Beware of the Dog

Beware of the Dog by Peter Corris

Book: Beware of the Dog by Peter Corris Read Free Book Online
Authors: Peter Corris
‘Look, love,’ I said, ‘I don’t believe those two died by accident.’
    â€˜Your former client is being looked for. If you’ve got any information you should volunteer it.’
    â€˜I haven’t, but maybe if I just sniff around.’
    â€˜Bullshit. And what did you say was your unstated motto: no dough, no show, wasn’t that it?’
    â€˜All right, but the Wilberforce thing is different. She took my gun, for Christ’s sake. I feel like a bloody idiot.’
    â€˜Male pride. Terrific way to run a business.’
    â€˜The old man …’
    â€˜Probably doesn’t remember who you are. Leave it be, Cliff.’
    â€˜And do what? Walk all the way to the library on my own? Read the TV guide? Pick a few winners and plan what to have for dinner?’
    â€˜Look at you. You can hardly move without something hurting.’
    â€˜I want to find Paula Wilberforce. I
have
to. It’s important.’
    â€˜More important than your health? More important than me?’
    â€˜Shit.’
    The cat wandered out of the house, stood on the warm bricks and stretched itself. It mewed and curled up in a corner. We both looked at it and laughed.

11
    I started by getting myself fit enough to do more than get out of bed and feed the cat—long walks in the warm part of the day with my shirt off, up and down the Wigram Road hill several times a day, plenty of protein and sleep. After a week of that I felt well enough to reclaim my car from the Chatswood police compound. The cops were barely civil, compliant rather than cooperative. My profession still wasn’t popular with the custodians of the law. They slapped me with a towing charge, a fee for holding the vehicle and an unroadworthy notice. With the taxi fare from Glebe, it was turning out to be an expensive morning. They gave me the notice before I saw the car.
    â€˜What’s this?’ I said.
    â€˜Can read, can’t you?’ the senior constable said. ‘One bald tyre, defective wiper, broken tail-light.’
    â€˜How can you tell the wiper’s defective unless you turn on the ignition? And the tail-light wasn’t broken when I left it.’
    â€˜On your way, Mr Hardy,’ the senior said. ‘And don’t get stopped between here and home with the vehicle in that condition.’
    â€˜No wonder you’re so popular,’ I said.
    â€˜Just be sure the cheques you write to the Police Department and the Road Traffic Authority don’t bounce.’
    I let him feel like a winner as he scratched his second chin. The Falcon’s engine purred immediately into life and the wipers worked fine. ‘Like being with the cops, do you?’ I said. ‘Be careful or I’ll trade you in.’
    More out of curiosity than anything else, I drove to Lindfield. The For Sale sign had been taken down and work had been done in the garden. New owners were putting their stamp on the place. A Mitsubishi Colt was parked in the driveway and a security screen had been installed across the front door. I wondered who had bought the house, who had got the money and what had happened to the broken easel and the paintings. On past experience, Climpson & Carter were unlikely to enlighten me.
    The drive back to Glebe didn’t phase me. I found I could put my own seat-belt on and everything. I celebrated by skipping the Wigram Road hike and having a couple of glasses of wine with lunch. Then I phoned Sir Phillip Wilberforce.
    â€˜Yes?’ an old, cracked voice said carefully. It sounded as if he’d suddenly aged twenty years.
    â€˜Sir Phillip, this is Cliff Hardy. Do you …’
    â€˜Remember you? Of course I do. I haven’t gone gaga, despite what they’re trying to say. I’ve been hoping you’d call. We have things to talk about.’
    This was better than I’d hoped for. It sounded as if I was still on the payroll. ‘Has there been any word of your

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