Chapter Three, Part 3
A feral growl rose in my throat. Denham. If I had one regret in life—don’t worry; I’m no saint, I’ve plenty of regrets—it’s that, by the time I awoke from my coma, Denham had long since dusted. Settled back in Hollywood, where he now worked exclusively on soundstages—no more exotic jaunts for Carl Denham. He’d never returned to the Eastern seaboard. I would know if he did. I had half the stoolies from Baltimore to Boston turned on to his scent.
Why didn’t I just stow aboard a freighter bound for California and pay him a visit? That was part of my deal with the city police and the Army: no intercontinental jaunts for the big ape. I was to stay put, where they could find me, and in return they left me more or less alone. To make a living, to make my way as best I could in a jungle at once nothing like Skull Island but really not so different.
Especially with a T-Rex stalking the city.
The first gray, stuporous hints of dawn had begun smearing the sky when I gave up on catching a few winks. I leaned over one more concession mankind had made to my existence here in the city: a telephone rigged to my size. The Army had built it with the idea of keeping track of me, but it dialed out just as well as it did in. I hailed the operator and tried the number of the address Mallory Baines had given me. A sleepy maid answered and didn’t surprise me when she said Mrs. Baines wasn’t in. I asked where Mrs. Baines might be and when one could expect her to return. The maid declined to speculate on Mrs. Baines’s whereabouts or estimated time of arrival. I apologized for waking her and asked her to tell Mrs. Baines Mr. Kong had called. She promised she would around a yawn.
Shrugging into my spare trench coat, I took the rooftops back to my office. Scraps McGee slumped in the same spot across the street. I growled him into my alley.
“Jeez, didn’t think you was ever coming back,” he whined. “I been waiting five, six hours now!”
“You didn’t stay with the bird?”
“You didn’t say nothing about nesting, K—just find out where she flopped, what name she flopped under.”
True enough—I cursed myself for not telling Scraps to hover ‘till morning, then took a good look at him. Black circles ringed his eyes, and his hands shook as he adjusted his cap. The chances he would’ve made it that long were somewhere between nil and none. “All right. Where and what name?”
Scraps whistled. “She’s cooped up at the Waldorf, room 212. And you’re lucky I even know that much! Soon as you set me off she rounded a corner and hopped in a limo. I had to run behind and hail a cab–which I’ll be counting as ‘plus expenses’, if you follow me.”
“A limo. Get a look at the driver?”
“I got a look at a face full of exhaust, is what.”
“And the name?”
“She’s registered as . . . what was it . . . that’s right: ‘Bahnhof.’”
“Bahnhof.” Well, that placed the accent playing under her faux-New York affectation. “Anything else?”
“Where and what name, that’s all you asked.”
“All right, Scraps. You’re relieved. Get yourself a snort or some shut-eye. I’ll take your ‘plus expenses’ under consideration.” I turned into the alley. Scraps squawked.
“No fair, K! You said Lincoln’d have a twin!”
“Suppose I did.” I reached into my pocket, winced—my money was currently in Central Park, probably being chewed up by that T-Rex. “Have to take a rain check on that, Scraps. I’ll get you tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow? Tomorrow? What kind of people you used to dealing with, talking about tomorrow?”
I flipped his cap off his head. It caught a breeze and sailed into the street. He squealed and ran off after it. Something I’d learned from humankind: when you don’t have much to lose, anything you lose is too much.
Check back next week for the continuing saga of King Kong: World’s Biggest Dick!