The Killing Man

The Killing Man by Mickey Spillane Page A

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Authors: Mickey Spillane
positioned, as if he had been doing something on the desk. The blow had come down at an angle, carefully placed and forcefully delivered. The killer had been in close, standing there until the right moment, then he came down with the weapon on Smiley’s bald skull and demolished him with one terrible whack. The Stilson wrench was simply dropped beside the body and the killer walked out. He didn’t even have to bring his own bludgeon. There were enough wrenches, crowbars and lengths of pipe in the office to handle the matter.
    Whoever the killer was, Smiley had known him. Had a predawn meeting been set for a payoff? It sure looked that way. Smiley could have had the money in his hands, counting it, probably the way he had before. No reason to be apprehensive. It was a regular business deal and he was just making sure he got what was coming to him. And he got that, for sure. The killer simply retrieved the money and walked out into a lonely night that didn’t even have street people to watch him go.
    As professional kills go, it was a nice clean one. Just a big bang on the head and it was over. No fancy work, no revenge or bloody messages like the one in my office. Smiley still had all his fingers.
    The first squad car got there in four minutes. I held up my ID for the two uniforms to see, but the driver recognized me and nodded. “You call this in?”
    “Yeah. The body’s in the back office. I left everything clean. All I touched was the phone under a Kleenex and the light switch with my elbow.”
    The officer took out his pad while the other one went inside. “Let’s get the paperwork done first.”
    “Sure.” I gave him all the personal information he needed, detailed my entry, the discovery of the body and subsequent events. As I was finishing, two more squad cars pulled in with an unmarked sedan right behind them. Pat was at the wheel, his face tight and drawn, and when Candace Amory and her boss got out, I could see why.
    Pat told them to stay right there until the investigation was completed inside, spotted me and came right over. “Mike, what is this penchant you have for being around dead bodies? To hear the DA sound off you’re a walking menace.”
    “I didn’t kill anybody. Not yet, anyway.”
    “Given time, you will, you will. And that’s from the mouth of our eminent district attorney. Now what happened?”
    I gave it to him the same way I did to the first cop on the scene.
    “And you came down here on a hunch?”
    I shrugged.
    “We had a surveillance unit on Smiley’s house last night. He never went home.”
    “If he came in on the red-eye he could have come right here.”
    “Why?”
    “Because he was one of those greedy bastards who wanted his money as fast as he could get it. The office was as good a place as any for a payoff and the time was right.”
    The police photographers arrived and went inside. Pat looked at his watch and said, “You stay put.”
    “Where can I go?”
    “Go talk to the wheels over there,” he said.
    “Pat ... how come the DA isn’t giving you a hassle right now? He usually likes to be right underfoot.”
    “I think the Iceberg Lady has a leash on him,” Pat said sourly.
    No introductions were necessary. The district attorney and I had met before, and if ever there was an adversarial situation, it was the one between us. He had come up out of the ranks and was in his first term of office, and to him, people like me were legislative errors in licensing who had no business in police work. He was the type who disapproved of using informers or sting techniques or anything that might open a legal case to any type of defense.
    I said, “Hell of a way to start the day.”
    “You seem to have a knack for this sort of thing,” he told me. “Care to recite the details again?”
    I said no and went through the routine.
    He took it all in, filing away every detail mentally. “You have a strange position here.”
    “You’d better believe it, counselor. I’m a

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