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.And Beth Short’s gory torso was in their grip.She looked at me one last time before disappearing completely.Just like she had in 1947.Which left me to deal with the angry barkeep and hotel manager.“Who’s gonna pay for all this?” the manager said.“Insurance,” I said.“It was your friends.”“Are you kidding me?” I said.“I’m minding my own business, I don’t know who that was.”“She was talking to someone,” the bartender said.“Who was it?” the manager said.“Did you see anybody sitting here?” I said.“Besides me?”“Something was going on,” the barkeep insisted.I said, “You got demonized.I’m sorry to tell you that.But if you let ghosts in here you never know what’s going to happen.”When I tried to leave, the manager grabbed my arm.I yanked out of his grasp.“Don’t try it.”I had half a mind to eat him.Instead, I walked out, went through the dining area that used to be the hotel lobby, and out the door onto Olive Street.The same way Beth Short had the night she disappeared.CHAPTER 11I headed down Olive until I hit Seventh, turned left, and walked until I came to an old building that held some specialized offices.I hit the buzzer and waited.Nobody came so I punched it again.Finally I heard footsteps.It was late and I figured the only people in the building now would be the ones I wanted to see.Or, rather, the one.The door opened and a very large man with a face like a can of knuckles said, “We’re closed for business.”“How you doing, Chester?”“Like I said, we’re closed.”“Tell him I’m here.”“But—”“Just tell him.It’ll all work out better if you do.”He waited a second and thought about it.It looked like it took a tremendous strain on him.Then he said, “Wait here,” and shut the door.I was here to see one Meyer Harris Cohen, better known as Mickey.Cohen was one of L.A.’s most notorious mobsters, back in the fifties.Everyone thought he died in 1976, but he actually became a zombie.Until someone cut off his head.A zombie hunter named Harry Clovis.Yep, my dad.I had not told Mickey this.I actually called Mickey Cohen’s head as a witness in my father’s first trial.You use what you can when you’re a criminal defense lawyer.You can read about that and a whole lot more in my journal, The Year of Eating Dangerously.Mickey’s old hideout was just a warehouse guarded by his two main thugs.He had taken a bold step in setting up shop downtown.Five minutes went by.I thought maybe they’d decided to ignore me.That’s not a healthy thing to do.But the door opened and Chester told me to follow him.We walked down a long, echoey corridor, then through a door that had a staircase.Down one flight to a level without windows.At the end was another door, and this one Chester knocked on three times quick.It unlatched.Another of Mickey’s men was inside.When the door closed I heard Mickey Cohen’s voice.“Mallory Caine.To what do I owe the pleasure?”Mickey’s head rested on a pillow on some metal shelving.He could have been a Halloween mask.“Hi, Mickey.How you feeling?”“Still waiting for a body,” Mickey said.He had asked this of me before.He needed a zombie body—one where the head was cut clean off.A regular human body would just atrophy.It was one big problem for the Mick.“Sorry, Mickey, I’m not in the body procuring business.”“Then why am I listening to you?”“I need a favor.”“In my day, favors were given after favors were paid.Otherwise something is owed.Which will it be for you?”“I can offer you legal advice when you need it.I’m always happy to do a small favor like that.”“Not good enough.I want to be a body again.I want to be able to walk around and go to nightclubs.”“Nightclubs are not the way they used to be back in the fifties,” I said.“That’s what’s wrong with this town.It doesn’t know its history.It doesn’t know what quality is anymore.Kids today.”I said nothing.“What is it you want?” Mickey said.“I want to know about a guy named Dwayne Dewey.”“And I should know him why?”“Because he works for Mayor Garza [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]