I went to the window. You could just see the bay if you leaned off to one side. The freight yard was at the end of a dead end street, backing up on a hundred yard wide tidal wilderness. On Sundays I used to go out and sit on a rock with a transistor radio to listen to the 49ers play. Candlestick Park was visible from out there, and every time Joe Montana made a touchdown, you could hear the cheering through the radio, echoed seconds later by the real thing from the stadium. Now the bay was only a lightless space in the twinkling city, and the only sounds were an occasional car and the barking of dogs.
Joe Montana doesn’t play in Candlestick any more, and I’m not in college any more, and the career that I spent a decade preparing for may well be over before it has a chance to begin.
“Do you have a gun?” Ed asked.
“The one I own is in Marseilles.” Then I went over to the bookcase, shoved some books aside, and pried up a loose baseboard. I brought a cigar box over to the table and took out a snub nosed Bulldog. “This one isn’t registered. Or, rather, it isn’t registered to me.”
“Technically – I suppose so. I took it off a guy after I beat the shit out of him.”
Ed smiled and asked, “Anyone I know?”
“No. A guy I worked with. A P.I. named – Talant, I think. He had worked for Joe Dias about three months when I had been there about two years. I had been doing leg work and computer searches when Joe sent me out to get some seasoning. I went with this Talant one day on an investigation. We were looking for a bail jumper. I don’t remember his name, and we never did find him.
“All day long, Talant went around the city chasing down the jumper’s associates to question them. The man was a complete ass. He tried to bully everyone he talked to – including me – and whenever he questioned anyone, he always managed to let his coat hang open so his gun would show. He called it his Son-of-Sam piece. That story had just broken and it was the same kind of handgun that David Richard Berkowitz had used.
“Anyway, Talant finally cornered the wrong man. He was trying to bully this guy he was questioning in a bar in Daly City, getting in his face and calling him a liar because he said he didn’t know where our jumper had gone. He kept patting his piece, trying to make it look casual and threatening at the same time.
“The guy he was questioning just didn’t give a damn. He jumped up from the table where he’d been sitting and whipped a knife out of his boot, and before Talant knew what hit him, the guy had the knife at his throat.
“Talant froze. And then he started to bluster, and when that didn’t work, he started to beg. The guy just pushed the knife into Talant’s throat until the blood started to trickle. I had to shoot him.” more tomorrow