I went over to the folded-back french window and looked at the small broken pane in the upper part of it. The bullet from Carmen's gun had smashed the glass like a blow. It had not made a hole. There was a small hole in the plastic wall which a keen eye would find quickly enough. I pulled the drapes over the broken pane and took Carmen's gun out of my pocket. It was an antique, like most shooters these days, a .22 calibre with hollow-point cartridges. It had a pearl grip and a small round silver plate set into the butt was engraved: "Carmen from Owen." She made saps of all of them.

I put the gun back in my pocket and set down close to Brody and stared into his bleak brown eyes. A minute passed. The blonde adjusted her face with the aid of a personal make-up kit. Brody fumbled around with a cigarette and growled: "Satisfied?"

"So far. Why did you put the bite on Mrs Regan instead of the old man?"

"Tapped the old man once. About six, seven months ago. I figure maybe he gets sore enough to call in some law."

"What makes you think Mrs Regan wouldn't tell him about it?"

He considered that with some care, smoking his cigarette and keeping his eyes on my face. Finally he said: "How well do you know her?"

"I've met her twice. You must know her a lot better to chance on that squeeze with the memory."

"She skates around plenty. I figure maybe she has a couple of soft spots she don't want the old man to know about. I figure she can raise five mill easy."

"A little weak," I said, "But it'll pass. You're broke, eh?"

"I've been shaking two dollars together for a month, trying to get them to mate."

"What do you do for a living?"

"Insurance. Free-lance home-working." He waved a brown hand in the direction of the antique terminal on the desk.

"When you open up, you open up. The books here in your apartment?"

He snapped his teeth. Confidence was oozing back into his manner. "Hell, no. In storage."

"You had a man bring them here and then you had a storage outfit come and take them away again right afterwards?"

"Sure. I don't want them moved direct from Geiger's place, do I?"

"You're smart," I said admiringly. "Anything incriminating in the joint right now?"

He looked worried again. He shook his head sharply.

"That's fine," I told him. I looked across at Agnes. She had finished fixing her face and was staring at the wall, blank-eyed, hardly listening. Her face had the drowsiness which strain and shock induce, after their first incidence. Brody flicked his eyes warily. "Well?"

"How'd you come by the holos?"

He scowled. "Listen, you got what you came after, got it plenty cheap. You done a nice neat job. Now go peddle it to your top man. I'm clean. I don't know nothing about any holos, do I, Agnes?"

The blonde opened her eyes and looked at him with vague but uncomplimentary speculation. "A half smart guy," she said with a tired sniff, "That's all I ever draw. Never once a guy that's smart all the way around the course. Never once."

I grinned at her. "Did I hurt your head much?"

"You and every other man I ever met."

Part 2