A Stab In The Dark Page 26

I walked back to Ninth Avenue and passed St. Paul\s. The church itself was closed now. I descended a narrow flight of steps to the basement. Not the big room in front where they have Bingo a couple nights a week, but a smaller room on the side where they have the meetings.

When you live in a neighborhood you know where different things are. Whether you have any interest in them or not.

I stood in front of the door for a minute or two. I felt a little light-headed, a little congested in the chest. I decided that was probably from the brandy. It\s a powerful stimulant. I\m not used to it, don\ drink it often.

I opened the door and looked in. A couple dozen people sitting in folding chairs. A table holding a big coffee urn and a few stacks of Styrofoam cups. Some slogans taped to the wall-EASY DOES IT, KEEP IT SIMPLE. The f*king wisdom of the ages.

She was probably in a room like this downtown. Some church basement in SoHo, say.

Best of luck, lady.

I stepped back, let the door shut, walked up the stairs. I had visions of the door opening behind me, people chasing after me and dragging me back. Nothing like that happened.

The tight feeling was still there in my chest.

The brandy, I told myself. Probably be a good idea to stay away from it. Stick to what you\ e used to. Stick to bourbon.

I went on over to Armstrong\s. A little bourbon would take the edge off the brandy rush. A little bourbon would take the edge off almost anything.

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