san zyu roku

Katz had been stabbed four times in the chest and once in the stomach, and didn’t wake until late that evening.  He looked proud to have survived a collapsed lung and some mildly perforated innards.  He was out of surgery and waking up by the time Charles finished filling in the police about what little he knew of Katz’ evening.  He was groggy, but insisted on talking to Charles nonetheless.  “I think I got blood in your rentacar,” he croaked.  His usual wry smirk surfaced briefly but was replaced by a grimace of discomfort.

“Don’t worry about it,” Charles said automatically.  “Tell me what happened.”

He took a deep breath, getting ready to talk.  “I was at that club,” Katz said.  “Followed Ms. Bahti’s friends.  Kept an eye on you from afar.”

“I assumed as much.”

“Looks like you met some of the pack.  Get any names?”

“Yes.  But go on,” Charles added a little impatiently.

Katz described the fight at the Denny’s, ending with the appearance of the mystery man from Los Angeles.  “So they know him,” he finished.  Charles looked stunned, so he tossed in one last tidbit.  “Funny thing, he wound up going home with one of the chicks who was with the pack.”

“Which one?”

“The skinny one.  Not the redhead.”

There had only been two women among Liz’ friends at the club.  Katz had seen Drusilla, perhaps?  Charles nodded and waited for him to continue.

“Anyways, they talk after the fight, and then Andrew and the short guy–“

“Peach,” Charles said.

“Yeah, him.  They get in Andrew’s truck, and the chick gets in the van with Mr. Black Leather.  The pickup takes off, but the van stays there.  So did I.  Andrew’s old news, I want to find out what our California psycho is up to.  Pretty soon it’s obvious though, I mean the van’s rocking like crazy.”  Katz smiled then grimaced again.  “Half an hour later they’re done, and they leave, he drives back to what I assume is her place.”

“How did you get hurt, Katz?”

“I’m gettin’ to that,” he wheezed impatiently.  “Mr. Black Leather dropped the chick off, then went to an all-night grocery store.  Spends about fifteen minutes in there–it’s two in the morning, about–then comes out and starts walking toward my car.  I was parked in between him and his van, so I didn’t think anything of it.  I slouched down in the seat, kinda closed my eyes like I was sleeping.  There wasn’t any time to do anything else without looking like I was trying to get out of there before he saw me.  I probably shoulda done that anyway though, because instead of going past, he walks right up to the car and opens the door.  Jumps in after me.  Next thing I know I’m getting slashed left and right, beat up.  I didn’t have a chance.  I’m goddamn lucky he left me alive.  And bad news for him, too.”

“Why’s that?”

“I got his plate number.  Wrote it down last night, it should be in one of my coat pockets.  I’ll give you the number of a friend of mine, and he’ll make the right calls so we can find out who he is.”

“What if the car was stolen?”

Katz shrugged.  “Doubt it was.  It still had temp tags in the window, from a dealer.  I’ll bet he just bought it.”