Collins, Max Allan - Nathan Heller 12

Collins, Max Allan - Nathan Heller 12 by Angel in Black (v5.0)

Book: Collins, Max Allan - Nathan Heller 12 by Angel in Black (v5.0) Read Free Book Online
Authors: Angel in Black (v5.0)
haven’t said anything yet.”
    The squinty eyes somehow managed to narrow behind the wirerims. “I can tell you she was disemboweled. Certain organs were missing. There were . . . other irregularities.”
    Shaking his head, grinning, cigarette bobbling, Fowley reached a hand in his pants pocket; but the little rat-faced man held up his hands, as if in surrender.
    “Skip it. Skip it. . . . I can’t say anything. This time I can’t say.”
    “Why not, Doc?”
    “Certain facts are being withheld. Facts only the murderer and his victim could know. If I leak what I have, I could lose my job. Obstructing justice, it’s called.”
    “Doc . . . you can trust me. . . .”
    “Forget it. Forget it! We’ll do business some other time.”
    And the little round ratman clip-clopped back down the hall and slipped inside the lounge to finish his doughnut.
    “What the hell could they have found out?” Fowley asked.
    That she was pregnant when she was killed.
    But I just shook my head, like I was wondering the same thing. “It’s not like she was keeping any secrets, lying there naked, cut in half.”
    Fowley squinted in thought. “Something inside her, maybe. Something she swallowed. Or something in her pussy . . .” He snapped his fingers, eyes wild. “Maybe he fucked her in the ass!”
    Only Fowley could make a foul-smelling morgue like this even more distasteful.
    I said, “Come on, Bill—we’re not going to find anything out, down here.”
    “Don’t give up so easy, Nate,” he said, and dropped hiscigarette to the cement floor, grinding it out with his heel. “What kind of detective are you? Let’s check out room four.”
    I followed Fowley down several more dank hallways, past more unattended corpses on gurneys.
    “Sometimes they do the autopsies right on the gurneys,” Fowley told me, lightly, “when things get bottled up. Rims around the gurney edges are too shallow to catch fluids, and blood and guts just spill on the floor, and they just wade in the shit. It’s the fuckin’ Middle Ages around this joint.”
    “Spare me the tour-bus chatter, will you, Fowley? And remind me not to die in Los Angeles.”
    The door to room four—which lacked any glass panel to peer through—was closed. Fowley stood there, studying the doorknob, apparently trying to decide whether to just barge in, when the door opened and two men ambled out: Harry the Hat Hansen trailed by his pudgy Watson, Finis Brown.
    I got just a glimpse of her on the shining steel table, the two halves of her, pelvis tipped obscenely up; her head was to one side, staring at me, teeth showing through the gaping wound across her mouth. The flesh of her scalp had been cut and pulled away, the top of her head had been sawed off, for the removal of her brain.
    Then, thankfully, the door was closed.
    Harry—his powder-blue fedora snugged in place, still natty in his dark blue tailored suit despite a brutally long day—looked at us blankly. He was the kind of premeditated man who had to decide whether or not he was pleased or pissed off.
    Brown—his rumpled fedora in hand, his suit looking more slept-in than ever—didn’t need time to know how he felt.
    “What the hell are you shitheads doing here?” the chunky cop exploded, moving forward, putting a flat hand against Fowley’s chest. “Get the fuck out. This is restricted!”
    Hansen, however, was smiling. He rested a hand on Brown’s shoulder. “Brownie—relax. These are the men who found the body, remember? Perhaps they’re just here to volunteer their formal statement.”
    “We can go down to Central Homicide, if you like,” Fowleysaid, obviously a little cowed from having the beefy Brown in his face.
    Gazing sleepily at us, the Hat spoke as if in benediction. “That’s not necessary. Brownie here can take your statement, Bill—and we’ll send over a typewritten version to the Examiner , for your approval, and signature.”
    Fowley didn’t quite know what to make of

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