Chapter Five, Part 1
You think the big ape can’t creep? It’s not so hard; even the people who know of my continued residence in the Big Apple can’t get used to the sight of me. A twenty-five foot gorilla just doesn’t register in this, uh—urban jungle, to coin a phrase. Humans are so smug about their gadgets and gewgaws, all the riddles of zoology and geography, that they blank out when faced with something that disagrees with their map of creation. Poetic affectations aside, just know: the big ape can creep.
I didn’t pass a living soul besides the boys out back, who hardly qualified as living just now. Sims would give me two, three minutes before hailing the police, who’d grant the Waldorf a measure of discretion. All told, I had maybe an hour to start blowing lids off tonight’s sundry mysteries before the Lieutenant and McNeely came calling. And maybe not alone.
A T-Rex in Central Park. The supposedly missing Herbert Bahnhof’s body in Mallory Bahnhof’s hotel room. That Skull Island stench over everything. And Wormsy Scarpini nowhere in evidence. A nice stew, with my aching back screaming for a rest and my head swimming with the kind of questions life on the Island never forced me to ponder. Humans have made a ghastly, mind-bending game of survival.
I crept, climbed, and clambered toward the address Mallory Bahnhof gave me—an elegant brownstone slumbering amidst its peers. I’d planned on peeking in a few windows before making my presence known. As it happened, the door offered me a clear view into the foyer; it sagged off its hinges like a drunk clinging to a lamppost. Lights burned throughout the house. A chair lay on its side in the foyer. Papers scattered the carpet and steps, dribbling down onto the sidewalk. Someone had tossed the joint and dashed off in a hurry. Aside from those nuggets of assumed wisdom, nothing but silence, stillness.
And that damned scent. Whoever—or whatever—was dusting Skull Island over Manhattan, it had my route pegged one step ahead of me.
No use sneaking around at this point, I decided. I hadn’t planted the first foot in the street before a shadow burst from a shadowed doorway three houses down. Golden hair and crimson skirts flashed in the moonlight. Panicked breaths beat her to me by yards.
“Oh—Mr. Kong!” cried my client. “Thank goodness you’ve come! I’ve been cowering for hours!”
I tipped my hat. “And a good evening to you, Mrs. Bahnhof.”
She skidded to a halt. Wobbled on her heels, stared up at me. Her hat obscured her eyes, but I saw her shock and recovery in her mouth, which exploded into a stunned O at the sound of her name. Her lips forced themselves together, then pursed, considering their options—then quirked into what I wouldn’t call a smile or a smirk, but a tick of relaxation at a decision made for them.
With that, Mallory Bahnhof resumed her panting, terrified advance. “I had no idea what to do! Where to run! Who could I run to?” She stopped before me and gripped the hem of my trenchcoat, throwing her head back to let the moonlight do everything it wanted to her eyes. And it wanted to do plenty. My throat constricted.
Check back next week for the continuing saga of King Kong: World’s Biggest Dick!