|I sat there listenin' ta Primrose as she sang her sad song, yakkin' like there's no tomorrow, an' no amount of free hooch was makin' any of it more interestin' ta me. I thought about ditchin' her an’ the tall drink a' water, but she finally got my atttention.|
“Diamonds?" I pull my peepers off the hired goon fer a minute an' look over at the dame.
“Yes Miss sanchez, The caller was demanding that I hand over the ‘rose diamonds’. But I have never heard of any such thing, you have to believe me.” The tall tomato gives me those 'please believe me' eyes. Like I'm too stupid ta know if she's lyin'.
“I believe ya sister, now could ya rattle through the rest of yer story before I fall asleep.”
Primrose finally gets the idea that less is more, an’ gives me the short story.
The short an’ sweet version is that she’d been visitin' her friends in Europe an’ out on the east coast, all sound like they gots more scratch than brains. She came home last week ta the news her uncle was dead. While that’s sad an’ borin', it wasn’t my problem. Naturally, I went back ta checkin' out the body guard, ya can never tell where they might have a weapon stashed. I figured I'd make damn sure he wasn't packin’ anything lethal.
After a weekend away, visiting more rich idiots, she finds her place tossed an' her uncle's stuff scattered seven ways from sunday. The tall genius made the connection that her dead family member an’ the thugs breakin’ inta her place might be related. Yeah, that's a stretch fer the mental midget, but before she calls the police her phone rings.
Some guy threatens her not ta involve the cops, an’ ta bring the rose diamonds to a meeting point that afternoon. With no friends in the city, it seems everyone who knows my client prefers ta live at least a five hour train journey away; she calls up the first bodyguard outfit she can find.
The handsome guy wearin’ lead must have more smarts than our employer, cuz he recommends that she call in Jim Beam. Now the boss has his faults, sense of humour bein one of them, but he knows his game. An when we ain’t been swappin bullets with low life goons he’s been learnin me the P.I. business, so I figure I can fill his boots fer the moment.
“Ya gots anywhere ta hide while I sort out this mess ya gotten into toots?” I says.
“I know a little place along the coast” she says, all happy camper like. “No one would look for me there.”
“Yeah, sounds swell.” I say, blowing a pink bubble. “Ya wanna grab yer hired muscle an we’ll head out.”
Primrose an’ me wander over ta the tall drink a water she calls William. He’s been doin a fair job watchin the door. ‘Course his work woulda been easier if our ditsy dame hadn’t picked a bar where half the customers are spicious lookin thugs.
I can see why the boss is a regular at this gin joint.
“Yeah I heard Beam was workin wit some dame now.” William says, replyin ta somethin Prim’ said.
“The name’s Rosie, Rosie Sanchez” I tell the tall gent in the pinstripe suit.
“Well, Miss Sanchez, Miss Chase, what is the plan now.” The body guard says, all respectful like. But then the Primrose dame is payin his wages.
“Well, Will, we’re headdin outta town ta this place Primrose knows. I want you an her ta hold up there while I try an sort stuff out.” I finish the last of my drink an’ head out the door.
It’s getting late, I wanna ditch these two an’ call it a night. I got a poker game later; an they ain’t figured out how I’m cheatin yet.
Outside we find the car, a dark green eighty-eight Oldsmobile. Primrose an me slip inta the back, this dame seems ta think lookin over her shoulder an duckin down makes her invisible ta invisible ta any peepin toms. I’m thinking of slugin her with my 44. since draggin’ her body about the place would draw less attention.
With the setting sun ta our right we leave the city an head along the baking road leading ta my clients hidin place. The tall drink a water in the drivin seat seems alright, he’s easy on the eye fer sure, but I’ll be happy when I’ve got the pair of them outta my hair.
“Ya gonna try an loose this car at any point kid?” I ask William.
The dark Ford had been creepin up on us fer a while now, with no turnings off this road it hadn’t seemed too odd. But the guy in the passenger seat with the tommy gun was definatly a bad sign.
“I’m floorin it now an’ we ain’t shakin them sister. What do you suggest?” He calls over his broad shoulder.
“Brace yourself!” I holler as the Ford rams us from the left.
Primrose grabs the floor as the bodyguard does his best ta keep us from crashin through the weak wooden barrier that stands between us an a short dive ta the rocks below. Why are these little places outta the city always at the end a cliff side roads?
Sparks go flying an a screechin noise fills the Oldsmobile, I’m getting real tired of this an pull out old lucky. But before I can show these thugs ma 44s up real close they pull back.
“Are they gone?” Primrose calls from the floor.
“Nah, But I dont think they care about makin it look like an accident no more.” I says as the goon with the beanspitter leans outa his window. “Get down!”
The car trailin us is tossin' lead in our direction. Glass flyin' all over an' I take new interest in the floor.
“Swing right then left” I yell at William.
The hired good follows orders pretty good, an’ fer a second the gunman behind ain’t got no target. That’s when me an my trusty gat say hello; there is a burst of thunder an the Fords windscreen shatters, the dark car swerving. Before duckin back I see the driver clutch his shoulder. But they ain’t givin up.
“Down again tall, dark an drivin.” I say as the hatchetmen open fire.
“What now?” Miss Chase wimpers, clutchin her hat like it was bulletproof.
“Well they gotta run outta rocks ta throw sometime sister.” I reply all casual like, hopin that they need ta reload before we’re run off the road. “An I’m plannin on more than jus winging their wheelman next time.”
Right on cue the lead stops flyin an I take a peek outa the broken window. My friend with the Chicargo typewriter is tryin ta reload. Before he can fire again I get off three rounds of good old magnum rounds. As my last shot is fired I hear a boom beside me, Primrose has finally decided ta join the fight. I’da been happier about this if the screwy dame ain’t deafened me in one ear.
A window behind the gunman explodes courtesy of Miss Chase, not bad fer a beginner ta swapin lead at high speeds I guess. I was aimin fer something a little more dramatic, an’ gets my wish as the driver receives some hot lead ta brighten up his waistcoat. Outta control the ford dives offa the road. I get a nice long look a the expression on the passengers face as he prepares ta say hello ta the bottom of the cliff.
“There’re gone kid, ya can take both feet of the gas if ya wants.” I says, turning back round.
The car is a mess, but it’s still rollin an that’s all I care about jest then. Williams got this grimace on his face, I get the feelin this ain’t his first car chase, it don’t look like he’ll be a problem though. Primrose, on the other hand, is a whole mess a problems by herself.
The rich dame in the secretaries outfit has gone pale, she’s shakin like she’s seen a ghost an there’s tears in her eye. I guess that it wouldn’ta been a good time ta ask if she was dumb enough to get new clothes an’ disguise her hair but let us drive around in her own car the whole time.
“Well, we’re still kickin toots.” Says I “I don’t think this hideaway of yers is such a swell idea no more. Take us back ta town Will, I know a place where we can lay low fer the night.”
“I don’t get hired for my words a comfort sister,
but I’m the girl if ya want hot lead an a short fuse.”
Rosie Sanchez, 1952.