Eats to Die For!

Eats to Die For! by Michael Mallory Read Free Book Online

Book: Eats to Die For! by Michael Mallory Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michael Mallory
Tags: detective, Mystery, Movies, private eye, gumshoe
to pick something up from Luisa Sandoval in 216,” I lied. “I’m from the Independent Journal .”
    â€œThen buzz Luisa Sandoval in 216,” the voice slurred.
    â€œShe’s not there,” I replied. “She’s on assignment, but she left a file with her story for this week’s edition outside her apartment. He phoned me and told me to come and get it.”
    â€œCome and get it!” the guy shouted, then laughed. He was definitely drunk, and it was barely mid-afternoon.
    â€œPlease, we’re on deadline.”
    â€œAw, Chrise…”
    The door then buzzed and I entered. A few moments later a man lurched out. He was about sixty, grey, unshaven, with a bushy moustache and glasses, and was dressed in sweatpants and a muscle shirt so old he might still have had muscles when he bought.
    â€œHi, thanks for coming out,” I said.
    â€œComing out, bullshit. I’m straight as a goddamn arrow.”
    â€œWhat I mean is, thanks for letting me in so I can get Louie’s story.”
    â€œWho the hell’s Louie?”
    Apparently not everyone called her that. “Luisa Sandoval, in 216.”
    â€œYou said she was gone.”
    â€œShe is, but I need to go up to her apartment so I can get her copy for the story she’s working on. She told me it was in an envelope labeled Burger Heaven.”
    The truth was, of course, I had no idea what kind of file she might have left or in what format.
    â€œI don’ know anything about what she does,” the manager drawled. “Burger Heaven, huh? Owned by the damned church.”
    Sure, whatever.
    Since I knew Louie had not actually left an envelope outside her apartment, at least I’d be extremely surprised to find that she had, I had to get inside her place. It was time for phase two of the pretense.
    â€œHey, my cell phone’s vibrating,” I told the manager.
    â€œLucky you.”
    I pretended to take a call: “Beauchamp…Louie, hi! Yeah, I’m at your place. Oh, okay. Yeah, he’s right here. Yeah, sure, I’ll ask him. Great. Okay, thanks.” Turning back to the drunken manager I said, “That was Louie. She forgot to put the envelope in the hallway, so she asked if you could let me in to her place. It’s on her dining table.”
    He leveled a bleary look at me. “You really think I’d open up the apartment of a tenant for some asshole I never met?”
    â€œBut I’ve already introduced myself,” I countered, even though I hadn’t, fully. “So how about it?”
    â€œOn whether you’re willing to make it worth my while.”
    I sighed and reached for my wallet, and found that Andrew Jackson made the case much better than I could have.
    Even he’s a better lawyer than you , Mitchum said in my head.
    The manager led me to the elevator and once confined inside with the guy the booze fumes were nearly overpowering. By the time we got off on the building’s second floor, I was practically gasping for clean air.
    Taking me to apartment 216, he managed to open the door with his passkey on the third try. Before pushing the door open, though, he turned to me and attempted to give me the Robert DeNiro “I’m watchin’ you” gesture, but managed instead to give himself a Three Stooges eye poke with his own fingers. I tried not to laugh.
    â€œI’ll only be a second,” I told him, entering the room and turning on the light.
    At first I thought that Luisa Sandoval, for all her personal charm, must be an unmitigated slob, because the place was not simply a mess, it was a catastrophe. Then I realized that I wasn’t looking at a messy apartment, I was looking at one that had been tossed. Just like my office had been broken into.
    Except the person or persons here had clearly been searching for something.
    Was it the same person or persons?
    â€œGonna be all day?” the

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