A HoseMaster of Wine Pulp Fiction Classic
Chapter 3 The Big Midget Murders
The last thing I clearly remembered was the feel of the drunk brunette's breast as I led her into her hotel room. So where was she? Who was she? And did Jancis drink what she'd decanted?
"Finally with us again, HoseMaster?" I wasn't sure if there was someone in the room or that voice in my head was back, the voice that usually told me to do insane things like carve the names of First Growths on stray cats. I managed to lift myself off the carpet, slowly and painfully, shake the cobwebs off, I mean literally, hell, don't they vacuum at Les Mars, and when I lifted my eyes I was looking at the business end of gun. That made me focus.
"Did you hit me with that?"
He laughed. Like I'd asked a particularly stupid question. Like I was an interviewer for Mutineer Magazine, wine journalism's answer to Highlights for Children. When I looked up at him I knew why he'd laughed. He was a midget. And an ugly one. Reminded me of one of the Seven Dwarves, I think it was Fugly. He'd have to have been standing on fifty-seven Healdsburg phone books to have coldcocked me. And that would have meant he knew I was coming.
"What were you doing with Lorna?" Fugly asked me in his best Munchkin voice.
"Lorna doin'? My favorite cookie!" Even with a blow to the head I was quick. It's a gift. So when Fugly hit me with the gun I was hoping I'd be even quicker, like I'd hoped to be with Lorna, finish with her before she passed out. From the pleasure, of course.
"I'm not kidding around here, Hoseboy. If you think I am, maybe you should see what happened to your little M.S. whore."
I diplomatically didn't mention that "M.S. whore" was redundant, but Fugly didn't notice. I stood up and looked in the direction he pointed, at the bed. Lorna was in it, naked, gorgeous, dead. Two out of three ain't bad. I couldn't take my eyes off her. She'd come from somewhere all the way to my little burg of Healds to become an M.S. and ended up deader than Merlot by-the-glass. Such a shame. I kind of like Merlot, the way it smells like a bad joke.
As I walked over to the bed I heard the midget take off for the door. Now I started to laugh. Midgets running--a guaranteed laugh. Every time. I let Fugly go. He had a gun and a head start and it's sort of unseemly to chase a Little Person. Besides, it wouldn't be hard to find out who he was, I mean, how many ugly midgets could there be in Healdsburg? Just his other six buddies. I was more interested in Lorna, who she was, how she tied into all this, whether she knew Veronica, how she'd gotten mixed up with the scum at M.S., whether I'd been set up.
That's when the Chief of the Healdsburg police walked in. Speaking of midgets.
To be Continued