Willie Prader had a bad feeling about this one. Like maybe he’d bit off more than he could chew.
The leggy blonde named Crystal had sauntered through the door and into his life just a week before. For someone who made his living being observant, he should have learned by now – trouble was always blonde, and it always sauntered.
The job was simple. She was convinced that her husband was cheating. Willie’d been a private dick since Moses was a pup, but still had to wonder what kind of guy cheats on a bombshell like this dame. She had the face of a starlet, and he couldn’t help but notice how her legs got together and made an ass of themselves.
Prader parked his battered Lincoln at the White Castle across the highway from the Palace Diner and waited. The guy drove a ’68 Fleetwood, so he’d be hard to miss. When Mr. Light finally pulled up at the Palace, Prader was amazed to find out just how hard to miss he actually was. The guy got out of the Caddy and the chassis elevated like one the Impalas the kids drive out in L.A. Only this car didn’t have complicated hydraulics, it heaved up because the guy who got out of it had to tip the scales at five bills or more. He leaned down and checked his massive face in the little mirror on the door, then shifted his bulk toward the diner entrance.
Prader chuckled to himself. He never would’ve guessed that a doll like Crystal would be married to a guy who looked like he was built when meat was cheap. He leaned back on the Lincoln, lit a Lucky and watched across the lanes of blacktop as the round man somehow crammed himself into a booth. The waitress was hovering at his table, spending too much time for someone who should be hustling up and down the aisle slinging hash for tips. She laughed and smiled at him, touching his arm as he shifted his attention between her and the glossy menu.
Willie decided to get a closer look at this little romance. He jogged across the highway and stood in the shadows just outside the neon glow of the flickering sign. He considered his surroundings, making sure he wouldn’t be too conspicuous. He looked back up to the window and saw the booth was empty. For a minute, he thought maybe he was looking at the wrong booth. Just then, he felt the massive ham-hand grip his arm like a vise. He was pretty sure the pain in his ribs was the business end of a Colt, maybe a Baretta. The man-mountain pushed him toward the diner door and the barrel of the handgun kept him moving.
Light stared at him across the booth with tired eyes. The waitress looked at Prader with just a hint of dull surprise after putting three platters down in front of the big man. She smiled briefly at Light as she left.
“My wife sent you snooping” Light declared. “She knows I’m cheating,” he continued, “but look at this plate of sausage and eggs with hash browns. Do you have any idea how many points that meal is? Sorry pal, but I can’t lose Crystal because of what you or some team of cardiologists tell her.”
Prader swore at himself as he lay bound and gagged in the trunk of the Caddy, probably on his way to a landfill. If he got out of this alive, he’d need to listen closer to clients, especially the blonde ones.