I’ve Got Friends in Low Places
A few slaps with the Sheriff’s automatic have apparently shaken the stupid out of Archer, because his next move, to Kerrigan’s bar, the Golden Slipper, is a good idea. The bar boasts very few customers, a bored bartender, and several women who are obviously prostitutes. A gold mine of information awaits.
Archer starts with the bartender.
- Kerrigan sold the bar to the bartender that morning.
- The bartender is astonished that Tony Aquista is dead and even more astonished that Kerrigan had purchased $70,000 worth of bourbon that he had no way of selling, now that he sold his bar. But important as it is, that’s as much information as Archer gets. Like everyone else in down, the bartender hates Meyer and refuses to say anything more once Archer reveals that he is working for him. Unaccountably, Archer fails to play on the bartender’s sympathies by asking about Anne.
Archer moves on to one of the prostitutes.
- Jo, Kerrigan’s girlfriend, was set up with Aquista by Kerrigan a few nights ago. Kerrigan apparently even arranged for Aquista to go home with Jo. The reader will recall that Jo is flashy and superficially very sexy and that she is the kind of woman Aquista would stop his truck for.
- The prostitute supplies Archer with a glamour shot of Jo, who was going by the name of Jo Summer. It is the same girl Archer saw with Kerrigan at the private room at the restaurant.
- The prostitute also confirms that Jo lives in the apartment building Archer had trailed her to the night before.
Predictably, Chapter Ten takes Archer to Jo’s apartment. Now that he has a name, he can buzz her apartment.
Knowing from his eavesdropping in the restaurant that Jo is a “marijuana fiend,” Archer takes five joints that he had in his car for other reasons and uses them by way of an introduction. She is suspicious of seeing a stranger rather than Kerrigan, but when she sees the five joints all caution disappears and she frantically begins smoking them to ease the agony of marijuana withdrawal. We all know what that’s like, I’m sure. I will take plenty of time to embarrass Macdonald about his naivete about marijuana later; for now let’s just keep moving.
- She and Kerrigan are going away to Guatemala and never coming back.
- When Archer says the police are looking at Kerrigan, she asks isn’t the protection working?
- She claims to be surprised that Aquista is dead.
- She says that Don told her that nobody would get hurt.
- The original plan was for her to flag Aquista down and let others hijack the load, but there was an unspecified change in plans at the last minute and Jo wasn’t involved in stopping the truck.
- Aquista told Jo a story about Anne Meyer; unfortunately, we do not get the details because Jo slips away.
When Archer goes down a back alley to look for her he is confronted by a young thug named Bozey, who beats Archer into unconsciousness with a pair of brass knuckles and steals his wallet and wristwatch.
When in Doubt, Eavesdrop
This is the second eavesdropping involving Archer (we will later learn that Aquista eavesdropped on Anne Meyer before the action opened.) The venue for this one is the Kerrigan residence. Don Kerrigan is leaving Katie, his wife of seven years and it’s every bit as painful, sad and melodramatic as you would expect. I will stick to the useful information gleaned from twelve pages of text:
- Kerrigan claims he is not leaving her for Anne Meyers. For once he is telling the truth.
- Katie has seen Kerrigan with Jo, although she doesn’t know her name.
- Kerrigan and Brand Church had a secret meeting at the house earlier that evening that degenerated into a loud argument.
And a Little Tailing Wouldn’t Hurt, Either
Archer follows Kerrigan and sees a tough-looking young man (whom we will later learn is a Bozey) give Kerrigan a parcel. He then follows Bozey to the abandoned Marine Corps base and finds the hijacked truck hidden in a hangar. It starts to move before Archer can reach the hangar. He fires his revolver at the windshield several times, without effect. Archer jumps to the side and the truck flies past him. Fortunately for Archer, the people in the truck ignore him and the truck keeps going.
The hangar is empty except for a beat-up car with California plates and no registration.
Archer guesses that the hijacked truck is trying to get out of the area by Las Cruces Pass, the route leading back to town. He follows in the dark. After a few miles he finds Sheriff Church, alone, manning a roadblock for the hijacked truck.
- The sheriff claims to have been there for an hour and no truck has passed.
- Archer tells Church his suspicions that Kerrigan hijacked his own whiskey with the aid of Jo Summers and others. He also tells Church that he personally saw the truck at the abandoned Marine base.
- Church warns Archer off the case and insists that his department has things in hand.
- Archer takes his advice and decides to get some rest. As he points out to himself, the truck is long gone and Kerrigan is on his way to Mexico.
He decides to pull into Kerrigan’s motel for the night and put it all behind him.