“Billy? This gentleman’s from the Cook County Coroner’s office and wants to speak to you.” Billy B looked up from his Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition briefly- just long enough to recognize the face of Sheniqua Colcott, the itinerant Executive Assistant to Emerson “Fatso” Guthrie, WFAN’s General Manager. The quart bottle of Jack Daniels glugged slowly as Billy B poured another three fingers into his ScoobyDoo mug.
“I’m not seeing admirers today, my sista’... including you. Frankly, I think I may have an embolism or something equally as horrible. Did you ever feel like something huge and hideous is parked just above your colon, between your gall bladder and your liver? Some impenetrable mass of gangrenous material is poised to burst and spew all manner of vile putrescence throughout your upper GI system, causing hours of extreme pain and agony before ultimately bringing about your premature demise?”
Sheniqua shook her head sadly at the well-dressed civil servant standing next to her. Standing on her tiptoes, she leaned close to the man’s ear and slowly whispered, “His momma dropped him on his head when he was a child... take pity on him.” Then, smiling with an exaggerated sweet expression, she placed her hand on Billy’s arm and, as an after-thought, offered in a voice loud enough to be heard in the halls, “Now you know why I don’t date white boys!” accompanied by a wide grin as she strutted over to the door and slammed it behind her.
“Are you William Bowman?” The angular black man gestured with his hand toward the chair, politely asking if he might sit down.
Billy B gritted his teeth, his sneer causing the tip of the Cuban cigar to rise. “Well, I guess that depends on who’s asking.” Magnanimously, Billy B gestured for the man to have a seat, then in the same motion grabbed the handle of his mug and drained the contents, wiping his mouth grandiloquently on his shirtsleeve.
“Oh, damn... where are my manners!” Billy said, pouring another shot into the mug. “Care for a little hair of the dog?”
Before Billy could move, the man stood up, grabbed the mug and splashed the contents onto Billy’s face. Grabbing Billy’s t-shirt with both hands, the investigator pulled him over the desk to within inches of his own face. “I’ll make this short because I sense you’re a man who appreciates brevity. Mr. Bowman, my name is Grenadier Hawkins, and I’m the man who’s going to find out who killed Lawrence Sizemore… and why.”
Releasing Billy from his grip, he stepped back and thrust his chin forward, his hands straightening his immaculate red silk tie. Then, he extracted a business card from his lapel pocket and placed it on the corner of Billy B’s desk, as he walked toward the door.
“If you can sober up long enough to help me, I’d be grateful.” A graceful hand calmly twisted the doorknob and the man pulled it open. “But, if you killed him, know who killed him, or in any way played a role in it...” he whispered while walking out, “…well, I’d be grateful to find that out, too.”