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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 15 page 18

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Was it true? The heir to untold millions trying to unload somebody’s hard-earned junk on some bad-ass corner, in a neighborhood where a one-bedroom crackhouse rents for as low as five grand per month. Obviously something had gone haywire in Dillon’s life. Or maybe he was just degenerate like most rich kids.

I beetled straight down to Burnsore and Dundas. I know the area. There’s a little strip mall that’s a local hangout with a convenience store and a 24-hour greasy spoon called the Hercules Grill. There’s half a dozen parking spots usually with nine cars parked in them, so that’s where I parked.

I sat in the car and waited. I watched and waited. This is the toughest part of the job, when you’ve got a deadline and you're doing something that could be a complete waste of time. It was getting to be about 1 a.m. and my belly was grumbling. I should have stopped for a burger on my way over. Now my only choice was the Hercules. I remembered the place from the Poison Ketchup Case a couple years back. Coffee that really sticks to your stomach. Great all-day breakfast. Rubber eggs with a gloss of oil. Heritage washroom, yesterday’s blood smudges still on the faucets.

I grabbed a wrench out of the glove compartment and shoved it in my coat pocket. I don't like violence, especially on alumni jobs, but you can’t be too careful around here.

The Hercules was packed. It was loud and delirious like it was New Year’s Eve, everybody yapping and running round visiting each other’s tables, hyper-socializing between incarcerations, I guess. There was one guy sitting alone at the window seat under the purple neon sign. He was pale as a ghost and he had the shakes. He had his arms wrapped around himself to hold himself together. There was no food or utensils in front of him. He was so far gone that even the Hercules wouldn’t serve him.

“Howya doin’ buddy,” I began.

He just kept shaking.

“Ever heard of Lobo?”

“Lobo,” he said. “Yeah, Lobo.”

“Go find him for me,” I said, flipping a twenty across the table.

He grabbed it up and managed to jiggle it into his shirt pocket.

“Hold on,” I said. “Sign this.”

I made him sign a receipt on account of my accountant. He executed a long scrawl, it looked like it was written with a broken hand. Of course I figured I was as good as throwing the money away but the point is he split and I remained in sole possession of the window seat where I could survey the intersection.

The cook came over to take my order. He had a spatula in his hand. I opted for the toasted western special. A girl who said her name was Angel stopped by to mention that she never saw me there before. I said, “Tell your friends I’m not a cop, I’m just grabbing a sandwich then I'll be gone.”

I phoned Sally to let her know where I was. She had some info. Dillon Looby had been served an eviction notice at 200 Grimlight, a twenty-story dump a stone’s throw from here. While I was listening to her, my eyes were following a guy in a broad-brimmed hat striding toward the restaurant, crossing the intersection through traffic casually like it was his living room.

“Good work!” I told Sally. I told her to go home and grab forty winks since she had to get back and open the office in the morning.

I didn’t hear her hang up on account of the usual din in the restaurant and on top of that the crash of a fist slamming the table in front of me.

It was the guy with the hat. “You want Lobo?” he barked at me.

I held back for a second, to get control of the situation, to demonstrate I wasn’t intimidated. “Lobo, sure. You know where he is?” I asked.

He hammered the table once more, to reaffirm that, actually, he was the one in control. “Let's go, right now!” he ordered.

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