The bridge where Davis died was the only direct way back to the hotel and the Ferrol. The way I had to take was long and I got lost more than once. It took me an hour to reach the Rialto Bridge and cross the Grand Canal, and another hour to worm my way through the maze of streets back to the area of the train station by another route.
Susyn had fled. The concierge at the hotel said she had not checked out, but her suitcase and clothing were gone. Had she panicked when Davis did not return, or had they already planned to go separately? Did she know he was dead, and I was alive? There was no way to be sure.
I retrieved my pack and walked down to the station. My train was long since gone and there would not be another until early morning. I changed my ticket and went out of the station. It was two in the morning. The traffic on the Grand Canal had lessened, but it never ends. The steps of the station were covered with a hundred bodies, mostly rolled into sleeping bags, as the students and street wanderers bedded down for the night in the only place they could afford. I had a good room already paid for, but I chose to join them. I found a place where I could put my back against the side of a stone block and sat sleepless among them, watching. It was unlikely that Susyn was still in Venice, and less likely that Skinny Alan was here, but there was no way I could trust my life to sleep. Nor my peace of mind to the nightmares that would be waiting in sleep.
The six o’clock train carried me to Milan. I wasted five dollars in lira before I found an English speaking operator who would help me make a collect overseas call. After the third ring, a familiar voice said, “Dias Investigations.”
“Carmen, it’s Ian Gunn.”
“Hey, Stud, you back in San Francisco? I thought you were on your way to Europe.”
“I’m in Italy, and I’m in trouble. Put Joe on.”
“Hey, when I accepted the call, I thought you were someplace local.”
“Carmen, put Joe on.”
“He’s kind of busy.”
“Emergency, Carmen. Don’t dally.”
Less than a minute later, Joe Dias came on the line. “What’s up, Ian. Carmen said it was some kind of emergency. Who’s shooting at you?”
“No one today. Last night they were.”
“Tell me about it.”
“Not on an open line. I’ll give you all the details you want later. Here’s what I need from you now. Ramona Maria Elvira Cabral, known as Raven, daughter of state senator Daniel Cabral, hired a P. I. sometime between four and eight months ago. P. I.’s name was Harvey Jacks, working out of San Francisco, I think, but he may have been out of Sacramento. I never got that part of the story quite straight. Are you getting this copied?”
“Tape recorder’s running, Son. Go as fast as you want.”
“Raven hired this guy to investigate some member of the Senator’s staff, name unknown, because she suspected some kind of crime, also unspecified.”
“Jeeze, you don’t know a lot.” more tomorrow