“Where was this taken?”
I held up the photo of her and Richard, it had been playing on my mind all night.
“I can’t remember” she replied, sleepily.
“It doesn’t seem like the kind of day you’d forget.”
“I don’t know – the lake I think.”
I put the photo back in my pocket and got up from the couch, she shuffled beneath the bed clothes trying to fight sleep.
“Did Richard ever talk about her whilst you were together?”
“No, not really – he mentioned that he was going to get a divorce but that was the only time she came up.”
“What did you talk about?”
“This and that – moving out of this town, but the case would cause problems with that.”
“Professional misconduct, apparently he’d been writing prescription he shouldn’t have.”
“What did he say about that?”
“Nothing much – he knew he was innocent and knew that I believed him, that was all that mattered.”
A piece of the jigsaw had fallen into place; I grabbed my coat and the iron and made for the door.
“Where are you going?”
“I’ve got to get back into town, I need to check something out.”
“What about me, what should I do?”
“Wait half-an-hour and then call the DE; tell him Richards death has left you confused and that I threatened to hurt you if you didn’t help me. Tell him I left this morning and said something about Memphis and disappearing.”
“What if he doesn’t believe me?”
“It won’t matter, he’s got his sights set on me now and that won’t stop him – I need to make call before I go.”
I went over to the old rotary on the bedside table and started to dial.
“King – yeah, its been a while, listen; you’re going to have a couple of guys paying you a visit in a few hours and asking questions, tell ‘em you’ve heard from me but that I needed to stop en-route to get some cash out of a bookie who owed me – all I need is twenty four hours.”
I sat the receiver back down and grabbed the Malibu’s keys.
I had a hunch about the prescriptions and whose handwriting I’d find on them, but I just hoped that I was wrong. It had been a while since she’d been hooked on that stuff and she’d gotten into a lot of trouble. It cost me a months salary and a couple of split knuckles to get her off the stuff, and I didn’t want to repeat the process.
Only one person would deal with a high class broad like the Tooth Fairy and I didn’t like the prospect of dealing with him. Something about the way he spoke always set me on edge but if I was to get to the bottom of this case and clear my name I’d need to get over that. I pulled up outside the cheap apartment block where he lived and made my way in.
The place fair reeked inside; I didn’t need to know what they were cooking up in the basement as I made my way to the top floor to know that if the DE caught me here I’d be in trouble. His apartment was easy to spot, it was the only one which looked as if the door had been kicked in – I let myself in and sat myself down on the couch, he was so far gone he hadn’t even seen me come in.
“Tell me, you still peddling novacaine to the Tooth Fairy?”
I rattled him out of his stupor but those eyes still lazed about in his skull as he looked for the answer. He reached into his jacket pocket and I pulled out the iron to tell him to take it easy. He smiled and held his hand.
That sing song way he said the word sent a shiver down my spine, I pulled back the hammer to help him focus.
“She isn’t like that anymore, I heard you’d got her clean.”
“Besides, even if she was she’s married to a dentist now so she won’t be needing to come visiting anymore.”
“Was married – haven’t you heard she’s now a widow.”
His eyes widened, I got the sense that he was holding something back.
“Look, why don’t you tell me when you last really saw her and I won’t have to get rough?”
“She was here two weeks ago, selling blank prescriptions to me that she’d swiped from her husband – said she knew he was having an affair and wanted to get back at him.”
“What did she want in return?”
“I can’t remember.”
I fired wide, just clipping the sofa to the right of him – I’d need to make this quick now before anyone showed up to see what was happening.
“Okay, she was after fairy dust, said she was having a few problems and needed to lay her hands on some real fast.”
“That didn’t strike you as odd, the Tooth Fair needing fairy dust?”
“’Of course it did, but in this line of business you learn when to keep your mouth shut and not ask questions.”
In the distance I heard the sound of sirens, I needed to wrap things up fast.
“You still got any of those prescriptions left?”
“Over there on the bureau.”
I got up and walked over, making sure to keep my on him in case he tried anything. Sitting on the bureau was a pad of unused prescriptions, all with the stamp of Richard’s practice on them – how much fairy dust did she need, you could have bought a nest’s worth with this little lot.
I hear the familiar click of a shotgun behind me and hit the deck just in time for the bureau to explode into a shower of wooden shards. I returned like for like, fumbling around for the pad or anything else I could use as evidence.
“Not so tough now are you big man.” The shout was punctuated by a couple of more blasts from the shotgun he was packing – I waited for a lull before making my point.
“Listen, narco’s about two minutes from here now and you’ve got enough here to send you down for a long time, if they find my body as well they’re going to move you upstate for life – do you know what the do to child snatchers upstate?”
He fired off another volley and bolted for the door, I grazed the woodwork with another shot at him and got to my feet. Looking outside I could see the lights of the narco’ squad were less than a minute away. I stuffed the prescriptions into my pocket and made my way out to the roof.
Outside I could see a crowd forming around the building waiting to see what would happen. The residents had taken the sounds of combat as their sign to leave before narco’ arrived and I couldn’t blame them. Only problem was that I couldn’t let anyone see me yet or I’d be in even more trouble. The next roof would take a run to get to and I wasn’t sure I was up to it anymore but I had no choice. I just hoped my luck would improve as I leapt. I landed pretty hard, grazing a few ribs and made my way inside. I just needed to find a quiet apartment and catch my breath for a while.