(Ready to sink your teeth in a crime novel?  You’re in the right place.  If this is your first stop, click back to They Had the Right to remain Silent (1), where it all begins.  It’s the July 16th post in the Archives section on the left column.The chapters build with sequential postings, the numbers are there so you don’t lose your place.  If you’ve been following, thank you so much, and please let me know what you think.  Things are starting to heat up.  Let’s continue, shall we?)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( xx )
     FUSION OF BLUE, ORANGE, PINK, AND YELLOW SUNSET enveloped Manhattan, accented by slivers of gold darting through the haze between buildings. The City took a long breath, relaxed from the business bustle of the day, on a short reprieve before she would swell in nocturnal energies.
     The Head of Housekeeping called the Manager of the Marquis Hotel.
     “Sir, Room 535, come quickly,” the voice quivered.
     “What ever is the matter?” the Manager replied. He heard shortness of breath through the receiver.
     “My God,” Housekeeping cried, followed by retching, “please get up here…”
Chapter ( xx )
     BUZZY HUFFED UP THE LAST TWO STAIRS, and reach the third floor, headed for apartment 3D and Jacob Merrill, located at the other end of the hall. He carried a black bag, reminiscent of the satchel found in any Norman Rockwell that portrayed a doctor. This was a necessary house call.
     He shuffled through a cacophonous collection of Judge Judy, The Price Is Right, Nancy Grace, and Jay- Z blasting from behind the other apartment doors. He rapped on 3D, then used his fist, pounding on the door’s blistered paint to get Merrill’s attention.
     “Who is it?” Merrill yelled.
     “Johnny Walker Black,” Buzzy replied.
     Merrill swung open the door, “Get in, get in,” he said, rapidly making little circles with his hand, “come along.”
     Buzzy slid through the opening. Merrill peered down the hallway, then slammed the door behind Buzzy.
     “Relax Mr. Merrill, it’s all good,” Buzzy placated, “get us a couple of glasses.”
     Merrill rubbed his lower lip hard, back and forth.
     “Yeah,” Merrill said, as Buzzy watched the wheels turning in Merrill’s mind, “Right. Everything will be fine,” Merrill tried to convince himself. “I just want this over,” he said, and walked toward the cupboard on the other side of the kitchen.
     Buzzy placed his bag down on the square faux- oak laminate table and pulled the scotch out. He unscrewed the bottle’s top while Merrill returned and set down two unmatched tumblers.
     “This’ll take the edge off,” Buzzy remarked.
     He poured into the first glass. His grip loosened and the neck of the bottle shifted, overturning the liquid. It made a mercurial run across the tabletop, then began to drip over the edge.
     “Damned arthritis,” Buzzy complained, “you got something to clean this up?”
     Merrill went back to the sink and yanked a towel off the rack. Buzzy took a small plastic packet out of his black case.
     “Don’t worry, there’s plenty more,” Buzzy chimed, holding the glass this time, as he poured three- fingers worth, his shaky hand swirling the tumbler’s contents.
     Merrill sopped up the scotch and wiped the table. He tossed the towel into the sink. Buzzy put the drink back on the table and picked up the other glass to pour.
     “Have a seat,” he said, motioning to the chair near the half- filled tumbler. He placed the bottle on the table and sat down opposite Merrill.
     “Here’s to your health,” he said with a slight nod, raising the glass just off the table toward Merrill, then downed his drink in one gulp. Merrill took a sip.
     “Hey Nancy, I’m not drinking alone here,” Buzzy chortled, “Down the hatch!”
     Merrill squirmed in his seat, “Fine, if it will move this along,” he muttered. Merrill chugged the entirety and winced as the scotch burned his throat.
     “Proprieties must be followed,” Buzzy lectured, “there’s a right way to go ’bout these things.”
     “Whatever,” Merrill replied, the liquor’s sting still lingered.
     “Now,” Buzzy said, “anything from your buddy yet?”
     “Unh- unh,” Merrill answered, shook his head and swallowed hard to relieve the irritation from the drink.
     “Too bad, them people dying,” Buzzy tisked.
     “I told you that wasn’t me,” Merrill retorted, “I just did what what you asked.”
     “I know, I know,” Buzzy hushed, “just wasn’t no need, that’s all. Did you get rid of your gun?”
     “Why would I, I didn’t use it,” Merrill argued.
     “You got it someplace safe, for other jobs?”
     “Yeah, nobody will find it,” Merrill assured.
     “You got what I came for?” Buzzy asked.
     “You got the money?” Merrill said, tired of playing twenty questions.
     Buzzy made a loving tap on his black bag. Merrill got up from the table and headed for the only other room in the apartment. He stumbled, but caught himself from falling. He opened the door and reached under the bed, just inside the room, pulling out a crumpled paper grocery bag. He plopped back into the chair and pushed the tan sack across the table toward Buzzy.
     “Don’t know what you’d want that for,” Merrill said, all the while he opened and closed his eyes in an effort to focus.
     “Not so much I want it as I don’t want others to have it,” Buzzy said, taking hold of the parcel, “nothing for you to worry ’bout,” Buzzy said curtly. “Let’s see what you got,” he said, and dumped the bag’s contents.
     Buzzy sorted through the pile of receipts, occasionally grunted an ‘uh- huh’ when he found something of interest. Merrill wiped the sweat off his face with the front of his T-shirt, still blinking.
     Buzzy looked over, “Everything OK, Mr. Merrill? Sure you don’t want another taste?” he asked, grabbing the bottle.
     “No mo–” Merrill slurred.
     Buzzy sifted through the pile and found a silver money clip. “Ah, there you are,” he said, holding it up to the light and watching its reflections.
     He gathered all the papers and shoved them into the sack, then placed it in his black case. Merrill now wavered in his chair.
     “My money,” Merrill wheezed, as he stared at Buzzy through glassy eyes.
     “Yes,” Buzzy said, “let’s talk about that.”
     Merrill sat in a paralyzed stupor and watched the gray- haired, bearded Black cherub go in and out of the case, as Buzzy placed things on the table. Merrill’s vision worsened; Buzzy swayed in a blurry slow- motion across from him.
     “I gave you a small task,” Buzzy said. He pull on plastic sleeves, covering his arms. Their elastic ends held the sleeves in place.
     “And I offered a good price for you to accomplish it,” he continued and put on latex gloves, snapping each over the end of its respective sleeve, sealing them from leak- through.
     “But,” Buzzy said, as he unfolded a clear plastic apron and donned it in front of his captive audience of one, “you left loose ends.”
     Buzzy’s words now echoed in Merrill’s ears, as if bouncing off the walls of a subway tunnel.
     “That’s a fuck- up, Mr. Merrill,” Buzzy said in a whisper, as if letting the man across from him in on a secret.
     Buzzy now opened a metal container the size of a cigar box. Merrill could only make out a glint of the object Buzzy removed from the tin. He watched Buzzy’s shadowy figure rise from its chair.
     Buzzy leaned next to Merrill’s ear, “I don’t pay fuck- ups,” he growled, “you need to lie down for a spell.”
Chapter ( xxi)
     Buzzy closed the door to 3D and wiped the knob clean with his hanky. His black bag was now just slightly heavier than when he entered. He scuttled down the steps, resisting the urge to use the rails.
     As he rounded the staircase to the second floor, he heard Judge Judy sardonically bitching at one of her litigants. Justice Served.
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