Ummm-hummm, I commented, as my eyes roved idly among the lurid pulp covers on the back wall-- and stopped with a jolt.
The platinum-blonde kitty with the sweet blue eyes and soft pink lips was looking back at me. Beside her was a sultry brunette who looked enough like her to be a sister, and above them the words: Showing Nightly at the Blue Parrot.
My pulse hammered. My breath caught. My scanties steamed.
Who is that, Zeke? I breathed.
His skinny old neck creaked around until he could glance incuriously at the poster.
You think I keep track of every bimbo on the streets? he rasped.
I opened my collar a little wider, bent over to look at the magazines racked below Zekes counter.
Old Zeke wheezed, choked, then gargled, The Kamiko Sisters, Miko and Kiko. Came out from Ohio a couple years back to make it big in vaudeville. Didnt realize that vaudeville died twenty years ago
he trailed off.
I pursed my lips consideringly over The Shadow, wiggled the groceries a bit to start him up again.
Neither of em geniuses, Zeke wheezed, but Kiko the brunette is a bit brighter. Very jealous and protective of her sister, if they are sisters. Word on the street is, either one of em can suck-start a Packard.
I picked Black Mask off the rack, straightened up to lay it on the counter. Sweat was running down the myriad wrinkles in old Zekes face like irrigation water in a new-plowed cornfield.
So theyre working the Blue Parrot, I murmured. Thats the Fat Mans dive, isnt it, Zeke? Tell me, whats our old pal the Fat Man doing these days?
Zekes toothless jaw clamped down stubbornly.
I dont poke my nose inta that grifters business, he muttered.
Ooooh, look! I cooed. The new issue of Dump Beautiful, with the article on decorating with hand grenades!-- and bent waaay over to look at it.
Zeke groaned, Hes inta grambling, a little protection, a little prostitution, a whole lotta procrastination
Say, you gonna pay for that magazine, er not?
I straightened up with a sigh--cant win em all-- and smiled sweetly at old Zeke as I put a quarter on the counter.