Tucker Cady, a man with all the warmth and softness of a forged railroad spike, gripped the telephone receiver with his bony, left hand and cracked pistachio shells with his right. The voice on the other end explained what happened; who died, how, where, what the cops thought they knew and what were they going to do about it.
“Good,” Cady said and hung up before the other voice could finish. He press a buzzer with his toe and the door opened.
A heavy man, looking somewhere about halfway between chewing his lips off or holing up under a cheap bottle, walked in. He approached the desk and stood there, waiting for Cady to speak.
“My condolences, Michael,” he said, crunching a pistachio.
Michael sighed and his shoulders fell as if he were carrying suitcases full of cinderblocks. Cady tilted his head toward the bar and Michael came back with a glass of scotch for each of them. They raised their glasses and drank.
“It just ain’t right, Mr. Cady,” Michael said. But before all the raw anger and grief could rocket from his throat, he caught the tone in his voice and finished his drink to stifle it.
The room was quiet except for the occasional muted crack as a shell split between Cady’s thumb and forefinger.
“Your son worked in distribution,” Cady asked but expected no answer. “I hear he was industrious. Profits were up. But now he is gone and so is my money.”
Michael stood there and listened.
“Your son’s murder caused an outstanding debt,” Cady said. “I plan to collect.”