H Is For Homicide Page 10

’’Oh, Kinsey, poor thing. I heard about your meeting with Gordon Titus. I can't believe you gave him such a hard time. He was screaming at Mac so loud I could hear it back here.’’

’’I couldn't help myself,’’ I said. ’’I really meant to behave and it just popped out.’’

’’Oh, you poor dear.’’

’’I don't think it's that bad,’’ I said. ’’Do you?’’

’’I don't know. I saw him go off with the corporate vice president and he seemed pretty upset. He told Darcy to take his calls. The minute he walked out the door, the tension level dropped by half.’’

’’How can you guys put up with that stuff? He's a jerk. Has he talked to you yet?’’

’’No, but Kinsey, I can't afford to lose this job. I just qualified for benefits. I'm hoping to get pregnant, and Peter's group plan doesn't cover maternity.’’

’’Well, I wouldn't take any guff,’’ I said. ’’Of course, I'll be fired, but what the hell. I'll live.’’

Mary laughed. ’’If you can pull this one off, it might help.’’

’’Let's hope so. Do you have any other address in the file?’’

’’I doubt it, but I can look. Hang on a sec.’’ I listened to Mary breathe in my ear while she leafed through the file. Reluctantly, she said, ’’No, I don't see anything. You know, we never got a copy of the police report. Maybe she gave them the correct address.’’

’’Good thought,’’ I said. ’’I can stop by the station as long as I'm out. What about the telephone number? Can we check the crisscross?’’ I had the latest Polk directory in my office, detailing addresses sequentially by street and house number, a second section listing telephone numbers sequentialy. Often, if you have one good piece of information, you get a line on a subject by cross-referencing.

She said, ’’Won't help. It's unlisted.’’

’’Oh, good. A crook with an unlisted number. I love that. How about the license plate on the car? DMV might have something.’’

’’Well, that I can help you with.’’ Mary scouted out the plate number of Bibianna's Mazda and recited it to me. ’’And Kinsey, if you get the address, let me know right away. I have some forms I want to send her and Mac's having a fit. You can't send registered mail to a post office box.’’

’’Right,’’ I said. ’’By the way, how come Parnell didn't handle this one himself?’’

’’Beats me. I assumed he was just too busy with his other cases.’’

’’Maybe so,’’ I said with a shrug. ’’Anyway, I'll call as soon as I know anything. I'm planning to pop by the office later with an update for the files.’’

’’Good luck.’’

I scribbled a few hasty notes to myself after we hung up. I fished out another couple of dimes and tried Bibianna's work number, a dry cleaning establishment on Vaquero.

The man who answered the telephone was terse and impatient, probably his chronic state. The excess stomach acid was audible in his voice and I pictured him tossing Turns in his mouth like after-dinner mints. When I asked for Bibianna Diaz, he said she was out. Period.

When there was no other information forthcoming, I gave him a prompt. ’’Do you expect her back soon?’’

’’I don't expect nothin',’’ he shot back. ’’She said she'd be out all week. Back problems, she says. I'm not gonna argue anybody has a bad back. First thing you know I get slapped with a goddamn workmen's comp claim and I'm out big bucks. Nuts to that. Who's this?’’

’’This is her cousin, Ruth. I'm passing through town on my way to Los Angeles and I promised I'd stop and see her. Is there any way you could give me her home address? She gave it to me last week when we chatted on the phone, but I walked off without my address book so I don't have it with me.’’

’’Nope. Sorry. No dice. And you wanna know why? Because I don't know you. You could be anyone. Nothing personal, but how do I know you don't go around slashin'young girls with a butcher knife? You see what I mean? I give out an employee's address and I'm liable for anything happens after that. Burglary, harassment, rape. Uhh-huh. No way. That's my policy.’’ He sounded like he was in his sixties, a man besieged with lawsuits.

I started to say something else, but he plunked the phone down in my ear. I made a face at the receiver, a mature and effectual way of handling my irritation, I thought. I paid for the gasoline, got back in the VW, and drove over to the police station, where I paid eleven bucks for a copy of the accident report. The address listed was the same nonexistent street address I'd started with. The clerk working at the desk wasn't one I knew and I couldn't get her to run a check on Bibianna for me.

Share Novel H Is For Homicide Page 10