Later Thursday Morning
about 6 a.m.
After the L.A. swine from City Hall were
done hassling me, I left the West Side Pig Pen and went straight to the Purge
office in Santa Monica. I wanted to make some phone calls to see what
would happen next. I've seen enough movies to have a good idea but this
was the first time it was important enough for me to know if it was true.
I needed to get this dead girl out from under my skin.
An old drinking buddy of mine is a big
corporate lawyer specializing in gypping people out of everything they've
got. He works for an outfit called Simcoe. Maybe you've heard of
it. They're a real 80's kind of place, diversified into every kind of
greedy business swindle imaginable. He and his buddies ought to be
disbarred and told to make a real living for once. But he answers my
questions without charging a fee so that makes him useful to me. For that
reason, I don't think he should be stood against a wall and shot, like the
people he cheats believe.
He's a real techno-weenie. There isn't any
kind of electronic gizmo Robert Collier won't buy. Bob's one of those
suckers that gets born every minute. He'd buy a pink elephant if it had a
wire sticking out of it.
I never called him by his name.
"Perry, Perry Mason? Is that you?" I shouted into the mouthpiece
loud enough for his fish to hear.
"What do you want, dog-breath?"
was how he replied to my early morning greetings. "Have you grown any
hair yet?" That was an obvious insult to the Yul Brynner look my
genetic framework had forced upon me at an early age. Insensitive people
always like to call attention to what they perceive as your shortcomings.
"You know, some people like to sleep in this city."
"Did I get you before your wake up
"Yeah. I like to sleep in past six on
"You're telling me it's too early,
right? It's light, ain't it?"
He let that one pass. "What do you
want? This isn't going to cost me money is it? My law professors in
Washington always said I'd meet leeches like you."
"Why do you think every time I call
it's because I want something?"
"Because, every time you call, you
"I would be offended if it was anyone
"Thank you," he replied, the
sarcasm dripping like motor oil off a diesel engine's dip stick.
"Only real lawyers know how to insult
me. Shysters like you are too close to being actual human beings. You're
more like a real estate agent. I got something you want so you're forced
to be nice to me even if you hate my guts."
"Which I do."
"And you should."
There was the sound of muffled talking in
the background before he spoke again. "What do you want this time,
"Who's that in bed with you, my
"You don't have a wife. No women is
stupid enough to let you fuck her."
"Well, if she isn't my wife, it's
someone else's. What's her name?"
"None of your business.
"Wait, wait, wait. Don't hang
"Then tell me what you want so I can
go back to sleep."
"Sleep? Right." I quickly
reviewed my evening, from my hump day yearnings to the soccer game the
Crips were playing out on the beach, and my discovery of the blond.
"It's a wonder they didn't arrest you
and throw you in jail with the other perverts. Why did you wait so long
before you called?"
"I don't know, Perry, it didn't seem
she cared one way or the other. I was thinking."
I heard a snort on the other end of the
line like someone inhaling a pound of coke and regretting it.
"Yeah, I'm fine. That bit about
wanting to think caught me off guard, I guess. So what do I owe the
pleasure of this shared information?"
"I want to know what happens
"Yeah. Is there going to be an
"I suppose. What did you say this
bimbo's name was?"
"Suppose? Suppose, what?"
"There will be an investigation. Her
name..?" he insisted.
"The cops are still working on the
"So what do you want from me?" he
"What are they going to do?"
"Probably, nothing," he replied
impatiently. Like reading a statement from one of Reagan's 3 X 5 cards,
Collier continued, "They'll determine the cause of death and if
anything is fishy they'll look into it. Can I go to sleep now?"
"What makes you think anything's
"You're the one who found her. Don't
you think there's something odd about a pretty girl washing up on the
beach in Venice?"
"You mean it doesn't happen all the
"Goodbye, Garcia." He hung up.
Next, I called the police station. They
wouldn't give me the time of day, which Perry had done so well, until I
told them I was a writer with the Weekly Purge, and then
they told me to piss up a stiff rope and hung up. That's what happens when
you write for the most prestigious alternative press voice in the city.
You don't get any respect.