"Where is Fitzsimmons? He was supposed to be here to sign his calendars!"
I was on the case. I could hear the disappointment in the voice of the manager of the Walgreens at Silverbell and St. Mary's.
When I tracked the tooner down he told me he had gone to a Walgreens alright, the one at Grant and Silverbell, where he stood and waited for his fans with their calendars, and after a period of disappointment he turned to study the cosmetics section, comparing Revlon to Nutregena products and wondering why there are 40,000 kinds of lipstick, enough for every dame in Burritoville. The dope was pleased when the assistant manager told him his calendars had sold out and that he was welcome to linger.
In this crazy mixed up town there's a Walgreens next door to every Walgreens.What did he know? We got more Walgreens than Sun City's got snowbirds. When I found him, wandering aimlessly through downtown, clutching a box of Walgreen's Skittles and wondering where everybody was, and what had happened to his career, I gave the shlub the skinny. "What gives? I'll tell ya', you were at at the wrong Walgreens, ya' moron. There were people waiting for ya', wondering if you'd been kidnapped by men from Mars or had just gone off the wagon."
When I told him what had happened he dropped his Skittles, fell to his knees, and mumbled something incoherent about disappointing his fans. I hate to see grown man cry. I pulled him to his feet, and by his cheap two-bit bolo tie I pulled his stinkin' kisser straight into my face and I slapped him. Hard. "Shake it off."
"Thanks," he said," I needed that. I just don't know--" I told him I'd like to tell him what I know but this was a family operation. He claimed his limo driver had been hitting the eggnog but I knew different. I told him to get in my DeSoto, and before I slammed the car door on him I tossed him a city map, with the next Walgreens marked in red ink: I told him not to screw up again, tugged on the brim of my fedora, and stared at the four-eyed weasel in my rear view mirror, fidgeting with his pens in the back seat.
"Friday the 13th, that's your next gig, Fitzimmons. Be there. 10:00 A.M., 18600 South Nogales Highway. You can find that on a map, can't ya'?This time I'll hold your hand." I turned over the V-8, cranked up MixFm and drove the loser to the Tap Room. I needed some neon, a Martini and the company of people who knew exactly where they were.