For a hundred dollars a day plus expenses, Bill Chapters is your man in the city. Any city -- but if you take him out of New York, you got to pay the dry cleaning when the toughs get rough with him. In this installment of "Busted Love," Bill gets a visit from an old cop friend.

Catch up on the case!


Flash forward!


Back at the hotel, I summoned the facts about the case so far from memory.

Sandy Connors had been dating Stanley until last summer after Jenkins and his friends took a trip to Towson Lake. Summer ended and classes started back up but their relationship didn't. Stanley put the dodge on poor Sandy, and a few weeks later, he shacked up with a new girlfriend.

There were big gaps, and I felt like I was falling through them.

My head was starting to hurt. What about the red-haired woman with the ovine face and her strong friend who liked to hit me?

I emptied out my pockets: gym sock, post-it notes, photograph. Most of the post-its were school related: faculty office hours and a few facts about Marcel Duchamp. I crumpled those up and filed them in the waste basket. There was one note that caught my attention -- a phone number with an out-of-town area code.

I made a note of it and stowed the gym sock and photo in the drawer by my bed.

There was a knock at the door.

It was Jonas McCarthy on the other side. He had his badge up. It was how he said hello.

"Hey Jonny," I said.

"I should've known it was you."

"How's tricks?"

"What the hell are you doing out of New York?"

I laughed. "I'm here for the beaches."

"There are no beaches here."

"You should've been the PI; not me."

"We gotta do this in the hallway?"



"Come on in." I stepped out of his way and he made himself comfortable in the room. He gave the place a quick lookaround and sat down on the edge of the bed.

"So are you on a case or ain't ya?"

"You know I can't tell you that. What're you doing in Delaware?"

He shrugged. "Got transferred a few months back."

"You didn't invite me to the going away party."

"Well, Bill, you know. I figured there's such a thing as too much fun."

"Want something to drink? I can have them send something up." I went to the phone and kept saying names of scotches until they stopped saying "nope."

"So you've been busy," said McCarthy.

"How do you mean?"

"Disturbing our citizens. Making a general ass of yourself."

"Nothing doing."

"What were you doing around the vicinity of Harry Truman Boulevard this morning?"

"Dealing crack," I said. "To teenagers."

McCarthy stared at me.

"New York crack," I said. "It's hard to find quality rock in Delaware. If you are a teenager."

There was another knock at the door.

I opened it and let the boy in with the scotch and the glasses. I poured one for Jonny. Then I poured a bigger one for myself. We drank a little without toasting.

"Just so you know, a man named Mortimer Jenkins swore out a complaint against you."

"For what?"

"B and E."

I made a gesture. He didn't seem impressed. "So cite me." I took a pull of my scotch. "Did you say 'Jenkins?' I thought Mortimer was his LAST name."

An uncle? Brother? Father?

"He is a nice one-eyed fellow," said McCarthy.

"And a dog lover."



Jonny finished up his drink and I didn't offer him a second one. He got up and went towards the door. I walked with him.

"Listen, just keep your nose clean, Chapters. I can only hide so much from the higher ups."

"Won't be a problem. You'll tear up that parking ticket?"

I walked him to the elevator and pushed the button for him. He didn't seem ready to go down. He turned around on me and poked the top button on my shirt.

"So, level with me. On a case or not?"

"Sure, Jonny."

He stared at me.

"Someone's lost their buzz and they paid me to find it."

He laughed. "You need some outside help on this one?"

"You're too pricy," I said. He got into the elevator.

"Say, how's Sophie doing these days?"

I started to say something. The door closed.


Posted by billchapters on Tue, 08 Jul 2008 21:32:42 -0400 -- permanent link

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