Книга Farewell, My Lovely. Содержание - 13
“In the dark?”
“Yes,” I said. “It must have been something like that. Some voices stay in your mind. Even in the dark people are recognized.”
Randall shook his head. “If this was an organized gang of jewel thieves, they wouldn’t kill without a lot of provocation.” He stopped suddenly and his eyes got a glazed look. He closed his mouth very slowly, very tight. He had an idea. “Hijack,” he said.
I nodded. “I think that’s an idea.”
“There’s another thing,” he said. “How did you get here?”
“I drove my car.”
“Where was your car?”
“Down at Montemar Vista, in the parking lot by the sidewalk cafe.”
He looked at me very thoughtfully. The dicks behind him looked at me suspiciously. The drunk in the cells tried to yodel, but his voice cracked and that discouraged him. He began to cry.
“I walked back to the highway,” I said. “I flagged a car. A girl was driving it alone. She stopped and took me down.”.
“Some girl,” Randall said. “It was late at night, on a lonely road, and she stopped.”
“Yeah. Some of them will do that. I didn’t get to know her, but she seemed nice.” I stared at them, knowing they didn’t believe me and wondering why I was lying about it.
“It was a small car,” I said. “A Chevvy coupe. I didn’t get the license number.”
“Haw, he didn’t get the license number,” one of the dicks said and spat into the wastebasket again.
Randall leaned forward and stared at me carefully. “If you’re holding anything back with the idea of working on this case yourself to make yourself a little publicity, I’d forget it, Marlowe. I don’t like all the points in your story and I’m going to give you the night to think it over. Tomorrow I’ll probably ask you for a sworn statement. In the meantime let me give you a tip. This is a murder and a police job and we wouldn’t want your help, even if it was good. All we want from you is facts. Get me?”
“Sure. Can I go home now? I don’t feel any too well.”
“You can go home now.” His eyes were icy.
I got up and started towards the door in a dead silence. When I had gone four steps Randall cleared his throat and said carelessly:
“Oh, one small point. Did you notice what kind of cigarettes Marriott smoked?”
I turned. “Yes. Brown ones. South American, in a French enamel case.”
He leaned forward and pushed the embroidered silk case out of the pile of junk on the table and then pulled it towards him.
“Ever see this one before?”
“Sure. I was just looking at it.”
“I mean, earlier this evening.”
“I believe I did,” I said. “Lying around somewhere. Why?”
“You didn’t search the body?”
“Okey,” I said. “Yes, I looked through his pockets. That was in one of them. I’m sorry. Just professional curiosity. I didn’t disturb anything. After all he was my client.”
Randall took hold of the embroidered case with both hands and opened it. He sat looking into it. It was empty. The three cigarettes were gone.
I bit hard on my teeth and kept the tired look on my face. It was not easy.
“Did you see him smoke a cigarette out of this?”
Randall nodded coolly. “It’s empty as you see. But it was in his pocket just the same. There’s a little dust in it. I’m going to have it examined under a microscope. I’m not sure, but I have an idea it’s marihuana.”
I said: “If he had any of those, I should think he would have smoked a couple tonight. He needed something to cheer him up.”
Randall closed the case carefully and pushed it away.
“That’s all,” he said. “And keep your nose clean.”
I went out.
The fog had cleared off outside and the stars were as bright as artificial stars of chromium on a sky of black velvet. I drove fast. I needed a drink badly and the bars were closed.
I got up at nine, drank three cups of black coffee, bathed the back of my head with ice-water and read the two morning papers that had been thrown against the apartment door. There was a paragraph and a bit about Moose Malloy, in Part II, but Nulty didn’t get his name mentioned. There was nothing about Lindsay Marriott, unless it was on the society page.
I dressed and ate two soft boiled eggs and drank a fourth cup of coffee and looked myself over in the mirror. I still looked a little shadowy under the eyes. I had the door open to leave when the phone rang.
It was Nulty. He sounded mean.
“Yeah. Did you get him?”
“Oh sure. We got him.” He stopped to snarl. “On the Ventura line, like I said. Boy, did we have fun! Six foot six, built like a coffer dam, on his way to Frisco to see the Fair. He had five quarts of hooch in the front seat of the rent car, and he was drinking out of another one as he rode along, doing a quiet seventy. All we had to go up against him with was two county cops with guns and blackjacks.”
He paused and I turned over a few witty sayings in my mind, but none of them seemed amusing at the moment. Nulty went on:
“So he done exercises with the cops and when they was tired enough to go to sleep, he pulled one side off their car, threw the radio into the ditch, opened a fresh bottle of hooch, and went to sleep hisself. After a while the boys snapped out of it and bounced blackjacks off his head for about ten minutes before he noticed it. When he began to get sore they got handcuffs on him. It was easy. We got him in the icebox now, drunk driving, drunk in auto, assaulting police officer in performance of duty, two counts, malicious damage to official property, attempted escape from custody, assault less than mayhem, disturbing the peace, and parking on a state highway. Fun, ain’t it?”
“What’s the gag?” I asked. “You didn’t tell me all that just to gloat.”
“It was the wrong guy,” Nulty said savagely. “This bird is named Stoyanoffsky and he lives in Hemet and he just got through working as a sandhog on the San Jack tunnel. Got a wife and four kids. Boy, is she sore. What you doing on Malloy?”
“Nothing. I have a headache.”
“Any time you get a little free time — “
“I don’t think so,” I said. “Thanks just the same. When is the inquest on the nigger coming up?”
“Why bother?” Nulty sneered, and hung up.
I drove down to Hollywood Boulevard and put my car in the parking space beside the building and rode up to my floor. I opened the door of the little reception room which I always left unlocked, in case I had a client and the client wanted to wait.
Miss Anne Riordan looked up from a magazine and smiled at me.
She was wearing a tobacco brown suit with a high-necked white sweater inside it. Her hair by daylight was pure auburn and on it she wore a hat with a crown the size of a whiskey glass and a brim you could have wrapped the week’s laundry in. She wore it at an angle of approximately forty-five degrees, so that the edge of the brim just missed her shoulder. In spite of that it looked smart. Perhaps because of that.
She was about twenty-eight years old. She had a rather narrow forehead of more height than is considered elegant. Her nose was small and inquisitive, her upper lip a shade too long and her mouth more than a shade too wide. Her eyes were gray-blue with flecks of gold in them. She had a nice smile. She looked as if she had slept well. It was a nice face, a face you get to like. Pretty, but not so pretty that you would have to wear brass knuckles every time you took it out.
“I didn’t know just what your office hours were,” she said. “So I waited. I gather that your secretary is not here today.”
“I don’t have a secretary.”
I went across and unlocked the inner door, then switched on the buzzer that rang on the outer door. “Let’s go into my private thinking parlor.”
She passed in front of me with a vague scent of very dry sandalwood and stood looking at the five green filing cases, the shabby rust-red rug, the half-dusted furniture, and the not too clean net curtains.