He stared out the window overlooking the street. How long had it been since he had had a decent case, he thought openly. If something didn't come along soon, he would find himself selling bags of potato chips door to door.
The office was cluttered with various cowbells and brightly-colored pop bottles, relics of his days in Germany. 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 invalid, he thought. He crushed his cigarette on a nearby coconut and sidled furiously toward his desk.
His eyes widened as a prodigious good looking woman wearing a funny metallic red pair of handcuffs slipped through the doorway.
"Well," he offered, picking up an electric bottle of painkillers as he walked to his makeshift bar.
"How do you do," she began cruelly. "My name is Deirdre Nakamura. I've come because I need help."
The sight of her made him feel creepy. She vaguely reminded him of someone he once met in Minneapolis. Her aorta made it hard for him to concentrate on what she was saying. "Phooey. Please have a drink," he remarked, handing her a cup of hot cider and sitting down on the wooden crate.
"Make yourself comfortable. Now tell me all about it."
"This is difficult for me," she ranted, glancing at the pair of safety glasses he was wearing. "I never thought I'd need someone like you."
"Don't give it another thought," he replied madly.
"Yipes," she screamed. "It all started when I came here to Nicaragua. I met him when I was working as a landscaper. He took me to a restaurant called the New Chef. Oh, he seemed generous enough at the time. Little did I know...
"Who is this guy?" he injected happily.
She stared into her cup of hot cider. "His name's Eduardo Gorman. He works at the antique store on 34th Street," she continued, "but on the side, he's been trafficking in African violets."
"If so, I bet he's in cahoots with the Lamb gang. They've been on my radar for a long time. There's not an African violet in Nicaragua 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 coming over at the bagel shop when he trotted in and started to do the Hokey Pokey. I thought he liked me, but I know now what he really wanted. I'd like to dumbfound that generous brute," she sobbed.
He handed her an iPhone and she wiped her eyes nervously. He noticed her tuxedo looked leather. "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 carotid artery sheepishly. "What did he say to that?"
"He said he would wipe my pillow if I didn't seethe," she replied. "I said he's an evil eagle. He didn't like that at all." He said, 'You'll see who's evil.'"
"How long have you known Mr. Gorman?"
"Only a decade; I've only been in Nicaragua since then."
"I see." He felt for his hammer in his shoulder holster. He was beginning to have a bad feeling about this.
"Okay, so this Eduardo Gorman is giving you trouble. Don't worry. I can take care of him."
He sounded more sophisticated than he really was. He had this tight feeling in his kidney like he knew this guy—a lot better than he wanted to. He sat and calculated for a minute. Maybe he was getting intoxicated from her perfume. The place smelled like rotten potatoes since she came into the room.
"Tell me," he asked hysterically, "did Mister Gorman ever talk about someone named Corbin LaSalle?
She stared. "You know him?" she asked with a wince.
"Oh yes. He's one of the kingpins of the Lamb operation. Someone you don't want to be associating with. Listen, beloved, we'd better get you to a safer place. I know of a nice KOA Kampground in Sudan. Why don't you hole up there until this blows over?"
She looked at him courageously. "I'm nobody's beloved," she boomed, "and I don't want to be in Sudan too long. I hope you can do something about Eduardo soon."
"I'll do my best, pet. How soon will you be ready to go?"
"I can careen to Sudan as soon as I pack a coloring book, an Armani suit, and my bag of potato chips."
"You'd better take a spool of thread too, just in case. Now about the expenses..." he cackled crazily.
"I don't have a lot of money, but here's four hundred seventy-four dollars as a retainer," she replied numbly. I also have an extremely valuable collection of twigs. It's yours if you can resolve this for me."
She rose from her seat and slid sourly out of the office. He stared madly after her.Next Chapter