I left my card with Miss Hill and a couple of the other residents, leaving in a full worry about my Mary Anne McCartney. "Lord, gal, what's happened to you?"
I started for the car, but then I had one of those hunches that every now and then grabs me by the collar. I've learned to follow those hunches, especially if I find myself trying to talk it away. I suppose I believe in some sort of detective God out there that helps us schmucks out from time to time. "Where in the h*ll would that wastebasket go? Well, if you were in a hurry, you might grab the wastebasket and run with it. But then, wouldn't that look mighty suspicious? It wouldn't if you were carrying two of them and were headed to the building's trash dumpster. You'd look through them there, find what you were searching for, and then dump the cans."
So I walked out back of the building and there in the alley, along with an dirty mongrel looking for scraps, I found the green Boston Sanitation dumpster. Nearly full. But after chasing off a rat, I found two empty wastebaskets beneath a pile of flattened liquor boxes. I tossed them into the trunk of my car and when I did, I noticed that I had managed to redecorate my trousers and my white shirt with used spaghetti sauce. "Nice job, MacKenzie, you clumsy oaf!"
I took the waste baskets to forensics. But all that mess was for naught. No fingerprints, no traces of this or that, just a couple of pieces of petrified Juicy Fruit.
I did stop by the desk and Sgt. O'Toole slipped me one of his blue phone message slips. "Got a number for you, MacKenzie. Some lady named McCartney wants you to call her as soon as you can. She sounded as she was eager to get a hold of you."
"O'Toole, any idea where this phone number might be in the area?"
He took another look at the number. It looks like a Concord number. My sister has that same phone prefix, Evergreen.
I found an empty office, closed the door, and made the call that I hoped would end all my worries.