Traffic on Sansome had to be noisy at this time of day. Just after closing time on a Monday, only in the back office of Mitchum and Associates, ten stories over downtown San Francisco, he couldn’t hear a damn thing. Just Albert Mitchum’s bitch-ass whiny voice.
He sat on the floor with his legs splayed out on the carpet. Had his head turned to one side. Sam kept his eyes on his right black canvas shoe. He could see spittle on it from where the overweight accountant hawked on him.
“No one talks to Albert Mitchum that way, you fucking piece of slime. No one!”
“Let me explain, Mitchum. I…” Sam started.
“You can keep that damn mouth shut and listen to me.” He kicked out his loafered foot, striking the mahogany wall inches from Sam’s head. Loafer scuffed the wood, not that Sam minded. As a rent-a-goon, he’d seen the bottom of plenty of shoes.
One look showed him a fishy, pale visage with a bushy gray mustache. Mitchum needed to get out more. Chubby cheeks, white as a corpse and ruddy with exertion. His heavy jowls wobbled like a rooster’swattles. He wore a charcoal gray business suit, the wide blazer opened to let his belly bulge over his silk slacks. Red suspenders kept the pants from falling. He’d combed over what little hair he had to confuse the baldness. A useless effort.
“You come here trying to extort money from me, threatening me, and you think I’ll just roll the fuck over?” A web of droolhung from the man’s skinny, purple lips.
“Please, Mitchum. If you’ll just…”
The numbers man wasn’t thinking figures. His loafers scuffed the wall again. Sam winced. Closer that time.
Weird he couldn’t hear a single car. These assholes were lucky to be this high above the world.
“Mister Mitchum to you, slime! Mister. Fucking. Mitchum!”
Albert asked Sam to swing by at five,when the staff were on their way to traffic jams. Man probably worked late most nights. On his heavy wooden desk were two monitors, each flanked by an assortment of framed photos. Most were kids, at least five of them. Another was of a woman with jowls heavier than Albert’s. Her hair, white as a sheet, was cut page boy style. Both had to be in their mid-fifties.
Mitchum’s walrus mustache made him look older. Thought about his heart a bit too, that guy, if the Web MD page on his computer screen were any indication. Symptoms of a stroke. Based on the fat ass vein popping out of his forehead, the reaper wouldn’t need to check his watchmuch longer.
Last thing Sam needed was a plump corpse landing on him.
“Listen to me and listen good, shit licker.” Mitchum wouldn’t shut up. “No one comes into my business and tells me what to do. You think you’re so fucking tough. You bastard cockroach whore!”
Not a bad put down.
Sam held up a hand. “Wasn’t trying to…”
The big man stepped back, grabbed one of the two leather chairs that faced his desk, and flipped it over. It landed against the bookshelf on the far side of the room.
“Keep talking mother fucker! I’ll shove a chair so far up your ass you’ll puke zippers and cotton balls until Christmas!”
The accountant dropped to his knees. Came down to Sam’s level. Brought his walrus, veined-out face within inches of Sam’s lips.
“Fuck you! You filthy fuck of shit!” Saliva rained on the hired thug’s exposed neck. He felt a drop hit his chin.
The phone in Sam’s Dockers vibrated. He reached under his blue flannel and checked it. The alarm. Thank God.
“Time’s up, Mitchum.”
The jowls pulled away. “Already?
“Yeah. That’ll be five hundred. And hold back on the spit next time.”
Mitchum’s shoulders slumped. “Was just getting into it. Love the extortionist angle.”
“Story’s up to you. I’m just here to be a piece of shit. Make you feel better about crunching numbers for assholes.”
“When can I see you again?”
Sam sighed. “When rent’s due.”
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