“What station does this Goodman Black broadcast on?” asked Ruby.
“KLAX,” said Jimmy.
“Oh, good. I know the owner.” She picked up the phone and quickly dialed a number. “Max? Ruby.”
“Haven’t heard from you in forever! You having one of those charming garden parties? With the bowl of cocaine?”
“Not until the weather gets better. Listen, darling, I’ve found myself lately quite taken with radio. Do you think I could drop by the station and see how things are done?”
“Of course. When were you thinking?”
“I have a late lunch, so…around six PM.”
“Uh…that might not work that well. Why don’t you come the day after—”
“Max, I understand, and for you—anything. I’ll move my lunch and come a little earlier.”
“Actually, it’s really not such—”
“What? Geronimo? Sorry, I have to go, Max.”
[Credit Rating spend by RP to create a useful contact.]
Geronimo looked up from his crossword puzzle long enough to shake his head sadly. As soon as Ruby put the phone back in its cradle it rang again. Jimmy scooped it up. “I answer the phones in this office, all right?” he said, glaring at Ruby. “Jimmy Wright.”
“Mr. Wright, this is Lt. Lou Escobar of the LAPD. I just found a dead man on Route 1. Had your card in his wallet. Fellow by the name of Pizner. Maybe we should talk about it.”
“Howabout you meet me at the station.”
An hour later Jimmy found himself sitting in an interrogation room faced by Escobar. He was a tough cop; Jimmy recognized the type immediately, the kind that had gotten his start in the back alleys and tough streets of East LA and Chinatown. He had the sadness honest cops get when they’ve been on those beats for too long, the resignation of a man who is corrupt and can no longer even want to be something other than he is, but still remembers the kind of man he wanted to be. Sitting on a stool in the corner was a big uniformed cop named O’Malley. He had a pleasant, open face, and hands that had been broken in fist fights many times.
[Escobar is the same character from Chinatown.]
“So tell me what this guy was doing for you,” said Escobar.
“What do private eyes do?”
“Tell me what he was doing today.”
“He was helping me investigate the relative of a client.”
“And that got him killed?”
“Sometimes things go deeper than we expect.”
“Seems a lot of people are dying around you lately, Mr. Wright. A couple of your guys got shot up in Echo Park yesterday. Scared a lot of nice people.” Escobar slammed a fist on the table. “Tell me what they were working on! I want names!”
“There’s a new drug in town. It’s horrible. One try and you’re hooked. I had them looking into it.”
“I didn’t notice you getting posted to the Vice Squad. What was this skel Pizner looking into, and what were Walsh and Jackson up to?”
“Walsh and Jackson were following leads, nothing else.”
“I’m sorry,” said Escobar. “I have to turn my back now.”
O’Malley stepped up to the table. “Sorry about this, Jimmy.” He smashed a meaty fist into Jimmy’s face, knocking him out of his chair.
Jimmy struggled back into his seat. His jaw slowly moved back into its normal place. It hurt a little less than falling off a cliff. “The drug is what did it. Following it got them hurt.”
“That’s not your concern. You know you’re supposed to bring this to us.”
“How much do you know about these zoot suiters,” said Jimmy.
“Oh, them. I better go clear this with my Captain.” Escobar opened the door, paused for a moment, and then nodded at O’Malley as he left.
“I have a lot of respect for you, Mr. Wright,” said O’Malley, rolling up his sleeves. “But now I gotta hurt you.”
It was a professional beating; Jimmy never blacked out. After twenty minutes they tossed him into a holding cell to think things over.