Chapter 9

   On Long Island it was four o’clock when Stan Riddman looked at his watch. There was time enough to make it home with daylight to spare. He could have dinner, a cold beer, and if Dottie wasn’t staying over with Otis, no matter the confirmed bachelor he was, tuck her into bed. He slid into the Star Chief, started up the car, and started the drive back to the other end of Long Island.

   It was a quarter after four when a skinny East Hampton policeman slid into the phone booth a block away from the station and called the number on the slip of paper the one-hundred-dollar bill had been paper-clipped to.

   “Yeah.”

   “This is East Hampton. You wanted to know if anyone ever came up here snooping around after Jackson Pollock, right?” 

   “Yeah. What do you know?”

   “There was a guy here today, talked to the chief, some of Pollock’s neighbors, spent the day sticking his nose into things.”

   “Did you get a name?” 

   “He said his name was Stan Riddman, a private dick from the city.”

   “OK, forget this number, don’t call again.”

   The policeman crumpled the piece of paper in his hand, stepped out of the phone booth, and threw it down on the sidewalk. A woman walking past, a member of the Ladies Village Improvement Society, snapped a disapproving look at him.

   “Mind your own business,” said the skinny policeman, kicking the paper into the gutter.

   When he was gone the woman from the Improvement Society circled back, bent down, picked up the crumb of paper, and threw it into a trash can.

   “Disgusting man,” she groused, straightening herself up.

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