I swung by Shirley's more to touch base with Mary than anything else. However, when I arrived I found Shirley behind the counter helping some old lady figure out how to run the brass NCR cash register. "Hey Shirley, where's Mary?"
"Sorry, Mac, she called in sick this morning. Sounded like the flu to me."
"Shirley, do you have her number?"
Shirley gave me a cold stare with twinge of disbelief in her eyes. "Look, you dirty old man, she doesn't have a phone. She calls in from a phone in the lobby of her building. And if she did have a phone, I sure as h*ll wouldn't give to the likes of you.'"
Now that my mission had lost its primary purpose, I checked my Bulova. I had a few minutes. "Well, Miss Shirley, might as well get some lunch?"
"MacKenzie, I haven't unpacked the pies yet. And besides who eats pie at this time of day anyway?"
"No, I meant some lunch."
"Really?" Shirley spoke with a mock expression of disbelief. She turned to the old lady. "You got it figured out, Mama. You'll get it. Just take your time and take no guff off the likes of this guy. Write him up a cold turkey sandwich, soup and an orange Nehi."
That was Shirley's way -- you took whatever she gave you.
The soup was a little salty, the turkey sandwich was actually pretty good and the orange Nehi, well, that's a classic. You can't go wrong with an orange Nehi, maybe a grape Nehi, but an orange Nehi is perfection in a bottle.
One more look at my wristwatch and I was starting to get pressed to get hustling if I was going to catch Doc at the morgue before he took off for his weekly nine holes of golf. i wanted to talk to him one on one about what he had come up with on the cabbie. I threw two bucks on the counter and said to the old gal, "You've got a lovely daughter, ma'am." That drew a smile and a wave, "Get outta here, you fool."
I'm running late and wouldn't you know it, I come upon an accident, some fellow in a Chrysler runs a red light snuffs the life of some unsuspecting pedestrian and all he'll get is six months riding the bus and a lifetime of nightmares.