"Besides, I Don't Like Them Much" [Mister Martínez Twenty Two]
Martínez looked over at the corpse. He was big, heavy and wouldn’t pass for drunk with a bloody eye-socket and the fist-sized hole in the back of his head. The apartment window looked out onto a square patio. A few empty hanging baskets swayed in the breeze. Three dumpsters stood in a random arrangement, like a bored child’s abandoned toy trucks. It wouldn’t have made the spring tour of Cordoba courtyards. An arched gateway with a flimsy looking reja led out the back of the aparment block to somewhere. If the wrought-iron gate wasn’t locked he might get rid of the dead Neo through it, if Antonio could be bullied into lending a hand. Mercedes lit another cigarette and blew a ring to join the smoke wreathing the light fitting overhead.
‘How do we get into the courtyard?’
‘We can’t.’ Mercedes said, ‘you have to go around the block and use the iron gate. It takes forever to take the garbage out if you live upstairs.’
‘What about that window?’
‘I haven’t opened it in a while.’
Martínez rifled the stiff’s pockets and found a billfold empty of money and with a faded DNI, the name read Enrique Velazquez Vicario. He’d reached forty-five. Martínez turned the card over. Enrique, Rico maybe, had been a resident of El Prat, inland, near the airport. Only one parent listed. His mother, who had the same two appellidos.
‘Just a goon. Let’s try the window.’
‘What’s the point?’
‘I’ll go round the outside and fit him in one of the dumpsters.’
‘Use the one on the left. The people on the top floor are hardly ever here. Besides, I don’t like them much.’
The window was a slider. Even with Antonio’s help it was a tight squeeze. The body landed with a dull sound. Dead weight, in every sense. Mercedes had on a pair of guantes de goma, with a cheap own-brand bottle of lejía in one hand and a thin cloth in the other. Martínez didn’t think it would help much with the stains. As for the odour, the cordite would fade, there was never much from newly-spilled brains and the blood just smelled of alcohol. Maybe Rico had needed more than a snootful before coming to murder Martínez. So many people were unprofessional. If all you got was an address you Googled it. You Googled the name. Maybe you’d drive past a few times. If there was a café you could watch the entrance from you’d drink a few coffees. You didn’t just blunder in. And if you did, you came in shooting, shot everyone, even the family dog. And then you left, dropping your print-wiped weapon into deep water if you could find it and in a barrio gitano if you couldn’t. The gun would be gone in ten minutes, maybe it would get used in a gas-station stick-up or a mugging and the hit would be blamed on a junkie or a career criminal, but not you.
Out in the courtyard, Martinez saw a discussion between Mercedes and her brother through the window. The glazing wasn’t as cheap as it looked, as he couldn’t hear what was said. He heaved up the dumpster lid. It was almost empty. He draped the body over the edge of the metal and levered Rico’s relict in. The body landed beside a child’s doll, his arms and legs mimicking the un-natural pose of its moulded plastic limbs.