Hot Six
asked.
    "Bounty hunter, " Grandma said. "I want to make the big bucks. I got a gun and everything. "
    "Hey Vinnie!" Connie yelled. "You've got a visitor. "
    The door opened, and Vinnie stuck his head out and gave Connie the evil eye. Then he looked at Grandma. "Edna, " he said, trying to force a smile, not having much luck at it.
    "Vincent, " Grandma said, her smile saccharine.
    Vinnie shifted his weight from one foot to the other, wanting to bolt, knowing it was futile. "What can I do for you, Edna? Need to bond someone out?"
    "Nothing like that, " Grandma said. "I've been thinking about getting a job, and I thought I might like to be a bounty hunter. "
    "Oh, bad idea, " Vinnie said. "Very bad idea. "
    Grandma bristled. "You don't think I'm too old, do you?"
    "No! Jeez, nothing like that. It's your daughtershe'd pitch a fit. I mean, not to say anything bad about Ellen, but she wouldn't like this idea. "
    "Ellen's a wonderful person, " Grandma said, "but she has no imagination. She's like her father, rest his soul. " She pressed her lips together. "He was a pain in the behind. "
    "Tell it like it is, " Lula said.

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    Page: 39
    "No can do, Edna. Not that I wouldn't want to help you out, but being a bounty hunter takes a lot of special skills. "
    "I have skills, " Grandma said. "I can shoot and cuss and I'm real nosy. And besides, I've got some rights. I've got a right to employment. " She gave Vinnie the squinty eye. "I don't see where you got any old people working for you. That don't look like equal opportunity to me. You're discriminating against old people. I've got a mind to get the AARP after you. "
    "The AARP is the American Association of Retired People, " Vinnie said. "The 'R' stands for 'Retired. ' They don't care about old people working. "
    "Okay, " Grandma said, "how about this? How about, if you don't give me a job I'll sit on that couch over there until I starve to death. "
    Lula sucked in a breath. "Whoah, hardball. "
    "I'll think about it, " Vinnie said. "I'm not promising anything, but maybe if the right thing comes in . . . " He ducked back into his office and closed and relocked the door.
    "Well, that's a start, " Grandma said. "I gotta go now and see how Melvina's doing. We have a big afternoon planned. We have some apartments to look at and then we're going to stop in for Stiva's afternoon viewing. Madeline Krutchman just got laid out, and I hear she looks real good. Dolly did her hair, and she said she gave her a tint to add some color around her face. She said if I like it, she could do it for me too. "
    "Rock on, " Lula said.
    Grandma and Lula did one of those complicated handshakes, and Grandma left.
    "Anything new on Ranger or Homer Ramos?" I asked Connie.
    Connie opened a bottle of top coat for her nails. "Ramos was popped at close range. Some people are saying it smells like an execution. "
    Connie comes from a family that knows a lot about executions. Jimmy Curtains is her uncle. I don't know his real last name. All I know is if Jimmy is looking for you . . . It's curtains. I grew up hearing stories about Jimmy Curtains like other kids heard stories about Peter Pan. Jimmy Curtains is famous in my neighborhood.
    "How about the police? What's their angle today?" I asked.
    "They're looking for Ranger, big time. "
    "As a witness?"
    "As far as I can tell, as an anything. "
    Connie and Lula looked at me.
    "Well?" Lula asked.
    "Well, what?"

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    Page: 40
    "I'm not sure, but I don't think he's dead, " I said. "Just a feeling I've got. "
    "Hah!" Lula said. "I knew it! Were you naked when you got this feeling?"
    "No!"
    "Too bad, " Lula said. "I would have been naked. "
    "I have to go, " I said. "I need to give Mooner the bad news about the wind machine. "
    THE GOOD THING about the Mooner is that he's almost always home. The bad thing is that, while his house is occupied, his head is frequently vacant.
    "Oh, wow, " he said, answering the door. "Did I forget my court date again?"
    "Your court date

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