“Years ago I almost hit her with my car,” Beez said. “She stepped out in front of me. If I hadn’t swerved to miss her she would have been dead today. It was because of my quick reflexes that she’s alive. She got scraped up a little. There were no witnesses; it was my word against hers. She stalked me for weeks. She was crazy. I had her arrested once for trying to break into my apartment. She tried to slice me with her knife. If not for wearing a thick jacket she would have taken a chunk of flesh out of my arm. The knife fell to the ground, she bent over to get it, and I shoved her into the gutter. I grabbed the knife and dropped it down the sewer”
“Why didn’t you report it to the police?” Gary said.
“She has a nephew on the police department,” Beez said. “That’s how she’s able to get away with so much. She snoops around. She has secrets on everybody. They say the chief of police frequents a cathouse above the Cameo Bar and Grill. I bet she knows everything about him and if she gets pulled in for something she’ll spill the beans on the whole dirty bunch, right through city hall and the police station. She walks the street sometimes all night. That’s where a city’s secrets are kept, in the night, and she knows plenty of them.”
The girl behind the counter brought Gary’s meal. He thanked Beez and they talked more about Old Black Maggie. Gary finished eating and they walked to the car.
“Let me drive you closer to your home,” Beez said opening the passenger door.
“Nah,” Gary said, “I want to walk home and think things over.”
“I’ll worry about you, Gary,” Beez said.
“I’ll walk around the park,” Gary said. “I got to talk this over with mom and dad.”
“How do you think that will help?” Beez said.
“Maybe they can do something,” Gary said.
“What can they do?” Beez said, “Go to the police. They may act in a way that more attention will be drawn to it. Old Black Maggie knows just enough people to make life miserable for your mom and dad.”
“What can she do?” Gary said.
“Both of my parents are dead,” Beez said. “I never married and I have no children. She can’t touch any family; I have none. My parents left me well-off. The building that the Majestic Theater is in is mine along with several other buildings and apartments. Thirty years ago my life was a living hell. It was right after the incident with my car. I had fire inspectors, electrical inspectors and code inspectors for everything pounding on my door threatening to close me down. She spread all sorts of rumors about me that still fly around town today. Nobody knows where they started, but I do. If I worked for anybody I’d been fired by now. That’s why I travel so much. It’s good to get away. It’s carefree. I’d love to have a wife and children, but why subject them to all the rumors and who wants their wife and child followed around. If it were me I wouldn’t want to subject my mom and dad to that sort of thing. All she has to do is start making phone calls.”
“The more attention I bring to her the more she will do?” Gary said.
“That’s how she operates,” Beez said.
“What can I do?” Gary said.
“What can we do?” Beez corrected. “We’re in this together like it or not. She already knows I’m helping you. She’ll be coming after me also.”
“But what can be done?” Gary said.
“Let me think about it,” Beez said. “Sometimes it just pays to get away.”
“What do you mean?” Gary said.
“I just go away for awhile,” Beez said. “It’s a great way to forget about things and clear your mind; you come back a new person.”
“I don’t think that’s anything I’m ready to do,” Gary said.
“I’m not suggesting it for you,” Beez said, “It’s what I do.”