1. Of course, she knew that already

2. Like he owned the whole damn town

3. Throw a dead cat onto the dance floor


Three old men lived in the upstairs apartment over the Pinkerton’s garage. They’d been there as long as I could remember, although I didn’t see them very often. Mrs. Pinkerton said they paid their rent on time every month and never made a fuss about repairs or anything and that’s all she cared about. At least that’s what she said.

Their names were Woody, Duff and Bongo. I suppose they all had real names, but I never heard what they were.

Duff was my favorite if only because he occasionally came out in the backyard to hang underwear and socks on Mrs. Pinkerton’s clothesline. If I happened to be out in my own yard pinching off dead blossoms or watering the roses before they shriveled in the heat, I’d wave and once in a while he’d come over to the fence to chat.

If I had to describe Duff in just one word, I’d probably say “ordinary.” There wasn’t anything that particularly stood out about him. He had the normal number of eyes and ears, and a shock of white hair topping a frame not much taller than my own. I’m a fairly hefty 5’10”, though, and Duff was skinny as a rail. He told me once that he’d been a railroad worker in his younger days, laying track to connect people. I thought that was a pretty neat job description.

Mostly, though, we just waved and smiled when we saw each other, and even that was a step up from the contact I had with the other two. I knew Bongo was ill, something Woody had mentioned one day when I ran into him at the foot of his stairs.

“You won’t see old Bongo much,” he’d told me. “His sickness keeps him in the bed pretty much all the time, and mostly I spend my time taking care of him.” Of course, I knew that already, thanks to the gossipy Mrs. Pinnkerton, but I imagine he wanted to explain why they weren’t sociable. I seldom saw Woody after that, and I don’t think I ever met Bongo at all.
“One of them might be hiding out or something,” Mrs. Pinkerton had told me when I moved in next door. “The say that the one they call Bongo has a disease, but they won’t say what it is. Hmm. I think it’s more likely they’re hiding from someone. It’s just not natural, three gentlemen of their ago living together. And what’s more, they pay their rent in cash!”

Personally, I couldn’t see anything wrong with that.