August and the winter months. Elrod Mathews hated them.
He shambled about with his gear under the bridge, unrolled his sleeping bag, rolled up a sweater for a pillow, and stretched the sleeping bag out on the ledge just below the city highway. The vehicles passing above thumped an irregular beat that echoed under the overpass. No vehicles traveled on the road at the bottom of the broad cement slant connected to the ledge.
“That’s what I am,” he said to another man, already asleep. “Private detective Elrod Mathews, at your service.”
Where’s my magnifying glass, he thought. He reached into his old army jacket’s inside pocket and pulled out a reading glass he sometimes used to direct the sun’s beam on paper to light a fire. Or a cigarette. If the sun was out.
He edged over to the sleeping man, whose boots were sticking out from under his blanket. Check the soles, he thought, scanning through the glass, the boots illuminated with his tiny flashlight.
“Hah!” he said. “Hairs. Gray ones. Long ones. A lot of them, clumped in red clay.”
Mathews backed away. Never expected that, he thought. He stood, looked at the man, skinny, reeking of alcohol, breathing heavily. He covered his mouth as if to take back what he said.
I hope he didn’t hear. Private eye Mathews has to figure this out...