Lenny decided the best place to start the investigation was at Janson’s place. Specifically, the neighbors. Janson might have thought they hadn’t seen anything, but Lenny figured it couldn’t hurt to double-check. He parked his Dodge Ram in front of Janson’s place, ending the Destruction album he was playing when he turned off the ignition. He left his car and knocked on the door of Janson’s left door neighbor. The blinds in front of the window told him this was probably the pot-smoker’s place.
There was no answer. He decided to knock a little bit harder. Still nothing. Of course, you don’t earn a living as a private eye if you’re detained by such a little thing. He walked over to the window and banged on that.
The door opened. A lanky, pimply kid with a mullet and a Kyuss T-shirt opened the door. Lenny had to admit he approved of the kid’s taste in bands. He wasn’t sure about the mullet though.
“What the fuck man? You startled the living shit out of me, dude!”
“Sorry about that. I really want to talk to you,” Lenny said, holding up his hands apogolepticaly.
The kid squinted. “About what?”
“Your neighbor’s dog.”
“What about that stupid mutt?”
“It’s missing. And dear to your neighbor.”
“What do you want to know?”
“Maybe we can talk about this inside?” Lenny suggested.
“Well, you sure as fuck don’t look like a narc. Come the fuck inside. Nice battle jacket, by the way.”
“Thanks. Sowed it myself,” Lenny beamed.
“Good for you.”
Lenny followed the kid inside his home. “What’s your name?”
Cliff’s place reeked of marihuana. It was also very dark inside, the only light coming from a weak table-lamp. The floor was littered with pizza boxes and empty cans of beer. Lenny recognized the band playing on the kid’s stereo as Monolord. Fine riffage.
Cliff dropped down on a ratty chair and pointed to an old crate for Lenny to sit on. Lenny slowly lowered his ass, not sure the crate would hold his considerable weight. It creaked, but didn’t break.
Cliff lit a joint. “You want a hit, dude?”
“No, thanks. Haven’t smoked one since high school.”
“Shit, really? Can’t miss it, dude. Not that I’m hooked or something, you know? I just like the fucking way it makes me feel. A beer then?”
“I’m fine, thanks. So, can you please tell me if you saw how Mr. Janson’s dog got out of his yard two weeks ago?”
“How the fuck should I know? It’s not like I sit staring at his yard, you know. Good fucking riddance too, that dog. Sometimes that fucking creature barks so loud I can’t even hear my tunes.” Cliff blew a huge amount of smoke to the ceiling. It was as yellow as egg yolk.
“Come on, Cliff… That animal means a lot to the old man. Don’t be a dick. Anything you saw or heard might help.”
“Why the fuck are you asking these questions anyway? Who are you?” Paranoia had struck the stoner.
“I told you. I’m Lenny.”
“Yeah, but why are you off busting your ass for the old man? I know he ain’t got no son.”
“Mr. Janson hired me. I’m a private investigator.”
“What the fuck? In that outfit? I would never have figured you for one dressed like that!”
“We don’t all wear trench coats or Hawaii shirts, Cliff. Now please, humor me… Is there anything you can think of that might help me track down the dog?”
“Sorry, dude. Really don’t. Maybe the hot chick next door to the old man.”
“Yeah, Janice. She usually works nights, though. But she likes the old man. And the dog. So you never know.”
“Guess I will try that, then. Keep on rockin’. I’ll let myself out.” With those words Lenny left the place before he got high from second-hand smoke.
TO BE CONTINUED