his back to the Florida East Coast Railway shots.
He said to Maurice, “I don’t think she has a problem at all. She had two drinks before dinner, couple of Scotches, she didn’t finish the second one. I think all she had was one glass of wine . . .”
Maurice slid the ice cubes into a bowl. “What’re you talking about?”
“You said in the car yesterday, going to get her, she had a problem.”
“I told you she called me up . . .”
“You said she sounded strange.”
“I said she sounded funny. She tells me she’s got a problem, I ask her what it is, she changes the subject. So I don’t know if it’s booze or what.”
“You seemed to think it was.”
“Well, it still could be. You throw a drink at a cop car, that’s not exactly having it under control. But today she’s fine.”
“You ask her why she did it?”
“She says she was in a bad mood, should a stayed home. The cop gets out of the car, says something smart . . . she throws the drink.”
“Yeah, but what was she doing out on the sidewalk with a drink in the first place?”
“Getting some air—who knows. She was a movie star, Joe. They’re all a little nuts.”
She sat with them in Maurice’s living room wearing slacks and a white cotton sweater now, sandals; she sipped her Scotch with a squirt of soda and struck LaBrava as a person who was courteous and a good listener. But then what choice did she have once Maurice got started?
He was showing off tonight:
“. . . Neoga, Española, Bunnell, Dupont, Korona, Favorita, Harwood, National Gardens, Windle, Ormond, Flomich, Holly Hill, Daytona Beach, Blake, Port Orange, Harbor Point, Spruce Creek, New Smyrna, Hucomer, Ariel, Oak Hill, Shiloh, Scottsmoor, Wiley, Jay Jay, Titusville, Indian River City, Delespine, Frontenac, Hardee’s, Sharpes, City Point, Spratt’s, Dixon’s, Ives, Cocoa, Rockledge, Williams, Garvey’s, Paxton’s, Bonaventure, Pineda . . .”
On his way to naming every stop on the Florida East Coast line from Jacksonville to Key Largo, reciting the names without a pause, as he had learned them back in the early thirties.
This evening Maurice had to get off at Vero Beach to go to the bathroom and LaBrava and Jean Shaw looked at each other.
“The first time I met him,” Jean Shaw said, “we were having dinner with a group. I think it was a place called Gatti’s.”
“It’s right over here. Not far.”
“He did his train stops. Exactly the same way, the same pace.”
LaBrava said, “But how do we know he’s not leaving some out?”
She said, “Would it make any difference?”
There was a silence. LaBrava looked toward the bathroom, then at Jean Shaw again. “I’d like to ask you something I’ve been wondering.”
“Go ahead. About the movies?”
“No, it’s about a guy named Richard Nobles. Do you know him?”
She sure did. It was in and out of her eyes.
When she said nothing, but continued to stare at him, he felt like a sneak. “Big guy with blond hair. About six-two.”
“He’s six-three and a half,” Jean Shaw said. “He’s a security cop and he thinks every woman he meets falls in love with him.”
LaBrava felt relief, and a little closer to her.
She was frowning slightly. “How do you know him?”
“He came to that clinic in Delray last night, while we were there.”
“Really?” She showed only mild surprise.
“He was pretty drunk.” LaBrava offered it as a cue, wanting her to begin talking about Nobles, but it didn’t prompt much.
All she said was, “I can believe it.”
LaBrava tried again. “He said he was with you earlier. I mean he said he’d been with the person he came to pick up. He didn’t mention anyone by name.”
She was nodding, resigned. “The reason I left the bar was to get away from him.” Her eyes returned to LaBrava. “I suppose you heard what I did.”
“Got a little upset with a policeman.”
“It was that flashing light. I didn’t need help, I wanted to be alone. But