Savage Night

Free Savage Night by Jim Thompson

Book: Savage Night by Jim Thompson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jim Thompson
there’s any small barrier we can erect against potential difficulties we should take advantage of it.”
    “Perhaps you’re right,” I said.
    We walked along the rows of shelves, with him pointing out the different cans and packages of baking ingredients and giving me a running commentary on how they were used.
    “I’m having some batch cards designed—that is, requisitions for ingredients which the various departments will submit to you. All you’ll have to do is fill them. Now, over here is our cold-storage room where we keep perishables—”
    He levered the door on a big walk-in refrigerator, the kind you see in meat markets, and we went inside. “Egg whites,” he said, tapping a fifteen-gallon can with the toe of his shoe. “And these are egg yolks, and here are whole eggs,” tapping two more cans. “Bakeries buy these things this way for two reasons: they’re considerably cheaper, of course, and they can be measured much more easily.”
    “I see,” I said, trying to keep from shivering. I’d only been in the place for a minute, but the cold was cutting me to the bone.
    “Now, this door,” he said, pushing it open again. “You’ll notice that I left it well off the latch. I’d suggest that you do the same if you don’t want to risk freezing to death. As”—he smiled pleasantly—“I’m sure you don’t.”
    “You can sing two choruses of that,” I said, following him out of the refrigerator. “I mean—”
    He laughed and gave me a dignified clap on the back. “Quite all right, Mr. Bigelow. As I said a moment ago, I’m inclined to be overcautious…Well, I think that will be enough for today. Uh—I know it isn’t much, but in view of the job’s other advantages—uh—will twelve dollars a week be all right?”
    “That will be fine,” I said.
    “You can set your own hours—within reason. The ingredients for the various dough batches can be checked out before they’re ready for use, and then you’ll be free to study or do—uh—anything else you like.”
    We left the main storage room and entered a smaller one, an anteroom, stacked high with sacks of salt, sugar and flour. At the end of a narrow corridor between the sacks, there was a door opening onto the street. Kendall unlocked it, winking at me.
    “You see, Mr. Bigelow? Your own private entrance and exit. No one is supposed to have a key to this but me, but if you should be caught up on your work and feel the need for a breath of air, I see no reason why—uh—”
    He gave me one of his prim, dignified smiles, and let me out the door. I paused outside and lighted another cigarette, glancing casually up and down the street. The door—the one I’d just come out of—was well to the right of the entrance to the office. Even if there was someone in there working late, as I would be on an after-school job, I could go in and out without being seen. And straight down the street, a matter of a hundred and fifty yards or so, was the house.
    With Fay Winroy to set him up for a certain time—a good dark night—it would be a cinch. I could stand there at the door and watch until he went by, and then…
    It was too much pie. It was so good that I couldn’t make up my mind whether I liked it.
    I sauntered on down the street, turning in at the bar across from the house. I ordered an ale, and sat down.
    Kendall. Was he just a nice old busybody, a man who’d taken a fancy to me like a lot of elderly people had, or had The Man got to him? I couldn’t make up my mind about him. Twice now, well, three times, I’d thought I’d had him figured. And each time, even now, right after he’d practically told me where he stood and handed me the deal on a platter, I began to doubt my figuring. I still wasn’t sure.
    He just didn’t fit the part. No matter what he said or did, I just couldn’t hold a picture of him as a guy who’d get mixed up in a gang murder. And yet…well, you see? That was what made him an almost sure-fire bet. If—

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