Chapter Four, Part 1
Once Scraps had flitted off after his cap, I raised my office window, opened the desk drawer, and withdrew one of Mallory née Baines’s twenties, plus her photo of Herbert née Baines. I generally didn’t worry over locking my windows and doors; the hoods in the neighborhood knew who occupied (in a very loose manner of speaking) this office and left it be. But you never knew what would get into the head of a desperate, strung-out hophead like Scraps. He might get his second five-spot, but he’d never so much as lay eyes on these twenties.
Rearmed with a little loose cash, I loped off toward Park Avenue. Stopped. Sighed. Sure, I said I wouldn’t lose sleep over a few low-lifes running into toothy trouble in the Park—but I’d tangled with enough T-Rexes to give me an even bigger aversion to them than I felt toward humankind. For all I knew, Scraps was even now curling up on a bench, unknowingly spreading himself out for a meal. And I couldn’t have that. I needed all the hopped-up errand boys I could find.
Cursing myself for a soft number, I veered west, back to my warehouse, back to my phone. I called police headquarters and aped the night caretaker at the Central Park Zoo. One of the gorillas had escaped and run rampant, I bawled; the Park had to be sealed off until the beast could be found and subdued; send as many coppers as you can, this gorilla is no monkey business. I added the coup de grâce of some very convincing silverback calls, followed by a few incoherent screams from the “night caretaker.” That would keep the coppers occupied; no one knew better than me how enthusiastically they went after a rampaging ape.
My conscious clear—clearer, at least—I returned to the task at hand.
The staff at the Waldorf doesn’t like me loitering around the front; spooks the starched-collar-and-diamond-broach crowd, it seems. Some of those same fat cats sat in the audience five years ago to stare at Carl Denham’s “Eighth Wonder of the World”, chained up onstage for their amusement. Maybe I should have directed them into Central Park.
I squeezed behind the hotel to the service entrance, startling a few busboys having a drag. They recognized me, and I them—if not by name, then by the scent wafting from their smokes. They were usually hard to startle. Very cool customers, these two. I sent one of them after Sims, the Waldorf’s house dick.
Sims waddled out, a stout, roly-poly number in a natty suit. “It’s late, Kong. Or should I say early. How you doing, big fella?”
“Been better. Been worse.”
“Ain’t we all.” Sims—and by extension, the Waldorf—was friendly to me. Every once in a while, Mrs. Diamond Broach would catch her robber baron husband with a sweet young maid, start screaming bloody murder and make for the windows. Classy hotels don’t need jumpers, and they don’t need the police, either. Who better to call than the big ape to catch or, if necessary, forcibly extract these shrieking ladies from their rooms, depositing them safely on the street? “What brings you here?”
“I’ve got a line on a guest of yours.”
He frowned. “Trouble?”
“Not the kind that’ll bother you. Bahnhof. 212. She in?”
“I’ll check.” He nodded toward the busboys and winked. “Careful you don’t get hopped up on the fumes ‘fore I get back.”
Check back next week for the continuing saga of King Kong: World’s Biggest Dick!