I slipped down a laundry chute and then made my way to the clinic’s boiler room. Sure enough there was an old coal-chute that they’d only seen fit to cover with some light gauge galvanized sheet. I crawled up the chute and before I’d even bloodied my knuckles too bad I was through that sheet metal and out on the street. Of course I was naked and covered in coal dust, so I wasn’t exactly inconspicuous. I also wasn’t smelling too much like roses – Momma’s hole wasn’t the cleanest address around.
Fortunately I saw a garbage truck rumbling by, so I ran out between two parked cars – an El Dorado and a Hyundai, go figure – and jumped up into the undercarriage and held on for the ride back to the municipal pound. Sure enough we got there in an hour or two and they ran that thing over with power washers and ammonia. A nice shower after a relaxing ride through the country. I jumped down, went into the locker room, and stole three wallets, two packs of smokes, and a handkerchief that I could use as a pants and a t-shirt after I’d gnawed a few holes in it.
It was time for a drink. I rolled down to the Olde Horseshoe tavern, stepping on the bouncer’s foot on the way in. I hopped up on the bar and walked down to where the bartender was yapping away on the house phone. I flipped a quarter to one of the broads that was nursing a Seven and 7 and told her to play something nice on the jukebox – something that would get her in the mood. Then I put my foot down on the phone hook and gave the bartender my order: “Warm gin and butter, in a bottle.” He started to say something but caught the look in my eye and thought better of it.
The barkeep must have thought he was funny because he poured in a shot and made to hand it over. “I’m a growing boy, here,” I said. “Make it a triple.” I turned to the ladies and asked them if they had a light. The one at the jukebox looked over her shoulder and gave me a kissy-face while the brunette at the bar just reached into her purse for a Zippo. I could see she packed a .38 along with three shades of lipstick.
It was gonna be a long night.