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Thursday, January 11, 2007

SHAME, SHAME, SHAME (part V)

Shame, Shame, Shame (part I)
Shame, Shame, Shame (part II)
Shame, Shame, Shame (part III)
Shame, Shame, Shame (part IV)

Insinct. It’s a funny thing. Some say reason is king. I say, no matter how much reason you muster, you still can’t shake instinct.

A good sleuth understands this.

You have to be as close to instinct as possible. Close as a couple fingers.

So, in the space of a few seconds I worked this out:

Magic Hands. She was thick with the muckers in this crib. That’s for sure. But the mickey her partner in slime had slipped in my drink was almost totally worn off. And the liquid sex enhancer they stuck me with. Well, I was impervious. They didn’t count on coming up against someone like me. A chump who’s been around the world five times and seen it all. From mujerones in Rio to flower blossoms in Klang that fit in the palm of your hand. The stories I could tell you.

Despite the evil blue stuff pumping through my veins I was beginning to think straight. Something told me Katy was my out. According to Socrates she was the last one who saw el Tigre. And she knew about the other john who had his last joy ride in the Isla de los Melocotones. She was going through the motions when she saw me. The compadre at the bar and Globos Descomunales. That’s where my money was.

I’ll tell you why: because after my intuition with the footsteps, and seeing Katy come through that door, I knew it. It was on that mask she was forced to wear. That stony expression. I knew Compadre and Globos were putting the screws on her.

This corrupt world. This rotton mudball. A beautiful waste. In my line of work you take a lot in. You can't trust anyone. I know, it’s bleak. But there’s intuition. There’s faith.

Otherwise you’d sink in this morass. Wouldn’t be able to put your foot anywhere.

As I figured. It was Katy approaching. The door opened and she stepped in. She approached the TV. Ejected the infernal DVD and popped in a new one.

Espera. Wait,” I said.

Katy looked at me. Her facial muscles were rigid. Rigid like they were about to fall apart the moment she got distracted.

“Socrates sent me.”

She blinked and twitched her pretty head. Eyeballed the open door. She rushed to it and shut it. Then I saw her face hovering over me.

“What you mean, viejo? You are working for him?”

“He said hombres were dying. People were asking questions. I’m here to find out why.”

She paused. Her eyes lingered on mine. I didn’t blink. I said:

Sócrates y Yo. Hermanos de sangre.”

I could see the works spinning in her pretty little dome. Half a minute later she spilled the story. In what they call globe-ish. About two years ago a well-dressed gentleman came to the Isla de los Melocotones. He became a regular. Ran up astronomical bills. Soon he confided his story to every girl in the place. Estranged wife. Bad business deals. Apparently he was well connected.

Globos gets the clever idea to blackmail him after seeing his picture in the papers one day. The guy was better connected than they realized. In the picture he was right next to mayor Clos himself. Turns out he had a direct line to the Generalitat. Some guy called Jordi Jordi. They called him Jota Jota for short.

So Globos and her boytoy, Compadre, threatened to tell Jota Jota’s wife and the public at large about his dalliances. They had videotaped him in the act. Dressed up as a little school boy getting spanked. Among other, equally salacious things. They got it all through a two way mirror they rigged in another room. The Isla’s sala VIP. El Paraíso, they call it. They were going to release the tape.

That is, unless he shelled out 30,000 smackers.

The guy didn’t like that. He sent people to find out the source of the blackmail. The first was the alemán. The German guy. Or at least the guy who was pretending to be German. When they found out he was a fake guiri they gave him a sodium pentothal cocktail. And the sex torture treatment they used on me. Only he couldn’t take it. Died like a toro bravo. When rigor mortis set in he was a human tripod.

Then came El Tigre. The wheel of misfortune was equally unkind.

Both were found at the crack of dawn on Robadores street. By rameras getting off the late shift. Both needed special coffins to accommodate their third leg.

Katy said to me:

“I have no opción. They make me do it. Carmen y Francisco.”

Globos and Compadre, that is.

“I have no papers, viejo. If I not help they throw me in the street. Meester Kovaks I no want do this.”

Magic Hands. I’ll help you. But first you have to undo these nippers.” I lifted my chin and pointed the back of my head at my cuffed hands. She snagged the keys off a coffee table in the corner. Freed me.

I was on my feet. A bit wobbly. In my choners.

Ready for battle, nonetheless.

(To be continued.)