I left Lady of Erin and the yacht harbor with the red notebook clamped under my arm. Instead of returning to the office, I had the cab drop me off at my houseboat. My dogs were all over me, of course. I thought to myself, “I need to get a dog sitting service! With all the shit going on in my head, the fact that my little ladies required more attention than I was currently able to provide. Well, that was one more mission added to the pile of crap swirling around in my head. I called the office and asked Emma to come and pick me up. I had to get another car. I had Emma drive over to Van Ness Street where most car lots were located but not before calling the D.A. to ask for another advance.
“Geezus Keerist, Sam!” the D.A. bellowed. “I’ve been waiting for some news from you, and when I do hear from you, it’s to ask for more money!” “I know, I know, Lee but I’ve got something right now that might bust this thing wide open! I was gonna call you today (a lie), but I wanted to make sure I had what I think I have before I called.” “OK, Sam. Well at least the cops haven’t come up with anything concrete yet as far as I know.”
I thought of Nikki Santos finding the notebook. What a stroke of luck! With the notebook in my possession now, I need to find a way to use it to my advantage. Campbell told me to check-out Horse-Trader Ed’s car lot. He had some major credit with Ed. Ed was a big TV star in the city. His commercials were on around the clock, with his cowboy outfits and his phony Texas drawl. It’s a wonder anyone bought a car from him. I had Emma drop me off in front of the lot while she looked for a parking space.
The car lot’s office resembled a chuck-wagon. I stifled a laugh as I walked up a short flight of stairs and entered the office. Ed was talking on the phone. He was leaning back in his chair with his fancy boot-wearing feet on the desk. He had on a fancy-looking powder-blue embroidered western-style suit and was wearing a big white ten-gallon hat. I noticed he wasn’t speaking with a drawl. It sounded unmistakably like a New York, or just maybe Brooklyn accent. I couldn’t help but smile. “Well, pardner. What can old Ed do fer ya?” he said, hanging up the phone.
“Well, for one thing, you can drop the phony cowboy schtick and sell me a car,” I said, scowling. Ed looked me up and down before he spoke. “D.A., send you?” Ed had dropped the sham cowboy accent now and was talking in a definite New Yorker accent. I nodded yes. “Ok pal,” Ed said. “Let’s get you a car.” I started to walk toward the Chryslers and Cadillacs, but he motioned me over to a red, convertible, Karman Ghia.
“Campbell told me to get you into this one. It belonged to his wife. She just brought it in yesterday.” I thought, “hmm... not bad.” It was kinda sporty looking and I always liked their look. “She didn’t drive it much, “Ed continued. “It’s a stick shift and she hated driving it in the City. It’s almost brand new!” I opened the door and peered in. It smelled of perfume. Chanel No. 5, I think. My mother always wore that stuff. I checked the odometer and it read - 5,027 miles. That ain’t shit! I knew these guys were good on gas too.
I was getting a deal and I appreciated it, but I did feel a little guilty. The D.A. had been literally paying my bills. What was he getting in return? Hopefully, the notebook would shine some light on who was responsible for the Chief’s death. Maybe Maggie and the others too. I needed to find out what the 8mm SDB meant. I had this really strong gut feeling about the notebook and what appeared to be some kind of code inside it. Maybe this might be the big break I had been looking for.
To be continued…