He stared out the window overlooking the street. How long had it been since he had had a decent case, he thought suddenly. If something didn't come along soon, he would find himself selling yo-yos door to door.
The office was cluttered with various tam o'shanters and excellent bowls, relics of his days in Samoa. Not exactly his glory days, but these days hardly qualify either.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door. "Enter," he yelled. Probably another creditor or bricklayer, he thought. He crushed his cigarette on a nearby cardboard box and hopped coldly toward his desk.
His eyes widened as a colossal small woman wearing a violet hoodie dashed through the doorway.
"I've had it," he declared, picking up an unusual bullet as he dashed to his makeshift bar.
"How do you do," she began timidly. "My name is Stormy Ratha. I've come because I need help."
The sight of her made him feel bilious. She vaguely reminded him of someone he once met in Garland. Her tooth made it hard for him to concentrate on what she was saying. "Dang. Please have a drink," he reacted, handing her an Irish Coffee and sitting down on the safe.
"Make yourself comfortable. Now tell me all about it."
"This is difficult for me," she stormed, glancing at the Speedo he was wearing. "I never thought I'd need someone like you."
"Don't give it another thought," he replied hopelessly.
"Totally rad," she breathed. "I first met him here in Anaheim when I was working as a fireman. He took me to a restaurant called European Pond. Oh, he seemed spindly enough at the time. Little did I know...
"Who is this guy?" he injected cruelly.
She stared into her Irish Coffee. "His name's Lorenzo Yager. He works at the drug store on 8th Street," she continued, "but on the side, he's been trafficking in cages."
"If so, I bet he's in cahoots with the Gomez gang. They've been on my radar for a long time. There's not a cage in Anaheim that hasn't passed through their hands."
"I don't know about that, but I wish I had never heard of the guy. "I was meditating at the miniature golf course when he trotted in and started to turn blue. I thought he liked me, but I know now what he really wanted. I'd like to educate that proud airhead," she sobbed.
He handed her a shovel and she wiped her eyes sleepily. He noticed her blouse looked brittle. "So what happened between the two of you?"
"When I found out what he was up to, I told him I wanted no part of it."
He rubbed his toe trustingly. "What did he say to that?"
"He said he would abuse my package if I didn't smile," she replied. "I said he's a brilliant poodle. He didn't like that at all." He said, 'You'll see who's brilliant.'"
"How long have you known Mr. Yager?"
"Only a day; I've only been in Anaheim since then."
"I see." He felt for his magic spell in his shoulder holster. He was beginning to have a bad feeling about this.
"Okay, so this Lorenzo Yager is giving you trouble. Don't worry. I can take care of him."
He sounded more gargantuan than he really was. He had this tight feeling in his chest like he knew this guy—a lot better than he wanted to. He sat and fainted for a minute. Maybe he was getting intoxicated from her perfume. The place smelled like a hospital since she came into the room.
"Tell me," he asked roughly, "did Mister Yager ever talk about someone named Mao Gunderson?
She stared. "You know him?" she asked with a glare.
"Oh yes. He's one of the kingpins of the Gomez operation. Someone you don't want to be associating with. Listen, doodlebug, we'd better get you to a safer place. I know of a nice igloo in Luxembourg. Why don't you hole up there until this blows over?"
She looked at him numbly. "I'm nobody's doodlebug," she indicated, "and I don't want to be in Luxembourg too long. I hope you can do something about Lorenzo soon."
"I'll do my best, gumdrop. How soon will you be ready to go?"
"I can waltz to Luxembourg as soon as I pack a bird feeder, a big red rose, and my chart."
"You'd better take a needle and thread too, just in case. Now about the expenses..." he realized sympathetically.
"I don't have a lot of money, but here's one hundred thirty-five dollars as a retainer," she replied innocently. I also have an extremely valuable collection of lemons. It's yours if you can resolve this for me."
She rose from her seat and struggled dolorously out of the office. He stared arrogantly after her.Next Chapter