Part Four: Legs
"Godammit!" said Hull as he stood menacingly in front of the window holding something long and metallic which I couldn't quite make out in the early morning shadows. He turned in my direction.
In a flash my .38 was up and pointed at Hull's head.
"What the hell?" yelled Hull as he shrank back dropping whatever he had in his hand. It clattered to the floor at his feet. I moved into the room giving myself a direct line of sight, and saw a Odyssey Black Series I 2-Ball putter lying on the floor next to a putting green. "Johnson, have you lost your fucking mind? What's wrong with you? Have I missed some alumni dues or something?"
I lowered my piece. Whatever was going on Hullie didn't know anything about it. I could read it in his pudgy face.
"Sorry about that." I said a little sheepishly. "I guess anything golf related makes me kinda nervous these days."
"Is that why you wanted this meeting? You want to shoot me because you're clumsy? Maybe you want to ventilate me because my game around the green sucks?"
What was I to say to that? "No, I was just checking to see if you tried to kill me yesterday?" or "Do you want to chip in for some Blackbeard the pirate impersonation lessons for Soupy?" Neither seemed to quite do the trick, so I shrugged and fell into the nearest leather chair.
"Sorry," I offered again.
"Yeah, you said that already." Hull stood there looking me over, trying to figure out, I suppose, just what the fuck I was doing there. If I wasn't so sore I'd probably admit he had a point.
"Johnson," Brett said picking up his putter and pulling a ball out of his jacket pocket and dropping it on the floor, "You can't sit there all day. I'm a busy executive." Hull putted the ball which skidded off the green, hit a potted plant, and rolled under a couch. "Godammit" said Hull again. "The fucking putter must be broken."
I had to say something, I decided. "Hullie, have you heard anything about someone out there who might have a grudge against the Blues?"
"You mean, other than Keenan or New Jersey?"
"What about me personally?"
That resulted in a patented Hullie grin. "Getting paranoid in your young age?"
Shit. This was getting me nowhere, and it was increasingly looking like I was wasting my time in Texas. Casting around in my mind for something I remembered seeing Gretzky.
"What's on the seventh floor of this building?"
"Seventh floor? Not much. Just the video production office and marketing I think. It's a little below my pay grade." Another grin.
Then what the hell was Gretzky doing there? Was he visiting someone? Was he looking for something? Maybe it wasn't related to my situation at all, but my gut was telling me different. Somehow it all fit together, I just couldn't tell how yet.
"Any chance I could look around the seventh floor?"
"Sure," said Hullie, "I'll get my assistant to show you around."
His assistant, eh? Based upon what I saw earlier that would be OK by me.
Hull leaned over to his desk and hit the intercom.
"Steve? Could you take Mr. Johnson here on a tour of the seventh floor offices?"
"Yes, Mr. Hull."
Steve? The name certainly didn't suit the long legged beauty I saw in the outer office, and when Steve, a pimply guy who looked likely to shit his pants if I said "boo" to him walked in I was even more disappointed.
"What happened to the brunette I saw?"
"What do you mean? What brunette?" asked Hull.
"There was a hot broad with nice gams outside when I got here."
"Sounds good, but she doesn't work for me. I have no idea who it could be either."
Alarm bells started going off in my head. Whatever was going on that dish had to be mixed up in it. I needed to get down to seven fast.
"Alright, Steve. Let's go."
Hull called after me. "When you see him tell Chaser my alumni dues are in the mail!"
The seventh floor proved to be the kind of cubicle hell every hockey player hopes to avoid. Hockey players don't fear the minor leagues, they fear middle management. It's a little known fact that Chris Simon actually slashed Ryan Hollweg in the face because earlier in the game Hollweg had asked Simon to go make him a pot of coffee. Hollweg had it coming, the fucker. The sooner I was out of here the better I'd like it.
But I couldn't find anything. Steve led me from room to room and I saw plenty of pasty never-see-the-sun employees, but no sign of Gretzky or the doll whose legs I'd like to spread like butter. We were about to leave when I spotted a closed door by the stairwell.
"What's in there?"
"An office," said Steve, "but its been closed up for two weeks or so for remodeling."
I limped over and tried the door. It was unlocked so I pushed my way in. Inside I found nothing but an empty office with a telephone sitting by itself on the rug, but no paint cans; no tools; no signs of any work being done at all. There was something else, however. A smell. Lingering in the air like a Roman Polak fart was a whiff of perfume. It smelled like the skirt to me. She had definitely been here, but why? The empty room wasn't giving me any answers.
I turned to leave and noticed something else hidden behind the door; a pile of empty file folders.
I chuckled. "Steve, I gotta dust out. Have your boss call me when he figures out his office has been robbed."