Gately breaks into house, wakes up tenant who has a cold (excerpt)


Gately could easily have screwed out of there and never looked back; but here indeed, in the lamplight, is a seascape over next to the chiffonnier, and the associate has a quick peek and reports that the safe behind it is to laugh at, it can be opened with harsh language, almost; and oral narcotics addicts tend to operate on an extremely rigid physical schedule of need and satisfaction, and Gately is at this moment firmly in the need part of the schedule; and so D. W. Gately disastrously decides to go ahead and allow a nonviolent burglary to become in effect a robbery — which the operative legal difference involves either violence or the coercive threat of same — and Gately draws himself up to his full menacing height and shines his flashlight in the little homeowner’s rheumy eyes and addresses him the way menacing criminals speak in popular entertainment — d’s for th’s, various apocopes, and so on — and takes hold of the guy’s ear and conducts him down to a kitchen chair and binds his arms and legs to the chair with electrical cords neatly clipped from refrigerator and can-opener and M. Cafe-brand Automatic Cafe-au-Lait-Maker, binds him just short of gangrenously tight, because he’s hoping the Berkshire foliage is prime and the guy’s going to be soloing in this chair for a good stretch of time, and Gately starts looking through the kitchen’s drawers for the silverware — not the good-silver-for-company silverware; that was in a calfskin case underneath some neatly folded old spare Christmas wrapping in a stunning hardwood-with-ivory-inlay chest of drawers in the living room, where over 90% of upscale people’s good silver is always hidden, and has already been promoted and is piled [18] just off the foyer — but just the regular old everyday flatware silverware, because the vast bulk of homeowners keep their dish towels two drawers below their everyday-silverware drawer, and God’s made no better call-for-help-stifling gag in the world that a good old oily-smelling fish-linen dish towel; and the bound guy in the cords on the chair suddenly snaps to the implications of what Gately’s looking for and is struggling and saying: Do not gag me, I have a terrible cold, my nose she is a brick of the snot, I have not the power to breathe through the nose, for the love of God please do not gag my mouth; and as a gesture of goodwill the homeowner tells Gately, who’s rummaging, the combination of the bedroom’s seascape safe, except in French numbers, which together with the honking adenoidal inflection the guy’s grippe gives his speech doesn’t even sound like human speech to Gately, and but also the guy tells Gately there are some antique pre-British-takeover Quebecois gold coins in a calfskin purse taped to the back of an undistinguished Impressionist landscape in the living room.

[18] On top of the seascape safe’s more negotiable contents, themselves on top of an unplugged and head-parked and absolutely top-hole genuine InterLace state-of-the-art TP/viewer ensemble in a multishelved hardwood rollable like entertainment-system-console thing, with a cartridge-dock and double-head drive in a compartment underneath with doors with classy little brass maple-leaf knob things and several shelves crammed tight with upscale arty-looking film cartridges, which latter Don Gately’s colleague just about drooled all over the parquet flooring at the potential discriminating-type-fence-value of, potentially, if they were rare or celluloid-transferred or not available on the InterLace Dissemination Grid.


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