Crimes In The Key Of Murder-2

454 Words
"Let me help you with your bags, sir." The man from the Dreamboats' road crew reached for Carver's suitcases. "This way to the bus, if you please." "Thanks," said Carver. "What did you say your name was?" "Leonard." The man smiled. He had a face like a horse--long skull, sunken eyes and high cheekbones, teeth like flagstones. His hair was jet black, and his nose was cut in a sharp crescent wedge like the blade of a hatchet. To Carver, there was just one thing that revealed him as anything other than a complete stranger: the tiny, cross-shaped birthmark at the corner of his left eye. Leonard was far more than a lowly laborer. In fact, he was not even a man. Underneath the elaborate costume--the putty and makeup and hair dye and padding--Leonard was a woman. Carver was actually talking to Kay Swann, the undercover crimefighter who called herself Sister Mayhem. Kay was a master of disguise--also a master of investigation and gamesmanship and justice. She commanded a crackerjack network of like-minded knights called the Order of No Mercy, a network that included Carver and Trudy. Within the Order, Kay went by the name Sister Mayhem. It suited her, as she had once been a nun; the execution of the Sisters in her convent by cold-blooded criminals had set her feet on the path of justice in the first place. Outside the Order, however, her deeds were credited to Mister Mayhem. Kay thought she could create more fear among her enemies if the criminal world believed she was a man. With a suitcase in each hand, Kay led Carver out of the dance hall to the parking lot. Two pink buses sat end to end at the far side of the lot, one for the band members and one for their instruments and equipment. "You'll ride with the band," said Kay, reverting to her normal voice but keeping it low. "No segregation on the bus. Might be the Dreamboats' only redeeming quality." Like Kay, Carver spoke softly. "Have you heard anything about Lee? Do you have any leads?" "Maybe tomorrow," said Kay. "We'll be in St. Louis." Carver felt a surge of grief and anger. St. Louis was where Lee had been murdered--beaten and strangled to death in a seedy tenement room. "We'll check out the crime scene," said Carver. "The police might have missed something." "You'll take the night off from the Dreamboats. Tell Sheila you're sick," said Kay. "Trudy will stay with the band, with Jack and Lillian as backup." "Okay." Carver nodded and stared into space. Kay's icy gaze flashed upon him. "Are you sure you want to see the crime scene? I can take Jack instead." Carver looked him in the eye with a steady certainty that he didn't feel under the surface. "I'll be fine."
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