The Frumious Bandersnatch

The Frumious Bandersnatch by Ed McBain Read Free Book Online

Book: The Frumious Bandersnatch by Ed McBain Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ed McBain
be professional. Naming a weapon.”
    â€œDo you think I’m unprofessional?”
    â€œHey, no, I think you’re very professional. You’re a good cop, and I think you’re going to make a very good detective.”
    â€œYou think so?”
    â€œI really do. The Rape Squad’ll be lucky to have you.”
    â€œWhat I was saying about rape before…”
    â€œYes, tell me. Would you like another one of those?”
    â€œAre you going to have one?”
    â€œIf you are.”
    â€œI think I’d like one, yes.”
    â€œGood, me, too,” Ollie said, and signaled to the waiter.
    â€œWhat I was saying is that in this city, rape was a constant concern of mine. Because, you know, well, I was growing up to be fairly attractive…”
    â€œBeautiful, in fact,” Ollie said.
    â€œI wasn’t fishing for a compliment.”
    â€œBut you are beautiful, Patricia.”
    â€œWell, thanks, but what…”
    â€œA cream dee mint,” Ollie said to the waiter, “and another of these cognacs.”
    â€œYes, sir,” the waiter said, and walked off.
    â€œWhat I was trying to say,” Patricia said, “is, for example, as a young girl in this city, I never felt safe, never. For example, we’re enjoying a few drinks together here, and I feel perfectly safe with you…”
    â€œWell, thank you,” Ollie said, “ah yes, m’dear. And I feel perfectly safe with you, too.”
    Patricia laughed.
    â€œBut when I was in my twenties, I’d be out with some guy…well, even lately, for that matter, before I became a cop. I mean this isn’t something that just goes away, it’s a constant with a woman. I’d be having a drink with some guy…”
    â€œHow old are you, anyway?” Ollie asked.
    â€œOh, gee, you’re not supposed to ask that.”
    â€œWhy not? I’m thirty-eight,” he said.
    â€œI was thirty in February.”
    â€œFebruary what?” he asked, and took out his notebook.
    â€œYou gonna write it down?” she said, surprised.
    â€œSo I can buy you a present. Provided it ain’t too close to Valentine’s Day.”
    â€œNo, it’s February twenty-seventh.”
    â€œGood. So then I can get you two presents,” he said.
    â€œNobody ever gave me a Valentine’s Day present,” Patricia said.
    â€œWell, you wait and see,” he said, and scribbled her name and the date of her birthday in his book.
    â€œCrème de menthe for the lady,” the waiter said, “and a Courvoisier for the gentleman.”
    â€œThank you,” Ollie said.
    â€œMy pleasure, sir,” the waiter said, and smiled, and walked off again.
    â€œCheers,” Ollie said.
    â€œCheers,” she said.
    They both drank.
    â€œGee, I still feel safe,” Ollie said.
    â€œMe, too,” she said, and grinned. “But what I was saying, Oll, is that before I became a cop, I’d be having a drink with some guy who took me out, or even just standing with some guy who was chatting me up in a bar, and I’d all at once be on my guard. Like don’t drink too much, Patricia, watch out, Patricia, this guy may be the son of a bitch who’ll rape you, excuse my French, Oll. Or coming home late at night on the subway, cold sober, I’d always be afraid some two-hundred-pound guy was going to pounce on me and beat me up and rape me. I’m five-seven…”
    â€œI know,” Ollie said, and smiled. “That’s a good height.”
    â€œThank you. And I weigh a hundred and twenty pounds. What chance would I have against some guy’s been lifting weights in the prison gym? That’s why I’m glad Josie’s in my bag. Anybody gets wise with me, he’s got to deal not only with me but with Josie, too.”
    â€œI’d sure hate to meet you in a dark alley,” Ollie said.

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