"Well?" Officer Parker asked.
"I'm okay, all things considered."
"Uh-huh. Your funeral if you're wrong. Who were those men and what did they want so badly they attacked you?"
"No clue on both questions. They did mention a name. Mr Caiazzo. Seems I have something he wants."
"Caiazzo? Owns the bookstore at Fifth and Main?"
"You're asking me? I have no idea."
"If it is, you have a problem. The store's rumored to be a front for his other business."
"Let me guess. With a name like Caiazzo he's into drugs or gambling or guns, and probably connected."
Officer Parker chuckled dryly. "Now that's being prejudicial. He's not into any of those and he's not Mafia. Although we haven't been able to prove it, we're very certain he runs a sophisticated theft ring."
I leaned against the alley wall as I thought about that—trying to appear casual. My body was not happy that I wasn't at home, lying down with a glass of scotch in one hand after popping a few aspirin to kill the pain.
"So," I finally said, "the thing he thinks someone gave me probably relates to that. Be nice if the goons had been a bit more forthcoming on exactly what it is."
Just then his partner hollered that they had a call on a disturbance at a bar a couple of blocks away. Officer Parker headed back to the car but not before he warned me to be careful. "Get back on the street and call a cab. You're in no shape to drive."
I did as he suggested. Well part one. No way was I cabbing it home, not matter how bad I felt. Besides which, I wanted to see if my attackers showed their ugly faces again. They obviously—okay make that presumably—knew who I was. I seriously doubted it was a case of mistaken identity. I'm pretty recognizable due to the scar that runs from my left eyebrow down to my cheekbone. A memento of a misspent youth.
FYI, my name's Walt Murphy and as I said, I'm a PI. Run my own business with the help of my gorgeous girl-Friday. Okay, so she's not gorgeous. That only happens in movies. But she's not bad on the eyes and she knows what she's doing, which is what counts. I've got a decent reputation for getting the job done, whether it's surveillance like I was doing tonight, doing background checks, locating missing people, etc, etc.
So as I was saying, I followed Officer Parker's suggestion and got out of the alley. I would have gone back to what I'd been doing, while keeping my eyes open for the goon squad in the process, but my body was yelling 'Scotch and aspirin' and I'm not one to ignore such orders. So, cautiously and moving real slow—because fast was not an alternative at that point—I made it back to my car. No sign of my unfriendly inquisitors, but I decided until I found out what was going on I wasn't leaving the house again unless I was carrying.