Mrs. Mulwray had cost me my credibility and my Big Chill shoes, but I felt obligated to tell her that her husband was dead. God willing, in a year or two society will let me put that sort of thing in a text, but for now death announcements required a personal touch.
The touching got personal in a hurry at Mulwray's Bedford Street walk-up. It was the good part of Bedford and it showed. The sort of block where a man hopes to see Anna Wintour gliding past like a skeleton on a dolly pulled by Afghan dogs. No such luck. When I told Evelyn her husband was dead, she was distraught and distraught turned into heavy petting. It was something new. I'm used to women crying after we've had sex. And by "women" I mean myself.
Things went downhill and before I even quite knew what was happening I had my pants off and was smoking a cigarette next to her in the bed. Something wet was all over the side of my leg, but I didn't want to look. What if it was a banana slug?
"Sex was like opening the hard-shell plastic for a pair of earbuds," she murmured and exhaled a long, lavender ribbon of smoke. "Earbuds made by aliens."
"I'll take that as a compliment. Did you like that thing I--"
"It is never going to happen again," she said.
I wet my lips and thought about an erotic counterpoint talked about once on an episode of Dream On I tried to masturbate to as a kid.
"Don't make up your mind so--"
She grabbed the side of her face and turned to me, hissing with anger. "I'm on the phone with my sister!"
I realized she was covering her Blue Tooth earpiece. I went into her kitchen and hydrated with some coconut water. She took one of those really long showers where you know they're taking extra long because they're hoping you will be gone when they come out, but then that just makes you want to stay more and you start looking at their album cubes and thinking wow, this beautiful woman has some amazing vinyl, maybe I could get into jazz, and then she gets out of the shower and comes into the kitchen and looks at you like the crab that pinched her toe on the beach.
Sort of like that.
"Ready for round two?" I asked.
"I'm sorry, I can't. I have an appointment with my whatever. Look, Mr. Picotreau, the matter has changed. I need you to find out who killed my husband."
"I can't, I'm sorry. I have to play a ten minute competition set at The Electro Company."
She blinked. "Is that a club?"
"More like THE club. My stuff is like Emerald Hill Zone music from Sonic 2 meets Lil Base God. That's literally what it is, I just ride the fader. If Skrillex picks my set as the winner he'll release a limited edition remix to youtube where he hits that WUHWUHWUH button over-"
"I thought you were a PI," she said with clear disdain.
I put my arm around her waist.
"I'm a DJ," I said.
She slapped me.
"I'm a PI," I said.
She slapped me again, hard enough to bring tears to my eyes.
"Which is it?!" She demanded.
"I'm a DJ and I'm a PI!" I wailed and backed away. I swore to my therapist I would stop getting into abusive relationships. He was going to be so disappointed.
"Get it together!" She threw me a bag of raspberries from the freezer to hold against my aching cheek. "My husband didn't tell me much, but he kept saying something about trucks when I asked him why he was so stressed out. Trucks. Over and over. And there was a name."
"I can't believe you hit me twice!" I sobbed.
"Torregrossa." She punctuated the name with a long stream of smoke.
As the 19th century diver approaches a giant clam, a flash of brilliant golden light flares from within the shell. I emerge in a swirl of bubbles and do the timeless universal underwater hand signals for the following: ZODIAC KILLER, KKK, BLOOD OF YOUTH
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