'It's me, Dulcy,' the voice from the telephone said.

'Oh!' he said and his hands began to shake.

'I've got the money,' she said.

'What!' He looked as though someone had stuck a gun in his belly and asked him if he wanted to bet it wasn't loaded. 'Ain't he been arrested?' he asked involuntarily before he could catch himself.

'Arrested?' Her voice sounded suddenly suspicious. 'Why the hell should he be arrested? Unless you've ratted about the knife.'

'You know damn well I ain't ratted,' he declared. 'You think I'm going to blow away ten grand?' Thinking fast, he added, 'It's just I ain't seen him around all day.'

'He's gone to Chicago to check up on me and Val,' she said.

'Then how'd you get the ten grand?' he wanted to know.

'That's none of your business,' she said.

He suspected a trap, but the thought of getting ten thousand dollars filled him with a reckless greed. He had to hold himself in. He felt as though he were going to explode with exultation. All his life he'd wanted to be a big shot, and now was his chance if he played his cards right.

'Okay,' he said. 'I don't give a damn how you got it, whether you stole it or cut his throat for it, just so long as you've got it.'

'I've got it,' she said. 'But you'll have to bring me your knife before I'll give it to you.'

'What the hell do you think I am?' he said. 'You bring me the money here and we'll talk about the knife.'

'No, you've got to come here to the house and get the money and bring me the knife,' she said.

'I ain't that crazy, baby,' he said. 'It ain't that I'm scared of Johnny, but I don't have to take no rape-fiend chance like that. It's your little tail that's in the vise, and you're goin' to have to pay to get it out.'

'Listen, honey, there ain't no chance in it,' she said. 'He can't get back before tomorrow night because it's going to take him all day tomorrow to find out what he's looking for, and when he gets back I got to be gone myself.'

'I don't dig you,' Chink said.

'You ain't so smart then, honey,' she said. 'What he's going to find out is what caused Val to wind up dead.'

Suddenly Chink began to see the light. 'Then it was you-'

She cut him off. 'What difference does it make now? I got to be gone when he gets back, and that's for sure. I just want to leave him a souvenir.'

An expression of triumph lit Chink's face. 'You mean you want me, there in his own house?'

'In his own bed,' she said. 'The mother-raper always suspected me of cheating on him when I wasn't. Now I'm going to fix him.'

Chink gave a low vicious laugh. 'You and me, baby, we're going to fix him together.'

'Well, hurry up then,' she said.

'Give me half an hour,' he said.

She had unhooked the extension in the bedroom and was talking from the extension in the kitchen. When she hung up she said to herself, 'You asked for it.'

Dulcy was watching from the peephole and opened the door before he rang. She wore her robe with nothing underneath.

'Come on in, honey,' she said. 'The place is ours.'

'I knew I'd get you,' he said, making a grab at her, but she slipped neatly out of his arms and said, 'All right then, don't make me wait.'

He looked into the kitchen.

'If you're scared, search the house,' she said.

'Who's scared?' he said belligerently.

The bedroom which Val had used was directly across from the kitchen and the master bedroom beyond the bathroom, adjoining the sitting room.

She started to lead Chink into Val's room, but he went up to the front and looked into the sitting room, then he hesitated before the door to the master bedroom. Dulcy had padlocked it with the heavy Yale lock Johnny had used to lock her in.

'What's in there?' Chink asked.

'That was Val's room,' Dulcy said.

'What's it doing locked?' he wanted to know.

'The police locked it,' she said. 'If you want it open, go ahead and break down the door.'

He laughed, then looked into the bathroom. The water was running in the tub.

'I'm going to take a bath first,' she said. 'Do you mind?'

He kept on laughing to himself with a crazy sort of exultation.

'You're a real bitch,' he said, taking her by the arms and pushing her into Val's bedroom and back across the bed. 'I knew you were a bitch, but I didn't know how much bitch you really are.'

He began kissing her.

'Let me take a bath first,' she said. 'I stink.'

He laughed jubilantly, as though laughing to himself at his own private joke.

'A real solid-gold bitch,' he said as though talking to himself. Then suddenly he sat up straight. 'Where's the money?'

'Where's the knife?' she countered.

He took it from his pocket and held it in his hand.

She pointed to an envelope on the dressing table.

He picked it up, opened it with one hand while holding onto the knife with the other and shook hundred dollar bills onto the bedspread. She eased the knife from his hand and slipped it into the pocket of her robe, but he didn't notice. He was rooting his face in the money like a hog in swill.

'Put it away and undress,' she said.

He stood up, laughing crazily to himself, and began stripping off his clothes.

'I'll just leave it there and look at it,' he said.

She sat at the dressing table and massaged her face with cream until he'd finished undressing.

But instead of getting beneath the covers he lay on top of the coverlet, and he kept picking up the brand-new money and letting it rain down over his naked body like falling leaves.

'Have a good time,' she said, going into the bathroom. She heard him laughing crazily to himself as she closed the adjoining door.

She quickly stepped across the bathroom, opened the opposite door and stepped into the other bedroom.

Johnny slept on his back with one arm flung out across the cover and the other folded loosely across his stomach. He snored lightly.

She closed the bathroom door behind her, crossed the room quietly, and set the radio to alarm within five minutes. Then she dressed quickly in a slack suit without stopping to put on underwear, slipped into the robe again, and went back into the bathroom.

The water had been running all the while and had reached the overflow outlet. She turned off the faucet, turned on the shower and pulled the drain stopper.

Then she went quickly into the hall, turned into the kitchen, took her saddle-leather shoulder handbag from one of the cabinet shelves and went out through the service doorway.

She was crying so hard as she ran down the stairs she bumped into two uniformed white cops coming up. They stood aside to let her pass.


Вы читаете The crazy kill
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