Free Crazybone by Bill Pronzini

Book: Crazybone by Bill Pronzini Read Free Book Online
Authors: Bill Pronzini
Tags: det_crime
my health. I said, “Benissimo. Come sano uno cavallino.” He liked that; he laughed and slapped me on the back.
    “So, paisan,” he said, “you eat plenty of sausage and salami, eh?”
    “Sure. Plenty.”
    “My sausage and salami?”
    “I wouldn’t eat any other kind, Mr. DiGrazia,” I lied again.
    “Tony. I’m Tony, you’re Phil.” For some reason he’d got it into his head that my first name was Phil and no attempt by Kerry or me or anybody else during the evening convinced him otherwise. “New world elegance, old world taste. What you think, Phil?”
    “About what?”
    “New world elegance, old world taste.”
    He was looking at me expectantly. I said, “I’m not sure I—”
    “What, Kerry, you don’t talk to your husband? Tell him what good ideas you got?”
    “I only came up with the slogan today,” she said, and nudged my arm. “DiGrazia’s Old-Fashioned Italian Sausages. New world elegance, old world taste.”
    “Oh,” I said. “Slogan.”
    “You like it, huh. Phil?”
    “I like it.”
    “I like it, too. You like it, Roseanna?”
    “No,” Mrs. DiGrazia said.
    This nonplussed Kerry. “Well, you know, it’s only a preliminary working—”
    “Sure, sure,” Tony said. “Kerry’s good, she’s the best, I’m not worried.” He clapped rue on the back again. “Listen, Phil, they got a whole table of my sausage and salami over there, plenty of wine, anything else you want to drink. You and me, we go over and eat some sausage, drink some wine, let the wives get better acquainted.”
    We went and he ordered two glasses of Chianti without consulting me and then loaded up a couple of plates. He said, “Salute,” and clinked his glass against mine, after which he tossed off half his wine at a gulp. “So, Phil, tell me about the detective business.”
    “There’s not much to tell. It’s a job like any other—”
    “Nah, come on. Pretty exciting, eh? I see your name in the papers sometimes, you don’t get your name in the papers if you got a job like any other job.”
    “Well, once in a while there’s some excitement. Mostly, though—”
    “You meet plenty good-looking women, eh?”
    “Sexy young blondes with big tits. Few of those, eh?”
    He leaned close to me; his eyes were very bright. “How many times you screw one on your desk?”
    “What? Uh, I’ve never—”
    “Big tits, little tits, you never screwed one in your office? Desk, floor, how about a couch you got in there?”
    “No. Look, Tony—”
    “I always wanted to do that,” he said wistfully. He finished his wine in another swallow-. “Screw a sexy young blonde, bada boom, bada bing, right there in my office. Once I had a chance, this secretary I had, but she was too old, too fat, fatter than Roseanna. Gotta be worth it, you take a risk like that. You know what I mean, Phil?”
    “Yeah, I know what you mean.”
    “You ever screw somebody in your office, you make sure it’s worth it, make sure she’s some sexy young blonde with big tits. And don’t let Kerry find out. I like Kerry, I don’t want to see her unhappy.”
    Jim Carpenter saved me from any more of this by bringing up somebody he wanted DiGrazia to meet. I wandered back to where Kerry had extricated herself from the dragon lady. She said, “You seem to be getting along pretty well with Tony. He’s a sweet old guy, isn’t he?”
    This was not the time or the place to tell her about Tony’s favorite fantasy. I said, “That’s one way to describe him,” and let it go at that.
    Kerry dragged me around and introduced me to some people. That wasn’t so bad because she was right there beside me, but the room was filling up, spilling over into the smaller one adjacent, the noise level was up into the high-decibel range, and it was inevitable the shifting tide of bodies would pull us apart and I’d be on my own. The guy who wrote that no man is an island must never have been lost in the stormy sea of an

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