Johnny Grant is a vulgar P.I. who loves his property rights.
| If the pickup truck didnt wake me up every day, Dolly surely would. It didnt matter how much Wild Turkey I’d guzzled the night before or how many sleeping pills I’d swallowed, that goodamned truck always did the trick. The clock radio would buzz like a fucking jackhammer and I’d still be dreaming about being knee deep in pussy I’d never bang. A blue pickup truck would pull up to the traffic light three stories down from my apartment at 7 a.m. every day and the exhaust would send me out of whatever narcotic or alcohol induced stupor I;d put myself into.
Kids, all they do is piss money away on things that make their cars louder, faster, and more hideous. And on things that wake me the fuck up. I still drove a grey hatchback, and believe me, buddy, there was nothing pretty about that.
On a Monday in late July, while I sweated out booze and pills from the night before, Dolly called me, five or six times, I think, before I picked up my phone. Just because her calls woke me up, didnt always mean I’d answer. It was about an hour before the pickup would come, and she never let my phone ring more than a few times unless something was wrong, or somebody was pissed.
“Johnny, that Hubert guy from last week is in here, and he’s pissed. He said he’s gonna beat your scrawny drunken ass.” Dolly was whispering. “He’s waving around that bill you sent him.
“I’m not that scrawny.”
Harold Hubert was an exterminator with an anger problem. He came to me wanting to do a routine tail on his wife. I told him I’d save him time just by looking at his big ugly face and giving him my opinion.
Which was that he was so obviously a bastard that his wife probably was cheating. I sent him a bill anyway.
“What should I do?”
“Just the usual. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
I rolled over on my mattress and belched. Whiskey is never good the next day. I had only recently figured out how to set the delay switch on my Mr. Coffee, and that Monday it had been a good thing. Dolly could usually handle the assholes that came in, but I could never fully trust an eighteen year old girl to do what had to be done. I chugged a two day old glass of tomato juice and beer, poured some coffee, and went out to meet the hot, miserable fucking day.
* * *
When I arrived at the office, Dolly was standing over Hubert holding my Lousiville Slugger, the one Roger Clemens had signed. Hubert was on the ground, cursing, clutching his knees, which Dolly had whacked with the bat. I bent over and picked up the crumpled bill from the ground.
I bent over and slapped the bill in Hubert’s face, after several unsuccessful attempts to spit on me.
“Listen to me you cocksucker, the next time you come in here yellin’ at my assistant, your head’s gonna be where your knees were.”
I stuffed the bill in his shirt and dragged him by the collar into the parking lot. I propped him up on his exterminator van and told him to figure out how he was gonna drive himself the fuck out of my sight.
I went in and sat at my desk. My office was nicer than any place I’d ever lived, save the bombed out shithole in Baghdad.
“Johnny, I keep feelin’ like I should go to confession for stuff like this.” Dolly was soaking up spots of blood from the floor with paper towels.
“Listen, sweetie, whenever some jerkoff comes inside your property and threatens you...He did threaten you, right?”
“Actually, he threatened you.”
“Don’t feel bad, there’s nothing a priest will do for ya that I can’t.”
I lit a smoke and straightened up what little paperwork littered my desk. Summer was my most unpredictable season. I could either be out and busy all the time, or Dolly and I could bullshit all day and I’d be out the eight bucks an hour I paid her. That particular Monday, though, I was pulled well out of my scope of practice as a private dick.
Dolly and I were eating ruebens from down the street when she got a call.
“Johnny,” she said. “We got ourselves a murder.”
Continued in The Godless Dick (Chp 2)!!!