The idea was to get Liz as far away from Seals as I could, so we grabbed a cab uptown to The Saloon on Grant. I needed more than one cocktail after that shaky Stoneham meeting, and hunkering down in one of the few places here to survive the 1906 quake seemed fitting.
Turns out that Liz had called Chumpo looking for me again, heard about the stiff across the street, flew herself up to research this “crime story” of hers, and ended up sweet-talking her way into Stoneham’s office by saying she was my “colleague”. I had to hand it to her; the lady was a real pip. When I told her what I had discovered on that foggy morning, though, she was suddenly less pippish.
“Stoneham never said a word…I can’t believe you found Reggie in the scoreboard.”
“Yeah. One of the perks of my job.”
She fingered the rim of her Tom Collins glass. “You should’ve snatched that note off his body. We could’ve studied it.”
“C’mon, it was a simple piece of paper. Bad enough I left the scene in the first place.”
“So Reggie being your friend pretty much rules out a coincidence here.”
“Not really. The killer might not know me at all, and just latched on to me after I found the first body.”
“Well, hopefully this new game plan of ours will shake him out of his creepy tree. Stoneham wants to kick it off during Sunday’s doubleheader with the Pirates.”
“Great. I can be a nervous wreck for five hours.”
“You don’t like the idea?
“I’d rather cliff dive off Point Diablo. But we have to try something. Where are you staying while you’re here?”
She smirked a bit. Downed a big sip of her drink. “Oh, a nice little walk-up place a few blocks down from the ballpark. It went up for rent last week.”
I stared at her. “You have to be kidding.”
“Hey, if you stay nice to me, I’ll let you use the couch.”
“First you help organize Operation Cockamamie and now you take my place? Who do you think you are?”
“If you don’t know who I am by now, Snappy…” She polished off the Tom Collins, “you never will.”
We had two more rounds to make things friendlier, but on top of Stoneham’s Glenlivet I was in no condition to even hail a cab. It was closing time when we left The Saloon, and there weren’t many on the streets anyway. Liz dragged me onto the last bus heading back toward the Mission. We had a hard time not falling over each other on the turns, which wasn’t a bad thing.
The bus dropped us just north of the ballpark. We still had a few blocks to walk. The trees of Franklin Square Park loomed by on our left, and it was hard to even look at them.
“I’m gonna make you be nice to me yet, mister,” Liz cooed into my ear, lightening the mood.
“Many have tried. Hate to tell ya that few have succ—”
She clutched my arm and I stopped. Leaned against a light pole to keep from falling.
“Nothing…Thought I heard footsteps.”
We were past Seals, heading down the hill into my neighborhood. The sidewalk was empty in both directions. Dripping with alleys and shadows.
“Come on.” I sobered up quick and led her away, around a corner and up the back wooden steps to my just-vacated apartment. She had trouble with the key.
“Amateur.” I moved her aside. Jiggled it in the lock my special way and the door opened. She poked my ribcage, walked in first.
All I wanted to do was collapse, but being in my mostly empty old place was strange, and the footsteps Liz thought she just heard bothered me even more. She threw her coat on the sheetless mattress, fell face first on it and was snoring in seconds. I found the one chair that was left, slid it over. Sat beside her and smoked the first of many Camels.
I woke up today at the crack of dawn, still in my coat. Cigarette ash all over it. Liz was still comatose. I stood painfully, went to the door and opened it to suck in some fresh air.
A note was stuck to the door with masking tape. This time scrawled on a bar napkin from The Red Parrot Room:
“2 OF YOU MAKE IT MUCH WORSE”
PHL 110 120 000 – 6 8 0
SFG 000 202 000 – 4 8 1
W-Semproch L-Antonelli SV-Meyer HRS: Bouchee, Hamner, Wagner GWRBI-Bowman
Antonelli has said he doesn’t like pitching in Seals Stadium, and so far it’s showing. Ed Bouchee tags him for a double and homer, and Granny Hamner adds a later clout as the Phils hold us off to square this 5-game series at two apiece. Sanford vs. Gomez tomorrow.
PIT 013 100 000 0 – 5 12 1
L.A. 000 030 020 1 – 6 13 1
W-Craig L-Porterfield GWRBI-Cimoli
Two! Two! Two games in one! First half: Podres gets smacked around for four innings and the Dodgers blow numerous chances against Friend. Second half: Roseboro’s 2-run triple keys a 3-run Dodger 5th, they tie it in the 8th on shabby fielding by Mazeroski(!) and a clutch hit by Neal, then win in the 10th when the so-far reliable Bob Porterfield gives up a Zimmer scratch single, Gilliam walk, Reese pinch bunt single and line single to Cimoli.
CIN 000 030 323 – 11 16 0
STL 000 000 000 – 0 7 3
W-Nuxhall L-Jackson HRS: F. Robinson, Lynch GWRBI-Lynch
The Reds are one weird team. 2-7 at home and now 5-0 on the road after this lambasting. St. Louis should be very happy to finish off this home-and-home 4-game series tomorrow and welcome in…Milwaukee.
MIL 420 000 000 – 6 12 1
CHI 400 002 02x – 8 11 1
W-Henry L-Spahn SV-Elston HR: Aaron GWRBI-Dark
Dark comes through with three more hits and a game-winning, 2-out single in the 8th, but the star of this one is long man Bill Henry, who relieves the ghastly Dick Drott and shuts the Braves down for four and a third innings until the Cubbies can rally their troops. How about this NL race, folks? One game in the loss column separates all eight teams!
DET 111 000 011 01 – 6 14 1
BOS 120 000 200 00 – 5 11 2
W-Wehmeier L-Wall HRS: Zernial, White GWRBI-Wilson
After two brutal extra-inning losses in New York, the Tigers pull out a brutal, extra-inning win in Beantown. A Red Wilson sac fly ties it in the top of the 9th, a Red Wilson single wins it in the 11th. And Kaline is back tomorrow.
K.C. 001 000 000 – 1 6 0
N.Y. 031 010 00x – 5 11 0
W-Turley L-Grim HRS: McDougald, Carey GWRBI-McDougald
The first good Bob Turley start of the year comes at the hands of the more-and-more hapless A’s, now losers of seven straight. McDougald’s monster 3-run homer in the 2nd off the 0-4 Grim is all the Yanks need.
CLE 000 010 010 – 2 9 0
BAL 000 000 000 – 0 3 0
W-Bell L-Harshman GWRBI-Minoso
Since Mickey Vernon replaced the injured Vic Wertz at first, the Tribe has been playing much better, and Bell improves to 4-0, 1.62 with this whitewashing. Lo and behold, we have a 3-way tie at the top of the American League!
CHX 000 100 000 – 1 8 0
WAS 011 200 02x – 6 11 0
W-Pascual L-Donovan HRS: Aspromonte, Sievers, Yost GWRBI-Aspromonte
The anemic offense that plagued the Sox in Baltimore follows them down the highway to Griffith, as Pascual has his way and the Nats knock three balls out of the yard off Dick Donovan.
National League through Friday, May 2
American League through Friday, May 2