The staring contest began soon as Lenny Moskowitz, aka Frederick Himmler, shut the door behind him, leaving Blow and Lt. Callahan alone in Callahan's office. Each man struggled to keep from being the first to laugh. Blow, because simple inertia held him in the character of manly stoic he'd assumed at the first whiff of cigar smoke, Callahan simply because he was a cop.
Blow lost. His deadpan lasted about fifteen seconds before an eye detected the tip of Lenny's Cuban cigar peeking at him from his breast pocket. The laughter erupted like projectile vomit. Unable to stop despite his embarrassment, Blow watched Callahan's face through tear-blurred eyes as the cop revealed no emotion whatever, until he'd established stone-cold superiority, and then he lost it, too.
Blow plucked the cigar from his jacket, sniffed it and held it out to study the scrolled Spanish inscription on its ring label.
“Never seen a Cuban cigar before,” he said.
“Me, neither.” Callahan nudged his with a finger. It lay in front of him on the desk. “He said the damn things cost about ten bucks apiece. Can you imagine spending that much on a smoke?”
“I doubt even a joint costs that much.”
“Dunno. Haven't kept up with it. You may be right.”
Blow sniffed his again, rolled it in his fingers, shook his head and tossed the fancy “stick” onto the desk. “Here, Carl. I don't smoke, and Dad doesn't either.”
“Well, neither do I. Gave up cigarettes...hell, going on ten years now. Probly shit my pants try to smoke that thing now. I'll give 'em to Ogie. He smokes a cigar now and then. I'll tell him they're from you. Get you in good with him.”
They laughed again, politely.
Callahan said, “So whattaya think? Which one's the real Himmler?”
“And does it matter?”
“Not especially, although you got to wonder what the big deal is. Why would somebody go to the trouble to impersonate an insurance examiner?”
“Have you checked them out?”
“Not yet. No reason to. I took the first one at his word. Professional courtesy. Same with this one, while he was sitting here anyway. Let's check their cards.” He fished through a pile of cards in a plastic cube on his desk until he found one. He held it up next to the one he'd just gotten from Lenny Moskowitz. “Hmmmm. Same web address...oops, one's an org and one's a com. Hmmmm. Different phone numbers. Let's do a Google.”
Callahan rolled over to a desktop H/P computer on a side table and tapped the keys. “OK, here we are. Hmmmm. Which one do think it is? Org or com?”
“Depends. I'm inclined to go with Lenny as the real deal. The other guy seems too slick for insurance work.”
“You're right, Counselor. Lenny's the org. There is no Colonial Liability dot com. So what the hell's this other guy doing here?”
“Yeah. Who is he?”
“Guess I'll hafta have him picked up. Said he's staying at the Duke of York. I'm doubting that now, but it's a place to start.”
“You, ah, ready for something else?”
“No. What is it?”
“Remember Cynthia Snow?”
“Cynthia Snow?” Callahan's face crinkled in puzzlement.
“You know, The bulldozer operator who shot an undercover FBI agent and got away, after damned near killing me and my sister?”
“Oh, yes. That Cynthia Snow. You mean they haven't caught her yet? Kills a Feebie and they can't run her down?”
“That's the one, and yes she's still on the run. Joan says she's turned up here again.”
“You...you're yanking my chain, right?”
“Carl, I would prefer if you could keep this between us for now. Joanie told me. Got it from her, ah, close friend, you know, with the Bureau.”
Callahan nodded slowly, seriously, lips parted, face gone grave.
“The FBI identified her face from a bank photo here in Leicester. Last week.”
“I assume this place is crawling with Feebs then. Surprised no one's notified us...well, no I'm not. They don't notify anybody, although maybe Ogie's gotten the word and has orders to keep it tight, need to know, you know?”
“Surely you'd be in the loop?”
“You'd think. Maybe he just hasn't gotten around to it yet. I'll give him these cigars. Pump him a little.”
“Maybe the fake Himmler's an agent. That would make sense, I guess.”
“Yeah, he's just weird enough. I'll find out. If I can find the son of a bitch.” He nudged the cigars around idly with a finger, had another thought: “You know, this Snow White, or whatever the hell her name is, shows up right before Gunther gets his head taken off, huh? You don't suppose...”
“It does look like it was murder. And we know she can shoot.”
“We're gonna need to find some more video. See if any of the views show the woods behind the shooters, the fake shooters. Maybe the Feebs will help me, even if they don't trust me.”
“Why can't we all just get along, huh?”
“Aw, Blow. I didn't need that.”
“Sorry. But it's true, you know.”
“Yeah yeah yeah. So do they know if this snowbird's using another name now? This name game can drive you nuts, me anyway.”
“That's what I said to Joanie. Nope, she said. That was the name on the offshore account she accessed from the ATM machine here last week.”
“From Sherlock Holmes?”
“One and the same.”
“Kid's got a sense of humor anyway. You know what? Damn hairs are sticking up on my neck all of a sudden. Like a million erections. What the fuck's going on here, Counselor?”
“Wish I could proffer a guess, Carl. Now I need to find a client so I can poke around legally in whatever it is.”
“Maybe Colonial Liability will hire you.”
“Yeah, that's the ticket. I'll just print up some cards. Should I be an org or a com?”
“They're both taken. How about a net?”
“Afraid I'm about ready for a net.”
“Me, too, Counselor.”