"CEO FOUND DEAD IN SPACIOUS 5th AVENUE APARTMENT, AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY, NO PETS PLEASE"
I read the article in disbelief. Why had the D.A. closed this case only two hours after the body was discovered? And why would anyone want to murder a billionaire?
"…And then, at the end of the dream, I turn around to see that I'm being chased by a giant neon sign that says ‘I AM YOUR FEARS.' Now what’s a guy supposed to make of a dream like that?"
"This guy makes you another Jack and Coke!"
That was Mick. You didn't have to be a detective to see that Mick was a bartender. But he was also a terrific excuse for a human being, and most people don't know that about Mick because most people think they're too good to spend their mornings in dive bars.
"Looks like somebody's ready for another!"
"Mick!" I laughed. "You jerk!"
It was good to be around Mick again because I was working on a tough new case and I needed to unwind. The owner and CEO of a major banking firm had been found dead in his apartment, cut open from shoulders to boulders. Like any good American, I admired the guy for his obsene wealth and was shocked by his sudden demise.
His life story was biblical in proportion, a real David-becomes-Goliath tale. He’d started off in the mailroom at 18, and in only two years, as soon as his father, the former CEO, passed away, he became the head of the whole damn company.
And how about his generosity? It didn't matter if you were his wife, his mistress, our senator, or the special prosecutor appointed to investigate our senator for accepting bribes, he gave generously to everyone. And now he was dead. But why?
"You know, your man was no saint."
"Say again, Mick?"
“Christ, don’t you read the papers? If you're looking for someone with a motive, start with the shareholders. Then you might as well work your way down to the board of trustees, his advisors, even his lowliest employees. He screwed everyone, from top to bottom. Here, I accidentally poured you another."
This was my one gripe about Mick. I don't presume to be able to give him advice on the proper way to pour a drink, nor do I pretend to be any authority on how to mop my piss off the men's room floor. And yet he has no problem insulting me by implying that anyone could do what I do.
But as always, in the interest of civility I took the high road:
"Hey," I laughed through gritted teeth. "Who's the detective here, anyway? Ha! Ha! I thought it was me, but now you're making me think it's you, even though your ideas are garbage!"
Mick shook his head, handed me my tab, and started wiping down the bar. I imagine he did this because he’s a bartender, not a detective.
I’d made my point without being a jerk about it, so I grabbed my tab, reached for my manpurse, and…
The tab caught me off-guard. Did I really have that many? A wave of nausea threatened to overcome me, but I managed to suppress it with both hands. Not this time, pal. Just when I thought I’d shown it who was boss, the vomit cleverly rerouted itself to my nasal passage and sprayed wildly out of my nostrils, all over Mick's newly-varnished bar. And it just kept coming. The thing to do in situations like this is play it cool, act natural.
"Mick, if this CEO was such a bad guy, as you seem to believe, then why didn't anyone—"
"YOU STUPID FUCKIN' ANIMAL!!!! RUN TO THE FUCKIN' BATHROOM!!!!!!!"
To Be Continued!!!!!