Chief Blanchette sat his double-wide ass down at Leroy’s lunch counter and ordered an MGD and a salad.
“And doan’ you be puttin’ any o’ dat coonass barbecue in dere, y’hear!” he said, his accent, normally slight, was thicker than ever. Whether it was the heat, or the aggravation brought by the recent unsolved disappearance, it always seemed to thicken up when he was under stress.
“Yes, sir, Oscar,” the young waitress, who was actually Oscar’s cousin said, turning to the kitchen. Before she could turn, Oscar reached out with remarkable speed for a man his size and grabbed her arm, turning her back around to face him.
“It’s Chief,” he said, pointing a thick, dirty finger at the badge on his porcine chest. “Doan you be fergettin’ the pecking order ’round here, missy.”
“You’re hurting me,” Sheryl winced, trying to pull away from the Chief’s claw-like grip.
“Ne’ermind that,” Oscar said with a sadistic, lecherous grin. “Just you run along and faire my salad, eh?”
Oscar watched his cousin walk away to the kitchen, taking special interest in her legs, and the place where they disappeared under her tight black skirt.
“Oh, leave her alone, Oscar,” Leroy said, coming out of the kitchen to bring the Chief his beer. “Let me get you a sandwich.”
“I doan tink so,” Oscar said ruefully. “I tink what I want today is la vérité, yeah?”
“I already told you the truth, Oscar,” Leroy said under his breath. “I had nothing to do with that little boy and his dog.”
Oscar laughed, tits jiggling and face flushed red. It was a wonder he didn’t drop dead of a heart attack at any moment.
“Oh, I know you din’ have rien to do widdit,” Oscar said, gasping and wheezing. “But what about your friend, eh? L’homme vert. He ‘ave anyting to do widdit?”
“Jesus, Oscar!” Leroy said harshly. “Keep your voice down, will you?” It wasn’t busy just yet, like it would be in another hour, but even at ten in the morning, Leroy’s had customers within earshot.
Two weeks previous, Jimmy Singleton was visiting Bonhomme with his family — more monster hunters — and went missing. The parents were from a neighboring parish, but were staying in town at Josie’s little four room boarding house down on Lafayette Steet until things got settled one way or the other. For the first few days Chief Blanchette had wanted to believe it would be one way, but since then he’d resigned himself to the idea that it would most likely be the other. Chet Singleton was a weak, pasty man whose wife Alice wore the pants and did the talking, and the Chief joked with his secretary (a cute little thing named Suzanne who was a regular fantasy of his when he jerked off two or three times a day) that he wouldn’t be surprised if Chet snapped and ended up killing his harpy of a wife before this was all over. Suzanne didn’t think it was all that funny; did not, in fact, like anything about Chief Blanchette, least of all the way his eyes never failed to find their way down her top.
The Singletons told a pretty simple story — Jimmy’s dog had run off, and Jimmy, twelve years old and and big enough to look after himself, had gone off hunting for the damn fool thing. This was in broad daylight, and so they weren’t concerned about it at all until it started getting dark and Jimmy hadn’t come back to Josie’s hotel.
Sheryl returned with Oscar’s salad and quickly retreated back to the kitchen. She didn’t like to spend any more time in the fat man’s presence than she absolutely had to.
“Merci, cher,” the Chief said and began digging into his greens and shoveling them into his sweaty mouth.
Between mouthfuls, he glared at Leroy and pointed his fork at him. “I’m not talking no merde, ‘ere, Leroy. I find out you or your green friend ‘ad anyting to do with dis and I will fuck your shit up, boy. I ain’t havin’ any more o’ that bidniss like we ‘ad back in ’98. Nossir. Sheriff’s breathin’ down ma considerable neck to find me someone to pin this on, and I’d be happy as a gator wid a chicken pie to hand him your sorry ass. This town’d be happy to see the ass end o’ you carted away, yes we would.”
Leroy leaned in close to the big man, placing his hands on either side of his plate, nearly poking his skinny hawk-like nose right in the Chief’s bulbous counterpart.
“Don’t you threaten me, you gelatinous glob of greasy shit,” Leroy said calmly but menacingly, smiling his best gentleman’s smile. “Your hands are just as dirty as mine, you son of a bitch, and there’s no washing off what we put our hands into. You best remember who you’re talking to, Chief.“
Leroy leaned back just as calmly and regarded the Chief’s suddenly pale face with something like satisfaction.
“You enjoy your salad now, Chief. On the house.” Leroy said with a flourish of his hand. “And then you go out and you find that boy, y’hear?”