"Don't give me that. I've known you a long time and you've never acted like this before."

"You mean the woman I'm working for?"

"No. The woman you were with last night and were kissing in my parking lot. Try that woman."

"Tammy's a wonderful girl, Brad."

"That's no girl. I'm not blind."

John cracked his knuckles and propped his leg up onto his knee. "I think we have something pretty special. So far, anyway."

Brad acted like he was stunned. "You don't have to give me the gruesome details," he added. "I just don't want to see you scare off the only paying client you've had in a long time."

"Thanks for caring," John said. "Trust me. She won't fire me. I can't even tell if I'm still working for her. This case has changed slightly."

Brad started playing his guitar again. He quickly stopped and asked, "She pay you?"

"She paid me enough up front to get me out of debt temporarily," John said. He tipped his glass of sour orange juice to his lips and sat down.

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"Cool."

John looked at his friend, as if waiting approval or another question.

"I know you, John. You get soft with these women."

"You make it sound like there's so many."

"You know what I mean. You might start feeling a little sorry for her and let her ride on credit or something like that."

"I'm waiting for some record company to call us and say we're signed. Then all of our troubles will be over. Have you checked your answering machine?"

Brad smiled. He dropped his head and started fiddling with his guitar again.

"The call's coming. It has to be. We've put too much time into the band and our songs to give up," John went on.

Brad started playing a loud blues type riff. He sang between the chord progressions, "I don't understand you, baby." He shut his eyes and tossed his head back in a mock impression of a blind blues singer. "Someone's trying to kill you but you keep making jokes," he sang.

John laughed. "I must be crazy," he added, in tune with the melody Brad had going.

"Crazy in love," Brad sang. "My boy is crazy in love."

As soon as Brad stopped his improvised blues show, John said he was going to go see Lt. Grimm and show him the letter from his windshield. John took Brad's van to throw off whoever might want to follow him.