I had a full house and the rest of the Joes nothing, so I was gonna clean up. Ready to lay ‘em down but I kept hearing a phone ringing and ringing.
“Someone answer that phone.” I yelled till I realized it was mine and I only dreamt of cleaning up the poker pot.
Eyes still closed, phone in hand, I croaked: “Yeah?”
“Westcott, we got bodies down on Elmira- number 34. Get there.”
Then dead air.
“Goddammit.” I thought: ‘what time is it?’
I grabbed the clock, knocking over a saucer of butts, spilling my leftover bourbon…Christ! 4:30 in the morning.
Ike would be waiting for me. Went to the can, head under cold water tap. Pulled myself together and left.
Lots of Uniforms on Elmira. Ike was yakking to Stern. I walked in on the murder conversation.
“Westcott, get in there.Two males
dead. Honey Lawrence is the only witness, a cool cucumber. She’s our suspect but…”
I interrupted: “ Honey Lawrence of Lawrence Mining?”
“That’s the one. Too much money. You know what that means? She walks.”
“You know for sure she did it?” I asked.
“Her pet cat knows for sure she did it. Get in there Westcott and break her.”
I walked up the front path. Not her place, too low class. Uniforms at the door nodded. Stuck up my hand as a ‘Hello’ and went in.
Lab guy were snapping shots around the two dead men lying by each other. Pools of blood from both. Looked like they’re having a nap – an eternal nap.
Honey Lawrence sat calmly smoking on a nearby loveseat. Cop standing behind her.
Before I opened my mouth, she gives me the once over.
“I’m Honey Lawrence in case you didn’t know.”
“I do know. What happened here Miss Lawrence?”
“Oh detective, don’t be so naive. Two men fighting over me.”
She took a drag on her cigarette then blew out a few delicate smoke rings.
“This isn’t even my house.”
It’s one of those dead mooks I thought..and she’s still wearing that black satin dressing gown at 5 in the morning.
“ As I already asked, Miss Lawrence, what happened here?” I was losing my patience till… she uncrossed her legs and I got a glimpse of some gams I’d like to get my hands on. Believe me she would satisfy the rest of my appetites too.
“ First of all, call me Honey. I hate to be formal, just gets in the way.”
“Gets in the way of what?” I said. But I already knew what she meant.
“You know…” her voice trailing off. “By the way detective, what’s your name?”
“ I mean your first name.”
“Would you mind if I called you Johnny instead? John is so formal. I hate formalities.”
“ Honey, look I’m tired. Stop yanking my chain or we can continue our little talk in a cement cell.”
She smiled not even shaken by my threat.
“ I like you Johnny Westcott. We’ll have a drink first, then I’ll tell you what happened.”
“ Bourbon?” She asked.
“Thanks.” How did she know? This is some broad.
I watched her get up and walk over to the bar cabinet. She poured bourbon neat into two highball glasses. I wasn’t going to drink but was itching to see her walk. She turned and saw me looking. I could see how men could lose it over Honey, plus all that mining dough. I’m sure if I started matching drink for drink with her, who knows where we’d wind up.
“ Here Johnny.” She handed me my bourbon.
The satin robe opened just enough for me to see she was stacked. If I didn’t keep my wits about me, I’d be the next one lying on the floor with a bullet hole.
Ike yelled through the front screen door: “ Hey Westcott. What’s takin’ so long?”
Honey and I looked at each other. Maybe in another life we’d be so bad we’d be good together. This was gonna be tough.
“ Coming our now Sarge.” I hollered back.
I grabbed Honey’s arm roughly. “Let’s go!”
She didn’t resist , coming along as smooth as her name.
One thought on “Nightcap in Satin by Marea Needle”
A great read! Hardboiled detective fiction with a twist of honey and bourbon! Such wonderful turns of phrase. well done