As the Spawn slept this morning — her first class isn’t until nearly 11 — Mrs. M and I were getting ready for work. She was leaving first, and as I was heading to our room to get something, she stopped me. “Look out the front window.” I did, and I saw the front end of a white crate, the rest obscured by local foliage.
I recognized the silhouette of the front end: “Looks like a cop’s crate.”
“Why would they be parked down here?” the frau asked.
“You got an alibi?” She snorted and went out to her heap and into the morning twilight. About a minute later, my phone rang. It was the dame. I had been right — it was the heat. She had milked the flatfoot for info and called me to stool.
A local had been casing some buckets with an eye toward boosting anything he could hock, but when the johns showed up, he heeled it before they could make the pinch. The twist told me to be careful when I went out. “I always am,” I said. Somewhere, I heard bloodhounds.
The kid slept on in the next room, and after a few minutes, I told her goodbye. “Keep the doors locked,” I said, and went to my own boiler in the driveway. I saw three coppers coming out of the scrub brush near my house. One walked up the drive as I sat behind my wheel. He gave it to me straight, told me about the guy who had rabbited, and said if I saw him, I should drop a dime. He also told me the mug wasn’t heeled, but that I shouldn’t brace him. “Hadn’t planned to,” I said. I pulled away, and as I rounded a corner toward campus, I saw three more of Mondoville’s finest, and the dogs I had heard before.
I made it to my office when the phone squawked like a saxophone on a humid Mondoville morning, because my ringtone for texts sounds like a saxophone, and I’m in Mondoville, and it was humid. The text was the campus notification system. It didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. A minute or two later, David, the department’s high pillow came by. He’s a good egg — I’d drink from the same bottle. We started chinning about the case and after a bit, I heard the sax again. The heat was on the mug — someone had made him on the other side of campus, near the dorms where the high society live. “Won’t be long now,” I said. David agreed, and went back to his dump.
Five minutes later, it was over. The hood had been nabbed, and we could all go easy. We’d hear about the rest from the newsies. My footsteps echoed down the hallway and I walked into the classroom.
“OK, you ginks,” I said. “Let’s talk about The Castle of Perseverance.” A little over an hour later, I was back at my flop.
The Spawn met me at the door. “Anything happen?” she asked. I laughed.
This is my campus. My name is Mondo. I carry an electronic gradebook.