The Perfidious Parrot

The Perfidious Parrot by Janwillem van de Wetering Read Free Book Online

Book: The Perfidious Parrot by Janwillem van de Wetering Read Free Book Online
Authors: Janwillem van de Wetering
butting de Gier’s chest with its hard-plastic death head. De Gier staggered, spread his arms, slumped over backwards.
    Torture Field’s cobblestones opened into a bottomless hole. The vanquished hero fell, kept falling, fainted.

5
A N O LD M AN A BOUT T O L EAVE
    Grijpstra and Inspector Simon Cardozo observed de Gier eating his hot oatmeal porridge, carefully spooning the gray paste from the edge of his bowl. The raisins, banished to the center, he kept for later.
    “You in pain?” Grijpstra asked.
    “Never,” a nurse in spotless whites, by the name of Sayukta, formerly of the Dutch colony of Surinam, a brown-skinned woman with roots in India, said sweetly. “Your friend is full of opium and belladonna. He’s doing just fine.”
    De Gier saw Sayukta double: a gracious golden twin who caressed him with four hands and smiled at him with two full-lipped mouths. A comforting hallucination? With the compliments of Bosch?
    “Your patient is not my friend,” Grijpstra said.
    “Yours maybe?” the nurse asked Inspector Cardozo.
    “Certainly not, Nurse,” the inspector said gruffly, annoyed by the way she pronounced the word “friend.”
    “Because he is so handsome,” Sayukta said. “Quite rare in straight men, such beauty. No wedding ring either. So I was thinking …”
    “All yours,” Grijpstra said gruffly.
    He and the inspector would have made real-guy jokes if de Gier’s roommate, behind a screen, hadn’t been harrumphing in a frightening manner. De Gier’s visitors pointed at the screen and wiggled their eyebrows. De Gier mimicked too, relaxing his jaw and neck muscles so that his head hung sideways, drooling.
    “Acchch,”
Grijpstra said compassionately.
    Cardozo, who didn’t like death, sighed deeply.
    “
My
ribs are broken,” de Gier said peevishly.
    “Maybe cracked a little,” Grijpstra said.
    “Happens all the time,” Cardozo said. “You’re aging now. Bones get brittle.”
    “You wouldn’t even be here,” Grijpstra said, “if Cardozo hadn’t flashed his police card at the paramedics.”
    Inspector Cardozo, youngish looking under a load of wild curls above a corduroy suit in need of dry-cleaning, said that de Gier’s ribs might be a trifle damaged but were certainly not broken. Ketchup and Karate, by chance, happened to be driving past Stulp Church and had noticed a mugging/manslaughter in progress. Their timely interference had saved de Gier’s life.
    “Ketchup and Karate?” de Gier asked, mildly interested in spite of the injected opiate. “They made an arrest?”
    “The bad boys had run off,” Grijpstra said. “You had lost consciousness. First things first.”
    “Ketchup reported they had seen you at Singel Canal,” Cardozo said, “and then later, near Torture Field they noticed the Skeleton Gang hanging out. Two-thirty in the morning, nobody about but their ex-sergeant and dressed up bad boys. K&K went home but came back again, once they considered what might have happened.”
    “Back in the car, back to the inner city,” Grijpstra said. “They checked out the alleys and sure enough, there you were being clobbered. What did you do to those poor skeleton fellows? Annoy them in some way?”
    “Showing off again?” Cardozo asked.
    “Good thing you had some back-up.” Grijpstra smiled.
    De Gier started on his residue of raisins.
    Inspector Cardozo listed more reasons as to why K&K had not made an arrest. They weren’t on duty. Their private car was not connected to police communications. De Gier seemed to be in need of medical attention. The Skeleton Gang had a reputation for violence. To go after them would have taken energy and time.
    Grijpstra also reported that the yacht mentioned by their prospective client, young Ambagt, did appear to exist. Water Police constables saw the
Admiraal Rodney
moored at a quay near Grass Road Complex on the Northern side of Amsterdam harbor. There was even a telephone number that Grijpstra found through Information. Grijpstra

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