First Interview with Suspect, Case #583 (Hom.)
So, look, here’s what I’m trying to say: I had to do it, see?
I’m a reasonable kind of guy.
Well, no… I’m a logical kind of guy. You know, the kind people call a “left-brainer”? I eat, therefore I am.
See, I do my taxes on time, because I want to stay buddies with the IRS, I do the crossword with my coffee, because I’ll notice how bad the coffee is if I don’t, and if someone disrespects me, then, well, he gets what’s coming to him. Logical, you know what I mean?
This one time I watched an old man kvetching on the corner of 2nd and Bedford. Shouting at the top of his lungs about some crap. It’s unimportant; he was being loud, and he was being aggravating. Now, my buddy French was walking by him, ignoring the jerk-off the best he could, when the old man, for some reason, decides to pick on my buddy. He starts shouting in his face, grabbing his arm! Aggravating him.
French is a lot like everyone else around here — respectful towards old men, but he don’t put up with no schmuck. So he pulls his hand back and lets the old crazy have a sharp one across the cheek. Guy lets go, French carries on walking. French had a problem, he solved it. Logical. Right there is what I’m all about.
Besides, who knows. Maybe the old guy was one of Tony Kisch’s. He could have been trying to pat French down or maybe even plant something on him. A cadillac of heroin, maybe. What French did that day may have saved his goddamn career, if not his life! Don’t look at me like that. When you’ve been living on the cracks long enough, you realize anything’s possible. Especially with Tony Kisch and his boys.
So, look, here’s what I’m telling you: what I did to the dame was only logical. I’m logical. I eat, therefore I am, see? It made sense to do it. At least at the time. Look, it still makes sense.
Sure, I had never seen the dame before and she didn’t look like the type to work for Tony Kisch, but that’s beside the point. She was gonna pull a goddamn bean shooter on me. Think I’m gonna just stand there and let her drill me like Vincenzo got drilled? Like a sick dog out in the goddamn gutter!
Okay, okay. Let me lay it out. Give you some perspective on the situation:
I was sitting there on the bar stool, in the Tavern, having a plumber-and-helper. I had just taken the shot and I was feeling good. Thinking about old times. I’m at the bar, watching Heim Levin in the mirror chucking darts at the dartboard. Missing, too. So I’m sipping my Golden Annie and the broad walks in the door to my right. She’s a nice white broad, dressed in a nice little secretary’s get-up. She’s carrying a purse, wearing a little hat. Unusual at Gold’s, but not as unusual as I’ve seen. But something about her makes me take another look. And I’m not talking about her gams.
I told you I’m a logical guy, right?
Something about this dame isn’t adding up. She looks fine dress-wise, she’s pretty enough but no looker. But what’s she doing here? She walks to the bar and asks for a gin and tonic. Gold gets it for her, she sits, drinks.
And then she glances at me.
At first, I took no notice, kept watching Heim as he chucked dart after dart into the wall. But she does it again. Glances at me. A minute later, she does it again. And then later, she glances at me again! Now I know something’s up. It’s as if she’s checking my profile, making sure I’m me. I’m getting a little hot under the collar. She’s getting me aggravated.
So she keeps glancing at me and glancing at me. And then what pushes me over the edge is when she opens up that purse… and reaches inside. She was going for a gun. I know it. I always knew Tony Kisch had a way with dames, but I never knew he’d be low enough to send one on a hit job for me! The damn bitch wasn’t going to bump me off like some crumb fresh off the boat at Ellis. Like hell. Don’t you see it was only logical?
I always carry a nice little Colt Police Positive in my jacket. Of course, you know all about that now… you’re probably running ballistics on it as we speak, am I right? So, look, I grab the gun, point it at her, pull the trigger. Boom, show’s over. Dame’s dead, I’m safe.
It’s logic. What’s so wrong with that?
I first wrote this story in a “Craft of Writing” class in high school, when I was 17. It needed some minor editing, including a few inconsistencies related to the bar (I don’t think I had ever been inside one, so past-me deserves a pass), but I still think this was one of my better ones.