'There's a man who has no appreciation for citrus fruit,' Kelly said. They joined in laughter.

A uniformed officer stuck his head in the door and said something in Spanish. Rodriguez turned to the T- men. 'Let's go,' he said. 'They just found the body of an American at the north end of town. Teddy Mora's phone number was in his wallet.'

Rodriguez steered the radio car off the main street into an alley. The alley was filled with drunken bar patrons who had filtered out to see the action: suntanned Americans wearing shorts and sandals; Mexicans in flowered shirts and bracero hats; fat B-girls in red and black cocktail dresses. The crowd made way for the police car. They pulled up to a rope on stanchions that was blocking the alley. Policemen milled about behind it.

Carr and Kelly followed Rodriguez out of the vehicle. Rodriguez yelled orders and policemen extended more rope to block off the other end of the alley.

The body of a black man sat propped against the alley wall. Being careful to avoid stepping on any evidence, Carr moved closer to the body. He knelt down. The neck was tilted grotesquely in death. Carr observed an entrance wound on the left side of the nose. There was blood behind the head on the wall, and the chest was soaked red. He realized it was the FBI informant.

Kelly knelt next to him. 'Is that who I think it is?'

'I'm afraid so.'

'There will be miles of memos,' Kelly whispered. 'Miles.'

A uniformed policeman holding a Polaroid camera tapped Carr on the arm. He made a 'take a picture' gesture. Carr stood up and stepped back. The flashbulb popped.

Carr looked for Rodriguez. The Mexican was standing in front of a police car talking to an officer with sergeant's stripes. He waved at the T-men. Carr and Kelly approached.

'Witnesses,' Rodriguez said. A young blond woman wearing a cowboy hat sat in the backseat. A sleeping man used her lap as a pillow. 'They're both drunk. They were standing at the end of the alley when they heard shots and saw a car speed by. One of 'em says the car was white, the other green. My officers interviewed people inside the bar. They said the victim stopped in for one beer. He used the pay phone in front of the place. A call that lasted about fifteen minutes. They said he does the same thing almost every night. Sometimes he takes calls at the same phone. Strange.'

'Probably making his daily report,' Carr said. 'He was a snitch for the FBI.'

'This case gets more interesting all the time,' Rodriguez said.

Carr followed the submachine-gun-toting Rodriguez up the motel steps. He heard Kelly trotting through gravel in the driveway to take a position at the rear of the place. Because of the hour, there were no lights on in any of the rooms. At the top of the steps Rodriguez handed Carr the room key he had removed from the dead man's pocket. Standing to the right of the door, he slid the key into the lock. He turned it and the lock snapped open. He pushed the door ajar a few inches and groped for the light switch. He flipped it on. Rodriguez rushed past him into the room, tommy gun first. The room was empty. Having checked the closet and bathroom, Carr strolled to the window and motioned to Kelly. Kelly holstered his revolver and headed toward the steps.

Rodriguez laid his submachine gun on the bed and proceeded to upturn the nightstand drawers.

Carr rummaged through a suitcase lying open on the dresser table. It was filled with men's clothing. He slammed it shut and pulled open the dresser drawers. Among socks and bathing suits he found form letters from a federal parole officer, credit-card receipts, book matches from L.A. bars he knew as crook hangouts, roach holders, a cutting mirror, a silver cocaine spoon, two driver's licenses in different names bearing the dead man's photograph, and a snub-nosed.38 revolver.

Rodriguez came out of the closet with a woman's straw purse. He emptied it onto the dressing table in front of Carr. Among tubes of lipstick, wadded Kleenex, and bottles of nail polish was a wallet. Rodriguez picked it up and pulled out a gasoline credit card. 'Sandra Hartzbecker,' he said. He handed the card to Carr.

Carr stared at the credit card for a moment. 'She used to pass counterfeit money for LaMonica,' he said.

'Small world,' Kelly said on his way in the door. He strode to the bed, grasped the mattress with both hands and flipped it onto the floor. A notebook was lying on top of the box spring. He picked it up and quickly thumbed through the pages. 'Dope notations,' he said matter-of-factly. He tossed the book on the floor.

The telephone on the nightstand rang.

Rodriguez picked up the receiver. He nodded a few times, then made exclamations in Spanish. He yanked his pen and notepad out of his pocket and sat down on the bed. After completing some brief notes, he gave instructions and then hung up. 'A Teletype just came in from the San Diego Police Department,' he said. 'They found the body of Sandra Hartzbecker. She was shot and dumped alongside a freeway. They found a motel key to this room on her and requested that we search it for clues.'

'I'll be damned ' Kelly said. His thumbs were planted in his belt.

Carr stepped to the window. The view was of a cluster of wooden shanties webbed with clotheslines that were partially hidden behind the only modern building in town. Carr knew it was a sports betting office. A dry riverbed spotted with gardens of algae ran in front of the inhabited area. It was littered with empty milk cartons and other detritus. He stared blankly at the scene for a moment, then returned to the dresser. Taped to the corner of the mirror was a swimsuit photograph of Mr. Cool and Sandra Hartzbecker frolicking on the beach. The black man was in a weight-lifter's pose. Sandra Hartzbecker stood next to him, feigning amazement as she tested one of his puffed biceps. Carr pulled the photograph from the mirror and stared at it for a moment. He tossed it in the wastebasket.

'LaMonica is covering his tracks,' Carr said.

'Permanently,' Kelly said.

Paul LaMonica, briefcase in hand, knocked loudly on the door of Teddy's Bar for the third time. He looked at his wristwatch. It was almost 10:00 A.M.

Finally, Teddy Mora opened the peephole. 'We've got a lot to talk about,' Mora said. He closed the peephole. The sound of a dead bolt snapping open. Mora swung open the door.

LaMonica stepped inside and gave a quick glance around. The bar smelled like a mixture of stale beer and marijuana. It was dark except for a shaft of gray light emanating from a window in the corner.

Teddy Mora closed the door and locked it. He was clad only in a pair of too-big boxer shorts.

LaMonica sauntered behind the bar. Having set the briefcase down, he poured a shot of tequila. 'Where's the lemon?' he said.

Mora shuffled to the bar. He pointed to a plastic container. 'The goddamn feds rousted the shit out of me at that motel. I've been trying to get in touch with you. They jumped on me like hobos on a hot dog, ripped my camper truck apart. I deserve a fuckin' explanation-'

'That's over now,' LaMonica interrupted. He lifted the shot glass and swigged his tequila. 'You were clean. You had nothing to worry about. The snitch was Sandy's dude boyfriend.'

'That filthy-'

'He's dead,' LaMonica interrupted again. He chomped on a lemon slice.

Teddy Mora's jaw dropped open. 'No lie?' he said.

'No lie.'

'Teddy's not even going to ask Paulie the Printer how it went down,' Mora said. An exaggerated wink.

LaMonica poured another shot of tequila, picked up a knife, and sliced off another piece of lemon.

'Some feds and the local pigs were here looking for you,' Mora said as he crawled onto a barstool. 'They shot holes in the roof and slapped a few of the bikers around. It was because of a traveler's-check guy that came in looking for you. We kicked his ass till his nose bled.' Mora smiled. 'This was a favor from Teddy to Paulie the Printer.'

LaMonica drank the tequila and bit into a lemon slice. 'How are things with the Barber?'

Mora stared at him for a moment. His eyes lit up. 'I just spoke to him yesterday. He's ready to deal.'

'I've got my part of the money,' LaMonica said.

Mora gulped. 'All of it?' he said.

Paul LaMonica unlocked the latches on the briefcase and flipped it open. 'All of it,' he said.

Mora's mouth dropped open, then stretched into a broad grin. He reached across the bar and slapped the other man on the shoulder. 'I knew you'd do it,' he said. 'There was never one single fucking moment that Teddy

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