It was a bright cold Spring afternoon and I had to get some practice done. I should’a been working but my fingers were going soft and that’s not a good place to be, if you know what I mean. I’d swung through “Danny Boy” fifteen times when my concentration was busted by my door bell being hammered by a kid. I didn’t know it was a kid of course until opened the door but there he was, turning away.
He was pale-faced and he wore a bright white ski hat. He looked like he had a tampon on his shoulders. He wore that practiced look of disinterest that is preferred by the youth of today. Well, maybe all youths of all days, I guess. I was an expert proponent myself once.
“Does Carl live here,” he asked.
“No, buddy, you got the wrong crib.” I like to get down with the kids when I can.
He turned and blew. I got back to “Danny Boy”.
I’d had a run-in with some hopefuls a ways back and I needed to catch the mail. I grabbed my coat and my Eliot Ness hat and headed for the street. I figured I wouldn’t need my piece. It was a sleepy cool afternoon.
I was walking by Roy’s Bar when Tampon-Head lit onto the sidewalk from nowhere.
“You found him?” I asked, friendly like.
Kid’s gonna have trouble finding him if he don’t know who he’s looking for, I thought.
“Danny Boy” was coming on and my fingers were getting hard when my trained eyes caught sight of the broken gate across the street. Then Tampon-Head burst from the back and ran down the’Hood.
I decided to check it out. I cased the joint opposite for damage and called the cops. The local Feds could deal with this one.
“You’re the fourth person to call, Sir.” Those Precinct dames knew how to make you feel important.
I put the phone down as three squad cars sirened up the street. There goes the element of surprise, I said, to the cat.
Two Gumshoes flashed their stars on my doorstep. “Which way did he go?” “ He went that-a-way,” I said, pointing to the ‘Hood.
Meanwhile, out on the street WPC Sharon Glass had eye-balled an old friend and pulled over to check on Little Tommy’s piano lessons when out from nowhere, with the place crawling with cops, Tampon-Head makes a break for it.
“Up against the Wall, Mother.” Glass had seen all the right shows.
The dust had settled and now PC Fresh-face was sitting in my living room getting my side of the story. I could tell there was something different about him.
“You’re not from these parts,” I spotted.
“Moil Owk. Brum,” he said.
“Ah. Central Badlands.”
“Oi. Neither are you, “ he rejoindered perceptively.
I took the plum out of my mouth. “Northern Badlands,” I said.
We discussed at some length the rise and fall of Central Badlands soccer teams, having established some common ground, until 45 minutes later Fresh-Face got up to leave.
“If you need someone to finger him in the Line just call me,” I said, putting a finger in my mouth and a thumb in my ear but not with the same hand.
Down at the ‘Sinct Sergeant Not-so-Fresh-Faced had Tampon-Head in a vice.
“Next time you go casing joints don’t a wear a stoopid hat,” he bawled as Tampon-Head focused on the Sergeant’s wagging finger.
That night, all in the ‘Hood slept safely. Some had a story. Some didn’t. But they were glad for those that had.
Thirty-three times through “Danny Boy” and I killed the light.
All true, I tell ya. All true.
Good night, all.