Raven’s Run 87

“Jeeze, you don’t know a lot.”

“Today I don’t know as much as I knew yesterday. Anyway, one story is that the P. I. turned in a report saying this person was clean, when he wasn’t. When he or she wasn’t. Then went out and sold the truth to a heavy, and later on tried to up the ante and got killed. The name I was given for the heavy is Adrian Brock, Sacramento contractor and distributor on the side for local pot farmers. But the person who gave me that name is a liar who tried to have me killed, so it’s probably a blind alley. The rest of the story comes from a reliable source, Raven Cabral herself.”

“Did you say ‘tried to have you killed’?” Joe asked mildly.

“Last night.”

“Didn’t succeed?”

“I’m not much in the mood for jokes this morning, Joe.”

“Sorry, Son. I thought when you left me that you were giving up the profession?”

“This one fell into my lap. If I told you how it all began, you just wouldn’t believe it. What I want is for you to find out how much of this is true, and follow any side issues that come up. I’m up to my ass in alligators and I don’t even know the name of the swamp. But I can’t pay you.”

“Consider it a favor. I owe you a couple. I can tell you part of the story right off. Harvey Jacks is a P. I. out of San Francisco. Was, I mean. They pulled him out of the bay about six months ago. The sharks had been at him, but he never felt it because there was a 9 mm. hole in the back of his head. He wasn’t any more honest than he had to be. A blackmail scam would be right up his alley, and getting in over his head would match his intelligence. Not too bright.”

“Thanks, Joe. Keep the file close at hand and expect another collect call.”

“Give me a couple of days, Boy. The investigation I can afford, but these overseas calls are going to break me.”

I hung up and closed my eyes. There have been few men in my life who have meant much to me, but Joe Dias was one. When I was going to college in San Francisco and I didn’t have any skills to sell but a strong body and an ability with weapons, Joe Dias had taken me under his wing. In a profession noted for sleaze and dishonesty, Joe Dias was a gentleman. I had run errands, questioned people, and done stakeouts, squeezing them in between classes. Occasionally I had found myself in the thick of some heavy action. Joe had called me three-quarters of a P. I.

I stayed with it several years because it was good money for the hours, and because of Joe. And, I had a knack for it. But I had wanted a wider world and a better class of associates.

I called Marseille and waited for Will to come to the phone.

“Ian?” Will was breathless, “Am I glad to hear from you. Every piece of fecal matter in the universe has hit the fan.”

My heart stopped. I thought Davis’ body had been connected to me. more tomorrow


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