Ed Lacy - Shoot It Again

На нашем литературном портале можно бесплатно читать книгу Ed Lacy - Shoot It Again, Ed Lacy . Жанр: Прочее. Онлайн библиотека дает возможность прочитать весь текст и даже без регистрации и СМС подтверждения на нашем литературном портале bookplaneta.ru.
Ed Lacy - Shoot It Again
Название: Shoot It Again
Автор: Ed Lacy
ISBN: нет данных
Год: неизвестен
Дата добавления: 19 июнь 2019
Количество просмотров: 127
Читать онлайн

Shoot It Again читать книгу онлайн

Shoot It Again - читать бесплатно онлайн , автор Ed Lacy
Перейти на страницу:

     It was all so unreal, I had to be in a nightmare. Staring at the plastic bag, I stupidly felt of it—the same old bag I always carried my passport in—had this faded cake ad on it. On first landing at Le Havre I'd bought a bag of cookies, kept the bag to protect my passport. I shook myself several times, but this wasn't any dream.

     What the devil was I doing with another man's passport? Far more important—where was mine? I've been both hungry and flat broke in Europe, but neither gave me the sickening, naked feeling of being without my passport.

     The cambio character said, “I will call the police.”

     “No, no. There's some... mix-up. I'll handle it.” Yanking my travelers check from the other side of the counter, I stepped outside. For a lost moment I didn't know what to do. I could walk into Nice, cash the check at the American Express office without a passport. Certainly Hank would cash it... I was so dazed I had to keep telling myself the money wasn't important: where was my passport? I examined the passport again, studying the stingy signature, the photo, all the details. I'd heard there once was a market for stolen USA passports, but that vanished years ago with the other post-war rackets. Since this one had been issued less than three months ago—if it was a passport theft, what was the point of leaving a good one with me?

     While I was trying to shake my sleepy brains awake, a flic in white pith helmet, blue uniform, the little toy-like white nightstick hanging from his belt, came up—walking fast. A short cop with a belly. The bastard cambio guy had phoned the police.

     Now the cambio joker was outside his shop, saying something in rapid French to the cop, thin hands gesturing. The flic motioned for us to step back into the money exchange store. I stood there: the cop growled like a movie tough, “Monsieur—inside!”

     Walking in I told him in my best French, “Really, this is nothing but a slight mix-up. I have a friend's passport. That is all. No money has been lost by the store, no reason for this fuss.”

     After examining the passport, the flic said I'd have to go—with him. “Why?” I asked: I've always had a fear of police red tape, and now... without a passport, in a foreign land. “Listen, I took a pal's passport by mistake. That a crime?”

     The pudgy policeman grabbed my shoulder. I have a phobia about being touched. When I pulled back, the flic raised his toy nightstick. I started to boil. “What's all this? Have you gone crazy, officer?”

     “We are looking for Monsieur Robert Parks. Where is he?”

     “Well, I... that is... I don't know.”

     “So! You said he was your friend... Come along!” He pushed me toward the door. Maybe he punched my shoulder.

     I side-stepped. There was this arc of pure white as the club cracked the side of my curly noggin. Okay, it sure wasn't any toy. Staggering a few steps, I saw all kinds of bright lights exploding before my eyes—brilliant clean colors in weird patterns I longed to put on canvas. Then my head was buzzing, but I wasn't hurt.

     Despite my burly size, or perhaps because of it, I hadn't been in even a bar fight for over a dozen years. But when the cop raised his club again, I stepped inside the swing and belted his wide jaw. The shock of the blow flashed up to my shoulder. It felt great! As the flic crumpled to the floor, the cambio man started to yell. A clean poke on the side of his pointed chin silenced him. Picking up the passport, I walked out of the shop—feeling better than I had in months.

     But the sun-heat made me snap out of it—the good feeling fled. I was in great shape—carrying the passport of a wanted man and socking a French cop!


     What possible use could the wanted Mr. Parks make of my passport, unless he changed my photo for Ms? Not only was it a job calling for great skills, but since I held his passport, he couldn't even do that. Far more puzzling, how did his passport get into my suitcase?

     Although our State Department advises carrying your passport around at all times, it's far too clumsy for a hip pocket, and who wears a coat in the summer? Except when traveling, I always parked mine in my suitcase. Nor do I take friends to my room— for one thing it's such a wretched dump: for another—I haven't any real friends. Except for Sydney, I hadn't bothered with gals lately. True, I did take Syd to the room a few weeks ago, to do a nude of her... A few weeks—I couldn't recall exactly when I'd last used my passport.

     I walked back to the hotel—it seemed like a safe idea. There was little chance the cambio man knew where I lived. I had at least five minutes before the flic could pull himself together, while checking my name against the hotel registrations at the central police station would take hours.

     Madame was still in her surly mood, mumbling about my washing. A horrid purple pin in her over-bright pinkish hair made her look like a rotten carrot. In my room I carefully went through my bag—not much of a job as I pride myself on traveling light. My passport wasn't there. Returning to the small and gloomy lobby, I showed madame Parks' passport photo. “Have you ever seen this man before?”

     Making a production of putting on her gold frame glasses, madame shook her head, muttered about the cost of coal for the hot water I'd used. Didn't I understand the fly-specked sign on the door; strictly forbidding washing?

     “What were you doing in my room while I was sleeping?

     “I?” She slapped her soggy bosom. “I never enter a room, monsieur, unless it is empty and...”

     “Stop it, how did you know about the laundry, then?”

     Madame snickered, giving me a full view of her mossy choppers, little eyes bright. “I talk of the big sewer. From a paying guest—some washing of clothes I expect. I am aware this is not the Hotel Ruhl. But her, she must wash the wine stain with my hot water) A girl in your room, even a sewer, is your business. But right in my kitchen she stirs up the stove, adding coal, and dries her dress...”

     “Wait a minute,” I managed to cut in, not sure I was getting her French correctly, “what girl?”

     Shrugging thin shoulders, madame gave me a cunning glance. “I never ask trash for a name. Blonde, large as a cow, two cows. I thought you had better taste, even in tarts.”

     “I brought a... this blonde to my room yesterday?” I asked, not believing it.

     Madame actually leered. “About six in the morning, perhaps it was nearer five a.m.—I was still in my bed, you came in, badly drunk. The blonde garbage is almost carrying you, and you are hardly a small one, monsieur. Like all cheap girls, she is making much noise. She put you to bed and in your basin washed the spot on her dress. Nude, without a trace of shame, this sewer then boldly marched into my kitchen, dried the dress over my stove. Naturally, I got out of my bed, but the brazen pig is so powerfully built, I am afraid to tell her of the rules, of my coal. With one hand she might have broken me in half.”

     “Did! the... eh... blonde, mention her name?” As I mouthed the words I realized how silly they sounded.

     Madame drew herself up, scratched the stringy wig atop her pin-head. “To me? I am above talking to such a sewer!”

     I was too confused to remind her of the local gossip which whispered she had purchased the ratty hotel after years of being a brothel straw boss. “Listen, can you cash a travelers check for me?”

     “Tonight, perhaps.” She pulled back her black dress, peered down into her breasts. “Now I have but a few francs. The thieves around here would steal a poor woman's honor and...”

     Leaving, I watched an air liner circling to land at the nearby Nice airport, as I walked Avenue de la Californie toward the Promenade, keeping an eye out for cops. No wonder my dream of the giant blonde had been so realistic! But who the devil was she? Why had she taken my passport when she noticed it in my room...? Noticed— hell she had to dig into my bag to see it! Except for feeling good that even while crocked I'd wanted a girl... I was more confused than ever. The first order of business was to find the nameless blonde, large enough to carry two-hundred-twenty-pound me. Syd might remember where we'd been Monday night—possibly the blonde's name.

     Actually blondie wasn't at the top of my fist—avoiding the cops had priority. Being a hustler, always skating on the brink of the law, my smacking a flic had been too, too, stupid. Risky strolling the Promenade, especially this end—deserted in the mornings. By now the police would certainly have an alarm out for me, or however they worked such matters in France. Syd's pension might be staked out... but how could they possibly know she was my girlfriend? Besides, on a hot morning like this, she'd be sunning herself at a plage.

     Jumping down onto the rocky beach, I stripped to the swim trunks I wore in place of underwear. Folding my slacks and shirt in a sloppy bundle, I walked the hard beach, trusting I looked like one of the many bathers and sun-hounds.

     It was a long hike: I should have been able to think, but my mind was a spinning blank. One minor thing bothered me, almost as much as the loss of my passport—I wanted to cash that travelers check. Having been stony so damn often, I think best with eating money in my pockets. Passing some of the fancier plages, as I neared the Ruhl I considered jumping up on the boardwalk, stopping at the American Express. Or crossing the pretty Jardin Albert 1 to the gallery. Hank knew everything, could tell me what to do. Plus, it gave me a lift to see my work on display. But the park, or the crowded Promenade would have many cops around.

     Walking along the now crowded beach, I finally had one piece of decent luck. Except for the English who are always here, tourists seem to hit Nice in waves. The city was now full of heavyset Hollanders and among all this beef, I saw Sydney's slender figure in a red tank suit, stretched out on her loud green beach mat. For a moment I stopped to “case” the rocky beach—in my best amateur manner, not sure what I should be looking for.

     Then I went over and casually sat beside her, blowing gently on her light brown hair. Opening her eyes—far too large for the plain little face—Syd sat up quickly. “Well, well, if it isn't the baggy Yank! Must say you have your bloody nerve—talking to me again!”

     “Syd, skip the small talk. I'm in a king-size jam and need...”

     “So, it's small talk I am for you! Well, you are in a ruddy jam with me ducky, you can be sure! Getting falling-down-drunk and leaving me in Villefranche to... God knows what, while off you went with that blonde beast! Then, you dare add insult to possible injury by not even seeing or calling me all day yesterday. I could have been killed in an accident, raped, or... anything could have happened to me—for all you cared!” The words broke as the thin lips began to tremble.

     I took her hand—she wrenched it away. “Syd, honey, I was out cold all yesterday, never left my bed or...”

     “I bet! Was the blonde pig that hot! Did you have a sweating time with her!”

     “Syd, calm down and please listen to me. I'm in a rush and it's damn important I locate this blonde Amazon to...”

     “Then you are having an affair with her! You and I... at least I deserve the common courtesy of being told..!”

     “Syd, Syd, this isn't...” I stiffened as a policeman passed up on the Promenade behind us. He didn't seem to be looking for anybody in... or did they already have me spotted, were waiting to close in? The flic strolled on and I tried to relax. Smiling at Sydney, I was about to explain about the passport but didn't—she was a sweet girl and there wasn't any point involving her in my mess. Also: she was a sweet girl with a big mouth.

     Nervously brushing her long hair with one hand, Syd asked, “What's wrong with you, Clay? I say, for a second you looked faint.”

     “Syd, without any more melodramatics, tell me the blonde's name, where I met her.”

     “You cheeky bastard, what kind of a line are you handing me? Next you'll be demanding I give you a leg-up on the blonde lump. Come off it!”

     I glanced about impatiently. I was wasting time with Syd and time was something I suddenly had little of. Pushing her down on the mat with my left hand—as she started to struggle—I slipped my other hand beneath the top of her red suit, cupped a tiny breast. Turning a furious pink under her slight tan, Syd whispered harshly, “How dare you? Clayton Biner... how dare... We're on the beach!”

     But the nipple hardened: the furious blushing wasn't all anger. Curiously enough, for a moment her very thin helplessness filled me with mild desire. I told her, “Shut up and listen. I didn't sleep with the blonde, nor do I want to. May sound like jazz, but you're the only girl I've wanted... for a long time. That's the truth and...”

     “Clay, you mean that? Oh Clay, my God, I'm such a bag of bones, homely as sin.”

     “Honey, remember the nude I tried—you said I'd glorified you? Well, that's how beautiful you look to me—I was really painting what I saw in my mind.” Actually, some of the hot air was true.

     “Clay, Clay... this isn't some of your blooming big talk? I... Clay, do you want to go to my room?”


     “Right now.”


     Syd tried to sit up but I held her down. I took my hand from under her suit and she kissed my wrist. “I want to, Syd, but I can't—now. Have you any money? Can you cash a check for me?”

     “That's it! Sweet talk me to...!”

     “Syd, I'm in a jam. Have you any money...?”

     “Hear the man, and the way you were throwing francs around the other night like a rich brat! Didn't you pass your beloved American Express shrine on your way here, full of rich Yanks? Ditch me and then come begging for a handout like a bloke...”

Перейти на страницу:
Комментариев (0)