The Killing Man

The Killing Man by Mickey Spillane

Book: The Killing Man by Mickey Spillane Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mickey Spillane
seemed to have a significance. And the chances were, Penta had left his trademark in other places as well. There was always a pattern to mutilations, always a reason for them. The big ones that hit the news generally had sexual overtones, breasts and bellies being targets for a deviate’s knife, or male castration and on into animal and sometimes human sacrifices. Crazy. They were all crazy ... but every one of them had a reason for happening.
    Penta. Was there a reference to five? Five fingers? But there were ten cut from DiCica’s hands.
    It was crazy, all right, but that was what was going to trip up Penta. I finished my drink, took a shower and went to bed. I set the alarm for six and set the switch.
    At seven thirty I parked two blocks away from Smiley’s Automotive and walked back on the opposite side of the street. Outside the tire-recapping place a lone truck loaded with used casings was parked, the driver asleep behind the wheel. An old van rattled by and turned the corner up ahead, and that was the end of the traffic. Nobody seemed to be anxious enough about business to open early.
    Smiley’s Automotive was just another place on the block. It was there. Nothing was happening. Behind the dirty windows in the door was the dull glow of a night bulb. After ten minutes nothing had changed and I walked across the street, and only when I got up close I saw the quarter-inch gap in the personnel door where it hadn’t been closed all the way.
    When I nudged it with the tip of my toe it swung open, and I went in fast, the .45 in my hand, and flattened out against the wall long enough to get my bearings, then took four steps to the steel lift and crouched down behind it.
    Nothing moved.
    I inched my way to the other end of the lift and paused there, listening. The tiny scratching noises I heard were coming from the small office in the rear off to my left, minute hurried noises that stopped and started, then were joined by others, and when I heard the brief whistle sound I realized what I was hearing.
    I got up, moved to the door quietly and the rats that were running all over the place saw me and dashed across the desk. When I flicked the light switch on with my elbow I saw all the tiny paw prints and tail streaks from the blood they had been gorging themselves on, a thickening deep red pool that oozed out of the balding head that had been smashed open with a two-foot-long Stilson wrench.
    The body was still in the swivel chair, the head and arms flopped forward on the desk. Apparently that single blow had taken him out so fast he hadn’t moved a muscle afterward. The eyes were still open, half a dead cigar was in the corner of his mouth, extinguished by the blood that puddled around it.
    Under the right arm were two bills from a Las Vegas hotel and a used airline ticket. I could see the name on one bill and the ticket. It was Richard Smiley.
    I draped a tissue around the phone, dialed 0, and when the operator came on told her I couldn’t see without my glasses and gave her Pat’s office number. He had just gotten in and I was about to ruin his whole day for him.
    “Yeah, Mike. Now what’s happened at this time of day?”
    “Somebody’s polished off Smiley.”
    “I’m at the garage now.”
    “Shit. You stay right there and damn it, don’t touch anything.”
    “Come off it, pal. All I’ve done was dial 0 on the phone.”
    “You alone?”
    “Totally. Whoever did this had time to get away. The blood is congealing enough to make him dead for at least an hour. Consider that an unofficial opinion.”
    “You sure it’s Smiley?”
    “His papers indicate it.” Before he could ask I said, “They were lying on the desk.”
    “Okay,” he told me, “hang in there. We’ll be right down.”
    I cradled the phone and looked around. I had probably five minutes before a squad car got there, and if there was anything to know I wanted it firsthand.
    For a few seconds I studied the way the body was

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