One look at the two teenagers told me they were scared as much as humans can be and with good reason. They were wearing scarlet Boas, a symbol for a certain group of streetwalkers who were being murdered by a maniac the police hadn’t been able to nab. They introduced themselves as Doris and Maisie and asked me for help. I said I would. But how? The police had zero information on the killer. That meant I was on my own.
I heard the shots, three of them, far back in the alley. I stopped at its entrance and did some thinking. My body did not need a new hole. Whoever was doing the shooting surely had more bullets. I’m a big target. But maybe it’s the serial killer. He used a gun on Malone. Come on, Blake, act like a bullet, go once more into the gun barrel.
I crept into the alley with my bowels roaring, feeling the icy clamminess of its right wall with my right hand for stability. Stygian darkness surrounded me, invaded my body, my soul, my nerve. A little man inside me hollered, “Don’t be stupid. Run the hell out of here.” I told the sonofabitch to shut up. Seconds dragged into minutes before I stumbled over something that groaned. I knelt and felt a human body.
Knowing I would become the impossible target to miss, I snapped on my pen flashlight. I needed to know who was down. I didn’t count on there being three bodies. Seconds later I knew that Jiggers Davis was dead, Pack Rat Louie was dead, and Jokester Jones was dying.
“Blake, is that you…?”
“Yeah, Jokester, it’s me.”
“Good…I’m buying the farm…aren’t I…?”
“They’ve gone on ahead of you…Jokester…Can you tell me who did this to you…”
“No. The bastard never gave us a chance…Never thought you’d know the answer to my joke…”
“Gum, Jokester, gum…”
I don’t think he heard me. I put him down next to his brothers. As I stood I heard a voice. The killer was still in the alley.
“You’re next, Blake.”