Yes, this is the same Tom from the scene at the restaurant. So far I'm just getting little snippets.
When I met Carol Muncie, she was sixty-eight. As we sit facing each other over the interrogation table, I note that not much has changed in the last fifteen years. She still smokes heavily and bathes little. The smell is so thick I am fighting not to gag.
"Still a faggot, detective?" She's also a bitch.
"Any doubts I have about that are always cleared up after an evening with you, Carol." She eyes me, digesting this, considering her next insult. It's always the same.
"And how's your boyfriend?" My jaw clenches involuntarily.
"Been a long time. Figured you'd have had a string of new ones by now." It's my turn to read between the lines. That was almost a compliment, in a backhanded sort of way. She's losing her touch. "Far as mine, well, he'll be shaking hands with yours soon enough."
"Finally got your hands on some elderberry wine, did you?" She fixes me with a stare, tries to look confused, but I know better. If there's one thing I can always count on, it's that Carol's as sharp as her own tongue. That's why she's here, after all. Finally, she gives up on pretense.
"No way in hell. If anybody's going out with anything that expensive on their tongue, it's me."
"Oh yes, well, now we're getting to it. See, I almost died over an expensive meal about a week ago, Carol, and I'm fairly certain you know who was behind it. And how they got away so quickly."
Her good eye is focusing on me now, almost like she can see through me.
"You weren't that close to dying."
"That's not the point."
"I think it is."
"What makes you say that?"
"Because," she grins, "they want you alive. If they wanted you dead, believe me, we wouldn't be having this little chat."
"So who is, 'they,' and what do they want?"
"Don't know, detective. They may have been asking questions about you, but that's all I know."
"Come on, Carol, you always know more than that." Her face has gone gray. Wrinkles multiply around her eyes as she squints at me, then turns so I can only see her bad eye. She's too scared to tell me. That's a first.
"This time I don't. Now, can I go, or would you like to," she tugs at one of her blouse's buttons, looks back at me, "persuade a confession out of me?" Involuntarily, I shudder, and she grins. "But I forgot. Still a faggot." I close my eyes and shake my head, sighing.
"A pleasure as always. Get out, Carol."