Doppelgangster by Laura Resnick

By Laura Resnick

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I read up on those hits,” I said. ” “No,” he agreed, “Handsome Joey Gambello was whacked five years ago with a twenty-two caliber, two shots straight into the head. Very professional. ” So Lopez had evidently read up on the murders at Stella’s, too. “Cops know all sorts of interesting things,” I said. He continued, “But all it takes is one bullet, Esther. ” “I suppose so,” I admitted. ” Or one sorcerer’s apprentice run amok. “Spending all your nights at Bella Stella raises the odds of dying young,” Lopez insisted.

I’d worked long enough at Bella Stella to know that this was typical dinner-table talk among wiseguys, so I just accepted the cash that Charlie handed me for his dinner while he was arguing with Lucky, and I interrupted only to ask him if he wanted change. When he said no, I gave him a big smile and tucked a flapping edge of his bright red handkerchief more securely into his breast pocket; he had tipped me very well. I must have been in good voice that evening. “You’ll be the one with the problem,” Lucky advised him, “if you don’t show some respect.

I nodded morosely and sat down on my couch. I gently laid the rose on my coffee table, then I took another bite of ice cream. Lopez sat down next to me and took my free hand. Then he looked down at our joined hands, frowning a little. “Sorry,” I said. My hand was sticky. ” I waggled my Ben and Jerry’s carton at him. “The ice cream. ” “In times of stress, I need ice cream,” I explained. ” He smiled. ” I scooped some out of the carton in my lap and brought the spoon up to his mouth. His lips were full and, I knew from experience, felt lush when he kissed.

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