It was about three-thirty before I got back to my place. I had to step over Three-Finger Charlie, the resident drunk on this block, in order to get into my building. I liked old Charlie, a former dockworker who had the misfortune of getting his hand tangled in a hoist cable. That fateful moments took two fingers and cost him his job. Getting hooked on the morphine then took the better part of his life. Now he lived by selling his ten cent pencils up and down the street. Most folks never got around to taking their pencil, they merely flip their coins into his tin cup that he held with those three sad fingers.
As I walked by Miss Sarah's room I could hear the sounds that she was entertaining that night. Her poodle's barking was muffled with the dog being shut up in the bathroom during the romantic times.
When I turned on the light, Boo was sleeping on his back, dead to the world, his paws sprawled wide, his belly open to the heavens. Boo was smashed. And I was too beat to care.
I slept till noon. Then after easing my hangover with a little hair of the dog, I thought I might make another call on Brown and Keller and see if Flanagan's death might stir up some dust. I was especially going to see what I might do with that prim and proper Miss Devonshire. My gut was telling me that she just might be the key that would start unlocking this stuff.
First, a stop at Mickey's Newsstand for a paper, a bottle of aspirin, a cup of coffee, and the latest joke that Mickey had picked up on the streets. Something about a priest and a politician who go to a bar one night with a monkey.
"Not bad, Mick. Where d'ya here that one?"
"Three-finger Charlie. He made me pay him a dime for it, MacKenzie, you get it for free. Oh, I almost forgot. There was a P.I. here yesterday asking about you."
"What did you tell him, Mick?"
"The usual. You died a couple of years ago, hit by a bus. That seemed to p*ss him off. He said his name was Flanagan."
"If you see him again, Mick, just have him call me. Here's my card."
"MacKenzie, for that kind of service..."
"Okay, Mick. If he calls, there's a five in it for you. D*mn, everybody is robbing me blind."
But I really shouldn't have been complaining because my day was about to get lucky. Real lucky.