Everyone Pays
an issue with Owens.”
    Hendricks laughed. “Old Squeaky-Clean Steve? Not much anyone can do about that jackass.”
    I knew exactly what he meant; through most of my time on vice, the man Owens and I weren’t even on speaking terms. Call it a difference of opinion on how to enforce the law. Call it whatever you wanted. It was another good reason for me to find pleasure in the fact I’d moved on to homicide and had a new home.

    A few other girls we spoke to either knew nothing or didn’t want to talk. Only one told me she knew the guys in the pictures. “They’re around, yeah,” was the depth of her response.
    No, they hadn’t seen any strange john who might be hunting the others. Yes, some of these girls had disappeared of late; of course that was likely to happen; and no, they weren’t sure which ones. I tried to parlay some of the credit I’d earned on the corners, but mostly these girls weren’t having it. They knew I was a cop, and they didn’t want cops around. Even without Hendricks, I didn’t have any luck.
    We found one girl down enough on her luck, needing a meal so badly that when we offered, she accepted it. She gave her real name as Jennifer Hathorn, but everyone knew her as Destiny.
    She didn’t fit the mold of the pictures we had from Piper’s and Farrow’s: her hair was brown and not blonde, and she came in maybe a touch on the older side, but she was white and looked like she’d come from a good family somewhere, once.
    She clearly used too. But not for so long that she was completely gone.
    I bought her a burger and fries at one of the Chinese coffee shops that had a lunch buffet but sold mainly donuts and burgers. J. Georgie’s. There were a string of them, offering this strange mix: burgers, donuts, teriyaki. It never made sense or seemed right to me, but then I wasn’t the one eating the food.
    The man and woman behind the counter fought in their native tongue. Hendricks sat next to me, drinking a greasy coffee. Mine was untouched, and Destiny had already finished hers—she’d put enough sugar and cream in it to satisfy a six-year-old’s sweet tooth.
    I started out setting pictures of girls on our table—ones from Piper’s and Farrow’s.
    “Yeah, I know them,” she said. “They all right?”
    I told her they were, so far as I knew. “Any of them drop out of sight lately? Would you have reason to worry?”
    She stared straight ahead, deadpan. “Can I have more coffee?”
    I laid out the dead men’s pictures.
    “How about them?”
    “This one. Him.” She pointed at Farrow. “He comes around. You know. He dead now?”
    I turned to Hendricks for a moment, then back to Destiny and asked, “You just guessing here? Or do you know?”
    “Word gets around.”
    “Anything you can tell us?”
    “He went with the girls in those pictures, yeah. Much as I know, these the kind of girls he liked. I ain’t never been with him.” She gestured to her hair. “Guess I’m not their type.”
    The chef rang a bell on the counter, and Hendricks got up to get Destiny’s food. I watched her eyes as he brought it back, aware she hadn’t looked directly at either of us yet. Whether we could trust her or not was still very much up for debate. That, and if she had anything interesting to tell us.
    When Hendricks slid the plate onto our table, she smiled. Her teeth had yellowed, the gums pulled back in a sure sign of meth.
    Her fries steamed in their grease, and I wasn’t tempted at all. Her burger looked just tastier than a hockey puck.
    “Sure I can’t get you something else? Maybe a salad?”
    She was already shoving hot fries into her mouth, her head down and hair hanging in front of her face. “Thanks. This good.”
    “Anything else you can tell me? Maybe something that sticks out as strange in the last couple, three weeks?”
    When she came up for air, or to let her mouth cool, she turned her head as if thinking it over. Then she said, “There was one thing this

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