That was the worm on Lt. Montoya‘s hook. Bogdan’s Big Beef Deli was the only joint downtown that sold Black Sheep, and Montoya knew it was Kristanabel Wasoo’s preferred slurp.
Kristanabel loved the cool, dark taste, and she embraced the irony.
Montoya had been sitting there for nine nights straight, nursing a Black Sheep on the counter and waiting for another, a beautiful blonde, to walk through the door.
He was growing very fond of the roast beef, which Bogdan’s Big Beef Deli served with onions on Beefsteak Soft Rye with Kosciusko Spicy Brown Mustard.
That’s what you call a real sandwich, not for children or sissies.
If there was anything Kristanabel loved as much as dark ale, it was hot roast beef, rare and red. And Bogdan’s Big Beef, in the heart of Dark City, just six blocks from the old and seedy Marbol Hotel, was ideally situated.
Kristanabel had a long, grim history at the Marbol Hotel.
And then Lady Luck smiled on the old wetback cop. A beautiful blonde walked in. It was her, and she was alone. She paused, scanning the deli with lovely, green eyes.
Montoya tensed and wiped his bottom lip with the back of his hand, thinking some Kosciusko Spicy Brown Mustard might still be lingering there.
But there was none.
She sat two tables behind Montoya’s counter stool, and Bogdan himself shuffled toward her with a lascivious Russian smile. You know what I want, handsome, she said, even though he was far from handsome, the ugly, Slavic dog.
A bloody beef and a Black Sheep, he said out loud, chuckling.
How to handle this? Montoya spoke to himself. There were 14 or so other customers, and he wanted no blood on his hands, especially now because this would be his final collar before retiring and heading home to Guanajuato where he was born.
It would be the feather in his cap, the final coat of Brasso on his badge.
Gotta stay cool, he told himself.
The beautiful blonde stood unexpectedly, surprising Montoya as she walked toward the restroom, closing the door behind.
Montoya waited. Three minutes passed, then five. He looked at his watch. At 10 minutes he jumped up and pushed the john door open. It wasn’t even locked.
She was gone, and the window was open.
What is this? A freaking TV show? Montoya cursed to himself.
* * * *
(One of a series titled The Marbol Hotel.)