“So which one was it?” he said.
I cocked my head and squinted at him.
“Following her. Which of these guys was following Penny around?”
“Oh,” I said and took a swig of bourbon. “That one.”
I nodded at the body closest to us.
“The other one’s a Fed,” I said.
“What?” Devon shouted. “A, a, a Fed?! You killed a fucking Federal Agent?”
Again he tried to jump up, but, the foot, so, he was back in his seat just as quickly.
“Hush,” I whisper shouted. “Keep your voice down. No. Of course I didn’t kill him.”
Devon took a deep breath and seemed to calm down a bit.
“Oh, okay, well then, who did?”
“Well,” I said, “Yeah, okay, I killed him, but in my defense, I didn’t know he was a fed at the time.”
This didn’t seem to asway his feeling on the matter.
“Jesus, well, why did you kill them?”
“Well, come on, I mean, they did try to kill me first,” I said gesturing to the bodies. “I was just standing here minding my own business, trying to make so goddamn scrambled eggs for breakfast. I mean, I made coffee and everything. Real coffee too, not just Kahlua heated up.”
“So why were they trying to kill you?” he asked, clearly trying to find the end of this loop.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Well, what did Penny say?”
Silence for a moment, then astonishment.
“I know,” I said.
“Well, you were out all day, what did you find out?” he asked genuinely.
“Discount store has shower curtains for nine dollars.”
He kind of dropped his jaw at that.
“What the hell Church?! You’re an investigator.”
“No sir, I told you very clearly, I’m a helper.”
“But you’re helping Penny!” he said assertively.
“You said she came here to hire you!”
“Right,” I agreed.
“So you’re working for her.”
“No, I’m not. She didn’t hire me?”
He looked baffled.
“Why not?” he asked.
“Because I already killed the guy.” I said growing exasperated with the conversation.
“Well, then that probably wasn’t the best business decision, was it?”
He was being condescending now and I wasn’t in the mood seeing as how I still had two dead bodies to get rid of that night and he was still drinking up all my whiskey.
“Obviously I didn’t know who he was when I killed him,” I said.
“Oh, so good judgement all over the place in here then.”
I refilled my glass and sat silently; drinking and smoking.
“So, you don’t even care who he is then?” Devon asked finally.
I sighed and looked at the body.
“No, not for free I don’t.”
He rolled this around for a bit, then he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a long billfold and opened it.
“How much was the whiskey?” he asked.
“The whiskey?” I repeated.
“That I drank. How much was it?”
I rolled my eyes up pretending to do math in my head and came back.
“The bottle was fifteen dollars,” I said, exaggerating a little.
He coughed and smacked his lips looking disgusted. He reached in and pulled out some bills. He paid me for the whiskey, and the curtains too.
“I don’t suppose you wanna help me get ‘em wrapped up and outa here?” I said.
He rolled his eyes and stood up slowly and carefully, then straightened his tie.
“How much to figure it out?” he asked.
It took me a minute to understand.
“The guy?” I asked.
“Fifty dollars a day,” I said halfway between a question and a statement.
He seemed to be mulling it over, looking around my place then scoping me out.
“Uh, plus expenses, obviously,” I added.
“Are you considering bourbon an expense?” he said sarcastically.
“Do I look like I work sober?” I said very seriously.
There was a long pause while he stared at me, then he opened back up his wallet and pulled out more cash.
“Two hundred fifty dollars, that’s a week’s advance. Have something by then or you’re fired.”
“You really care that much?” I asked.
“She’s my girl.” He said, and walked out the door.