Losers Live Longer

Losers Live Longer by Russell Atwood Read Free Book Online

Book: Losers Live Longer by Russell Atwood Read Free Book Online
Authors: Russell Atwood
Tags: Crime Fiction, bolt, jerry ebooks
    But only one of them was new, the first message was Owl’s call. I listened while pouring loose tobacco into a cigarette paper, rolling it, licking it, letting it dry a second before setting it on fire. I lit up, so eager I even took in the match sulfur. I drew deeply and held it. The smoke tasted delicious and foul streaming out my nose and falling from my lips.
    “… at Metro. I’m calling to see if you’re available today to hel—” End of Owl’s message, cut off where I’d picked up.
    The new message was from my mom, received at noon, calling to ask if that was near me where that young actor who played that doctor on that comedy series set in the hospital died—they say he shot up drugs? You know who I mean, the one on that series that used to be on, who played the doctor? Where is the Meat Packing District? Is that near you? How close— Time expired.
    I picked up the phone, but not to call my mom.
    No use putting it off any longer. I dialed the number of Metro Security, got the switchboard, and asked for Matt Chadinsky, giving my name.
    He didn’t keep me waiting, but his first words were, “What is it? I’m busy here.”
    “ Owl’s dead.”
    “ What?”
    “ George Rowell, he’s dead.”
    “ Bullshit, who told you that bullshit?”
    “ No one told me. I’m telling you. He died this morning, here in the city. Hit by a car on the corner outside my building.”
    “ Are you shitting me? What was he doing there?”
    “ Coming to see me?”
    “ What for?”
    “ To hire me.”
    “ You’re shitting me. You sure it was—”
    “ I’m sure. I’ve got his toolcase here in my office.”
    “ He left it there?”
    “ No, it’s…I took charge of it,” I bobbed.
    “ What did the blues say?”
    “ What do they always say?” I weaved.
    “ Was it a hit and run?”
    “ No. Driver remained at the scene. Livery cab. Looks like an accident.”
    “ Where’d they fucking take him?”
    “ I didn’t, uh…”
    “ No shit, I can imagine.” He coughed and spat in my ear, I was glad it was over the phone. He sighed a powerful gust of disgust. “Hohhh, I’ve got calls to make. Stay put!”
    He hung up.
    I switched on the radio and tuned in local news. Nothing about Owl’s death, but I hardly expected it. An advertisement came on for an institute specializing in wounds that won’t heal located in Sleepy Hollow. I switched off thinking of that poor Headless Horseman and his wound that never healed properly.
    I went over and turned on the TV. Didn’t have a cable box, but I’d attached the old line directly to the back of the set and still picked up the feed for NY1, New York City’s 24-hour cable news channel. I also got a few other stations and listened to the audio of scrambled signals whenever a movie channel aired Murder, My Sweet or The Big Sleep . I’ve seen them so many times, I didn’t even need the pictures to watch ’em anymore.
    Nothing about an old man’s death in a traffic incident on NY1. Their top local story was the ex-sitcom star that’d died the night before of a heroin overdose. It was a big story, had to be if my mom saw it aired nationally.
    Craig Wales had overdosed in a back room at the club hosting the after-party for a premiere of his first feature film. What made it even more sensational was that, on behalf of a fan website devoted to the TV show he used to star on when he was still in his early teens, Healthy Assets , he’d been blogging the entire event via text message, right up until the hour he died. The TV screen was flashing excerpts alongside an old photo of him wearing a doctor’s white lab coat. His last blog entry began, OFF 2 *^* w/ MC!!!
    I tried to suss it out. OFF 2 *^*. Well, but of course, it was so simple a five-year-old could make it out. Quick, run and get me a five-year-old. It made me wonder what direction our

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