Part 67: Calling the Boss, Episode 2
(Nine o'clock. ...Bar's open. Hell, I cleared up that mess with Angel. Might as well celebrate with a drink.)
As usual, the phone rings after a few steps.
Phone The phone's ringing.
So what's new?
I wish I had time to hear all the details, but Ed's yelling at me again. Let me put him on.
It's Ed! We haven't seen him since, like, Chapter 2?
Louie and me had a little chat about his pal Danny.
Louie wasn't involved in the murder. And he didn't make off with the cash, either.
Yeah? So who iced him?
Seems Bradley was working for Nile under the name of J.
J? That's a helluva'n alias.
Louie and Danny had a meet scheduled, but Bradley crashed the party.
Well, I'll be damned.
He blew Danny away, then took a painting the kid had swiped from Nile's hideout. Bradley also got the money Danny was using to close the deal. ...Nile's money. This was three years back. Right before I met Bradley on the docks. At least, that's Louie's story. For what it's worth, I think he's playing me straight.
Makes sense. Keep talkin'.
I told Louie I was still on the hunt for Bradley. He put two and two together and told me everything. Now he wants to help out. Keeps saying we're partners.
Har! Revenge makes strange bedfellows.
Yeah, there's more.
When I checked in, I heard a guy with my name had stayed here. Happened about six months back. Anyway, I searched the room the guy stayed in and found a lighter.
Yeah, and it's a lighter I remember well, if you follow.
You telling me Bradley stayed at that hotel? That what you're thinking?
Uh-huh... You thinking you can pick up his trail?
Worse things could happen.
He's no ghost.
You hate him. That it?
Hell, I understand. Bradley was your partner. Your friend. ONe day he double-crosses you, and the world gets a little bit colder. So you trail him to the docks and give him the lead kiss.
And when his mug don't turn up with all the other floaters in the Hudson... You go after him again. Even losin' the badge can't stop you. Hate like that eats a man alive.
It isn't hate, Ed. Never was. I just need to know why he did what he did. Why he sold me out. Bradley had a reason. I know it.
So you say.
I don't expect much when you sent me to this hellhole. But what I've found tonight with Louie. And Bradley... You still think it's coincidence?
'Course it is! The hell else could it be?
Having her run research on some dead art mope? What's the story?
One of the guests keeps talking about a painting. Thing's called Angel Opening a Door. Supposed to be worth a fortune. Rachel says it was pinched from an art museum three years ago.
Hey! Martin only mentioned that painter ONCE!
Lemme guess... You think it's the painting Bradley nicked.
Just a hunch.
A hunch, huh? Been a long time since I heard you say that. Your little DeNonno reunion get the cop instincts flowing again?
It's not like that, I just...
You just what?
I know this sounds nuts, but I don't care. There's something about this place, Ed. I know it. Something here is going to lead me to Bradley.
Huh... You really believe that?
Yeah. I do.
OK, Hyde. I'll give you one last night to follow this. But if nothing shakes loose tonight, it's time to hang it up. I ain't gonna watch this thing ruin your damn life.
I don't have much of a life to ruin, Ed.
All right, enough'a this crap. Let's talk business. Remember those items I asked you to find? Well, I may need you to hand 'em over to the client directly.
I'll ring you up later.
That was a long talk. Let's drink to immediately forget all that!
Music: Over Easy
So this is the bar...
Welcome to the Seven Stars, my man!
Music: Easy Feeling
I prefer my barkeeps to be prettier... But I guess you'll do.
Now why you wanna go and hurt me like that? Ain't no one else could look this good behind the counter!
Hope you tend the bar better than you deliver packages.
Lemme tell you a secret, my man... This here is the best place in the whole hotel. Most every job old man Dunning makes me do is a total drag. Makes me wanna take a long lunch and just keep on walkin', ya dig? 'Cept this one. Brother, I could stand back here all day.
So whaddya think? Beauty of a bar, ain't she?
Damn straight! So c'mon, Hyde! Take a load off, for once.
What's your poison?
Bourbon. Make it a double.
Comin' at ya!
I take a seat at the end of the bar.
Hyde, my man? You got no idea what Louie has in store for ya...
This, my brother? This is an eight-year bourbon from the grasslands of Kentucky.
And it's on me.
It smells of good earth, with hints of charcoal dancing around the edges.
Hyde? You OK?
Been forever since I seen a cat make a drink look that good!
Been a long time since I had an eight-year. Thanks, Louie.
Hey, you're the cat what made my day! Feel like the best barman in L.A. now!
Say, Hyde, I don't mean to interrupt your quiet time or nothin'. But we got us a jukebox in the corner there if you want some drinking tunes.
(??? This dump has a jukebox? ???)
Oh, and see those matches on the shelf over there? My work, man. Matches by Louis DeNonno.
(??? You make matches? ???)
Check 'em out when you got a sec. It's a trip.
Louie made matchsticks puzzles, not actual matchsticks. Yes, there's going to be matchstick puzzles. They're completely optional and have no effect whatsoever.
Oh, and there's somethin' else I gotta clue ya in on.
It's about the cat what was here six months ago. The one with your name?
So what's the story?
You had a vacation?
Dunning gave you a day off?
For real, man. Rosa, too. Days where me and Rosa both catch a break are pretty rare. I don't think Mama Sass was even s'posed to get that day off. But I guess Dunning got his wires crossed, 'cause she was outta here, too. So, yeah. Me and Rosa both missed out on seeing that cat's face. Total drag.
(??? So only Dunning saw him? ???)
If that guy was really your amigo Bradley, then he's got some kinda luck.
If I'd been there...? Woulda killed him on the spot with how he done for Danny!
And no one's been in 217 since that day, right?
Music: Rainy Night
Whatcha reading there, Hyde?
Whatcha writing, man
That last one was the game's typo.