Poor ol’ Possum O’Connell. He didn’t expect the law to show up at his door this early in the morning.
“This ’bout the Beauty Saloon, ain’t it? Didn’t mean to cause a ruckus, but that no-account had it comin’. I fess up. I wasted a good brew when I throwed it on his shirt. I got swole up, is all.”
Mr. O’Connell trained his bloodshot eyes on Sheriff Tobin and then on Giovanni. He ignored Captain Van Riper.
“Not here about that, Possum,” Sheriff Tobin said. “We’re here about the murder of the temperance woman, Marcy Sanders.”
Possum bolted out of his chair, knocking it down. “I swannin’, I never kilt nobody an’ I don’t plan to. I ain’t an eye-fer-an-eye kinda feller,” he said, looking at me.
Giovanni picked up the chair. “Hell, we know that, Possum. Calm down.”
Sheriff Tobin removed his hat and patted the table. “Just sit for a spell and hear us out.”
O’Connell did as told, rubbing his beer gut.
Sheriff Tobin stuffed his hands casually in his back pockets. “Miss Duecker, here, says you remember seeing Miss Sanders, the lady with the yellow scarf, at Menger’s.”
Mr. O’Connell let out a shiver. “Gotta show…show…show y’all somethin’.” He Retreated to his bedroom and returned with a cat under one arm and a yellow bonnet under the other. “This here,” he said, lifting the cat up to his shoulder, “is mine.” He placed Dawg on the floor and held out the bonnet. “This here belonged to Edna. She loved this head wrap. Had it fer many years. Thought about burying her in it, but I jest couldn’t do’er…couldn’t do’er. Wanted to have it to remember her by.”
Van Riper shifted his weight from one leg to the other and heaved a deep sigh.
“Anyhow,” Possum continued, sitting again, “that’s how I come to remember that yeller scarf. Bright as this here bonnet. I’d been drinking Menger corn juice thinkin’ ’bout Edna when I saw that scarf round that woman’s neck. Almost like Edna done sent me a wink, wink, wink from heaven.”
Excerpt from The Last Bordello.