police detective and unexpected new partner
|Harry spent the rest of the time before lunch hour at his desk. After typing up an initial report on the men in the fountain, Harry made up three investigation folders. Fortunately he didn't have to entertain or educate his new partner because she spent the entire time on the phone. Harry was sure that she spoke to her father at least twice but the other calls were a blessing and a mystery. Lazlo had sustained himself with coffee up until now but hunger was starting to make itself known.
Well, there would be no sandwich and a beer. Harry felt it was unwise to take a chief inspector's daughter to lunch at a taproom. A restaurant would be better. Harry leaned across the desk when Quinn became free and asked her about lunch at the auto-mat.
"Please, Harry, lets go to Chinatown. It's close and my favorite restaurant in there."
"Okay, Partner. Lead the way." Harry sighed. Not too sure of himself and Chinese food at midday.
Outside and along the street, Harry learned the tail of Chief Inspector Quinn, his wife and daughter. Father and Mother had met in Shanghai when Father was briefly in the Diplomatic Service. He brought his pregnant Asian wife home to America long before the Japanese arrived. Father had taught her to use a pistol even though she didn't like guns very much and Mother had taught her Mandarin. Veronica spit her time between college and Chinatown. The best of both worlds she said.
"Books, guns and fried rice?" Harry thought and wondered how this day would turn out. Day one and his new partner had already taken over lunch choice and story telling. Perhaps in the restaurant with her mouth full Harry would have a chance to speak. Maybe even turn the conversation to work related issues like their investigations, both the dead and the bitten.
They passed beneath the gate at the entrance to Chinatown. Harry felt as he always did when entering an area so ethnic as this one. Harry had the feeling of entering another country. He lacked comfort and experience here. Lost and apprehensive about his behavior being unintentionally inappropriate.
At the restaurant the sign was in Chinese characters which Harry assumed to be something about a lion or a dragon or an emperor but it turned out to be called Li Ho's, the Asian equivalent of "Bob's". They entered. They sat. They perused the menu. Harry chose the shrimp and rice. Relayed that preference to the waiter. Officer Quinn exchanged Chinese pleasantries with the waiter then he disappeared into the kitchen.
"Victoria, I want you to head for the library with a picture of one of our victims. Check anything about West Point and officers promotions, victories, losses, weddings and divorces. Skip obituaries obviously. Look at year books if you can find them, newspapers back through the war and military magazines. I will be going off to speak with Miss Comedos about a description of her attacker and the story of her allegedly nefarious neck nip."
"What you are doing is important, Officer Quinn. What I am doing is covering our respective backsides with chicanery, mummery, misdirection and political bullshit. However, we need paper to show the LT and the mayor that we are making every effort to bring justice to Dorothy's fading red mark and emotional scars."
As they were leaving the restaurant, Miss Quinn joyfully greeted an elderly Asian gentleman who entered. They enjoyed a spirited and spritely conversation in Mandarin. They bowed with sudden seriousness and parted.
On the street Harry asked, "Was that an uncle or grandfather?"
"A teacher." Miss Quinn replied.
"Calligraphy? Sewing? Singing? Dancing?" inquired Harry. Questions were Harry's stock in trade.
"Something like dancing, Harry."
"Okay! Nothing like the arts. Terpsichore, my favorite muse." declared Harry, pleased to be taking part in casual conversation. They were bonding at last. Reaching toward rapport.
Later after they parted ways. Harry wandered the rectangular maze of hallways of City Hall in search of Miss Comedos. A visit to the Mayor's Office would rectify one problem but create more than it solved. First of all Harry's time would be at their pleasure and it would not look good to be perceived as lost and out of touch. So he roamed the building, several times standing outside in the courtyard helplessly gazing at the many windows. In desperation Harry began to ask random people the whereabouts of the elusive Dorothy Comedos. Miraculously, the second woman that he buttonholed knew the very Miss Comedos he sought. It took Harry another twenty minutes to locate the tiny one room Office of Communication Management and Promotion for a Better City of Philadelphia of which Dorothy was not just the boss but also only employee. Once on the proper floor, the office was found by simply looking for the longest office sign in the building.
Upon entering said office Harry discovered a zaftig woman with jet black hair in her late thirties. She had been polishing her nails and fumbled to put away the files and polish bottle. Miss Condon immediately removed her feet from the desk top and stood before Harry in her bare feet. Seven toes shining bright red and wet.
"Oh my!" gushed Miss Zaftig. " What brings you to my lonely little office, handsome stranger? I certainly hope we might remedy that. The stranger part I mean, not the handsome thing."
"Hello. Might you be Miss Comedos? I'm officer Lazlo of the Philadelphia PD. I was wondering if you might have time to talk to me about your problem?"
"What problem would that be Officer Lazlo?" she asked and smiled pleasantly batting her lashes, touching her hair. Clearly on the make and abundantly available.
"We were informed that you've been the victim of an assault by the Mayor himself."
"Really! I wasn't aware. The Mayor has never assaulted me that I remember. The Mayor himself filed the complaint you say. What an impressive dope our Mayor is, don't you think?'
"I didn't mean it that way. Miss we were told that you are a friend of Mayor Pettigrue and that he has a special interest in your complaint."
"Officer, Mayor Pettigrue has a special interest in my lady parts which he will never get near. I am a friend of Mrs. Mayor Pettigrue who got me this job, a patronage job maybe but employment none the less. Mr. Mayor Pettigrue better mind his own damned business or get Mrs. Mayor's foot in his City Counsel."
"You were not assaulted then Miss Comedos?"
"h, some goof nipped me on the neck the other night but he's the one got assaulted. I punched him in the nose in front of that weird new club on Lombard Street, the one called 'Nosferatu'. Me and my girlfriends stood there laughing while he took off running and flapping his cape. He thinks he's Bela Lugosi or something. It was a riot."
"Okay, can you describe the man? Tall, short, medium? Light, dark? Handsome, ugly, average?"
"Well, he was a little on the tall side or he wouldn't have reached my neck. His hair and eyes were dark, almost black. He had funny teeth like with joke fangs or something and wore all black. You know what I mean, a black suit with a black cape. His hair was combed straight back. Oh, he had very thick, dark eyebrows but they looked like they were drawn on, like with an eyebrow pencil. That's all I remember. Wait, he was limping a bit like something was wrong with his leg and he kept yelling that he was a bat while he ran away. That's about it."
" Thank you Miss Comedos. I will leave my card and please call me if you think of anything else."
"Officer, I most like will think of something that will bring you here again. I don't really want to file a complaint but if you must investigate something I do my best the see that you're kept busy. What happened was more sad than bad really."
"It's beginning to sound that way. Good day, Miss" said Harry and took his leave.