Two gems taken in the same neighborhood in a short period of time. It's starting to sound a bit like there's a cat burglar prowling. I had heard something about one a little while back, maybe our gonif is back in town? Seems a little more likely than our Usual Suspects--pretty sure Busey and Glenn Beck are both away for now.
Not wanting to be late for a meet with Alice, I headed out to her place. "Best place to start is at the scene," I remember reading in a book once. Although I take that with a grain of salt, this was the same book that told me not everything comes out of a Pulp novel holds water. I say the best place to start is the end, but I guess the beginning will do in a pinch. I pulled into the driveway of the deMontesque house and locked my heap up. The place was far from a dump, and the inside looked even better. It was one of those places over by Pond Street, those really slick stacks of bricks with gardens in the fronts and fences made from something other than chain link between the neighbors. I flashed my ticket at the man who answered the door and stepped inside before he could protest--or even read it.
Alice appeared within a moment and told the man not to worry about me. He looked even more bewildered, but she whisked me toward the back of the house before he could string a question together. The room she lead me to had books scattered all over the floor and cabinet doors left open. There was an empty shelf, and a wooden box lay open, face down on the floor.
"This is where the Falcon was, I take it."
"Yes, until it was taken."
"Well, obviously. I'm guessing you have no idea who would want to do this."
"Yeah. No idea."
"Let me take a look around here."
The wooden box was maybe a foot square, four inches deep. Using the end of a pen, I pulled part of it up and looked under: thing was completely empty. I looked around the room for a point of entry. The window had been shattered, and I stuck my head out through the gap. It was only a few feet to the rosebush below. Easy to get in or out. As I stepped back, my foot crunched some of the glass deeper into the carpet.
"Whoever it was came in here," I observed, "Wanted it to look like a robbery, but the real target was the stone."
The blonde grinned ear to ear. "I knew I'd picked the right guys."
Real men never blush, so I didn't. "Glad I didn't disappoint."
I kept looking around the room. "Odds are he wore gloves, so fingerprinting would be useless. Only prints we'd find are, I'm assuming, yours and the stiff by the door."
"My Husband, yes."
"No cleaners, maids or anything?"
"Lovers?" I offered.
"No! I'm faithful."
Stubbed my toe on something and muttered a curse under my breath. It had been the edge of a bookshelf, and my foot had set all of the tchotchkes wobbling. A drinking glass on one of the upper shelves tipped like it'd gone over the edge with the rams, and went over the edge, spilling out onto the carpet. Only what was weird about this was that instead of water or a shot of white, it was a half-eaten candy bar. The glass shattered, flecks of it stuck in the chocolate.
"What was that?" deMontesque asked.
"Not sure. Candy bar in a glass."
"Maybe it's a calling card?"
I said nothing, but it was possible. I would have to do some research before I could come back to her with it. I suggested she locked the door and not let anyone in until I came back. Otherwise, the place seemed to check out, and it didn't look like I was going to get anything else out of it. Clambered back into the flivver and drove back to the office--had to get some dark slacks on and haul ass to my undercover gig.