“What are you doing here, kitten?” I growled, putting down my java and sliding my hand to make sure I was still packing heat. The cold steel of my shiv pressed against my palm. “Some hoodlum acting up again?”
“We got trouble over in the cell, Doc,” she said. “Jerky Maloy got popped in the schnozzle but he ain’t cooperating.”
Doc- that’s me. Doc Slicey. I pack a shot of joe in my left hand and a shot for Joe in my right.
“Jerky Maloy, eh?” My blood boiled just thinking of him. Last time I saw him he gave me a little chin music to remember him by. I still got the scars to prove it. “He’s all clammed up? He’s never had a problem opening his yap before. I got a century says we can make that canary sing.”
We went down to the clink where Jerky Malone sat staring at us all with a sour puss on his mug. “You look like someone took a good poke at you, Jerky,” I said. “It’s an improvement.” He hissed at me. Another hot-headed Irishman.
“That’s what I mean,” said Kiki. “Look at that ball on his kisser. He looks like someone planted a slug in his face, but he won’t let me get near him.” She leaned over and yelled, “Ya hear that, you punk? I’m TRYIN to help YA!” He stuck out a meaty paw and took a swipe at her kisser. She jumped back and cursed a blue streak.
“He don’t trust the croakers,” she said, jerking a thumb at me. “But he ain’t got a choice now, does he?”
“Yeah, he blew it,” I agreed, sneering at him. “Someone made you their rube, Jerky. But we got ways of putting the screws on to make you talk.”
I pulled a pill out of my pocket and wagged it in front of his face. “Ever meet this broad?” I asked. “Her name is Tela. Tela Zol. She got a talent for making thugs do what we want.”
Jerky spat at me, so I introduced him to my friend. Jerky, meet Tela. She ain’t never met a cat she didn’t like. 10 minutes later Jerky was flopped out on the hooch like he’d been slamming the giggle juice since sunrise.
Kiki slapped on a pair of gloves and hit the overhead lamp. “Time for the interrogation, eh doc?”
I took a gander at the goose egg on Jerky’s face. “He hiding oyster eggs in there or what?” I asked. Kiki started grilling his mouth, looking for hints. I took a probing look at his face, trying to find a hidden slug. Nothing.
“Time to crank up the heat,” I snarled at Kiki. I cracked my knuckles in anticipation. “Let’s put on the pressure. Get me the drill.”
Jerky had a mouth that would make a sailor blush. Something may be rotten in the state of Denmark, but it ain’t got nothin’ on this cat’s grill. I reached into the toolbox and pulled out my extractors. “No,” gasped Kiki. “You can’t.”
“Yes,” I responded. “I can.” Then I got to work.
I found the little hoodlum hiding behind Jerky’s canine. He thought if he covered himself in gum tissue I wouldn’t notice his raggedy root hanging out. “You’re mine,” I growled. “Time for you to fade out, chump.” I grabbed him, and he slurped and moaned as I dragged him out of his rotten socket hidey-hole. It was duck soup.
I don’t know why Jerky was protecting that grifter. He was hiding all sorts of berries in Jerky’s mug- he had a whole passel of pus stuffed up under his tooth. Yeah, I needed to drown my sorrows with my sweetie Jack Daniel after that one, but it was worth it to put that scumbag in a Chicago overcoat so he’d be nice and toasty for his dirt nap. Jerky must have felt a whole lot better after dumping that stiff, even though he’d never reveal that to me.
Maybe he thought I couldn’t handle it. Maybe he was embarrassed to have to confess to some broad that he needed help. But I ain’t your average moll. I’m Doc Slicey.
The final winner of Scent of the Missing is Hillary! Congratulations!