he eat a little crow – uh. Poindexter at this point lost his memory and said something stupid?’ ‘Like. I didn’t want to tell you but I got a teenager pregnant. That about it?’ ‘In a nutshell. ‘why don’t you just come up to St.’ ‘Lemme guess.pastor’. Next thing he knows after he gets back home – forgot all about the conference by then – he gets a phone call – long distance.’ 88 . The other guy sez ‘You can’t do that to me.’ ‘He thought about that. Then put in a call. Just let me come for a few weeks. Louis for a while?’ – huh?’ ‘So Juicy is now experiencing some severe regret pains? Gonna be found out as a fraud who barely has enough business at his church to keep himself outta the poorhouse.’ ‘But?’ ‘Yep.’ ‘Caller claimed he was down in Oklahoma somewhere caring for a flock of God’s chillun there – wanted to discuss the reverend Poindexter’s mention of his need for an associate pastor.

did you?’ 89 . .’ ‘What you tell him?’ ‘You’ll be proud of me. right.’ ‘Good for you. just good at thumping his bible and posturing around. . I think the old fart is really stupid when it comes to most things.’ ‘So. They ain’t got the money to cover my fees anyway. Proud of you. who cares? Guys like him are a dime a dozen.‘So. Now he has all the folks here all bent out of shape. maybe even shove it where the sun don’t shine? Just anything to restore Juicy’s old status quo?’ ‘Exactly. well . BUT – if this outtatown hotshot shows up here and turns out that he’s a problem that the reverend ‘Juicy’ can’t handle on his own. Not very sophisticated. Ain’t any of your responsibility. Somebody told me he was forty before he knew there was something called white wine.’ ‘Well. sounds like you didn’t pay attention to all Doctor Barclay’s advice. Poindexter caved in.’ ‘He thinks you’re some kind of miracle worker? Extract his foot outta his mouth. I know. I still feel like shit. Right?’ ‘Yeah. They like the old status quo – don’t want any young ‘Reverend Stud’ coming in and messing things up.’ ‘Yeah. I told him I don’t take on other people’s errors anymore.’ ‘Yeah.

’ 90 . this is the watering hole Wayne’s been telling me all about? Nice – classy looking. ‘Hey doc.’ *** Might not be a bad idea to talk this thing over with folks who got some brains. but at least I could maybe be a little better prepared to back him up if – in fact – the shit somehow does hit the fan. bud. ‘So. how much you charge for a phone consultation?’ Barclay laughed.’ I have to admit it – it’s hard not to put your full faith in a doctor who enjoys a drink.’ ‘Bullshit. Okay?’ ‘No problem. Why don’t you come around and pick me up about three or so? We can go somewhere quiet and have a little of mother’s milk. My turn to save your black ass. You’re gonna keep thinking about it.’ ‘Good. doc. We went to a quiet little spot I know. I can tell. Driscoll’s club on Maryland.‘All I’m saying is if the new preacher comes in here and starts stuff that goes beyond just Poindexter – then I’ll think about it some more. ‘You can’t be that hard up.’ ‘Thanks. Glad I brought you here instead of my other place. Just because I don’t agree with the way you’re thinking – don’t cut me off. I believe I owe you one anyway. Let Slick do his thing with it.

’ ‘Know the feeling. brought us a bowl of ice and a small pitcher of water along with four glasses and a just opened bottle of Teacher’s Scotch. the bartender. The place was virtually empty now but later on the pace would quicken. I understand that place is what you might call a ‘workingman’s saloon’.‘Yeah. no. ‘This fine enough for your taste. except when they’re in there bending their elbows. Finally came to my senses when it got to a two pack a day habit. ‘You ever smoke. Pete. doc? We got better hootch here if you’d like. I noticed that the good doctor Barclay was not a smoker. right?’ ‘I don’t know how hard they work. ‘This is fine. Doc. but I’m past the craving. and the path to the restrooms. Pete. Go right ahead.’ I lit a Camel and left my pack and lighter sit in front of me. what do you favor? A little Teacher’s maybe?’ ‘Sounds fine. I’d have one in the ashtray and be lighting up another one.’ Pete Conrad let us get settled in at a corner table away from the bar. Maybe a nice single malt?’ 91 . doc?’ ‘Oh yeah. Maybe a little ice and water on the side?’ We settled in. the window. Will it bother you if I smoke?’ ‘No. Sometimes I take note of the pleasant smell as somebody fires up a cigarette. I haven’t gotten to that level – yet.

as yet to develop. He’s a little worried about it – partly because of his image as a black businessman.’ ‘That I can understand. I poured the same for myself. ‘I guess you’ve got the general picture on Slick’s current dilemma. right?’ ‘Just in broad general terms. Depends on the players. It may turn out to be nothing.’ ‘I think that’s it. or will be. or understand.’ 92 . It bugs him a little that he can’t analyze it and therefore can’t come up with how to deal with it.’ He poured himself two fingers and passed the bottle to me. is the possible scope of this.‘This will be fine. Just fine. shouting and such – intended solely to separate the so-called true believers from their hard earned money. Lots of unknowns. Storefront fraud – bible thumping. what their thinking is.’ ‘Our experience in dealing with problems that involved religion have so far been pretty straightforward.’ ‘Fair amount of that going around – all the time. plus his and my reputation for fixing problems. problem – for want of a better word.’ ‘Probably because it could develop in any number of ways at this stage. Dan. It sounds like what he doesn’t yet know. I gather that’s about all he knows at this stage.’ ‘Yes.

sparrows perfectly content to peck in the horse manure out in the street.’ ‘That’s just another form of currency. ‘What is it about religion. presumably because he was given the ability to engage in rational thought – only he is the one creature looking for miracles so he won’t have to work at survival. My point is that the rest of the animal kingdom make do with what they have. Whatever ‘it’ is.’ The human being is the only creature on earth unwilling to take the hand he’s been dealt by the almighty. cows. doc?’ ‘Why? Because they are always looking for something better than they have – or could have if they worked at it. Only the human. horse. White sepulchres I believe they’re called. They just bust their asses pecking away everyday – just like the almighty intended. too – by and large – birds migrate.‘Then we’ve had the occasional ‘pillar of the community’ type.’ 93 . You know any birds.’ ‘Who also seem to somehow be getting into somebody’s pocket or purse. ain’t it. Dan?’ He laughed and topped off our glasses. It’s always better if you don’t have to work to get it. am I right?’ ‘Yeah – or maybe into somebody’s knickers. who have to have their miracles? Who have to pray? Who have to put their money in the basket? Hell No.’ ‘Why do people fall for it. dogs. They do well. doc? Is it just me or are there really a lot of fraudulent and corrupt practitioners out there?’ ‘I’m inclined to say that is a correct statement. dogs eat out of garbage cans. whatever.

inexplicable and ununderstandable it is. Right?’ ‘Correct. what’s the concern Slick should have?’ ‘None. There’s a certain bit of showmanship. One of ‘em is going to have to yield to the other especially if there is a wide disparity in their respective salesmanship skills. Do you see any reason why he should have to take any overt action to support Poindexter if the 94 . if you’ll permit my irreverence. is not the slickest salesman in the world. No matter how far fetched. If this is all we know at this point. Although in many cases.‘People just gullible? ‘Not entirely. As I said. to selling the claptrap and mumbo jumbo to the unwashed masses. the more attraction it seems to those gullible souls out there. it seems the more farfetched. aka ‘Juicy’. if old Rev. The more outlandish and bizarre the perceived remedy is – consider voodoo. doc.’ ‘So. if they want to ‘believe’ hard enough – then they’ll believe anything. then a new guy coming in would be a threat to Juicy’s job security?’ ‘Hard to keep such a small playing field level for two competitors.’ ‘So. Poindexter. that is true. for instance. or these statues that mysteriously weep. the image of Jesus in the screendoor.’ ‘Who must be ‘sold’ sufficiently before they pull out the checkbook.’ ‘I guess a lot depends on how the alleged miracle cure or whatever is presented?’ ‘Of course.

turns out to be a better preacher. You’re good. Dan. Would you mind getting me a pack of Camels outta the machine?’ ‘No problem. .’ I laughed. Pete.’ 95 . ice and water.’ ‘I been lucky. I gave a nod to Pete. He brought us fresh glassware. You got me to the bottom line in less than half a bottle. ‘Looks like you got yourself a good barkeep there. ‘You gents need anything else?’ ‘Yeah. boss. mingles well in public . checking on the sticky fingered help. Dan. maybe younger with some appeal to the fair sex. I noticed my cigarettes were almost gone. gets better haircuts.?’ ‘So. Lot of club owners spend all their time counting dimes and quarters in the register. is how far does the new guy dare go?’ ‘Really.’ ‘What if the new guy also comes up with some new twists on how to run things? Fund raising. Your question is. Dan. it’s more ‘at what point does Slick cease being a mere onlooker’ and is obligated to take that overt action you alluded to. let the best man win. that sorta thing.’ ‘You’re beginning to put a little more spin on the ball here.newcomer is better qualified? Whatever the hell ‘qualified’ means.’ ‘Lemme push you a bit more. What if the new guy does come in. if I may anticipate you.’ Barclay waited until Pete had moved away. .’ ‘I say.

’ ‘Oh?’ 96 . That sorta thing. I’d guess its revenue is rather modest – no percentage to be passed up the line to corporate headquarters type of thing.’ ‘Then the new guy might also want to just do things differently to further distinguish himself from old man Poindexter.’ ‘So Poindexter could see himself on a two pronged financial dilemma.‘That isn’t limited to saloons. take the ladies of the church on a chartered bus to the museum.’ ‘Right. Slick. ah . what’s the name of the church?’ ‘I think it’s called the Ezekiel Tabernacle of Faith – something like that.’ ‘Probably not. Good possibility of conflict right there. churches. you name it. Discontinue the long time habits – watermelon feasts and such – raise the hoity-toity level a bit. His own prior sticky fingers. Dan. if he’s going to monitor things at that little church. by the way. All the income generated probably goes to the reverend Poindexter who pays the bills and then himself. So your buddy. Probably almost entirely done in cash.’ ‘No. I know. Probably everywhere. Not affiliated with any particular denomination. could be found out. businesses. .’ ‘So. if such did in fact exist. . the new guy might be equally dexterous. I’d hazard that there may not even be a checkbook involved. Secondly.’ ‘Yeah.

under wraps.’ ‘You sure you ain’t Irish.’ ‘That’s because it could all have occurred to you without any help from me. of greater concern to everybody affected.‘Yeah. Any other world problems you’d care to explore?’ *** ‘Is it my imagination or is this place getting crowded?’ 97 .’ ‘And Slick – if he is going to investigate this thing – is going to have to be aware of the degree of the new guy’s ambition. I just happen to get going pretty good whenever somebody is lobbing me those easy underhand pitches like you’ve been doing – and keeping my vocal chords well oiled here as well.’ ‘Argh. you have so little faith in human nature.’ ‘Dan. you shock me.’ ‘Yeah. either right out in the wide open or.’ ‘I got a bad feeling that this is the way it could develop. The sorta thing where the new guy disappears overnight. yeah. doc? That blarney of yours sure sounds familiar. Think about it.’ ‘I can see that. The more innovative the new guy is the more outdated Poindexter becomes. If he’s intent on maximizing his role at The Ezekiel Tabernacle of Faith then there is no limit to what he might do.

I can see that. boss. plus we’re trying to run a business.’ Like the Poindexter thing. I’ll send ‘em away. We ain’t got the room.‘You ain’t imagining it.’ ‘Yeah.’ 98 . Just they ain’t got nothing else to do but wait for their turn to walk the dog – whatever. right?’ ‘Right.’ ‘Deniability again.’ ‘Thanks. Wilbur. I walked into his room and pushed the door shut after Wilbur had gotten the loafers to move along. If we do need them – on anything. not just Poindexter – then we just work out something vague on the phone and wait to hear later on that something happened.’ ‘Yeah. god help us – if I’m reduced to calling on those clowns for help. boss. I guess you’re right. Need to keep them at arms’ length. Send ‘em back up to the pool hall. I think you better put the word out for these clowns to not be hanging around here. Popeye – he gotta lotta friends. but I don’t like ‘em feeling we’re all that close. didn’t they?’ ‘Yeah. Think you can handle that?’ ‘Sure. Never know when we might need their help on something else.’ ‘They’ve performed well all the previous times you – and I – needed a little black bag work. They unnerstand. ‘Sounds like you been doing a little planning.

after talking with him – for what it’s worth – I’d say this Poindexter thing is going to turn out to be all about money. and I’m not asking either. Got any idea when this new guy might show up?’ ‘Naw. The folks who have been supporting Poindexter and his little church for years might suddenly find that this new guy is going to be drilling down much deeper – can’t do things fancy unless you got the money.‘Right.’ ‘Har har. Lot of ‘em are nothing but charlatans.’ ‘Can’t say I disagree with that. commander of the SLPD Flying Squad.’ ‘Well. I been talking some with Doctor Barclay. We go way back – back to before the War when we 99 .’ ‘Yeah – might want to draft you as the new choir director.’ ‘I agree.’ ‘Oh?’ ‘Yeah – thinks the goofy bastards in the street – unwashed masses he called ‘em – are too eager to let themselves be enchanted with the glitz and glitter put out by a lot of preachers. we’ll soon enough find out.’ ‘Well. I’m trying to stay out of it. No need for my nose stuck in there.’ *** I made a lunch date with Vince Pallazola – Lieutenant Pallazola. I don’t think he’s too impressed with the concept of organized religion.

What kind of Bunco squad does the department have?’ ‘We don’t have enough of that crap to worry about. let me ask you a question.both started in the late ‘30s as probationary patrolmen for the SLPD. Sal. Why? You on to something?’ ‘I was afraid you were going to say that. those paths have likewise intersected many times since. We don’t know yet.’ Sal beamed. We agreed to meet at a small Italian family restaurant. just bust ‘em in the act. Vin just made his day. I owe Vin my life. Yeah. As we took our seats Vin simply handed the menus back to Salvatore. ‘Vin. If something turns up we usually just let the District Specials handle it. Whatever you’re eating today is good enough for us. Slick is coming on to something about to fester and bust – if the rumor mill is correct. Although Mama Napolitano recently died her original recipes live on – her two sons have promised to never change any of them so long as the family restaurant exists.’ 100 . He now heads a small elite squad of detectives that is multi-talented and has a mandate to cherry pick its workload. unless you’re talking about the Negro population here. ‘We’re in your hands. one of the brother-owners. a place that until just a few years ago featured ‘Mama’ as a daily fixture. It’s all just nickel and dime stuff anyway. He’d go back in the kitchen now and bust his butt to bring out the best of the best for us. No undercover stuff. It was Pallazola who brought down Paul Deckard after Deckard had plugged me. Although our paths diverged long ago.

‘Enjoy. – Ah. Sal. Dan. you shouldn’t have. Look at this. medallions of veal – on a Wednesday lunch?’ Salvatore Napolitano just grinned.’ ‘Well. You guys got enough to do. Enjoy. I’ll let you know if I get anything solid.’ ‘Sounds good. At this point I don’t want to have everybody working a wild goose chase. it might be nothing.’ *** 101 . As you well know my Flying Squad is all white. my friends.‘Well. maybe you ought to tell Slick to tip off the Negro Specials in whatever districts this thing is in – or going to be in. We’d have to get the black Specials involved.

102 .

PART TWO 103 .

104 .

He carried just a single suitcase. With the luggage on the floor between his feet he dialed the payphone.’ ‘Too ostentatious.’ *** ‘Slick. I’ve just arrived from Tulsa. ‘Reverend Poindexter? This is Robert Smith. Louis you need to look like you’ll fit in with them.’ He listened.’ *** He did as instructed and rode an overnight Greyhound bus from Tulsa to St. okay. picked up the suitcase and turned away from the phone.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘No. Louis. Take the bus. I guess.’ ‘I was planning on taking the train out of Tulsa. you notice anything about Popeye?’ 105 . He was stiff and sore from sitting upright all night.*** ‘Take the bus. an overnight lower berth. You’ll do this my way – period. ‘Old fart told me to take the bus or the streetcar. No guessing. Downtown here right now at the Greyhound station. Then grimly hung up the phone.’ Okay. Yes sir. When you arrive in St. a bible prominently packed on top of the few white shirts.

he’s right ‘bout that. Wilbur! Did I evah tell you about Driscoll heah back in Japan? Wonder the army didn’t go bankrupt.’ ‘Maybe that’s cause you always smell of food – got spills all down yo’ lap. Yeah. never strayed too far from the truth. No Sir. He one fine animal – ole Popeye. He smiled. I laughed along with them.’ ‘No. He ain’t picky. Biggest damn woman I ever saw – I thought – then I saw the five o’clock shadow and when ‘she’ talked it sounded like a factory whistle on a foggy night. Oh yeah.’ Wilbur by now was an old hand at our feints and jabs.‘Yeah. Wilbur. to his credit. he’s right.’ ‘He likes anything. I was so damned anxious to get out of there I didn’t stop to button my pants until I was a block away. I know that. ‘Wilbur. that dawg. I bet.’ ‘He like ketchup on his French fries. That guy could nail me every time. We had had more than our share of good times back in Japan – and Slick. He can’t see worth shit with only one eye and I don’t know how good that one is. He wag his tail for any little bite you give him. but have you ever noticed when I come in here – he gets up from wherever he is and comes and lays down next to me.’ I couldn’t help myself. too.’ ‘Yeah. he spilling so damn much. Ask Slick about the time he never bothered to button up his fly when he came outta the binjo. Yeah. ask him ‘bout that one. he a smart puppy.’ 106 . ‘Don’t nobody notice ole Popeye here under my chair alla the time? He know who got the bag of burgahs in the desk drawer.

You recommending it?’ ‘Naw.’ ‘Yeah. Calvin.‘Like some girls I used to know. I been scouting around looking to see if we got any good card games developing so I visit around. Ever been in there Slick?’ ‘No. it’s just a comfortable kinda place. Wouldn’t want you getting mad at me. 107 . You were saying?’ ‘Well. those guys ain’t got the price of a drink in their pockets but they still hang around there. Why you bring that place up? You think I need to put in an appearance there. women don’t much like the looks of the guys hanging around outside. not a worry in the world. excuse the interruptions.’ *** ‘The Dynaflow Lounge – where the ‘shiftless’ folks all hang out. All shucking and jiving. Oh yeah. “Yeah. Club manager there said he was sorry he hadn’t sold tickets.’ Slick didn’t even look my way. Slick is a first-class club thumper.’ ‘Laziest bastards in the world – right there on that sidewalk.’ ‘Probably got some of ‘em on our books right now. like a buncha peacocks. not interested in providing any entertainment. ‘Calvin. when you got some time lemme tell you about the time Slick ‘thumped around’ a little and got a quick confession outta a crusty old white first sergeant. Naw. can’t say I have. maybe thump around a little?’ I interrupted. Calvin.

going around to the neighborhood businesses trying to get himself acquainted.’ ‘Sure.’ ‘Oh?’ Calvin regained control of the conversation with ‘No. Yeah. suddenly somebody got himself some money and looking to be the next fool to lose it to me in a card game. Seems there’s a new preacher in town.’ ‘Ole ‘Juicy’ Poindexter probably told him to get out and hit the bricks.’ ‘Probably Juice’s new deputy. Calvin?’ ‘Yeah. I don’t think they call them deputies. They said he introduced himself as Robert Smith. Not very original.Sometimes they fool you. nothing like that – sez he just wants to get out. Slick. shake a few hands and meet the folks in the neighborhood.’ ‘Wilbur. Make himself useful.’ ‘Yeah?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Right – and told everybody to be sure and call him if they need anything. Anyway the gang that hang around the Dynaflow there they was all shooting the shit when I walked in. right?’ ‘That’s about it. Why didn’t he just say ‘John Doe’ right up front?’ 108 . Not asking for money. this guy is using the old soft sell.’ ‘You get his name.

Around seven maybe?’ ‘See you there at seven. Didn’t come across as wanting to be a number two – for anybody.’ ‘Right. I’ll alert Slick. well known to traveling businessmen – and the locals – for the so-called ‘Men’s Club’. fine.‘From what the Dynaflow crowd said – they think this guy is here to stay. Wayne Samuels here. Doctor Barclay has one brewing up here in this part of town.’ ‘Glad to hear that actually. doc.’ ‘Sounds good to me. 109 . Where would you like to meet?’ ‘Probably somewhere away from this neighborhood.’ Wonder what this is all about? *** The Plaza Hotel is a long time downtown hotel. What do you think about the Plaza Men’s Club?’ ‘Sounds like you don’t want any loud music. Dan. a spot with a good bar. ain’t he?’ *** ‘Hello?’ ‘Hi. Got a few cyclones brewing in the lesser latitudes here – as usual. We thought you and Slick might be amenable to having a few drinks this evening. too. How’s it going down there?’ ‘Fine.’ ‘Ole ‘Juice’ – he in trouble.

yes. At seven o’clock the local office worker crowd had thinned out some. Not a place to take a date because there is no entertainment. Want me to start a tab on a room number. Then Wayne Samuels opened the door for Barclay. The four of us would fit in there well tonight.’ We shot the breeze over a couple of rounds. For the four of us it looked like a good fit. The waitress stood aside and let us settle in before taking our orders. why don’t you give them the lowdown on what’s just come up?’ 110 .’ ‘Name’s Susie. Those remaining drinkers might well spend the evening there. and stout drinks. Likker is quicker – than beer.’ Barclay gave her his best grin.competent staff. ‘Looks like a Scotch drinkers convention – you guys. Slick and I took a semi-circular booth that could hold six in a pinch. Okay?’ ‘Gotcha. ‘Yeah. ‘Jim. The guys that have to go home for supper with the old lady had all wobbled out the door. Business deals go down here at all hours. Before we could order our first round Barclay and Samuels were coming in the door and headed our way. I’ll be here all evening. no. Slick and I brought them up to date on the potential problem we were nursing in the black community. On a room. gentlemen?’ ‘A tab.

Slick and I decided to walk back to the office. Nobody suggested going to get anything to eat. not wanting to interrupt the flow of Barclay’s oration.Doctor Barclay took a healthy drink and leaned forward. ‘Okay. right?’ ‘Basically.’ Sure. yes. It was a pleasant night.’ So Doctor Barclay had the floor while we sat and listened. that’ll work.’ Wayne Samuels smiled ‘If we both get shitfaced then we’ll deny everything. You guys learned it by osmosis – okay?’ Slick nodded. will insert himself in the conversation. As we passed the Central Library on Olive Slick spoke first. Barclay and Samuels hailed a cab. ‘Think we can do anything?’ 111 . If you have any questions after we leave.’ It was a little after ten when we broke up. Let’s have one more round. Anyway. if I start to stray I expect my good friend. No need for you guys to comment now – unless you want to. the ashtray was full and Susie the waitress was keeping an eye on us from her station in the middle of the bar. Wayne here. I noticed Barclay had graduated from crutches to a stout cane. just let me know. ‘I’ve got a bit of a problem here in how much I can disclose because of the doctor – patient privilege thing. ‘Sometimes that’s the best way – like when Moses’ mama came home with the baby ‘I just found him in the bulrushes. When he finished we noticed that our glasses were empty. Know what I mean?’ ‘Same as the priest in confession.

do that. quiet night boss. I stood back as he rattled his keys on the glass in the front door. Make sure things are all locked up.‘I dunno. I’m sure those two guys would never have come to us if they didn’t think we could. this was Slick’s baby. Where’s Popeye?’ ‘The dog? He’s been bunking in the back room. Anything big come in later on I’ll give you a call. Charles. We sure as hell need to give it some thought. wants to stay where the lights ain’ so bright I guess. Helluva burden they got with that doctor-patient thing. Although my name was still on the window. Anything I need to know before I get in my car out back and leave?’ ‘No.’ ‘They were both pretty stiff upper lipped weren’t they?’ ‘Rightly so.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Yeah. ‘Thanks.’ ‘Fine. Okay?’ *** 112 . Well. we’re going out the back door. and if they hadn’t decided they didn’t have any other options. In a few minutes the door was unlocked by a Wilbur clone.’ In another two blocks we were at Slick’s bail bonds shop.

we let things slide for a while. Each of us working the mental angles separately until we could sit down and thrash out some sort of plan agreeable to both of us. Let’s go find a Chili Parlor.’ ‘So? On Fridays they can get a chili fix if they don’t have meat in it? Just turtle?’ ‘That’s right. You want regular beef chili – or maybe you want turtle meat chili?’ ‘Turtle meat? Who the hell would want turtle meat in their chili? Never heard of that. Louis have convinced themselves that since turtles come outta the sea.’ ‘Well. Howzabout some Honest to God chili?’ ‘Sounds good.’ ‘That’s stupid is what it is. *** ‘Wanna go eat?’ ‘Yeah.As we usually do. Who makes these damned rules anyway? Somebody ain’t got enough to do but sit around and dream up new rules? Sheesh.’ ‘I take it that means you want real meat – beef – in your chili?’ ‘That’s right. some catholic folks here in St. And why do they call them oyster crackers?’ 113 . then they’re seafood. And since you know so much about chili – why don’t you explain to me why they always give you those damn little round crackers with chili.

’ ‘Well. Not getting a very big reception anywhere.’ 114 .’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘What’s Juice doing?’ ‘Same as always – which is as little as possible. He’s one lazy old bastard.“You sure you want chili?’ *** ‘You hearing anything?’ ‘You mean on Poindexter?’ ‘Yeah. Lets him do a little running.’ *** Popeye and the two horses next door had turned out to be perfect for each other.’ ‘That’s to be expected.’ ‘Gonna mess up a lot of those folks who been preaching all that gloom and doom about him. not much. No competition. Maybe he might never turn into anything other than what he seems to be right now. Better than just walking on a leash. Everybody’s kinda goosey about him right now. everybody just liked each other. ‘Good for him to get in the yard there with ‘em. The new guy is roaming around trying to look busy.’ ‘None of Wilbur’s crew much into running.

‘Say what?’ ‘I meant for pleasure.’ ‘I’m inclined to think there may be nothing there – just a bunch of old ladies in the beauty parlor – all start squawking at once. ‘I ain’t ready to get out and start asking questions. I know when they been up to something they can jump over buildings in a single bound. Think you might want to write that idea down.’ ‘Right. I can see ‘em trotting along with a fifth in each hand. Danny boy. boss. Everybody buys that.’ *** Calvin and Slick took to more or less regular after hours driving tours through the black neighborhoods. but the minute I start nosing around about Poindexter – or his new assistant – the tom-toms will go crazy. Calvin.’ ‘If we could harness that energy of theirs we could open a messenger business and take over from Western Union – all those white kids on bicycles be outta work. If there’s something cooking we’ll hear about it. Slick was still trying to keep a low profile on the Poindexter rumors case. Next thing you know they all go home 115 . So far they were limiting themselves to just eyeballing the street corners and talking with each other in the car. Slick?’ ‘You got too much time on your hands.’ ‘Maybe they could do neighborhood deliveries for small liquor stores. We need to find something for you to work on. Just let it come natural. You understand? Only reason for me to stop and visit is if I’m running down a skipper. but he was getting antsy about it.

We gotta move on now but keep in touch with Calvin here. Mistuh Slick. Daryl. ‘Mistuh Slick – first thing I did when I got off the bus – put a nickel in the phone and checked. long as I can.’ ‘Daryl! Hey. Tell yo’ mama I was asking about her. No questions asked. Ain’t that Daryl over there – in front of the drugstore? Call him over here. If we don’t hear from you. Louis. I dunno where. you standing around here wondering ‘bout that girl over in East St. staying back with my momma.and report the latest gospel they heard just a few hours ago. man.’ ‘Daryl. ‘Hi theah.’ ‘Yeah. then I’m gonna have Calvin hassle yo’ ass.’ Daryl pushed off of the wall and strolled over and looked into the Buick. How you all been?’ ‘We be fine. She gone. ole Roscoe is pretty starved for conversation at his barber shop anyway. Like wildfire. man – come heah. you gonna stay outta trouble for a while – what?’ ‘Long as I can. man. Tellya what.’ ‘Slow down.’ ‘So. I need to get a job – sumthin’ – you know?’ ‘Yeah. Mistuh Slick – Calvin. okay?’ 116 . How long you been back?’ ‘Just got home a couple days ago. aincha?’ Daryl looked in at Slick and grinned a little. wildfire. you do. We might turn up something for you. Calvin. So the minute something new comes up – he’ll take it.

When we got there the house was in flames and my wife and daughter were both dead.Slick slid the car into gear and pulled away from the curb.’ *** Things were pretty quiet around town. boss?’ ‘Maybe. ‘Slick. you doing anything on Poindexter?’ ‘Nah. Feel like going for a drive?’ *** The weather was very nice this time of year. If anything gets started I’m sure we’ll hear about it. Slick was making plenty money on the clowns who kept stepping in the grease. Calvin looked at Slick. I cruised the City Hall just to keep in touch with my many friends in the local bureaucracy. As we rode in Slick’s Buick out Lindell toward the park I felt a pang. I figure there are enough other people sniffing around.’ ‘Got any ideas about Doctor Barclay’s patient?’ ‘Maybe so. Winter was behind us and summer hadn’t yet arrived. It was a day just like this when Gallagher and Lasker had driven me home – under motorcycle escort – through Forest Park and out Hampton. Ain’t neither one of ‘em got a porter. ‘You got something in mind. 117 . Dan’s got two saloons. Daryl went back to leaning against the wall.

Slick looked sideways at me. “You okay?’ ‘Yeah. I’m okay. I was just thinking of the day Mona and Michiko were killed. Haven’t been back in the park since then.’ ‘Rather go somewhere else?’ ‘No, no. This is fine. Why don’t we park somewhere – maybe the bottom of Art Hill – or over behind the birdcage. I don’t care, really. Anywhere it’ll be quiet.’ He opted for the parking lot of the Muni opera. Plenty of space, nobody to interrupt us here in midday. We sat for a few minutes and just let the tranquility of Forest Park take over. ‘What’s your take on Barclay’s patient?’ ‘Well, from what he said that night down at the Plaza bar it sounds like she is probably a longtime patient of Wayne Samuels – probably broached her concern to Wayne – maybe just a little – and he referred her to Barclay, the shrink.’ ‘I agree. So Barclay only knows her from that referral and whatever number of sessions he has had with her. Might be just one.’ ‘I got the impression, though, that he was fairly comfortable with the information he was able to disclose to us.’ ‘Which might, or might not, be the total picture.’ ‘Correct.’


‘Tell me if this matches your impression. The lady and her husband are elderly, very well off financially. No mention of any children – or nearby relatives for that matter.’ ‘Right.’ Their lifestyle borders on the opulent – due to the old man’s past success in business.’ ‘Right.’ ‘Now, at his advanced age pop takes less of an active interest in the business, although the income continues to roll in.’ ‘That’s right.’ ‘So everything should be rosy, correct?’ ‘Correct. BUT – apparently that is not so.’ ‘Because?’ ‘Because somebody has seen fit to let old pop know that his – and his wife’s – health and lifestyle could be severely altered – unless . . . ?’ ‘Yeah. Unless.’ ‘So the usual questions come to mind.’ ‘Right. Eliminating family since there apparently are none – that leaves business people – or strangers.’ ‘Business people – could be present or former employees – could be competitors – could be aggrieved former customers.’ 119

‘Aggrieved – I like that. Could be former vendors, too. Right?’ ‘Right.’ ‘Could be total strangers, too. If the old man’s business reputation was very well known, it could be that he’s just been selected as a target solely because of the depth of his pocket.’ ‘You know what?’ ‘What?’ ‘We don’t know shit – that’s what.’ ‘I couldn’t have put it better myself. Barclay’s either going to have to get us more specifics or accept the fact that we ain’t miracle workers.’ ‘Aw, I hate that. I’ve kinda become accustomed to that reputation of being a miracle worker.’ ‘Don’t kid yourself, partner. Lotsa folks got us pegged. They’re just too polite to say so.’ ‘Especially to our face, right?’ ‘Right.’ ‘Where’d this old guy make his millions, I wonder?’ ‘Diamonds. Barclay mentioned he’d been a diamond merchant.’ ‘Oh boy. I missed that.’


‘Yeah, it was back when he and I went to the can – that’s when he said it.’ ‘Shit. I was hoping we just had a liquor store owner – sumthin’ simple.’ ‘Ain’t nothing simple anymore, pal – nothing.’ *** ‘I hear Reverend Smith is getting the ladies organized.’ ‘Oh?’ ‘Yeah. Encouraging any and alla the ladies to step forward and join the choir.’ ‘I thought they already had a choir.’ ‘They do – did, but he wants them and the church to get a little more recognition – been telling the ladies that they gotta lotta talent already, just need to do a little fine tuning – sez it will help the church’s image here in town.’ ‘Sounds okay to me – course I ain’t a candidate.’ ‘Thank the Lord for that.’ ‘Right. So what kinda reaction he getting?’ ‘He’s crafty. The ladies are going for it. He’s talking about trying to get somebody around town to donate a better piano. The one they got must be pretty bad, only plays loud. All outta tune.’ ‘Oughta be plenty of used pianos around in better tune than that one.’ 121

’ ‘Not interested in signing up for the new choir?’ ‘Naw. don’t it?’ ‘Lord works in wondrous ways. long time widows too.‘Right.’ ‘Right. Probably pick up one traded in to one of the piano stores. No more worry about who gonna show up at church with the biggest hat.’ *** 122 . too.’ ‘That rascal. Don’ know shit about music. Just sit around on their porches and watch the young folks go by.’ ‘Sounds like the man is on a roll. He’s a longtime widower. Except maybe when Juice come by.’ ‘That oughta be an easy sell to the ladies. then they might invite him inside to stay a while and gossip with ‘em. what else he been up to?’ ‘He’s talkin’ about getting all the choir – the ones who make the cut – all dolled up in some kinda robes.’ ‘So.’ ‘Sounds like Juice got himself a pretty soft assignment. too old to go to church. Too much trouble to get up outta that rockin’ chair. Where’s ole Juice fit in to all this new stuff?’ ‘He’s fine with it. ain’t he?’ ‘Yeah. These are really old biddies. Spends a lotta his time now just going around the neighborhood visiting with the old ladies.

’ ‘All that crap about the rich old lady patient – total crap.’ ‘I did wonder about the look on Wayne’s face as you were talking. . but – believe it or not – I got cold feet just as I started to talk. a lot more. doc. . ‘Hey. What you talking about?’ ‘That story I told you guys at the Plaza that night – total bullshit. I’ll be honest with you. He gave me hell when we got out of there.‘Dan? This is Jim Barclay. anytime you want to talk – Slick or I – or both of us – we’re here. You got a minute?’ ‘Sure. I did have something else I wanted to solicit some help on. doc.’ ‘Well. We talked it over and just couldn’t get a grip on it ourselves. M story about the old lady caught him off guard. No problem. he didn’t jump me about it until we had some privacy.’ ‘No problem.’ ‘Yeah. I’m sorry . then I copped a plea myself. Good man that he is. ‘ I waited a beat to let it sink in.’ ‘Oh? That’s news to me.’ ‘Well.’ 123 . What’s up?’ ‘I owe you and Slick an apology. We decided we were probably going to have to ask you to spell it out for us.

‘Well after observing the professional demeanor of you two that night – I’m comfortable now in asking for help whenever I might need it – if you’re still willing. .’ ‘Fire away. Does that make any sense?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘It’s a personal problem – one for me. It’s that I have to get my brain kicked into gear so that I will have sufficient self confidence in whatever I bring to you. it does. He’s been going around putting out little paper cups .’ ‘Thanks. ‘ ‘Paper cups?’ 124 .’ *** ‘Everybody’s pissed off alla the sudden. I hope I’m not offending you. I was premature in thinking I could come to you and Slick. This time it’s the truth – the whole truth. . ‘ ‘If it’s possible – we’ll always listen. . . I’m still sorting it out. Dan.’ ‘Whyzat?’ ‘The new preacher. It’s not that I don’t have total and complete faith in you and Slick. I’ve suffered from that malady – as you well know. Here’s the deal. doc – over a long period of time.’ ‘Okay. I’ll be in touch. When I get a better handle on exactly what it is – and what kind of help I’ll need – then I’ll be in touch.

’ ‘Yeah. He didn’t much ask permission – just said something like ‘okay if I just leave this?’ and then he was outta the door before they could say anything.’ ‘Exactly. It was right next to the shoe shine stand – fer chrissakes. actually they’re large paper coffee cups leaving ‘em where people will see ‘em – and put money in ‘em – for the church. that do make a difference.’ ‘Yeah. Then one showed up over at Roscoe’s barber shop. is he?’ ‘Either that or just plain don’t give a damn – take advantage of well established patterns. He put one on the counter at Ernie’s Black and Tan Club – right where the hat check girl always used to have her little saucer. originally intended as a tip.‘Yeah. would be diverted into his little church cup thing. don’t give a shit about the impact his changes to those established patterns will have on the folks who had been dependent on the take they got from those tips. I can see where putting ‘em down in the wrong place would cause a lot of money.’ 125 . Crayon message on it ‘Ezekiel Tabernacle – Thank You’ – supposed to make you feel guilty if you got change to put back in your pocket.’ ‘Oh. but you ain’t having to live offa your tips.’ ‘Uh oh. then he planted another one on the bar.’ ‘Yeah. next to the waitresses’ station.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Sounds like a good idea to me.’ ‘Guy ain’t too considerate though.

’ ‘Juice brought him in – let Juice handle the problem – that’s what everybody’s saying.’ ‘Might have just been the scotch talking.’ *** ‘Think maybe we oughta check with Doc Wayne?’ ‘Man.’ ‘Yeah.‘Better check the blindman.’ ‘Yeah. doncha?’ ‘Yeah. No reason for us to push. See if the preacher put one of his paper cups down next to the old man’s pencils for sale.’ *** 126 . When he’s ready – if he’s ever ready – then we’ll find out what his problem is.’ ‘Hope he doesn’t do anything stupid. Barclay’ll think we’re going behind his back.’ ‘Feel kinda sorry for him. I hate that. We’re the stupid experts. leave that to us. makes you think he must have one helluva story that he needs to unload. Maybe he was ready to unload with the truth – then – at the last minute – couldn’t do it – stuck there in the booth – us with all our attention directed at him – he had to tell us something. I think he embarrassed himself telling us that big phony story about the old couple.’ ‘You’re right.

’ ‘Correct me if I’m wrong. Yeah. Slick. Damn thing heated up when you just looked at it. I remember. ‘Goddamn. Go to the bank every day. Said he wanted that four door convertible for the front spot on his used car lot. Barclay seemed less his usual outgoing self. just haul in the money. or was. The Poindexter saga was sagging too.’ ‘Then Jocko Reardon took it from us in a trade-in. We’d park in the shade somewhere every day.’ ‘That was a surprise. I wonder who he coulda sold it to?’ 127 . California?’ ‘Yeah. Boring as hell.’ ‘Yeah.We waited. Load up with water bottles and hit the road at night. ain’t it?’ ‘Didja ever think – when we left Japan – that we could say anything like that?’ ‘Naw. pretty soon you and me – we’re gonna have to take up golf or something. but didn’t we just drive at night to get here – just to keep that thing a little cooler?’ ‘That’s right. This day in day out same day every day shit – is boring.’ ‘Radiator and hoses all cracked and leaky as hell. pretty much avoided any contacts with us where the conversation might get around to whatever the hell his problem is. Remember that used 1935 Ford phaeton you bought out there in Fairfield.

those were different days.’ ‘Me too – especially those days when we could go out and kick a little ass. We got away with a helluva lot back then. make the world spin in the right direction. doncha think?’ ‘Oh yeah – built like a brick outhouse. weren’t they?’ ‘Yeah – still miss ‘em though. Nobody challenged us.’ ‘Helluva looker when she was young.’ ‘I don’t think we can do that anymore. we’re the only people he can ask to get him straightened out. Um um.’ ‘Uh oh.’ ‘Well. Different ballgame nowadays. Think they want my permission to run off and get married?’ ‘If Miz Stormy was about twenty years youngah and Mistuh Pete there – if he was about twenty years older – then that might work.’ ‘The last of the Lone Rangers – that’s us. Mistuh Dan. my friend.’ *** ‘Pete Conrad and Stormy Knight been calling for you.’ ‘Bullshit.‘Probably some kids.’ ‘Best we can do now – just sit around and wait for somebody to get himself so fucked up.’ 128 .

‘ ‘Gimme an hour or so. I got one other call to make. You called?’ ‘Yeah. . Thanks for returning my call.’ ‘That thing about Reverend Juice? I think I got some bad news for you and Slick.’ ‘Oh boy. Dan. Is it urgent?’ ‘Not unless somebody dies before you and Slick get it all fixed.’ ‘Trouble?’ ‘Not exactly. One of the doctors been in . I might have something else crowding my front burner right now. . boss.’ ‘Okay.’ 129 . Go ahead. Think maybe you better come out here.’ *** ‘Peter. You got a minute?’ ‘Sure.‘Guess I’ll give Pete a call first.’ *** ‘Stormy? How’s my gal?’ ‘Fine. Where you gonna be tonight?’ ‘I’ll be at the Black and Tan. my boy.

You know. They still think I’m the poleece. a lotta them remember when I walked that beat there.’ ‘You’re right. You gonna be a great singer.’ *** I had Murph run me out to the club and asked him to wait for me.’ ‘For a white boy – you a real rascal. I’ll be right here at the curb. I enjoy the jazz just as much as anybody. girl – when you grow up.‘Sounds good. I’ll tell Ernie to keep an eye out – maybe have a small table in the back for you. so I won’t stay here long. Dan. And Dan?’ ‘Yeah?’ ‘Just ‘cause you’re white don’t mean you can’t come in the Black and Tan. I’m looking forward to listening to you. Probably two married people – not married to each other. Either Slick or I will see you there. When I walked in the front door there was one couple off to the side. I just don’t want Ernie’s customers to get worried that I’m in there because of something they did – or might be thinking of doing.’ ‘I know.’ It was about four o’clock so the crowd hadn’t yet started heading into the club. 130 .’ ‘No problem. Okay?’ ‘Sounds good.’ ‘Sounds good. Stormy. Murph. ‘I gotta get back downtown. Dan.

. . from up East. what’s going on?’ ‘I’m sorry to call you like that but I didn’t think I should ignore it. At first I thought it was just a lookalike thing. This time he 131 . No sir. but . At first I wasn’t sure.’ ‘That’s what he drank last time here.’ ‘That’s the one. . ‘ ‘Barclay? You sure it was him?’ ‘I’m positive.’ ‘Yeah – Barclay. ‘Hi. So anyway he was looking bad. . ‘ ‘But what? Which one was it?’ ‘It was the outta town guy – the one who broke his leg. he was just shitty-faced drunk and sloppy looking . Like I said at first I wasn’t sure. wasn’t it?’ ‘Yessir. I remembered. so I kept my mouth shut and just served him.I took a stool at the far end of the bar so Pete and I could talk.’ ‘What?’ ‘One of those two doctor friends of yours – came in here about one thirty.’ ‘What was he drinking?’ ‘Teacher’s straight with ice and water on the side. needed a shave and looked worried – not the same as the first time he came here with you.

looked like he really needed that whiskey. no doubt about it. I held back – let him start the conversation. like I said. Just – when he downed his last shot and was getting up offa his stool. best to not push.’ ‘Shit. less than two blocks away so getting here would not have been a problem. As soon as I know what’s going on I’ll give you a buzz.’ ‘Well. Now. I decided against just 132 . he didn’t have much to say. Did he have much to say?’ ‘No. How’d he look when he walked?’ ‘’Well.’ ‘That’s him. where he was staying. not really. you know? But he was also limping a little – like one of his legs was hurting. You know?’ ‘Yeah. You did good calling right away. my friend.’ *** As Murph and I headed back down to Slick’s place I mulled over what Pete had said. I think we got trouble brewing. he had a little stagger – like any drunk.’ ‘If he shows up again – you want me to call you?’ ‘Right away. He was struggling with some demons inside – you could tell. I gotta get downtown and – I think – get some more bad news. then I’ll follow. he gathered up his bills off the bar and mumbled something – kinda sounded like he ‘wouldn’t be back this way anymore’ – that’s what it sounded like. right away. he’s been staying over on Lindell. I’ll have to check with Wayne Samuels.’ ‘Anyway. Pete.

I asked Mal to drop me at the front door. I’ll give you a call tomorrow. He’s ovah at the courthouse signing up some new business.’ *** I went inside and waited for Popeye to get off his dead ass and come to me for a little petting. Dan?’ ‘No. Couple studs the poleece been looking for – grocery store burglars. Wilbur?’ ‘Yeah.walking into Wayne Samuels’ Clinic for fear of bumping into Barclay and not knowing how to handle it.’ ‘Ain’t that what I just said?’ 133 . Seemed they went a little too far so the othuh guy flagged down a poleece car driving by. Insteada keeping their mouths shut they got inna argument with the othuh driver. thanks Mal. ‘Think you’ll need me anymore tonight. He stood and wagged his tail as I waited until Wilbur got off the phone. I think – had a stupid car accident. Turned out theah was a lookout on file for both of ‘em. It seemed like it would be better to talk privately with Wayne on the phone. Then they mouthed off some more to the officers in the car and got theah asses hauled into the district station. I think Slick and I will work the night together.’ ‘Meaning do they have enough cash to pay him to take them on. I needed that as much as he did. Slick’s over there waiting to see if they get a bond that he’ll be willing to cover. So. When we got to the Olive address Slick’s car was nowhere to be seen when I looked up the alley. ‘Heard from Slick lately.

Pissed ‘em off enough – in public – that they hauled their sorry black asses into the station house. I’d like him to be here whenever I talk with Wayne. Seems they were pretty well known as grocery store burglars. I put my feet up on the desk. Just as I made that decision I heard his key in the lock on the backdoor. Now – what the hell is going on with Barclay? What kind of troubles does he have to cause him to be out prowling the streets – on a gimpy leg – needing a shave and generally looking like shit warmed over? – What. We both stood up about the same time. ‘Goddammit! Talk about goofy assholes. Then the clerk there ran their names and found two lookouts. Those dumb bastards – start an argument with a couple of coppers just about ready to go off their day shift. Slick took another look at me. Slick. does Wayne Samuels know about this? – Should I phone him? – Now? – or wait? Slick should be getting away from court any minute.’ ‘Might be that bad. Wilbur – before he gets on the phone. Popeye heard it too. We need to talk. ‘What’s going on? You look like Futterman’s cat just crapped in your hat.’ 134 . if anything.’ Popeye and I went into my office. The dog read my signal and laid down next to the desk with a big sigh. might be. Am I supposed to throw you a bone or sumthin?’ Popeye just stood there wagging and drooling.‘As soon as he turns up – point him at me. Cops been wanting to catch up with ‘em for a long time. – And what the hell are you two standing there for – tongues hanging out.

’ ‘Probably gonna turn out pretty smelly. Yeah. No we’re on for that. Sure sounds like whatever it is – it’s ripe now. Pete said he was really shitfaced – said he wouldn’t be coming around there again. What do you think about checking with Doc Wayne?’ ‘I wanted to wait for you to get back.’ ‘Barclay? What’s going on with him?’ So I told him what I had just learned this afternoon after the call I’d gotten from Pete Conrad.‘What? Something about that thing we got set up with Stormy tonight? What?’ ‘No. *** 135 .’ ‘Could be. I’m gonna call him right now. it sounds to me like whatever it is – it’s ripe. ‘Damn. too. man. Yeah. This is about Barclay.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘That’s the way I figure it. that sounds like maybe that shit Barclay was spreading before – down there at the Plaza that night – was maybe just the beginning of something. Maybe something was just starting to ripen then and he – like he said – wasn’t yet ready to activate us. We still got the meet with Stormy for tonight. Maybe not. I figured that for about ten o’clock at Ernie Caldwell’s place. I think he had some idea – maybe he already knew everything then – just wasn’t prepared to take us into his confidence. will you?’ So I dialed Wayne Samuels private line. Stick close here.

‘Hi, can you talk?’ ‘Yes, I’m glad you called. I was about ready to breach my ethics code and phone you myself.’ ‘What’s going on? Do you know? He turned up early this afternoon over at the club on Maryland.’ ‘I’m not too surprised to hear that. With the nice weather I’ve been encouraging him to get out for short walks – a couple blocks in any direction. Just told him to be careful of traffic.’ ‘Well, he did that alright, but by the time he got to the club he was pretty drunk. Pete, my bartender, said he looked like he’d missed a shave this morning. Kinda shocked Pete because he remembered him as pretty vigorous looking when we took him there before, even though he had been injured not too long before that.’ ‘Yes, I think there has been a rather quick downward slide lately. I am in a somewhat awkward position here. I have been his treating physician as far as the physical ailments are concerned. I have welcomed his staying on here – on a personal level. I’ve encouraged his accepting a few casual psych referrals, just something to keep his mind sharp. I have studiously avoided sticking my nose into his past, but I have noticed of late he is just not the same jovial guy he used to be. I attributed that to some bad news that has come to him. Unfortunately I don’t have the foggiest idea what that could be – and I can’t ask. The best I can do is continue to observe.’ ‘Well, doc, I’ll leave it to you. I know you’ll do everything within your power for him.’ ‘I will, Dan.’


‘Do you think he’ll be back to your place this evening?’ ‘I certainly hope so. If he doesn’t show up I’ll call you immediately. If any calls come for him I’ll take numbers and share that with you.’ ‘Okay, thanks. Slick and I are going to see Stormy Knight later on. Want me to mention that we talked?’ ‘Tell her to break a leg and come back here for some TLC.’ ‘Gotcha.’ *** Slick and I sat around mulling over the developing mystery of the good doctor James Randolph Barclay. We had a few hours still on the clock before we’d go get something to eat, and we didn’t want to get to Ernie Caldwell’s Black and Tan until late in the evening. ‘I can’t figure it out.’ ‘Me neither.’ ‘It’s like trying to grab – and hang on to – a fistful of smoke.’ ‘Guy comes to town – first thing he does – falls on his ass on the ice. Ain’t nobody – ‘cept if you’re a professional acrobat – busts his leg and cracks his skull.’ ‘Nothing preplanned about that.’ ‘So then we get involved because he almost lost his briefcase and luggage when they loaded him in the ambulance.’ 137

‘Yeah. So, being good guys – like we are – we make sure the briefcase and luggage catch up with him at City hospital.’ ‘Then one thing leads to another – we fix it so he can be transferred to Wayne Samuels’ Clinic.’ ‘Right, and the two of them hit it off pretty good.’ ‘Turns out Barclay is a retired psychiatrist from the New York area, no family, nothing much to do up east – so he heads out here to research writing some kind of book.’ ‘Hold it right there. Everything we’ve just gone over so far sounds pretty plausible. This writing a book thing sounds a bit smelly, I think.’ ‘Yeah, there could be all sorts of other reasons for him to come to St. Louis. Let’s mark down Judge Glennon to be asked about the Barclay plan to visit his court.’ ‘Glennon might know more.’ ‘Anyway, back to what we think we know – Barclay recovers satisfactorily at Wayne’s place, and while doing so, begins to dabble a little again in psychiatry.’ ‘That he did. Socked it to both of us – right between the eyes as to what our hang-ups were.’ ‘He did that – and enjoyed it. Obviously he’s had considerable success in the past judging by the techniques he used on us.’ ‘No mumbo-jumbo big words shit – just told us to get our heads outta our asses and in the sunshine again and be honest with ourselves.’ 138

‘Can’t fault him on that bluntness. No sir.’ ‘And – he has shown himself to be no slouch in the liquor department either.’ ‘Really belted down those straight Teacher’s shots, just a little water and ice handy on the side. Just one of the guys, yeah.’ ‘But then – it seems like something happened – maybe something in his past – anyway something we don’t know – he’s seen wandering the streets, needing a shave – no longer able to hold his liquor or to know when to stop – talking about ‘not being around anymore’ – strange change in behavior.’ ‘Yeah, and you know what?’ ‘What?’ ‘We don’t know shit.’ ‘Well, ain’t that a damned surprise.’ ‘And Wayne Samuels apparently doesn’t know anymore than we do.’ ‘Well, if he doesn’t come back to Wayne’s place tonight I think we’d better think about getting Vin and his squad involved.’ ‘Agreed. This doesn’t strike me as a normal drunk – if there is such a thing – you know what I mean? A guy with a drinking habit that he has had under control – then he suddenly goes off the deep end.’ I think you’re right. Even if he has an alcoholic streak that he’s been suppressing, something else has 139

Slick gave a little wink to the hatcheck girl and led the way to the bar.’ ‘Yeah. We entered together. With us – they gonna get a deal – two for one. The bartender was having a little trouble getting away from a slobbering drunk at the other end of the bar. Slick. ‘Grab a stool.’ ‘I take that as a compliment.’ ‘That’s alright.’ ‘I figured by now most everybody in town has figured that out.occurred recently to provoke him to alter the in-charge behavior he’s exhibited as long as we’ve known him. but it don’t cost us nothing to reinforce their thinking. You gonna buy the first round. 140 . Might as well let all these niggahs in here know that we’re partners.’ He laughed and put a twenty dollar bill on the bar sticking halfway out from under his ashtray. I shoulda known. Ernie came back in and walked up behind us about the same time the bartender got loose and headed down toward us. Let’s sit up here so Ernie and everybody can see us together. Thank you. Ernie spotted Slick’s twenty and spoke to the bartender.’ *** We got to the Black and Tan shortly before the last show of the evening. A lot of the crowd that had come in early had by now cleared out. right?’ ‘Ah. Ernie Caldwell and one of his bouncers eased the guy off his stool and gently walked him to the door and out to the sidewalk.

and doubt that I ever will know. We don’ see enough of each other. Officer Driscoll. and has used what beauty and singing skills with which she was naturally endowed to her best advantage.’ He wrapped thick arms around our shoulders and stuck his head between us. ‘Hey young lady. She is one of the most self confident women I have ever encountered. I am so glad that you came tonight. ‘Mistuh Dan.’ She laughed again. She probably would have been lucky to have gotten as far as the fifth grade. ‘Glad to see you brought our old buddy. You sure know how to scare a guy – sneaking up on his blind side like that.‘These fellows are friends of the proprietor. They money – it ain’t no good tonight. overcome many obstacles. She’s a woman comfortable with herself and a joy to know. She’d slipped in there while Ernie was giving us the glad hand. Slick. 5 and quite a bit of soft flesh. she has pulled herself up over her many years. Undoubtedly raised poor. Give ‘em whatever they want. I don’t know. do we?’ 141 . When I tried to tip a little to my left I found myself enveloped in a cloud of Chanel No. any woman with a laugh like hers. with you tonight. and she doesn’t hold it back. It was Stormy Knight. For just an instant a thought entered my head. It comes from way down deep.’ Slick and I each tried to swivel around a bit but Ernie’s bulk pretty much prevented any movement except to the side. I wonder how big her date is? Then she laughed.

’ ‘Well. She was one fine lady. after you and Vin Pallazola were shot at the Blue Note I was afraid we’d never hear you sing again either.’ ‘Those were happy days. you got a lot of friends in this town. I hope you both know. even if it was only for a little while. Remember when you had that grand opening party?’ ‘Oh yeah – and you and Mona sang that duet!’ ‘St. Dan. but I got Slick.‘Well. I know.’ ‘Well. Velma left him you know.’ 142 . Listen. You were lucky to have had her. Louis Blues – oh yeah. Slick and I will be waiting for you at the end of the show. maybe I need to book you more out on Maryland. kiddo. It ain’t easy. We got a fancy white baby grand out there. Mona really enjoyed that. Anything you want me to sing for you tonight?’ ‘Anything you want – it’ll sound great. Dan dear. I better go backstage and powder my nose. we need to talk. Stormy. Mona and I pounded out a lotta songs on that piano. She and I had little Michiko – on top of the world we were.’ ‘Oh yeah.’ ‘Yeah. I did too. So he and I each help each other. take you away from this evil gin mill environment. I hope you’re gradually getting a little better?’ ‘I am.’ ‘Well. I remember when you bought that piano for Mona – so she’d start singing again – and then you talked me into going out there.’ ‘Good.

.’ ‘Ja. Dan.’ We both laughed as the house lights dimmed and a drum roll began. Not yet ripe for picking.She slid off the stool and wended her way backstage. I’m sorry to call so early but . I yelled down the stairs to him. man. The guy on the next stool looked at me and winked. We drove across the bridge to East St. It was beginning to shape up into something but we agreed it was best to let it come along on its own. this is Wayne Samuels. *** Stormy was in good voice that night. We coaxed more than a few encores from her until the bartender began flicking the lights. Hurry up!’ I took the phone from him and he went back to cracking ice in the cooler. *** I woke up early the next morning. . ‘If that’s urgent. Don’t want the coppers pounding on the door after closing time. I could hear Herman Schultz downstairs in the saloon as he answered the phone. Louis where the three of us sat in an all-night coffee shop while Stormy shared all the latest on the Poindexter church thing. ‘Some guys get all the luck. ‘Hello?’ ‘Dan. ‘ 143 . I’ll be right down.

’ ‘So. Right away.’ ‘I’d do that. Pete the bartender said that later in the day he looked like he hadn’t shaved.’ ‘Well. I didn’t see him when he left but I presume that. you haven’t seen him or heard from him since what? Yesterday morning?’ ‘That’s right. he was okay. I’m not sure about that. What’s happening?’ “As you can probably guess – our man did not come in last night. Would you call me right after that? I think it’s going to be time to call Vin Pallazola and his guys.’ *** Slick was pretty tied up at the courthouse all morning.’ ‘Oh. Wilbur got one of the loiterers from the pool hall to take a note over and put it in Slick’s hand.’ ‘That’s fine.‘That’s okay. This is quicker. I’ll phone you within thirty minutes. This was not 144 . I was up. at that point.’ ‘Thanks. I didn’t know that.’ ‘You think it would be alright if I went through his room? See if he left anything – or took all his stuff.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘I agree.’ ‘I didn’t want to call Slick’s place and have to relay messages to you.

Want me to tell him?’ ‘Yeah.’ I took the phone.’ “I just saw Gallagher over here. ‘Wayne says it looks like Barclay’s missing. It was taboo for anybody to give out the payphone numbers for callbacks. I’ll put a call into Pallazola. you ought to come down in Kerry Patch – see what life is like in the real world of drunken old farts.’ ‘Might not hurt to get your bartender out on Maryland to touch base with competitors in the area. won’t hurt. Wilbur?’ ‘Hold on. from what you told me they stand on the sidewalk in the morning waiting for your place to open. ‘What’s going on.’ *** Pete Conrad turned up several sightings.’ 145 . boss. ‘I didn’t realize there could be so many old farts out needing a shave and cruising the saloons. too. lawyers and others who frequented the courthouse actually had no way to keep in contact with their offices except by using the payphones to call in. which could or could not have been Barclay.uncommon practice since bail bondsmen.’ ‘Pete.’ ‘Yeah. Dan needs to talk to you. Slick got the message and phoned in just a few minutes.’ ‘Good idea.

I know that little ditty. psychiatrist – right? Got you and Slick straightened out over a couple bottles of cheap scotch. Anyway – he’s disappeared. Something going on?’ ‘Yeah. You may not want to take it on – it’s kinda early – and we don’t really have much handle on it ourselves. pray tell.’ ‘Well that tells me a helluva lot. Vin.’ ‘Keep your eyes and ears open. It’s a sight to see that first shot go down.’ ‘That’s the guy. He’s the guy. He may not be far away. is ‘IT’?’ ‘Remember the old doctor guy from New York? Fell on the courthouse steps on the ice – then we put him in with Wayne Samuels .’ *** Vin Pallazola returned my call later in the afternoon.‘That’s true.’ ‘You thinking some kinda Missing Person report?’ 146 .’ ‘Will do. . ‘Gallagher sez he ran into Slick at the courthouse. . Pete. ‘ ‘Yeah. What.’ ‘Into the mouth – over the gums – lookout stomach – here she comes! Yeah. Um um.

’ ‘They can pass the word to the Specials in the districts too. Vin.’ ‘I’ll just put it on your tab.’ ‘Thanks. looking bad. When he was last seen – out at the club – he was just drunk. ‘ ‘I owe you. Louis Metropolitan Police 147 . Samuels – see if they can bring up any thing in his memory. my friend. Dan. Then he pulled the plug on that.‘I don’t know. said it was just bullshit. I’ll have Gallagher and Gene Lasker go out and visit a little with Dr. That was yesterday. .’ ‘I know. .’ ‘Yeah. Irish. Reason we’re concerned though is that – a couple weeks ago he started to set me and Slick up to ‘fix a problem’ for him.’ ‘I think we’re gonna need a little more than that.’ ‘Yeah?’ ‘But he said he was still sorting it out – whatever ‘it’ was – and when he knew what he was talking about then he’d get back in touch.’ ‘Tellya what. I know. No particular extra work involved for anybody but if they stumble on something – well.’ *** Vincent (‘Vin’ or ‘Vinnie’) Pallazola has risen through the ranks of the St.’ ‘Kinda early to start looking for a drunk.

’ ‘Yeah. It is unique because it has a total complement of Pallazola.’ ‘What’s that all about? Slick and I didn’t have much chance to talk. It is unique because it has unlimited jurisdiction over any and all types of criminal activities.’ Gallagher. From the rear he had the skinny build of a teenager. Ruddy complexion. was a long time copper. unruly reddish brown hair. It reports directly to the Chief. when both of them and me were all just lowly beat patrolmen. I just walked in.’ 148 .Department to the rank of lieutenant.’ ‘Pull up a chair and light up. pockmarked face. Dan phoned me a while ago. which is why O’Neill detailed them to work with Pallazola. The squad’s charter authorizes them to call upon the Specials in any of the department’s districts in Pallazola’s sole discretion. and a perpetual scowl. presently in command of a temporary unit established by Chief Harry O’Neill. Pallazola’s unit defies typical organization charts. They have a close relationship developed since the pre-WWII late 30s. ‘Ran into Dan’s buddy at the courthouse. Tommy Gallagher and Gene Lasker. Lemme hang up my coat. partnered as Specials out of the Central District. like Pallazola. ‘Gallagher? You out there?’ ‘Yeah. The latter two being Tenth District Specials detailed to work in Pallazola’s ‘Flying Squad’. It was only from the front that his age was apparent. O’Neill and Pallazola once worked together. He and his partner were among the best in the department.

Seems that the guy identified himself to Dan as a retired psychiatrist from the New York area. Dan says as the guy mended he started off the cuff counseling with an occasional Samuels patient. Anyway these two would get together with Slick and Dan and put the hootch away from time to time. can you?’ 149 .‘Remember that day last winter when the old clown did a swan dive down the icy courthouse steps?’ ‘Yeah. Valentine’s Day. picked up the old fart’s briefcase and followed the ambulance to City hospital. Musta got pretty cozy – the outtatown clown decided maybe he’d just stay in our fair city. ain’t it?’ ‘Yeah. broke the hell outta his leg if I remember right. Dan felt sorry for him and put a call in to Wayne Samuels – got Wayne to have the guy transferred uptown to his private clinic.’ ‘That’s right.’ ‘That’s our Dan.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Yeah?’ ‘The New York guy and Samuels apparently shared some mutual interests – like their love of cheap scotch – sit around up there and shoot the shit at night I guess. Dan was there when it happened.’ ‘Can’t blame him for that.’ ‘Uh huh.’ ‘While you’re here getting your tubes tied – why don’t you visit with my in-house shrink kinda thing?’ ‘That’s what it sounds like.

You think ole Juicy got the word?’ ‘Not sure.’ *** ‘I didn’t see any of those paper cups at the Black and Tan the other night.’ ‘Umm.’ ‘Sounds good. showed up at Dan’s club on Maryland pretty much drunk as a skunk in the middle of the afternoon. I told Dan there ain’t enough there to make it a legitimate missing person case but maybe you and Gene could give it a quick look. Keep me posted. to make a long story short over the past few days the guy’s behavior has gone down the dumper. Gene’s off somewhere on his own at the moment. Why don’t you start with doctor Samuels – see if you can learn anything there.‘Well. Lotta people pretty pissed off about those damn things. why don’t I just tackle Samuels on my own. I’m sure his ears were burning though.’ ‘Then didn’t show up back at Samuels’ place to go beddy bye.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘So everybody kinda worried about this old fart?’ ‘Yeah. we can do that.’ 150 . Dan will understand.’ ‘Sure. Then put the guy’s description out to the district Specials. I’d close it down pretty fast unless you stumble on something right up front.’ ‘Wonder how they’re doing on the piano thing.’ ‘Good.

’ ‘Lotsa rich white folks bailed outta there in a hurry when the color of nearby blocks began to change. had him sell it for me – split it with her. ‘ ‘Yeah. husband died – piano just sitting there. Yeah. the notary public. Culver Circle – got about six or seven really fine old houses there. so we bought that other place we were in.’ ‘Maybe. You coulda got a bargain. . too – a little more in our price bracket. I called old Napoleon Calhoun. Juice promise her the key to paradise?’ ‘Probably.‘Somebody said they found an old lady. Culver Circle . It was nice. he may look and act like the village idiot a lot. Velma and I looked at ‘em – couldn’t afford ‘em. but don’t lay your purse down near him. .’ ‘That old Juice Poindexter. We didn’t wanna wait though.’ ‘You and Velma – you still own it?’ ‘Naw. Seems like one of Juice’s old widow ladies used to teach piano in her home there – got arthritis real bad.’ ‘Anyway – you were saying about the piano?’ ‘Oh yeah. Anyway – she donating her piano to the Ezekiel Tabernacle of Faith.’ ‘Yeah. lives on the dead-end street.’ *** 151 .’ ‘So.

’ ‘Yes. Dan brought him to my attention after he – Barclay.’ ‘No note or anything left behind?’ ‘No.’ ‘Oh no. In fact. the reason I’m phoning is something concerning Dan. right?’ ‘That’s right. you might say. Dan gave us a call about the missing doctor – Barclay is it?’ ‘Yes. well. I wonder if you have a minute?’ ‘Yes. I think I know what your call is about. If you’d prefer I could drive out to your office – talk this over face to face.’ ‘That’s what we heard.’ 152 .‘Doctor Samuels? This is Detective Gallagher. a boarder. Yes. that is – fell and broke his leg. You treated Barclay then – for a while?’ ‘Actually he was a patient of mine here in the Clinic – and then he and I agreed that he could stay on here as.’ ‘Then he just disappeared the other day?’ ‘I guess that’s as good a way as any to express it. I had been encouraging outside exercise to rebuild his leg strength – and he just never came back that evening. James Randolph Barclay. Nothing. you’re a friend of Dan Driscoll. he just went out for his usual walk. On the phone is fine.

‘ ‘Sounds like an informal sort of relationship you two professionals had. Neither of us interested in formalizing anything.’ ‘Yes. He had a sharp mind. That’s not all that unusual.’ ‘Correct me if I’m wrong here – there is nothing more you can add to help me out. Sorry. it is.‘Any verbalization prior to that – anything to indicate he had any kind of problems?’ ‘No. well . sorry. It didn’t ring any of my chimes as to which of my surgical patients it could have been. what happened with this long winded thing you started to describe?’ ‘Oh.’ ‘Oh?’ ‘Yes. . Once a few weeks back he seemed to be playing mental games with Dan and Slick – gave them this long winded story about his counseling with one of my female patients. . Your answers to my 153 . .’ ‘That’s an apt description. With him right here on the premises. Then he suddenly phoned Dan and apologized – said it was all made up – that he was sorry – that he did have something personal he was trying to work out – that if and when he figured it out he’d then call on them if needed. Entirely a matter of convenience. The story didn’t make much sense.’ ‘Pretty vague alright.’ ‘So. He was a psychiatrist and every once in a while one of my patients would seem to be in need of some counseling. Dan and Slick couldn’t make head or tail of it. . yes.

No. Let me ask – did you make any inquiries of professional organizations. any documents. please. he claimed that he was retired from a psychiatric practice he had in New York City?’ ‘Don’t hold me to that. experience were as he claimed them to be?’ ‘No. anything like that up in the New York area? Anything to confirm that his education.’ ‘Okay.questions constitute everything you know about what might have prompted his disappearance?’ ‘That’s a correct statement. He seemed quite competent in his counseling of Dan and Slick. I never would have suspected there was any reason to do that. I might have assumed it was in Manhattan proper.’ ‘While he was at your clinic did he ever display. As I understand it. It could have just been somewhere in the New York City area.’ ‘Okay. And his last residence up there – according to what he had told you – was in the Greenwich. Never saw a thing. Connecticut area?’ ‘That’s true. such as medical licenses and such. confirming his identity and/or background?’ ‘No.’ ‘And he held himself forth to you as a widower – no children mentioned?’ 154 . I know of nothing else. training. It never entered my head to doubt his claims.’ ‘Understood. or did you have any other opportunity to observe.

Mistuh Roscoe at the barber shop. you gotta couple calls heah. One more thing – ‘Yes?’ ‘I need you to give me the best possible physical description of him you can – right down to scars.’ ‘Oh yeah? About what?’ 155 . He be at his funeral home this afternoon – then he be at the club tonight.’ *** ‘Vin? I believe it’s time for us to talk. ‘ ‘That I can do with confidence. said he be out at the Maryland club. Mistuh Ernie Caldwell.’ ‘Okay. Let me pull my patient record on him. Has Dan been around?’ ‘Yessuh. He lef’ a bit ago. Sounds like he won’t be moving around for a while. That’s been helpful to me.’ *** ‘Boss. I’ll even have his blood type for you. I’ll call these other folks first.‘Also true.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘Thanks. tattoos and warts – and even whether or not he was circumcised. I looked at that old frame of his hundreds of times. Miz Stormy – she be home ‘til aroun’ five. marks. Thanks. Wilbur. Hold on.

far be it for me to comment on any halitosis you might have.’ ‘Do tell?’ ‘Yessir.’ ‘Well. I told Driscoll there’s not enough to justify formally opening anything. please? Tell me.’ ‘The missing psychiatrist case?’ ‘Not a case. what’s so damned great about your performance? Which I’m sure you’re just about to describe for me in excruciating detail.’ ‘Is there another way. yeah. why I should be listening to your plaintive pleas for a promotion. but . Usually we don’t give out promotions too freely except in unusual cases – such as when an officer takes a bullet to protect a fellow officer – or dives through the ice in the river to rescue some forlorn waif – that sorta thing. I have just solved an interstate case without getting outta my goddamn chair. I know.‘My promotion. as briefly as possible.’ ‘Well. whoopee. kind sir?’ ‘I’m waiting with bated breath.’ ‘Well.’ 156 . yet. It might – as I tried to say earlier – might be already solved. . You got something to change that official posture?’ ‘Maybe. ‘ ‘Will you knock off the shit. you know?’ ‘Yeah. .

psychiatric practice. . .’ ‘Well. No need to respond. He is still. I found the good doctor. bully for you. still maintaining a lively Park Avenue. sir. It seems that he serves in various 157 . Where was he? Down at Father Dempsey’s with the winos?’ ‘Nope. that is just .’ ‘I’ll be a brief as possible. Louis?’ ‘I think our ‘Doctor James Randolph Barclay’ recently associated with the clinic of Wayne Samuels. silk stocking I believe would be a good term for it.’ ‘So. I’m sure you have much more to report. The good Mrs. ‘ ‘That was a rhetorical question.‘Oh?’ ‘Yeah. Ain’t that just dandy?’ ‘Yes. according to an unimpeachable source. Barclay advised me that her husband was away from the area for a few days. what’s all this shit that’s been going on here in St. M. is – to put it bluntly – one big fraud!’ ‘Well.D.’ ‘What? Well I’ll be goddamned!’ ‘Right. shit. sir?’ ‘Of course.’ ‘If I may proceed. James Randolph Barclay.

’ 158 .sorry.’ ‘That’s my feeling too. However she further advised that her husband.’ ‘You’re enjoying yourself. awards. Whazoo? Her word?’ ‘No.advisory positions Washington. . you couldn’t talk to him directly?’ ‘Correct. C. has been plagued for many years by a former acquaintance/patient – she wasn’t exactly sure which – who assumed hubby’s identification for various nefarious purposes – which – no doubt – greatly pisses off the honorable doctor who has busted his butt to acquire education. A phony can’t risk staying too long in any one place. . aincha?’ ‘Damn right. before heading to the airport to move on to some other locality. various degrees. He was probably cleaning his pipes in the local saloons one last time.’ to our federal government in ‘So. I don’t think Wayne Samuels had a clue but Dan and Slick might have started sticking their noses in places he’d rather not have explored.’ ‘Yeah. the genuine doctor. hotel and tell him to phone this office at the earliest. right there. feeling sorry for himself. She and I agreed it would be best for her to notify her husband at his Washington D. I was going to pass the description to all the districts but right now we could only call the guy John Doe. C. Got carried away . experience out the whazoo .’ ‘Which could explain the bullshit story he spun for them – wanted to see how they respond when something sniffy is dragged across their path. D. ‘ ‘Hold it.

Barclay – who wearily explained that he’s getting a little tired of this shit.’ ‘Maybe that’s cause there ain’t nothing there. I’m not gonna worry about it. or at least of any significance.’ ‘That’s what I’m thinking. et cetera’ – Nuthin new. that’s about it. Barclay – the real Dr. If something new – and interesting – turns up – that’s fine. my good friend. ‘That all was pretty close to a total waste of time. Vin?’ 159 . Until then I got other things to do.’ ‘Nobody had any big new leads?’ ‘Naw.’ *** ‘Gallagher took a long distance call from Dr. Dan. Roscoe the barber and Stormy.‘Sniffy?’ *** Slick made contact with Ernie Caldwell. I wasn’t all that interested with his plight once I determined that we had no crime committed here for us to investigate. eh?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘What about crimes he might have committed elsewhere.’ ‘Not surprising. ‘Sumbudy said that sumbudy said that sumbudy said. Apparently this John Doe delights in assuming the Barclay role. It’s the old washerwomen shit.

Too many restrictions and responsibilities. I suggested he might want to give Wayne Samuels a call – discuss it doctor to doctor.’ ‘Naw. Tell him that. ain’t that something?’ ‘Yeah. I’m closing this thing out.’ ‘Jeez. We’d never have known about this guy if Tom hadn’t decided to make that long distance call for directory assistance. wanting 160 . He said he would.’ ‘Well. He’s been needling me to use that to justify promoting him.’ ‘That I will tell him. Don’t compliment him on that. guy sounds like he’s a bit more broadminded than his predecessor.’ ‘Well. deserves a promo.’ *** ‘The new reverend has asked Stormy if she would join the choir.’ ‘Why not? He’s good. To be perfectly honest I doubt that he’d enjoy going back into uniform just to get a promotion. too. we owe him a drink or two. He told her there ain’t nothing wrong with her singing in saloons. Mosta those old fart preachers want the choir just fulla old bags with screechy voices.’ ‘Well. thanks – and be sure and give Tommy Gallagher a pat on the head.‘So far as Barclay knew the guy never crossed that line.’ ‘You’re shitting me. he’s comfortable where he is. Naw.’ ‘I need working stiffs – not boss material.

I tellya.’ ‘Or singing in the choir.to be better than some of the other folks. Amen. She was just a mean nasty old lady. went to every funeral in the parish – then pounded the shit out of my head for every little thing I did – or didn’t do. We both ran into a lotta noncoms like that. I miss that gasbag.’ 161 . ‘I’m in the choir – you ain’t’ that small minded shit. What’s going on up there?’ ‘Same old stuff. Actually it’s gotten a bit dull if you really want to know.’ ‘Hate to talk bad about old ladies but I tellya – I know for a fact – my mother was just like that.’ ‘Folks like that. I loved her – I guess – but. Mass every morning. He enjoyed a good conversation. brother. generally – in my humble opinion anyway – are like that because not very deep down inside themselves they know they ain’t got a helluva lot to offer the world.’ ‘Hi Doc.’ ‘Or beating you over the head – whether you’re a kid or a recruit. it wasn’t easy.’ ‘Amen. white or colored. didn’t we?’ ‘They must be compelled to make up for their deficiencies by over-emphasizing something they are good at – like praying.’ *** “Dan? Wayne Samuels here. confession every Saturday.

’ ‘He zeroed right in on you and Slick.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘So what’s this call all about? Anything we can do for you?’ ‘Possibly.’ ‘I’ll be damned. the real Barclay’s. didn’t he? Never seemed hesitant to speak his mind – on most every issue. did he?’ ‘Apparently not. I invited him to come to St. Barclay long ago as an identity he could successfully assume. reputation and professional standing. it’s evolved into a cat and mouse game – almost friendly. He’s been tracking this guy for years. I guess. naturally. Never been able to get anything prosecutable – and nothing done that harmed Barclay’s reputation or his pocketbook – so far.’ ‘So whenever the guy turns up somewhere the real Barclay follows up on him. just didn’t have the paper on the wall. The real Dr. Barclay and I have been in touch long distance. The doctor is concerned. he did seem to have an outgoing personality.’ ‘So.’ ‘Had the skills.‘Yeah.’ 162 . didn’t he? That alone sold me on his counseling skills. Louis anytime – said we’d be glad to give him everything we know.’ ‘Jeeze. Apparently the guy fixated on Dr. about this guy harming his. Too bad.’ ‘I guess so.

’ ‘I ain’t sure I wanna hear this. He’s hopeful that somewhere he might get a lead on the track the guy is on – get there ahead of him and have a long overdue face to face confrontation. boss.’ *** ‘You all hear about the new piano – for the church?’ ‘Yeah. I’ll let you know if he takes up my invitation. Wilbur?’ ‘Reverend Smith – he the new guy – he needed some young guys to do the heavy lifting.’ ‘That might be something to see. It turned out bad. He couldn’t find anybody to lend him a truck so . he hired a bunch of ‘em?’ ‘Yeah he did.’ ‘So.’ ‘I thought so.‘You think he’ll come?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Ah. Sumbudy volunteered that there’s always a bunch of young outta work guys hanging around the Chat and Chew – right?’ ‘They was all in the pool hall this time.’ ‘Same guys – just in a different place. .’ ‘Lemme guess. I see. what about it. ‘ 163 .’ ‘Yeah. .

When they set the rags on fire in the backa that wagon.’ ‘How’d they manage to avoid that?’ ‘They couldn’t get the piano up into the wagon. anyway – what happened with the piano?’ ‘They got it outta the house okay – lotsa grunting. he wanna get away. Scooterboogle?’ ‘An’ his horse and wagon. That old horse.’ ‘It coulda been worse. sweating. Anybody start clanking aroun’ his rear end theah. . I hear the piano got to tinkling a lot but nuthin broke offa it.‘Don’ tell me. pushing and shoving. didn’t he?’ ‘Well. that horse – he didn’t look around to see if they had a fire truck there on standby. .’ ‘Those dumb bastards gonna be the death of that horse. Damn horse smarter than mosta them.’ ‘No suh!. Horse was beginning to get jittery. They didn’t break the piano. He pretty skittish.’ ‘Leroy? Jesus!’ 164 .’ ‘So?’ ‘They got as far as the curb wit’ it.’ ‘Omigod. Leroy was holding his head down. he .’ ‘Yeah. boss.’ ‘Can’t blame him for that. He did try to get away.

‘Well. Then he told Scooterboogle to get the horse and wagon outta there. He may be a mental case but ain’ nobody can say Leroy is a lazy nigger.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘So. but . . the guys in the back with the piano – they didn’t have any ropes or any stuff to hoist the piano up high enough to get it into the bed of the wagon. you know Leroy.’ ‘So? He couldn’t hold the horse still – what?’ ‘Naw. ‘ ‘But what?’ ‘Well.’ ‘Tha’s right. Leroy was doing okay with the horse. They didn’t want him getting in everybody’s way around the piano so somebody told him to hold the horse still. At least the horse couldn’t run away. the horse and Leroy up front twisting aroun’ an’ everything.’ ‘So. Well. If sumthin goin’ on – Leroy wanna be a part of it. They making so damn much noise grunting and cussing back there. can they?’ ‘No suh! Leroy – he right in theah with all the rest of ‘em. no suh. they just quietly give up?’ ‘Not so quiet. He saw what was happening and told the gang to just get the piano back into the house. .’ 165 . the church still only got its old broken down piano. finally the reverend – somebody musta run and call him to come – anyway he showed up.

Barclay about maybe coming here. maybe. I dunno.’ ‘If he can figure out a way to bottle it. He needed somebody to front for him in dealing with these ladies. just thought I’d check in and let you know that Wayne Samuels has been talking to Dr.’ ‘Oh? Why’s he want to spend his money coming here?’ ‘We think he’s a bit pissed about this clown and isn’t too sure of our competence.’ ‘Well. lemme know. Maybe a trip here will just help him get a rotten taste outta his mouth.’ ‘I think he understands that. The piano thing. could prove to be a major embarrassment. Instead he would play it safe by concentrating attention on the choir candidates’ capabilities.’ *** The Reverend Robert Smith discreetly decided to cut his losses. he’s welcome to come. I don’t have anything beyond that.*** ‘Vin? This is Dan. If he selected one of their 166 .’ ‘Yeah. if pursued any further with the current crew. As I’ve said before there is nothing criminal – to our knowledge – that would warrant the department’s involvement. He had a fair number of the female church members signed up to try out. What’s happening?’ ‘Not much. Anyway he’ll be coming some time soon.

Long time.’ ‘Fine. I needed to get out of Tulsa.number the remaining members might well get their noses shoved a little out of shape. I’ve got a room for you at a hotel near the church. man. a small local black hotel on Franklin Avenue. He met the overnight Greyhound bus from Tulsa the following Monday morning. Robert. Then maybe go get you something to eat. This is ‘No Nose’. Robert. *** ‘How was the trip.’ He smiled.’ *** ‘Dan? Hi. That sounds good. Where you been hiding?’ ‘Around. Is there someplace I can freshen up?’ ‘Not here in the bus station. Mostly just getting myself accustomed to a life of leisure. Let’s go there first. He solved that quandary rather neatly with one phone call – long distance to Tulsa. Thanks for calling me up here. Louis now?’ 167 . Howya doing?’ ‘Hey. That sound okay?’ ‘Yes. so I slept for a while. Half empty bus.’ ‘You back in St. He had already made a reservation at Tremont House. ‘Me too.’ ‘It’s good to see you. hon?’ ‘Not too bad.

That’s about it. I shouldn’t have brought it up. Up in Detroit now getting ready to remarry a doctor. His wife ran off with their little boy. . Everybody’s normal is different I think. He told me you and that black guy you were in the army with . you know. I’m getting back to normal. I been making the rounds again.‘Yeah. I’m sorry.’ ‘Yeah. that’s right. too?’ ‘Just about as bad. but it’s been a while now. Nothing big. partner. I was talking with Gallagher.D.’ ‘So.’ ‘Oh? His family get killed. I know.’ ‘Somebody told me your wife and little girl died.I. Not much though. I got the pension you know.’ ‘Yeah. that’s Slick Jones. I had a hard time getting past it. Some things seem different. Is that right?’ ‘Yes. Some seem the same as before. it is.’ ‘Yeah. .’ ‘Aw. Yeah we do a little off the record stuff sometimes. . My old C. blew up our house. right?’ ‘Beer money. it’s alright.’ ‘No. .’ ‘Yeah. Whatever the hell normal means. Joe. No. Killed in an arson. Both our families destroyed by something we took on .’ 168 . you not working?’ ‘Nothing official.

’ ‘Hope Slick and I get to meet him.’ ‘Sounds good.’ ‘Maybe call ahead.’ *** ‘Stormy sez she met the preacher’s girlfriend at the beauty shop. I’ll do it.’ ‘You will. I’m going to meet him at Lambert field. Bye.‘Aw.’ ‘Sounds good. Why doncha stop by? Name’s on the window. Slick and I move around a lot. Dr.’ ‘Yeah. He specifically asked if we could kind of walk him through the fake Barclay’s ‘visit’ here. We don’t know this guy. man.’ *** ‘Dan? Wayne here.’ ‘That’s what Gallagher was saying.’ ‘Okay. Barclay’s coming in next Monday. You know what I mean?’ ‘Sure. I’ll make a reservation for him at the Spencer hotel across the street here. We’ll hang loose. that’s tough shit. Lissen. Just let us know. we got an office in the 1600 block of Olive.’ 169 . You want maybe for Malachi to provide the cab for you?’ ‘Maybe not. He might not like special handling.

After all she ain’t no spring chicken herself and she ain’t exactly what you’d say ‘active in the church’ politics. Both didn’t feel like they had a good fit in black Tulsa. No baggage. but Stormy does have a good head on her shoulders and I think this young thing spotted that right away. worried that since the church members are mostly old that she’ll have trouble.’ ‘Wonder how she singled Stormy out?’ ‘I think somebody fingered Stormy for her.’ ‘He had to leave Naomi behind though because Juice had got it in his head that Smith was a bachelor. Louis he jumped at the chance to get away to a bigger city.’ ‘The gal – her name by the way is Naomi Tyler – told Stormy that she and the rev go back a ways.’ 170 .’ ‘That’s good.’ ‘That makes sense. I dunno if Stormy could fix that.’ ‘Stormy said they went out for coffee together when they left the beauty shop – sat around and got a little better acquainted.‘Oh yeah? What she think of her?’ ‘Stormy said she thought the gal was okay.’ ‘Well. Said the lady wants to fit in.’ ‘That’s right.’ ‘Aha. So when Juicy opened the door for Smith to come up to St.

Million chances after that to damage or destroy the damned thing. and alla the other clowns had actually managed to get that old lady’s piano up into the wagon.’ ‘Nothing wrong with him trying to get the ladies in the choir a little better organized – might even sound better.’ ‘Nipped the piano thing in the bud. is probably gonna have to gain acceptance with those ladies.‘Sounds like Poindexter been burned in the past maybe by church ladies?’ ‘Could be. So his lady friend.’ ‘Wonder who paid for the coffee?’ ‘My money’s on Stormy. Naomi Tyler. That coulda been a major disaster if Scooterboogle. too. Old fart probably got all kinda skeletons in his closet. anyway. fixed that pronto though.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Yeah. That won’t be easy.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Which is why she introduced herself to Stormy.’ ‘Well.’ *** 171 . Leroy. he did screw up on the paper coffee cup thing. it looks like this Robert Smith might just be an alright guy. trying like hell to make a mark without making waves. He was smart to short circuit that effort as quick as he did.

living with mom. so he wound up back home. so he took retirement and went away for a while. When he was discharged he went back on the force and was assigned to a beat in the Third District for a while. No progress.’ ‘No Nose? Oh. then managed to get a transfer back into the Tenth. always got to run home to momma. Some time after I left for the army he enlisted in the Navy.’ ‘This guy is not Irish. the broken nose. If you did I wasn’t paying attention. yeah. He was a pretty good amateur boxer too – had a broken nose that could scare puppies and make babies cry. He’s doing better now and has come back here to live.’ ‘You Irish guys. What about him?’ ‘He and I worked out of the Tenth District together before The War. Dan.‘Did I tellya about this old copper who phoned here the other day?’ ‘No.’ ‘Wife dumped him while he was in the navy.’ ‘So now he’s back in town and phones you?’ ‘Me and a lotta old friends. Polack I think. His name is Novak – Joe ‘No Nose’ Novak. The department doctors worked on his head as long as they could.’ ‘With momma?’ 172 .’ ‘Anyway he shot an innocent citizen by mistake one night trying to break up a burglary.’ ‘Uh huh.

particularly for persons in positions such as his. be very fruitful. Robert Smith. 173 .’ ‘Make sure I get to meet him. No heavy duty stuff though – maybe just some stakeouts or tail jobs. who also worked in the Tenth with both of us. Roscoe Turner was a fixture in the community.‘No. his mother died. So he’s living at the same address as before. Robert Smith made a point of being a regular weekly customer at Roscoe’s. a discreet inquiry with Roscoe would. His mission there was not to ask questions about black folks in the community. He knew everybody’s business. He knew everybody. left the house to him. we are a bit shorthanded on the white side here. If you wanted to know about anybody. He quickly learned that the premier location for black men to have their hair ‘processed’ or to have any other tonsorial work done was Roscoe’s Barber Shop. I also touched base with Tommy Gallagher. or about their business. His intent was to plant with Roscoe Turner the impression that he. Gallagher says the guy has gotten rid of his ghosts – might be able to do some work for us. ain’t we?’ ‘That’s what I was thinking.’ ‘You expect him to come by here some day?’ ‘Actually I encouraged him to do that.’ *** The Reverend Robert Smith knew how important appearances were. more often than not. was a definite asset to that community.’ ‘Well.

’ ‘Sounds fine. Yo’ skin – yo’ don’ want a lotta razor bumps. what do you think? Maybe a little work on the moustache. gotta look good.’ ‘That’s right.’ ‘So – how is that business going – at the church? Ole Juice – he helping yo’ fit in any?’ ‘He be fine. I think yo’ got yoself a birdnest on the ground theah – you handle it right.’ ‘Yo keep doing whatevah yo’ been doing about shaving. that’s good. In my business.’ ‘That’s good.’ ‘Well. I ain’ so much worried ‘bout him as I worry ‘bout some of these old ladies been in the church maybe since it was built. Yeah. Yessuh. He don’t wanna work much anymore. We can let yo’ process go until next week. I was afraid he might not want to let go – you know?’ ‘No. He gettin’ old. oh yeah. we sho’ do.’ 174 . I think I done that. rev. no suh. Mistuh Roscoe.‘Good morning. Mistuh Roscoe? And maybe. we got a few of those. What’s it gonna be this morning?’ ‘Can you give me a little trim in the back. Then you okay.’ ‘Ha. Yo’ unnerstan’?’ ‘I maybe just broke that rule. Best way to get along with them is to nevah try anything new – unless they think it was their idea. Yessuh.

I helped some othuh preacher get her away. I told her I thought she’s really be god for our choir heah.‘Howzat?’ ‘I asked a lady – actually a young woman – to come to St. although that might be far down the road. I had her take a Greyhound bus from Tulsa. Is this young lady heah yet?’ ‘Yessuh. she was beat up pretty good by this fella she was living with there in Tulsa.’ ‘She single?’ ‘Yes. I can’t lie about it. well.’ 175 . I ain’ nevah said anything to her. Yo’ in trouble. So she nevuh went back with that fella. the reason I ain’ sure is because. Sorta. I don’ think they were married.’ ‘Uh oh. That’s where I got to know her better.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Uh huh. She don’ know it. She’s got a beautiful voice. but yo’ sweet on this lady?’ ‘Uh. She got a little job in a sandwich shop and started coming to a church there. Louis to help me.’ ‘Help you?’ ‘Yessuh. I think.’ ‘Yo’ don’ need to answer me. but I ain’ sure.’ ‘Son. Yes.

You know this town. Yessuh. Ain’ no man in this town gonna fault yo’ fo’ going aftuh a pretty little thing – like this gal apparently is. yo’ trouble is that – numbah one – yo’ done promised this girl yo’ could work a miracle of some sort by putting her in the choir.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Son. No suh.‘And I didn’t know it at first. Can’t these old ladies be a . They jes ain’ gonna let yo’ come in here and mess aroun’ with theah little empire. What you say I should do? Go down to Greyhound and leave? What?’ ‘My boy. . tha’s bad. but the gal is young. yeah?’ 176 . . So – when I got up here and saw the situation – well. yessuh. But . but I later found that she has a beautiful voice. You know these ladies. No suh. But. I did tell her that. yo’ been leading too sheltered a life. The bible is only useful in certain instances – when folks want it to be. No suh!’ ‘So. It’s the old biddies that gonna eat yo’ lunch. These ole gals here they ain’ gonna refer to what the Lawd says. what can I do? I can’t hardly send the girl back to Tulsa. We all would slap yo’ back on that. help with the choir – you know. You know this church. I bet yo’ already don’ that. I thought maybe I could bring her up here. Yo’ evah heah of flowers and candy?’ ‘Uh. I bet yo’ told her she would know more music and sing better than anybody else here.little more christian about accepting a newcomer?’ ‘Boy. Yo’ don’ bought yoself a peck of trouble. They gonna go by what They say is right and wrong. Tha’s a little different. Am I right?’ ‘Right. ain’ it?’ ‘It is.

Then. Advice is free.’ ‘I’ll do it.‘Well. Yo’ got no choice. Thank you. Now they’re going to have a late breakfast at the hotel. he said. ain’t that where the big drama all got started? The phony Barclay doing his pratfall down the courthouse steps.’ ‘Das alright.’ ‘The courthouse? What for?’ ‘Well.’ ‘That how ole man Poindextuh run things?’ ‘Amen.’ *** ‘Doc Samuels phoned. reverend – you can’t do it yoself. yo’ gonna hafta sweet talk those ole ladies until they can say that whatevah is gonna happen about the choir – an’ for that mattah the whole church – that it is their idea. He got everyone those ole biddies thinking she is first on his list. brothuh. he may spit all ovah yo’ when he talking. but he is slick as new linoleum. Haircut – six bits. Yo’ go with yo’ hat in yo’ hand and yo’ ask Poindexter to introduce yo’ and yo’ lady friend to the ladies of the church. Said he picked up Doctor Barclay last night at the airport – got him settled in at the hotel okay. You coming on the scene while he still on the ground. they’re going down to the courthouse.’ 177 . Old ‘Juice’.’ ‘You think he’d be willing to help me?’ ‘Yo’ sho as hell – ‘scuse me ‘bout that. Amen.

Wayne Samuels spoke first. You’re out on Lindell.’ Judge Glennon sat back down and glanced out into the courtroom. as and when he’d like us to meet with him?’ ‘I think they’ll just walk across the grass here when they finish up there. ‘Why don’t you gentlemen approach the bench and tell me what’s on your mind. your honor. Did he say anything about if. am I correct?’ 178 . ‘What’s this all about?’ ‘The gentlemen asked if they might have a few words with you – about an incident here at the courthouse some months back. That name sounds familiar. There were only two people left in the spectator benches. ‘ ‘Ah.‘Yeah. . . the bailiff reached up to him and handed him two business cards. ‘Thank you. that’s right. maybe we better put off lunch?’ ‘Yeah. So. your honor.’ *** As Judge Bill Glennon gaveled his morning session to a close. My name is Wayne Samuels.’ The bailiff stood aside holding one half of the swinging gate open for the two to step forward. Think he’d like Adam White’s ribs?’ ‘If he don’t then he can just get on the next stagecoach outta town. I’m a local doctor here in town . I guess.

May I introduce Doctor James Randolph Barclay?’ ‘Why does that name also sound familiar to me?’ ‘Your honor. sir. Mister Bailiff. unlike the austerity of his courtroom. diplomas and photos of Glennon in the company of numerous political figures. please?’ The doctors trailed Judge Glennon into his small but rather impressive chambers. He removed his robe and placed it on a hanger taken from the back of what turned out to be the door to a small private restroom. ‘Please take a seat. The walls were adorned with an array of awards. yes. ‘Well.’ He settled into the chair behind the desk. freckled boys. This other gentleman is also a doctor.’ ‘That’s fine. what can I tell you? Or what can you tell me?’ Wayne Samuels glanced at Barclay and then proceeded. Would you gentlemen join me in chambers.’ ‘Ah. a nice looking blonde wife and two red headed.‘That’s right. the spitting images of Dad. We’ll reconvene at one thirty. ‘This past February 14th the gentleman who fell on your icy courthouse steps was taken to City hospital and 179 . yes. you may recall a slip and fall accident here on the courthouse steps? Back on Valentine’s Day. We’ve only a bit ago gotten up from our breakfast. from New York. The desk and credenza were graced with photos of a smiling Glennon. I’d offer you coffee but all my staff is gone on their lunch breaks. please lock the courtroom door and take your lunch break.

When he never showed up in the courtroom it had no impact on the docket.’ 180 . be they news media or serious researchers.later transferred to my clinic out on Lindell. your honor. I’m sorry I can’t help you out. ‘What about City Hospital? There must be some paper trail there. possibly at other prior times. The judge acknowledged Barclay’s disappointment with a nod. That jibes with our information. Is there anything further you can tell us? Did you have any other contact with him?’ ‘No.’ ‘Not with me at least.’ Doctor Barclay spoke. didn’t he contact my staff some time prior to that and inquire about observing some of the more or less typical hearings? Something about research for a book. a psychiatrist . One phone request to my clerk – which is not all that unusual. If he had shown up previously I’m sure then I would have gotten more information from him about his purported book. Louis. ‘I was hoping he would have exposed himself more here in St.’ As the two stood to leave Wayne Samuels spoke. I’m not all that keen on being the subject matter for people who write.’ ‘Yes sir. Yes. ‘That’s going to be our next stop. .’ Doctor Barclay gave the judge a grim smile and nodded. .’ ‘I think I remember that. He had identified himself as James Randolph Barclay. That was it.

when the table was cleared where I sat lo and behold – there was a perfect semi-circle of green peas in front of me.’ ‘It was taken at a lavish banquet where all the awardees were assigned seats at tables with at least one bigshot at each table. doesn’t it?’ ‘Yes. I’m sure that is so. Seemed I’d spilled them in my nervousness at conversing. but let me tell you a funny story associated with that photograph. ‘That one’s me when I graduated from law school. Perhaps to receive some award for your student performance?’ ‘That’s true.’ ‘Please do. doctor.Glennon noticed Barclay viewing some photographs on the wall.’ ‘Ah. When it was time for the awards and speeches yet to be made from the head table. that does make one feel good after slaving away. When things concluded 181 . Heady company for a 23 year old. I think that facilitates things for the dishwashers back in the kitchen. I thought I’d done fairly well holding up my end of the conversation with these two distinguished gentlemen. I was sitting next to a Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court. Nobody said a word – but I sat – mortified – throughout the rest of the program. You’re very perceptive. and on my other side was a prominent federal judge.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Anyway. I’d been awarded the Order of the Coif for some legal research and writing I’d done. Yes.’ ‘It appears that you were seated in the midst of some much older gentlemen. the waiters quietly removed the china and silverware from each of the tables.

your honor. I’d appreciate hearing from you. Maybe I should have gone to medical school. Thank you again. ‘It pays for the groceries and rent.’ *** 182 . because we do not intend to quit until we’ve run this fellow to ground. ‘Whenever you get to the bottom of it.’ Barclay nodded. It might behoove us down here to be a bit more careful. Oh no. you wouldn’t like that – putting your hands where the sun has never been. ‘Slick. You made a wise choice.maybe we can all dine together somewhere quiet. Some days I feel like I’m just spinning a revolving door.’ When they got out in the hallway Samuels sought out the nearest payphone. Take our word for it.’ Both laughed and Wayne answered. isn’t that so.’ Glennon grinned. ‘We will be back in touch. We know how busy you are here. Judge. I’ll call you later . We appreciate you’re taking time to visit with us.I beat a hasty exit. Thank you again for your courtesy. Thanks.’ Glennon extended his hand to both and remarked.’ ‘Happens to us all at one time or another. can we pass on lunch? I think Dr. Barclay and I would like to run out to City Hospital – see if they can pull any records from the archives. Doctor Samuels?’ ‘It is that. To this day I believe I avoid contact with either of those gentlemen you see flanking me in that photo. ‘No.

but you could have easily let me founder on my own.There was a slight mist falling when they exited the cab at the City Hospital Emergency Room. confused walking wounded and harried staff. Since both viewers were qualified physicians they had no difficulty in deciphering the medical jargon and abbreviations. while I’m thinking about it let me say that you are going well above and beyond any duty here. After all I’m the physician who signed him out of here. M. there was.’ ‘Forget it. ‘Wayne. ‘This is where he would have entered the hospital system – transported in an identical city ambulance. Barclay spoke. I do appreciate it. That could be the same one. okay?’ As they traversed the corridors dodging gurneys. Let’s go find the Records room and see what we can learn. as Wayne promised. They just entered ‘New York City’ – probably he verbalized that for them. appearing in that record. Don’t try to gloss over it. I know what you’re doing – and.’ 183 . Jim. A red Packard ambulance had just backed up to the double doors.’ Since the date of admission was known and the patient’s name – as well as Wayne Samuels. They took the brown folder from the clerk and settled in at a small table easily observable by the clerk. No reason they shouldn’t produce the records for me. no problem in quickly locating the record.’ ‘That’s true.D. ‘Did he list any residence?’ ‘Apparently he had no driver’s license or other identification on him. again – Thank you.

’ Street address is 4925. E. D. that’s 4. 5 Sutherland. 2. making eye contact to further assure him that nothing was amiss. A. 184 . Last name Barksdale.’ ‘Agh. double E. Is that really a name and local street address there?’ ‘Certainly is. S.’ ‘Got it. doesn’t it?’ ‘If she exists. L. yes. A. K. U. that’s M. R. R. Says she’s a sister. D.‘What about next of kin?’ ‘Do you Brits say ‘Bingo’ or is it ‘By Jove’?’ ‘Don’t quote me but I’d go for a ‘Hot Damn’ right now. 9. He probably didn’t know what it was. Maudeen. nice neighborhood.’ ‘What’s the relationship? Is that shown?’ ‘Oh. I hope you’re wrong. D. H. A. L. I recognize that street name. Barksdale. I hadn’t thought of it that way. S. T.’ ‘So do I. All nice single family homes. No phone shown. sorry. Write this down – Maudeen.’ ‘Sounds like a widow or spinster. N.’ ‘Any phone number?’ ‘Nope. A. B.’ They carefully returned the file to the clerk. N. E. U.

that’s fine.’ ‘Sutherland. doctor?’ When they exited the hospital the sun had come out. 4925 Sutherland.’ ‘No. don’t it. from what I’ve been told by you – we are at the point where we should turn things over to people.’ ‘Yes. such as Jones and Driscoll. that sort of thing that always seem to occur in mysteries.’ ‘Oh. ‘Jim. Let’s rendezvous with them somewhere tonight.’ ‘Happens a lot.’ ‘You have anything else you can switch into? I’m thinking we could go casual tonight – phone Driscoll and Jones – go somewhere quiet where we can spend some time and go over everything we have. . I’d lost the name and address of the relative who was supposed to pay my bill. It was mid-afternoon and they had completely forgotten about lunch.’ 185 . . Wayne. Well. No. This wool suit feels a little damp from that mist earlier this afternoon.’ ‘Righto. You’re absolutely right. foot races.‘Thank you very much. how do you feel about going back to the hotel? Maybe freshen up. See what they have to offer. To tell you the truth – when we found that address on – what was it – Southland? . I think. I’d like to check on what’s going on in my shop. too.’ ‘I’ll endorse that. Maybe I read too much. take a little nap. young man. better skilled and equipped to handle potential confrontations. I was concerned you might feel we – two amateurs – should thunder right out there.

I’ll see you sometime after sundown then. please.‘Righto? You don’t really talk that way. do you?’ Barclay laughed. I just felt that perhaps I needed to act the part for you. a career in the British military as an officer. Very good for impressing patients.’ ‘No.’ ‘Maybe we won’t go there. I’ll send you a few when I get back home. my friend.’ ‘Well. Suffice it to say. I tellya. dear friend. sometimes exposes one to all sorts of unexpected opportunities to broaden one’s experience.’ 186 . That one has to be earned in his majesty’s military. a doctor. I’ve got a drawer full of them.’ ‘I’m impressed. sorry.’ ‘Can you get me a little rosebud thing like in your lapel? I like that. ‘No.’ ‘Next thing you’ll tell me – if I have the gall to ask – is that you’re skilled with all sorts of strange military weapons.’ ‘Sounds great already. That thing around your neck – what do you call that?’ ‘That’s called a cravat. Wayne. Casual dress. your costume department has pretty well dazzled me.’ ‘You’ll phone my room and tell me when to be ready?’ ‘I will. Jim.

Wilbur. Calvin was pointing down the block and across the street.He stepped back from the cab. smiled and nodded at the speechless hotel doorman as he entered the lobby.’ ‘Where is he?’ ‘He heading in right now. Wilbur and Dan were both waiting for him. Our other stuff can wait until later – maybe go somewhere for lunch?’ ‘Sounds good. ‘This gonna be one of them mornings?’ ‘Let Wilbur go first. Sounds like sumbudy done throwed the peanut buttah in the fan.’ It was a pretty day. He then turned. whatcha got?’ ‘Calvin phoned coupla times. ‘He and Popeye just went out da back door there for a little walk. ‘He wants to sit on a bench over there on the grass?’ 187 . not too hot. Last call. clicked his heels and popped a very smart. *** Slick got back from court early the next morning. very English salute to the departing cab. Slick decided to wait for Calvin Moore out on the front sidewalk. He spotted Calvin coming down the street from 17th.’ Slick looked around for Dan. boss. said he’d just come heah and wait on you. a few scattered clouds.

Seems he goes to the barber shop every week. We all knew that.’ ‘Let’s hear what you got. Neither spoke until they were on a bench in the middle of the grassy plat across the street from the Central Library. He ain’t so smart. . say that again.’ ‘Well. lemme just say it’s gonna distract everybody’s attention from everything else going on. ‘Don’t want to sound all mysterious boss.’ ‘Taking the title on old ladies’ houses. What?’ ‘He’s been visiting and sweet talking the old widows on Culver Circle.’ ‘I think Juice Poindexter is trying to pull off something big. the new preacher told this to Roscoe.’ ‘Roscoe got big ears – and a big mouth. that’s true. He and Roscoe talk to each other a lot.’ ‘What’s he doing? Give it to me in plain English.’ ‘Yeah.They waited for a streetcar and several automobiles to pass before crossing the street. . If what he has in the works goes through – well.’ ‘Uh.’ 188 . but he ain’t stupid either.’ ‘Juice? That dumb old fart?’ ‘That dumb shit of his is a front. but I thought maybe you wouldn’t want anybody to share in this – for a while.

and Smith. . When you gonna get to the last chapter here?’ ‘Juice asked old lady Cashion . .’ ‘That goddamn choir project of his gonna blow up in his face. Naomi. Put on a little socializing show kinda thing?’ ‘Exactly. to visit old lady Cashion – have a little tea party thing. the preacher got his girlfriend to come up to town from Tulsa. So.‘Right.’ 189 .’ ‘He sensed that and asked Roscoe for advice. Damn thing back in the house collecting dust. .’ ‘And?’ ‘Roscoe told him to get Juice to introduce the new preacher and his girlfriend to the old bags – do it in such a way that they didn’t feel threatened – you know?’ ‘Yeah. anyway he arranged for himself. and his girlfriend. Juice knew he had to overcome that old lady’s bad feelings about how they all had screwed up moving the piano . the new guy.’ ‘Never did get that piano outta there. did they?’ ‘Naw. Then he got worried that the old ladies in the church would not accept her – especially if she got involved with the choir.that was gonna donate her piano?’ ‘That’s right. . Anyway.’ ‘Sounds good so far.’ ‘That’s the lady – husband was a dentist .

After they left and had gotten rid of Juicy Poindexter the girl told the boyfriend that Miz Cashion had confided in her that Juice was ‘just so nice. that stuff. . are sharing the piano bench and entertaining Juice and Smith. it turns out Naomi Tyler is good on the piano. Naomi Tyler and Miz Cashion got that one nailed down. He got it from his girlfriend. it went well. here’s what I been trying to tellya .’ ‘Uh oh.’ something about ‘letting ‘em live in their houses the rest of their lives. .’ ‘Shit.‘Sounds nice and civilized.’ ‘Are you getting to the bottom line here?’ ‘I just wanted you to know that the hostility problem from all the old ladies – that’s a goner.’ ‘Yeah. looking after the old widows. etc. The plot thickens. all they had to do was pay their taxes and phone. Well. even asked her if she could play the piano.’ ‘Juice did what?’ ‘This is according to Roscoe.’ 190 . Cashion took a liking to the girl. knows a lotta church songs.’ ‘What rights does Juice have to ‘let’ anybody do anything?’ ‘Unless he ‘owns’ the property. Miz. first thing you know. Naw. water bill.’ ‘According to the reports I’ve gotten. you understand – he got it from the preacher Smith. So she and the old lady.

them old ladies into deeding their houses to him. He can afford to wait. truck drivers and others in a hurry for a quick filling lunch at a low price. coppers. let ‘em die off one by one – then he own the whole damn block. At least that’s what I think. sweet potatoes and mustard greens.’ *** Slick and I decided on lunch at a Greek steam table place on Chouteau near Compton.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Goddammit. I’d bet that old sonovabitch has sweet talked one or more. This is something entirely different. We sat at a small table up near the front. At one o’clock the crowd had pretty well dissipated.’ ‘That’s all it could be. Quantity reigned over quality. He just sit on ‘em. I gotta talk this over with Dan. frequented mostly by workingmen from the railroad roundhouse nearby. As I sawed away at the tough beef I asked. He’s a helluva lot younger than any of those old biddies. Alla those houses fully paid for.’ ‘Yeah. “You think this is really it? The big thing we all been waiting for?’ ‘Naw. This sure don’t sound like that. How’s the ham?’ 191 .‘Boss. those are my sentiments entirely. The first tips we got were all pointing at somebody like this Smith guy rolling into town and taking over Juice’s little church. Slick went with ham. Make sure Roscoe zips his lip. I took roast beef and gravy with mashed potatoes and boiled cabbage. or alla.

’ ‘Yeah. first of all. Calvin got it from Roscoe.’ ‘So nobody asked Miz Cashion to elaborate?’ ‘No.’ ‘Pretty slim alright.’ ‘That’s good. . and it musta just slipped out as they were leaving. it sounds like Juice might have cooked up something to take advantage of the old widows living in Culver Circle?’ ‘Well. I’ll do that this afternoon.’ ‘That’s easy.’ 192 . What are we gonna do if I turn up a positive hit or two there?’ ‘I believe we’d better be sure what we got. ‘ ‘Which is?’ ‘Scare the beejeesus outta Juice.’ ‘Yeah. So. . it sounds that way. but at least they don’t hide it under that motor oil they call gravy in this place.‘Dry as hell. who got it from Smith. What are you thinking?’ ‘First – I told Calvin to tell Roscoe to stuff a sock in that big mouth of his. this stuff really gives your jaws a workout. Then work up our patented Plan B . Then I think maybe you could get some of your sources at City Hall to run Juice’s name – and Miz Cashion’s name through the files in the Recorder of Deeds office.

’ I’ll never forget those words.’ ‘Maybe shouldn’t use such tough tactics on ole Juice – might give him a heart attack. . ‘ ‘Two blackest niggers in Japan. I forgot about Renji. We each took an arm and waltzed him outta the NCO club and down the street into that Japanese hospital. . Sonovabitch thought he could just lay low and let the clock run out until he was retired – with honors. Remember Ben Williams and I . He was there when the guy came in?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Oh yeah.’ ‘Renji give him the evil eye?’ ‘Sure did.’ ‘You remember that redneck first sergeant in the Hit and Run in Yokohama. let him look at the damage he’d done. leading the praying and the singing every Sunday then working the 193 . I did it. .’ ‘Yeah. I pushed him in that hospital room where the two little kids were laying. first thing he said was ‘You made your point. . right?’ ‘Right. I thought he was gonna puke – the smell in there was so bad. That smarmy sonovabitch. Called him ‘plick’. doncha?’ ‘Won’t ever forget it. Let him get a good look at Renji . He didn’t want to go in.’ ‘Bullshit. I do recall that – with pleasure. When we got out on the sidewalk.‘I always did like Plan B – watching some bastard try to push toothpaste back in the tube.

from the way he talked. No bullshit. I’m on standby if you need any backup. now – what do you think about this Barclay thing?’ ‘I enjoyed his company last night – him and Wayne. too. that he’s pretty fed up with this imposter. This guy didn’t need to have a big voice. I was looking for a red faced guy with a big belly. I gotta gut feeling that this is gonna turn out exactly like we think once I check those records. very cultured.’ ‘I imagine.’ ‘That was apparent. No sirree!’ ‘Well.’ ‘Me neither. I wouldn’t go that far. Small build.’ ‘He didn’t look like what I expected. When he spoke he made sense. big white moustache and a loud voice.’ ‘Thanks. addressing us as ‘blokes’. spoke regular English just like us.’ ‘No. I’d certainly say that his grammar was one hundred percent correct. So my guess is that you’ll want to use all black folks to do the deed – whatever the deed is that you decide to inflict on Juice?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Well. Especially if the guy is not English. that sorta shit.’ 194 .’ ‘Agreed. you’re right.weekdays to rob some ole widow ladies. I tellya one thing – if he pass out – I ain’t gonna give him any mouth to mouth. He’d get all uppity if you were involved.

since he knows what Samuels. you and me. probably careful to never go too far.‘Well.’ ‘How do you spell ‘suckers’?’ ‘Got that right.’ ‘No Nose is pretty savvy. or to get in so deep that he had to produce any documents. falsified the education. Listen.’ 195 . all look like – what do you think about getting ahold of ‘No Nose’ Novak? Do a little surveillance – see what develops?’ ‘That’s all we got to work with – the address on Sutherland. I guess he meant that the guy simply took the name. maybe find some nice housewife willing to talk a little. I was surprised to hear him say that he has never met this guy face to face. Something where the guy could have observed Barclay and picked up his traits and characteristics.’ ‘How’d he describe it? Something like ‘fashioned out of the whole cloth’?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘And us. I figured maybe it was a working relationship at least.’ ‘Worth a shot. Doc Barclay doesn’t want to leave town without some success.’ ‘Me too. He can maybe push a few neighborhood doorbells. we’ll learn that later on.’ ‘Sounds like the number he played on Wayne Samuels.

’ ‘Oh? I did? I forgot. Sounds like fun. I can handle that. you just take it – don’t respond with any opinions of your own. we just don’t know yet. of course. wouldn’t it? You realize we don’t even know his name – yet?’ ‘Yet.‘Maybe we can scare the crap outta this guy.’ ‘Roscoe. You just trimmed it day before yesterday. Unnerstan?’ ‘Yeah. A slip of the tongue could mess up what might be a really big mess we got on our hands.’ ‘Really think so? I allus figgered Juice was a small time crook. ‘Of course. don’t it?’ *** Calvin put it to Roscoe – in no uncertain terms – to keep the gossip about Poindexter’s real estate wheeling and dealing to himself. Calvin.’ ‘You wanna do something about that moustache befo’ you leave?’ ‘Hey.’ ‘Good. Roscoe.’ ‘Ah. If anybody volunteers any more information to you.’ 196 .’ ‘Be nice. When we’re finished with him he’ll think he’s Scooterboogle’s horse – with his ass on fire. Just take it in and then get aholda me.’ ‘I mean it.

‘So. Suppose I take a run through that neighborhood – just scope things out – get a feel for it?’ ‘That’s the way I’d do it. or it could go off in another direction. Don’t even know this bastard’s correct name.’ ‘Right. ‘Hi. fine. How’s it going?’ ‘Fine. Dan Driscoll here.’ So I filled him in on the Barclay case. yeah. So. it could turn out that way as soon as you go there. Joe. everything we had.*** I had put a phone call in to No Nose Novak before going to the Recorder of Deeds office.’ ‘I know. I need a little fresh air. aside from that. all you’ve got there to give me is this address on Sutherland?’ ‘That’s it.’ ‘Just wanted to ask you if you’d care to do a little street work for us?’ ‘Hell. Dan. Just have that address and the name he alleged as a sister living there when he was admitted to City Hospital.’ ‘I’ll give you a call.’ 197 .’ ‘That could be phony too.

or buyer . right.’ ‘Oh. or seller. .’ When I finished I. ‘ ‘Understood. maybe I better take a look in the grantor indices. a goddamned mess. with the help of Rich Corrigan. If we can come up with something pretty quick so he can go back home. too.‘One thing. Slick been around?’ 198 . Lucius Poindexter. When I got back to the office.others as Grantor. Wilbur and Popeye were holding the fort.’ ‘Think you hit on something?’ ‘Yeah. appeared – some as Grantee. our client is here from out of town. ‘Hi Wilbur. . Joe. each of which contained the salient information taken for each and every transaction in which the name.’ *** It took me only a little over an hour to run the Poindexter name through the Grantee index of the Recorder of Deeds. Thanks. Jesus!’ ‘Maybe you oughta copy the volume and page number for each hit you got before you give me back the Grantee Index. . had amassed a sheaf of papers. ‘Holy Shit!’ ‘Rich. the clerk.

Mostly he catches ‘em before they get too far – like this one today. I don’t think he slept much with all the noise. when you hear from him – tell him I’m looking for him.‘Yes. I betcha that clown shacked up somewhere getting a little action before he run down to the Greyhound station. maybe?’ ‘Yessah. Po’ Popeye. sho does.’ 199 .’ ‘Sounds like one of the customers deciding to fly the coop. No suh. Not if’n his money is involved. Be a lotta whispering in the courtroom. You watch. don’t he?’ ‘Makes believers outta ‘em. he got some kinda reputation. You don’ mess aroun’ wit Mistuh Slick. I coulda used a couple more phones and arms to answer ‘em.’ *** The following morning I headed straight to the office. Dan. oh yeah. he’ll haul that sorry niggah’s ass in before daylight.’ ‘Slick likes to nail ‘em while they’re in the saddle. but then about five thirty this morning all hell broke loose. Charles. He held several phone message slips out to me while he talked on the phone. was looking a mite harried. He took outta here like he had a firecracker up his ass – said he probably wouldn’t be back until morning.’ ‘Well. That man. Then get cleaned up and go to docket call just like he do every mornin’. Wilbur’s night relief. ‘Busy night?’ ‘Real quiet at first.

thanks.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘Thanks.’ ‘Any of these messages for me?’ ‘Oh. too. Mistuh Dan. He didn’t want to leave any message.’ *** ‘Joe? Dan. I need to stretch my legs.’ ‘You might stop and buy a bag of doughnuts.’ 200 . Why don’t you take Popeye for a walk before Wilbur gets here. Popeye.’ ‘Okay. Looks like most of ‘em are about bonds. Charles. been expecting his call. I shoulda wrote yo’ name or Mistuh Slick’s name on each of ‘em. said you’d know what it was about. No problem. Got the guy wit’ his pants down. Thought you’d like to know what I got so far on Sutherland. been sitting on my ass at the desk all night.’ ‘Ah. yeah. We might need ‘em from the way you talked about last night. Like always he knew which whorehouse to check.‘Slick catch his skipper?’ ‘Oh yeah. I’ll cover the phones for you. he’ll like that. Yeah. No big problem. Like I said they all seemed to come at once. retuning your call.’ ‘Yeah. Dan. thanks boss. Two of ‘em here from a guy I know.’ ‘Sounds good.

but I felt pretty sure there was no one at home.’ ‘Well. Lemme hear it.‘Yeah. handbills on the porch. Still daylight. sil vous plait. The rest of the land all the way down to Kingshighway belongs to a catholic church.’ 201 .’ ‘Yeah. So.’ ‘You mean that name was a fake?’ ‘Au contraire.’ ‘Aha. Maudeen Barksdale does live there?’ ‘Not exactly. all those blocks down there have a cross alley like that so the regular alleys don’t dump down into Kingshighway traffic. I worked the neighborhood – just a bit.’ ‘So. the lady. Forty Nine Twenty Five abuts a cross alley. I whizzed by the house a couple times from different angles about six last night. Usual clues – mail in the box. No barking dog inside.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Thought I’d run into a brickwall with the next door neighbor – incidentally there is only one – next door neighbor.’ ‘Oh?’ ‘Well. Passed myself off as an insurance company representative checking on an old policy in the name of Maudeen Barksdale.’ ‘No Nose – you do have a way with words. I think I screwed myself outta a big fee from you.

’ ‘Yeah. Maudeen Barksdale and brother.‘Right. She bought the insurance story right off. nice Irish lady. House been in the Barksdale family for many years. her name incidentally lest I forget. Maudeen. while I petted Fido she gave me the whole nine yards.’ ‘So that was shit – about her being responsible for his bill at City Hospital. Then another old biddie came out of a house across the street – gonna walk little Fido after supper.’ ‘Sounds like it. Anyway an old bag next door was one of those ’I don’t want to get involved’ people. you took the words right outta my mouth. and all the rest of his estate. My dog lady. Anyway. that’s one strike. is Mary Cullen. When he died the house. was happy to turn her over to folks better qualified than he to care for her. She made no 202 . could see a crime committed and slam the door with the victim dying on her sidewalk.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Alright. was left in a family trust which supports Edwin and little sister. Edwin.’ ‘And you – the big dog lover – stepped outta your car. Turns out this old lady was probably watching from behind the curtains when I was rebuffed at 4929. Maudeen. are the owners at twenty-five. incidentally. seems she’s non-compos mentis so loving brother. . ‘ ‘Dan. Edwin.’ ‘Exactly. . is now a ward of the State of Missouri. So I went back and sat in the car for a few minutes. Originally built by Jerome Barksdale – a wealthy guy who made his fortune in real estate and other investments.

A lot has been happening in the last twenty four hours. Mary Cullen is not one of Edwin’s fans. He’s apparently comfortably well off – house free and clear – sister no longer around – money coming in from the family trust to keep him afloat to do whatever he wants.’ *** ‘Doctor Barclay? Dan Driscoll here. Miz Cullen have any idea where he goes?’ ‘Naw.bones about not caring much for Edwin – said he was a worthless lout – never worked an honest day in his life – dropped out of school early on – apparently planned all his life to get by on whatever dear old dad left him. You outdid my fondest ‘Well.’ ‘Goddamn. I may have to interrupt this if Slick shows up. I learned from the best.’ Joe. She can only pass on her opinions from what she observes behind those lace curtains of hers. too? Mine had opinions about damn near everything. I have some urgent information for him. what the hell else did you expect? After all.’ ‘Sounds like my mother. too. expectations. wherever he wants.’ 203 . No.’ ‘Yeah. you and me both. I couldn’t get anything good on that.’ ‘Oh?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘You. I’ve got some good news for you.

Unless you suggest otherwise I’d like to stay in town here for another few days. 204 . and there has been no activity there this morning. I don’t know how to thank you. or may not. that’s what we keep telling folks. Let me just add – we have a source in the neighborhood who will advise us the instant he returns.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Sounds good. Fire when ready. Popeye next to me. Dan. We can talk about that later.’ ‘If you don’t mind – would you let me be the one to pass this information on to Wayne Samuels? I’d like to share my good feelings with him. All I can say is that there was no one at the house. be in the city at the moment.’ ‘We’ve checked out that address on Sutherland and got lucky – very lucky.’ ‘You folks are miracle workers. Popeye and his escort came in the back door.’ As I hung up the phone. We’ll be in touch – hopefully while you’re still around here.‘Well.’ ‘Well. I won’t slow you down with questions.’ I was waiting inside the front door.’ ‘Yeah. If this Edwin Barksdale returns home I’d like your guidance on how I could best confront him. The man we’re talking about is Edwin Barksdale – that’s B-A-R-K-S-D-A-L-E. ‘Mistuh Slick heading across the plaza right now. He may.

‘Which one am I supposed to pat on the head first? Popeye.’ ‘You enjoying this. drinking other people’s booze. More important – No Nose did a real number out there on Sutherland.’ ‘Let’s stick a little closer here than usual – agreed? If No Nose’s lady phones we might want to have the cavalry all saddled up and ready. He ain’t home. Neighbor says he’s a worthless shit. No Nose has enlisted the help of a nosy neighbor to phone us the instant he shows up. I 205 . What’s on your mind?’ ‘Nice of you to ask.’ ‘So who is this faker?’ ‘Name is Edwin Barksdale. aincha?’ ‘Hell yes. The guy has done no harm to me – unless you count a bruised ego for falling for his line of bullshit. you gotta wait. I uncovered the biggest goddamned mess at City Hall – Poindexter in trouble up to his eyeballs – and don’t know it – yet!’ “Why don’t that surprise me. living offa money left by a rich father. I guess.’ ‘So we going out there to brace him?’ ‘Nope. he’s drooling a little less than you. I just got off the phone after calling Barclay at the hotel. He’s tickled silly.’ ‘Naw.’ ‘Probably out play acting somewhere. Tell me all about it. Got the name and the whole family history on our fake Barclay.

too.’ ‘I’m not sure we’re gonna have a quick answer for this one. ‘Man.’ ‘So far.’ ‘Except for you. and Roscoe – they the only ones who know about it. but it can give a man ulcers. it still doesn’t smell very good when they get flim-flamed by a preacher – somebody they should be able to trust. that stinks. we got Calvin. that stiff upper lip shit is okay.’ ‘Juice and Napoleon Calhoun – they know. We gonna have to back in slow – look like we moving in the other direction.’ ‘Yeah. Don’t tip off anybody.’ ‘Maybe they’d be the best place to start?’ ‘Let’s get some kinda plan put together first. get all the old ladies and their friends all cackling and screaming.’ ‘Yeah. Anybody nosy enough to can go in there and find the whole story. Even if those old gals got no heirs to pass their stuff down to. me – and the public records in City Hall. his girlfriend. I don’t know if we can undo what he’s done. Reverend Smith.would like to rack him up though on behalf of the real Barclay. I agree he’ll feel a lot better leaving town and knowing that he’s rid of his shadow.’ 206 . like letting a cat into the henhouse.’ *** We ate lunch out of paper bags – hamburgers and lukewarm coffee – while I told him the story about Poindexter’s real estate wheeling and dealing.

a considerable distance from the Barksdale place.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘He come back?’ ‘Yeah.‘Right.’ ‘We’ll come up behind you.’ ‘Well. howya doing? Dan told me ‘bout that fine piece of work you did for us.’ ‘What are you driving?’ ‘Black Ford – ‘55 two door.’ *** ‘Hi Slick.’ ‘Dan! Come on Novak’s got the call. Just came walking up the street from the bus stop down on Kingshighway. Thought I’d drive down Sutherland from the other direction. He opened our rear door and climbed in. it’s getting even better. 207 . My lady friend across the street there – she just called. Novak came out of a house across the street and strolled down the street. walk down to the lady’s house and check in with her – then back to the car.’ *** As we pulled into the curb up the street. It’s No Nose – Novak. carrying his briefcase and a small satchel. Where are you right now?’ ‘I’m heading there now.’ ‘That’s great. Seeya in a bit.

’ 208 .’ ‘Been in there about an hour now?’ ‘Right.’ ‘Living there alone. One of us cover the back.’ ‘Good point. Less to scare the guy. As soon as we know you’re in – then we’ll either come in the back – or. that sorta thing. ‘Ain’t nobody but him gonna argue about whether or not the entry was invited. Probably got his own little hidey hole. My gut says he keeps the first floor pretty much like it was left by his folks – dining room nobody uses. if we have to – run around to the front.’ Slick interrupted. The other two take the front door approach. more likely he’ll open the door to a stranger. Basement door under the back porch also permits access to the yard and alley. right?’ ‘Right. I think it would be best for him.’ Novak spoke from the back. although there is a kitchen door that opens into the yard and then out into the alley. to take the front.’ ‘Be nice to get inside – see what he’s got. files and such upstairs – someplace he can work during the night.‘Lady says he usually uses only the front door. ‘He don’t know No Nose here. If he opens the door – I’ll be in there.’ ‘Tell me what you think here.’ ‘Agreed. Novak.’ ‘Okay.

I might miss something that will ring a bell with either of you. The doorbell 209 . Before we leave we might wanna check it out.’ ‘Sounds as good as anything else we got. what we gonna have to say to him once we’re inside?’ ‘That’s easy. too. Now. ‘I’ll wait a few minutes until you guys get in place. The gate to the alley was latched but otherwise unlocked and opened easily.‘Place has a nice basement.’ Slick drove down to the Kingshighway corner and made a right turn. No Nose? You wanna do a quick check of upstairs and the basement while the two of us work on him?’ ‘Sure.’ ‘Let’s go. Novak got out.’ ‘What time is it?’ ‘Just one thirty. Slick slipped down to the basement door below. We rolled the windows down and cut the ignition. Before we leave though one of you might want to redo it. I ducked across the small backyard and ascended the short steps to the small porch at the rear door. If we get halfway lucky we’ll turn his spigot just right and he’ll start blurting stuff out. We imply that we now know all kindsa shit about him and his little game.’ ‘All this is fine.’ Slick drove around the block and parked the vehicle in the alley against the Barksdale garage.

Let Novak in the front door. Are you the lady of the house?’ By the time I got down to the level below Barksdale was walking. He gave a slight nod to me. Barksdale spoke. ‘I guess you guys will want to come upstairs into the living room?’ Slick responded. why don’t you go first. yes. ‘Dan. ‘I don’t keep any firearms – if that’s what you’re looking for. Then I could hear Slick below.’ Slick had deftly maneuvered Barksdale into a position between the two of us. ‘You guys are scary as hell – you know that?’ ‘We have been told that from time to time. He finally spoke. I braced himself for Barksdale’s bulk to burst forth from the kitchen. – we don’t know what we’re looking for. I followed. You are just so full of surprises – we wouldn’t know where to start. Why don’t you tell us the story. ‘Hello there. in front of Slick. head down. We’re right behind you. As we took seats in the living room. There was the scratching of a flimsy screendoor beneath the rear steps. There was the sound of the rapid shuffling of footsteps inside.could clearly be heard ringing. No opportunity for Barksdale to make a dash for it. sir. I then went up the stairs.’ ‘Mistuh B.’ Novak came down the stairs after a quick once over of the second floor situation.’ 210 . Nothing happened. we let Barksdale sweat a little.

Neither had any more idea than Barksdale did that I had used the upstairs phone. let me warn you. You’ll have your chance in just a few minutes to tell it to the judge. So don’t try to lie.’ Slick and Novak shot quick eyeballs at each other. ‘Look familiar. sandwiched between me and No Nose. I came back downstairs.’ ‘The courthouse? What are you taking me to the courthouse for?’ ‘Just shut up. They’re waiting for us at the courthouse. After searching him we put him in the backseat of Slick’s Buick.’ ‘You don’t even visit her do you?’ Barksdale didn’t respond. Save us all a lotta time. In fifteen minutes the Buick slid to a stop at the courthouse steps. As he arose from the couch Slick looked around. We’ve done our homework on you. ‘You play the piano?’ ‘No. ‘Let’s go. don’t it?’ 211 . Nobody’s touched that thing since my sister left here.‘Where do you want me to start?’ ‘Before you start. Wouldn’t want you accidentally falling down any stairs again now – would we?’ While Barksdale was composing himself and trying to think how to put the best face on a very bad situation.

sir?’ Barksdale in a barely audible voice responded in the affirmative. He looked to the front row. you’ll notice we have no court staff present. Mr. Five minutes later Barksdale was sitting in the front row of benches bracketed by Slick Jones and No Nose. no reporter to make any record. Mr. ‘The court is going to be taking up a private matter. ‘Please stand when you address the court. Everyone will please exit the courtroom with the exception of the bailiff. ‘All Rise!’ Glennon. Barksdale. The judge had just finished a minor ex-parte hearing. Barksdale – and approach the bench.’ The judge gaveled for attention of the few people in the courtroom. Glennon addressed him. ‘You ready? ‘Yessir. Five minutes. Mr.’ Barksdale looked like he was about to faint. I want you to understand that this is off the record – a little chat shall we say between you and me. I went ahead into the courtroom of the honorable William Glennon and walked directly to the bailiff. Do you understand what I’m saying?’ 212 .’ With that he left the courtroom and entered his chambers. He glanced at me. I was scouting out the rear door of the courtroom. Bailiff show him where to stand. ‘Are you Edwin Barksdale. assumed his seat.No response. still robed.

’ 213 .’ ‘Well. Do you understand that?’ ‘Yessir. You also will recollect that you informed my clerk that the purpose of that visit was to gather material for a book you were contemplating writing.’ ‘Alright. thank you Mr. your honor. I do.‘Yessir.’ ‘That is correct. are you?’ ‘No sir. I did do that. Edwin Barksdale – you are not Doctor James Randolph Barclay. Mr. You recall phoning this court back in January of this year and arranging to visit and observe activities in this court?’ ‘Yes. I’ll also advise you that you are not under arrest – at this time – so if you choose to leave here at any time you are free to do so. Is that not correct. Mr.’ ‘Fine. yes.’ ‘Let me put it to you bluntly.’ ‘Uh.’ ‘And is it not also correct that you identified yourself during that phone call as a doctor James Randolph Barclay?’ ‘Uh. I am not. Now. Barksdale.’ ‘Fine. let’s get down to brass tacks here. Barksdale for clearing that little matter up for us.

Barksdale. judge. I guess not. as you call it.’ 214 . for folks like us.’ ‘So. if you are not Doctor James Randolph Barclay then you could not have been contemplating the writing of any book under that name could you?’ ‘No sir. who have labored a lifetime to establish our credentials – to have people like you – yes. or me. the real William Glennon.’ ‘Is there some reason you can offer to the court here today why your answer to that question cannot be more certain. would it be fair to presume that you had some other purpose in mind requiring a visit to my courtroom?’ ‘Yes. did you say you ‘guess not’?’ ‘Uh. I – I’m sorry. I don’t mean any real harm. Mr. like you – adopt our sacred identities so easily. I’m sorry. No. ‘ ‘Fun? You think it’s fun for a real person. I’m sorry judge.’ ‘Excuse me.‘So. It’s kinda fun to . I’m sorry. such as the real doctor Barclay.’ ‘And that would be?’ ‘I.’ ‘No sir. . in other words not requiring any guessing on your part?’ ‘No. . I was not contemplating the writing of any book under the name of James Randolph Barclay. dio you think it is fun. I just do these things.

’ ‘That’s what I thought.’ Judge Glennon paused. No. your honor. I’m sorry.‘Sorry doesn’t cut it in this court. The question remains what are you sorry for? For what you have done? Or for having been caught?’ ‘Uh.’ ‘Nothing. Very sorry. Mister Barksdale. Not good at all.’ ‘Any honors or awards of any kind conferred through past employments?’ ‘None. other education of any sort?’ ‘No sir. 215 . yes – easy to say. ‘How’s it feel to be unmasked – Mister Barksdale?’ ‘Not good.’ ‘Any merit badges. sir. anything. rearranged his robes and let it all sink in.’ ‘Any trade schools. How far did you go in school?’ ‘Tenth grade.’ ‘Sorry. sir. from the Boy Scouts? Anything at all? Help me here – Mister Barksdale. Judge Glennon let him stand there and sweat for a full minute under the bright lights.’ The room was silent. Barksdale stood – alone – before the bench.

‘ ‘Is that how you get started on these charades of yours?’ ‘Yes your honor. yessir. I don’t know who that is with him. I admired him so after reading that . I’d use their name a few times. . I. I guess. sir. sir. uh. . I’d feel bad because I was caught.‘Have you. .’ ‘Have you ever even met any person whom you have imitated?’ ‘No sir. Before doctor Barclay the ones I did where celebrities of sorts. Do you recognize anybody in the back row there?’ ‘Ah. Never ever used their names to make any money – like I said it was just for the thrill . ever even met the real Doctor James Randolph Barclay?’ ‘No. I just read a magazine article about him. . I’ve only done it three or four times. then stop. like you said earlier. It was always exciting – like I said – fun . That one gentleman is Doctor Wayne Samuels.’ ‘Turn around Mister Barksdale.’ 216 .’ ‘If any of those people could be found today – how do you think you would handle that?’ ‘Very awkward. . your honor. I passed myself off to him as Doctor Barclay. . So it would be very embarrassing.’ ‘Sir. yes.’ ‘Sorry. do you realize you sound just like a firebug – just for ‘the thrill’ of it.

in fact. of New York City. written books. your honor. terminate it at any time. Mister Barksdale?’ ‘Yes. Mister Barksdale. sir. Right about now you are probably thinking that you’ve muddled through this and the worst is over. I believe. Are you reading me there. is Doctor James Randolph Barclay. M. of the identity of any individual person. He has served with distinction in the British military. dead or fictitious.D. of any sort and in any form. He has earned numerous awards both in this country and throughout Europe. I understand. that you are smart enough to realize that choosing that path might bring much more dire consequences. He has. whether living. It ain’t over yet. however. ‘Turn around and face the bench. As I said at the beginning – this little session has been off the record. that you may have amassed or created that have any relevance whatsoever to the assumption. Not by a long shot.’ 217 . Correct?’ ‘Yes. sir? ‘Yessir. Barclay holds a number of advanced degrees. papers and other records. Then I am ORDERING you to appear in this courtroom tomorrow morning no later than Eleven o’clock and to bring with you ALL notes.’ ‘Well. your honor. Mister Barksdale.‘That very scholarly looking gentleman. Dr. in whole or in part and whether actually done or not.’ ‘Fine. if you choose. I’m totally embarrassed. Do you think you can face him and tell him you did no dishonor to his name? To his reputation? That this ‘harmless’ action of yours was somehow alright?’ Barksdale had begun to weep. Understand. You can.

‘Is that broad enough? Is there anything you will conveniently be able to conceal because of my poor choice of word here?’ ‘No sir. I think you’ve covered everything I have. I’ll bring everything I have, I will sir.’ ‘Alright. After you satisfy me that you no longer possess any records, real or false, that could aid and abet your penchant for identity theft and after I have you destroy them in such a manner and before such witnesses as are necessary to assure that we have restored you to your prior identity – and only your identity – we will then schedule another session for you. That will be ‘One on One’ with me. You get my drift, sir?’ ‘Yes, your honor.’ ‘Fine. I understand you are a man of independent means, thanks to the hard work and forethought of your late father, am I correct on that point?’ ‘You are, sir.’ ‘In that case I am going to consider – mind you, ‘consider’ is the most I will commit to now. I will consider designating you as an Amicus Curiae, a friend of the court, to accept such specific assignments from the court – with no recompense involved – to research and otherwise work on special projects that might assist the Court in the discharge of its functions and responsibilities.’ ‘Thank you, your honor.’ ‘Such assignments shall never be permitted to become in any manner political work. I want it absolutely clear that the Court needs competent assistance in areas such as juvenile justice, rehabilitation and such – important matters which now must be slighted. If you can, in any 218

way, contribute in these assignments it might well also assist you in acquiring the self respect and self confidence you have apparently lacked which may or may not - we don’t really know, do we - have contributed to the circumstances in which you find yourself before this court today. If there is nothing else, this hearing is adjourned.’ He stood and banged the gavel. ‘Mister Driscoll? Mister Jones? In my chambers, please.’ *** No Nose was waiting in the corridor when the two exited the courtroom. ‘You guys won’t believe it.’ ‘What now?’ ‘The two doctors and Barksdale went through the obligatory handshakes, pats on the back, et cetera, et cetera alla that stuff . . .’ ‘Didn’t miss much there, did we?’ ‘Naw, but here’s the kicker. Barksdale asked – and they agreed – if he could take them – and us – to dinner tonight.’ ‘Yer kidding.’ ‘No, I’m not – and furthermore, Barclay said he wasn’t leaving town until he sat down and got dirty in a platter of barbecued ribs.’ ‘Well, I’ll be goddamned. *** 219

It wasn’t until late the following afternoon that Slick and I were able to get together at the office. ‘How’d your day go – so far?’ “So far – so good. Glennon’s bailiff nailed me about one o’clock – gave me a couple of grocery bags full of Barksdale shit. Said the boss had directed Barksdale to leave the bags with the bailiff and then proceed directly to police headquarters. Seems the good judge wants this guy on file – mugshot and prints.’ ‘Sounds like a good move. What are we supposed to do with these bags of shit?’ ‘Destroy the contents – BUT – only after we have gone through all of it with a fine tooth comb. The judge wants to be sure that any person that Barksdale had ever researched be identified. I guess if he thinks those people should be notified then he’ll take care of that.’ ‘Or instruct us to.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘What’s it look like about Barksdale’s courtroom duties?’ ‘I think that’s all up in the air. Judge mainly wanted to get a handle on things, then sort ‘em out later. Incidentally, how did he get involved in this thing so damn fast?’ ‘While you and No Nose were leaning on Barksdale downstairs I went upstairs and phoned the courtroom. Got lucky, the judge was in chambers and took my call.’ ‘Worked out nice.’ 220

‘Yeah. I was glad he invited us back in chambers after he’d done Barksdale’s laundry. That was icing on the cake.’ ‘You have time this morning to follow up on it?’ ‘Sure did. Rich Corrigan in the Recorder’s office knew exactly what I was talking about. Gave me several examples of non-profit trusts.’ ‘You think we should do like the judge suggested? Make Juice and Napoleon Calhoun redo all those deeds – convert all the old ladies’ properties into a trust?’ ‘Yeah, have the tabernacle be the owner-trustee, et cetera – BUT I think it would look a helluva lot better if the folks in that church had a hand in the establishment of the trust.’ ‘Amen on that. We can let the new preacher take the lead on it. Just slip him the samples we got from the Recorder’s office.’ ‘Don’t mean we still can’t kick Juice’s ass first though, does it?’ ‘Napoleon’s, too. Two dumb bastards need to be wised up more than a little bit. We don’t need to publicly embarrass them - just scare the holy shit out of ‘em both.’ ‘Right. Juice is going to have to be motivated to sign all new deeds.’ ‘The hint of jail is a mighty motivator, ain’t it?’ ‘Is Barclay still in town?’ ‘Yeah, he’s got a flight out tomorrow. Wanna get together with him and Wayne tonight?’ 221

’ ‘Likewise. not been a candidate for addition to my Christmas card list. friend.’ ‘I felt the dinner invitation was a bit of a strain.’ ‘Take more than a free plate of ribs for that. I let him bring the conversational ball to me.’ ‘Well. might not have time tomorrow to go to the airport. It was midweek so the crowd as light. That surprised me.‘Yeah. This time we had a bona fide expert pick a good single malt for us. We started out with scotch. but perhaps he thought it would afford him an opportunity to somehow make amends – gain our good graces.’ 222 . Cheers. I wasn’t sure how to handle such proximity with a man who only a few hours earlier had. I believe.’ ‘I noticed you and Barksdale doing quite a bit of talking last night at Adam’s place. It will be good to get back to my regular routines but I can’t deny this visit here was something to be long remembered.’ *** The four of us took a table in the back of Driscoll’s club on Maryland. ‘So.’ ‘Certainly a shock to all of us. doc. Occasionally somebody would put some coins in the jukebox but it was mostly a bar crowd kind of night. shall I say. You anxious to leave our fair city?’ ‘Mixed emotions on that. Wayne.

Many insecure people try to please others in order to be thanked. he was more concerned with pleasing himself than with pleasing other people. in spite of his bonhommie and bravado.’ ‘Sounds like a big goofy marshmallow. You’ve all encountered them.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Righto?’ ‘Yes. The net effect. He is basically a very insecure personality. Hmm. but it afforded me an opportunity to observe him up close for several hours – one on one – and to probe a bit with a few questions. consciously or not.’ 223 .’ ‘Precisely what I would have written on his chart if I’d been treating him. never motivated to harm anyone financially – or physically.’ ‘Yes. If there is a positive to be seen there it is that he did what he did for personal ego gratification. in my mind.’ ‘Hadn’t considered that. was that Edwin Barksdale would probably not fare well on any standardized intelligence tests.’ ‘Righto. Barksdale’s syndrome is less common. with much time on his hands – no demands on him from other people – a virtual loner – would daydream about what his obituary would .’ ‘Well. I’d venture to say that he is the type of person.‘True.’ ‘Hmm. driven you might say to this rather bizarre fantasy life he was following. he seemed to have a facility for pissing people off.or should – be.

Mousy sister. I’ll have to give some time to that on the plane ride. Mr.’ ‘Not unheard of. If he garners thanks and appreciation as a result. In that case he could regress. really. overly. I doubt she’ll believe me – I know if someone tried to describe that experience to me before last night – well. Delightful. Judge Glennon might overload him.’ ‘I’d like to know how you will explain to your lovely wife when you get back home – your impressions and recollections of last night’s repast at Adam’s Rib?’ ‘Ha. No. would he?’ 224 . It could just turn out that he has never been put in a position to have to please others – only boy in the family – probably indulged. All I can say is that I doubt I’ll forget it very soon. a chance to prove to himself and others. let me relinquish the soapbox. Adam wouldn’t much like adjectives such as that though. by the parents. I believe Glennon’s plan might just be what Barksdale needs. that he can perform.’ ‘May I change the subject.’ ‘Wow. I’d have a bit of trouble with it. doctor?’ ‘Of course. Truly memorable.‘Now that’s real fantasizing. then he might well be motivated to continue on that challenging path. He was a virtual loner – has been all his life. Nobody paying any attention to him. Hence the bizarre fantasies.’ ‘So – bottom line – you feel that Judge Glennon’s plan to have him do some sort of so-called research for the court really won’t change Barksdale all that much?’ ‘No.’ ‘Of course.

just let us know.’ *** 225 . sincerely. not the way anybody else tells him to. subsequent hospitalization and the charade thereafter had not been a part of his plan. That’s what makes his place so great.’ ‘Well.‘Adam is in a world of his own. as he’d acknowledged in court. We’ll see. appreciate you’re seeing to it that I experienced that. you cannot argue with his results. I do. He could care less for compliments.’ ‘Anything we can do.’ ‘Like to go back there tonight?’ ‘Oh my God – No! I need tonight to recover. give him more opportunity to make and justify recommendations. The unscripted fall. Barksdale had clippings about many celebrities. In about six months I might adjust his role a bit. Lights up with a big smile whenever anybody compliments him. He had Barksdale on a rather short leash. He cooks the way he likes. He also had drafted a false identity very loosely based on what he had read about Doctor Barclay. ‘He’s like a little kid. His handwritten plans indicated he was simply going to pass himself off at the courthouse as a visiting author. Judge. Judge Glennon was satisfied with the results reported to him by Slick and Dan.’ *** The bag search proved to be mostly a big zero. each time being required to submit a written report of his previous week’s efforts. reporting in to court weekly for various task assignments.

I don’t think she thought there is anything wrong. don’t you?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘And you told Roscoe?’ ‘Yes I did.’ ‘Don’t worry about it. looks fine. you already know that Poindexter’s been up to something shady with the widow Cashion’s house. but right now Roscoe is keeping his mouth shut and his ears open.’ ‘I thought this was about as far as we could get from the neighborhood.Slick set up a private meeting with Reverend Smith in the parking lot of a custard stand on north Kingshighway that catered to white kids from nearby schools. you like this custard stuff?’ ‘Not really. Listen.’ 226 . but it sure rang my chimes. They probably think we’re a couple of black detectives.’ ‘I don’t think we need to worry. Mistuh Slick. You think that was a mistake?’ ‘Could be. The lady just said something to Naomi as we were leaving. I guess I do.’ ‘You’re making it sound kinda bad here.’ ‘Hope they don’t ask to see any badges. Maybe we can just sit here and talk until somebody runs us off.’ ‘Neither do I.’ ‘Yeah. Uh.

My partner ran Poindexter’s name through the city hall records. Can I get you one?’ ‘Go ahead. has them continuing. then what?’ ‘Can we do anything? I don’t know how we could tell those nice old ladies what has happened. . It is. he found that every one of those old widow ladies on Culver Circle had signed a deed transferring her house and lot to Poindexter.’ ‘That is indeed a problem’ ‘Do you have any ideas – at all?’ ‘Well.’ ‘Well. I’ll wait. I don’t know how to tell the members of the church.‘Rev.’ ‘I think maybe I could use a custard.’ When Smith climbed back in the car a few minutes later. to pay all the regular things like taxes and utilities. but . Know what he found?’ ‘I’m afraid to ask.’ ‘But when they die?’ ‘Yes. Truly. . if I just wanted to spoil your day.?’ ‘Yes. When they die.’ ‘You mean . . Slick took a bite of custard and continued. . Those old dears don’t own their own houses any more. I wouldn’t have engaged in all this secret meeting stuff here. now would I. of course. 227 . We think Poindexter probably sold them some malarkey.

however. However from my experience with reverend Poindexter to date – I don’t think he will cooperate.’ *** Much happened after that. They promptly agreed to serve as trustees and signed the Trust Declaration. It would not look good. reverend Robert Smith searched out competent legal counsel in the black community and had most of the necessary paperwork drafted and in hand before approaching Lucius Poindexter.’ ‘Well. He’ll sign.’ ‘Take my word for it. It would be better if it was done from inside your church. if we took action.’ So Slick led Smith by the hand through the process of setting up a non-profit trust in the church and then having Poindexter execute deeds on the various properties transferring ownership to the trust. He lined up five prominent black gentlemen with long time affiliations with the church. let me explain. with the help of the documents you’ve mentioned I think that could be done. No sir. Armed with copies of non-profit charitable trust documents purchased from the public records of the city.’ ‘I wouldn’t know what to do – don’t think we got any members who would know either. He is just a very bull-headed person.‘We’ve done some research. I don’t think he will sign those papers. not interested in hearing about any mistakes or errors he might have made. 228 . Smith sighed. ‘That I understand.

the income from which would be utilized solely to support the charitable efforts of the trust. They pledged their full support to the charitable goals of the trust. All were pleased to learn that their informal arrangement with reverend Poindexter had been properly and legally formalized. Interest in the choir peaked. He was confronted with the reality of the situation. RoscoeTurner escorted the bride 229 . He signed each of the deed documents placed before him and promptly excused himself.After their first organizational meeting the trustees ‘invited’ Lucius Poindexter to join them. A Baldwin upright piano (very similar to the one Slick spotted in the Barksdale home) was anonymously donated. The trustees visited each of the Culver Circle widows and advised them fully of the provisions of the trust. The driver of the truck which delivered the piano claimed ignorance as to the point of origin. Lucius Poindexter came out of retirement to preside at the wedding ceremony. Word spread rapidly throughout the membership. et cetera. the distinct possibility having been brought to his attention about the possibility of the Internal Revenue Service becoming concerned about his sudden acquisition of wealth. The trust documents provided that as any occupant widow died then that particular piece of property would be put on the market with it being further provided that the proceeds of the sale would then be invested in conservative investments. When Robert Smith popped the question to Naomi Tyler. When the last widow died then that particular home would be made available exclusively as the family residence of whoever was minister of the church at that time. Persons who previously never volunteered for anything began to step forward to do what they could to maintain the properties and generally support the church.

worked hard on and got his G. Ernie Caldwell provided a black Cadillac limousine from his funeral home. Carl Warnecke has completed law school and passed the state licensing examination with high grades. The guy with the two horses gave up – just not enough business. Bonnie and Clyde have been retired to a small farm outside town. catering to local lawyers in need of very limited and quick work – usually during the midst of trial. Her nosy neighbor at 4929 Sutherland was beside herself because Mrs. Judge Glennon became the envy of his fellow judges. Wilbur and the guys think there is a stray momma cat.E. very pregnant. Cullen declined to speculate as to her admirer’s ID. No Nose and Wayne Samuels worked out a deal for Novak’s nose to be straightened – as much as possible. The choir performed.to be down the aisle. Slick’s son has become old enough to fly unescorted to St. Novak now has a small but thriving one-man investigations firm. During the preparations for the wedding somehow a bouquet got sent – anonymously – to Mary Cullen. up the alley somewhere and maybe looking for a handout now and then. 230 . Louis to visit his Dad. Barksdale lived up to his expectations. Nobody is interested in looking for a replacement – at least for a while. He has been interviewed by several prestigious firms. Popeye got sick and we had to have him put down. He now has an interest in ultimately getting a college degree.D. Slick and Velma are cooperating on finding the best flights for him so there will be no plane changes.

separating wannabe gamblers from their money. He’s the calm in the center of our storms. I find myself still subconsciously stopping whatever I’m doing when I hear the distant wail of the siren on one of those big red Packard ambulances. Herman Schultz and the regulars at Driscoll’s Saloon remain unchanged by the world swirling around outside their remote little island. He is readily available whenever Slick needs some help on the streets. She would like to help with the church choir but her lack of any formal musical training precludes her serving in any teaching position. 231 . Slick and I continue to maintain our close relationship with Wayne Samuels. Stormy Knight’s lifestyle remains much the same as always.Calvin Moore continues to ply his trade.

D. ‘Slick’ Jones Robert ‘Slats’ Slattery Misty Laine Wilbur Foshee Adam White Velma Jones ‘Jaypee’ Jones William Glennon James Randolph Barclay M.M. Ed Moorehead Malachi Murphy Pete Conrad Carl Warnecke Herman Schultz Wayne Samuels M. the dog Victor Trahan D. Stormy Knight The King’s Lads Floyd Jackson Renji Takasu ‘Monkeyman’ Matsumoto Popeye.V.D. Old Chinese couple Larry Schwartz Lucius ‘Juicy’ Poindexter Salvatore Napolitano Robert Smith Earlene Smith Daryl Charles Jocko Reardon 232 Tom Gallagher Gene Lasker Napoleon Calhoun Harry O’Neill Edwin Barksdale Ernie Caldwell Maudeen Barksdale Eleanor Cashion Naomi Tyler ‘No Nose’ Novak ‘Scooterboogle’ Leroy Roscoe Turner Calvin Moore Ben Williams Rich Corrigan Jerome Barksdale Mary Cullen .IN THE APPROXIMATE ORDER OF APPEARANCE: Dan Driscoll Mona Driscoll Michiko Driscoll Paul Deckard Vincent Palazzola John P.

233 .