Saturday, September 13, 2014

First Shot (51)

Blow waited until he heard the car door slam before he walked to the window. The slam had come only seconds after Gladstone departed the office, or Blow would have strolled into the front room where he could view his Ranger pickup to see if the big man was so brash as to stick a tracking device under the truck. As it was, he watched the shiny sedan roll off his parking pad and ease on down the street in a direction that would take it to the highway. Mary's voice behind him pulled his mind back into the room.
What an act. Did you hear him say harumph? I've never heard anybody say that before.”
Blow turned and saw that she was still sniffing the cigar Gladstone had given her. “You gonna smoke that thing?”
Oh, heavens no. I'll probly just keep it as a souvenir. What a buffoon, huh?”
A dangerous one. He's quite an actor.”

I saw that look he gave you. After you said a name—Horseradish or something? Chilled me to the bone. What was that all about?”
A lingering irritation at the back of Blow's mind gave way to a violent shudder. He looked around the room quickly, including a glance at the smoke detector on the ceiling. “Let's get out of here, Mary. The smell is making me sick. His stink. I'll turn the a/c on, air it out. Go for a ride, OK?”
Her face taut with apprehension, she nodded, dropped the cigar on the desk and grabbed her coat.
Let's go this way,” Blow said, leading her to the front door. “Take my truck.”
They rode in silence awhile, Blow debating with himself what he could tell her without compromising any confidentiality. Mary, stroking her chin with gentle fingers, appeared to be submerged in thought.
She turned her face to him. “Anyplace special, Blow?”
Huh?”
I mean...we're just driving around I guess.”
Oh, yeah. I just wanted to get out of that house for a while. Starting to get on my nerves.”
I know. You really think somebody's planted listening devices in there?”
He smiled. Tipped his head her way. “Does sound kinda crazy, doesn't it.”
Well, Bart Bullshit was real. Showing up at the door like that. Can you believe that guy? I mean, he's done some heavy things. Abscam? Says in his book he was the one made that happen. And other things like that? He was a player. And now he's here in little Leicester County?”
This is big, Mary. What you reporters call hardball. In fact, I'd call it hardball with hand grenades.”
She nodded. Stared at the dashboard. “So can you tell me who this Horseradish guy is? That name stopped Bullshit cold. The look he gave you was lethal, Blow. It scared me.”
Remember Himmler?”
Haha. Sure do. CIA, right? That's what they're saying.”
Himmler's real name was Werner Horschlagen.”
No shit! Blow, that's cool. You gonna tell me how you know this? Can I use it?”
No to your first question. You can use it if you can confirm it on your own. I can't have my name in your story, Mary. Not now, anyway.”
Any suggestions on how I can do that? Confirm Horseradish...Horschlagen?”
Bart Bullshit. Give him a call.” Blow reached inside his coat and pulled out a business card. He handed it to Mary. ”He left it on my desk.”
Ewwww, does it stink?”
Do you care?”
I guess not. Thanks, Blow. I can use his little speech, can't I? The one in your office?”
Sure. Just don't say where you heard it, OK?”
What if he denies it? Will you back me up?”
FBI probly can. Or whoever has my house bugged.” He turned to her and winked.
I'm serious. What if he denies it.”
I bugged my office, too. Had my little digital recorder running the whole time. He won't deny it.”
Thanks, Blow. Sorry I got mad at you.”
You owe me lunch now, you know.”
You drive a hard bargain.”
What are you doing tomorrow?”
Going to a funeral.”
You're a day early. Gunther's isn't until Saturday.”
I know. This is for Mr. Kellam. The old guy who ran the store out by the marshes? I did a feature on him a couple years back. Nice old man.”
I remember him. Dad use to take me out there to the store when I was a kid. Really liked that old store.”
Wanna come to the funeral with me? I'll buy you lunch after.”
Oh, Mary, thanks, but I won't be able to make it. Call me when it's over, though, and maybe I can meet you someplace.”
Deal.”

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