Body parts & sex parties in the snowy playground that is Aspen. Det. Spinner Krespinak suspects drugs. An olympic ski hopeful is brutally killed, Spinner vanishes, his PI exSEAL buddy is shot, & a catch-22 no one anticipates.
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"Butler, you got no brains!" Garnal yelled into the phone. "You know better'n to call on an open line the cops probably bugged." phone clenched, his knuckles white. "That goddamn Krespinak is on a witch hunt! I didn't have nothing to do with roughing up Janoski. Anytime I got a loose mouth that needs shutting, I don't start street brawls. I send flowers to the goddamn funeral."
"I'm supposed to believe you?" Butler sniveled. "You'd lie to your mother."
"Listen, you dumb sonofabitch." Garnal growled. "Ask yourself why I'd cause more trouble for myself than Janoski's worth?"
Butler said, "Cause you take orders like ever' body else."
Being called a lackey by a pork-assed road-kill turd like Butler turned Garnal beet red.
"I already chewed that half-wit Janoski for showing yellow." Garnal threatened. "I'm not puttin' up with it from you."
"What's the idea of turning those apes loose on Janoski?" he sniveled. "Killing Ferguson put him over the edge, and if he goes to the cops - "
"Get a grip!" Garnal bawled. "You got no moxie." sweat soaked his collar. "You must'a been a wimp ass kid `cause you still are."
Garnal's patience gone, he had a sizzling gut-ache, all his work, his years of getting his Aspen arrangements in place, everything heating up for all the wrong reasons.
"Those two that worked over Janoski didn't fall out of the sky." Butler carried on. "You know so much, who's trying to set me up?"
Fear driving his bluster, could sense the wolves closing in, too panicky to sense the danger in prodding Garnal, afraid of skeletons in unopened closets, ones he desperately wanted left unstirred. All his life he'd tried to get away from being Chuckie Butler, being laughed at behind his back, and the cocksuckin' bastards were still picking on him. Nobody cared.
"Chicago wants things kept quiet." Garnal barked. "Roughin' up Janoski wasn't my idea." this fat little worm was getting on his nerves. "Only an idiot shits on his own doorstep. You're brain dead if you can't see that."
"Who else is in on your little Real Estate schemes?" Butler kept pushing.
It was the wrong question, at the wrong time. Butler shooting his mouth off about things he wasn't supposed to know about, specially if the cops were listening.
"That's none'a your friggin' business!" Garnal bristled. "Right now we've got enough problems keepin' our eyes on the Narcs, trying to find out who's the stoolie. Deal took off for San Francisco yesterday, so you keep your nose clean, and your mouth shut! You understand what I'm sayin'?"
"It's my neck Krespinak is breathing down." Butler mewed. "My patients live around here. This get in the papers I'm ruined."
"You don't give cockroach shit about your patients. You're a squeegee little money-grubber, that's all you ever cared about, except maybe your hide, and you're not doing a very good job of taking care of that either." smashed the phone down.
Muttered, "I'm surrounded by fuckin' idiot!"
His fingers drummed a steady staccato on his desk, he'd taken all the risks, done the local site studies, put the proposal to Walton. Aspen was a good location with excellent clearing connections, international flights, the big spenders. If this deal fell apart, Mr. Import-Export Walton would make sure his neck was the first one chopped, survival's golden rule, strike before struck. Grabbed the phone, punched in the private Chicago number, no secretary, no answering machine, no in-between parties.
Frank Walton knew who it was before he answered. He didn't like the unexpected, particularly when it was bad, didn't mind blaming the messenger `cause the creeps were usually trying to cover their ass.
Walton said, "Good to hear from you, Tom." Without waiting for Garnal, "What can I do?"
"We got faulty merchandise I'm planning to write off." Garnal said. "I wanted you to know in case you had other ideas." tried to stifle a nervous cough. "You want I should make the arrangements?"
"Them problems should'a been settled long before now." Walton's tone dead flat. "We'll take care of the details out of the main office. Who's responsible?"
"The two we discussed." Garnal answered.
Walton's icicle congeniality sprouted weedy fear in Garnal. He couldn't shake the fear that Walton might include him in the cleanup.
Walton abrupt, "Good hearing from you."
Walton severed the connection, turning the situation in his mind. The whole Aspen enterprise getting too shaky, and he sure didn't intend none'a it coming back onto him. Knew it would be messy, and cause more problems. Scribbled the names, stuck the note in his pocket, lives reduced to numbers. The clock outside his sauna showed 04:23PM, an hour later than Colorado.
He picked up the phone.