After the Sauce Boss left I pondered my next move.
As I exited my office, Sabu, the Super of the office building was reattaching my door to its hinges. As I passed him, he gave me that Pakistani look, waving his finger in my face. I had seen it before.
“Bad.” He said. “Very, very bad.”
“What can I say, Sabu? I hang out with a rough crowd.” I knew that wouldn’t help me but I had to get out on the streets of LA. I had a case to crack and a very large black behemoth breathing down my behind. Sabu seemed satisfied with my response.
“Thank you to see you again, Mr. Food Private eye.”
My first stop?
Chinatown and the shoe shine stand on the corner of Break Some Legs & Get Me Some Information. Right across the street from Hung Lo’s Dry Cleaners. My street lackey, Wang Chung was just finishing a buff job on a pair of Italian loafers when I arrived. When they saw me, both of the Italians scrammed, sensing I was the heat. I parked it on one of Wang’s elevated chairs and slipped him a Lincoln.
“What’s the wag on the war between the Sauce Boss and the midgets, Wang?”
Wang tensed up as he scanned both sides of the street. “You talking about the BBQ sauce?” He slipped me a Jackson as he pulled out his buff rag and started on my patent leather shoes. “Boss, you know you got a wad of chewing gum on the bottom of your shoe?”
Damn, I knew I forgot something before I let the office. I slipped Wang a Jefferson and responded.
He fingered me back a sawbuck and answered.
“Word is, the midgets cornered the market on 55-gallon drums and are planning on making sauce tonight. They have their headquarters on La Cienga Blvd, the “Tykes & Trykes” store on the corner, right next door to the “Little Tots” pre-school. Just follow the yellow brick road.
I felt like tapping my heels together as I palmed a Franklin into Wang’s hand. A children’s bike store? A perfect cover for a BBQ scam.
“What else Wang?”
“Ask for Mr. Big, he runs the operation.” He gave me a Fin and our conversation about dead presidents was over.
“Mucho Gracias, Wang”
“De Nada, Boss.”
As the bell clanged when I opened the door to the bike shop, ten or fifteen little people stopped in their tracks and sized me up.
“I’m looking for Mr. Big,” I announced.
“We know don’t sell pizza here mister.” I don’t know who said that, but they knew I meant business. I reached in my trench coat pocket for my .38 and felt nothing but the putty scraper. Damn again. I forgot my rod at the office and I brought a putty scraper to a knife fight. Just for the hell of it, I pointed the putty scraper at the midgets through my pocket.
“No need to get violent copper.” I knew it was Mr. Big as he waddled toward me. “We know why you’re here.” He yanked a crumpled wad of paper out of his blue jeans and handed it to me. “Here. Just don’t hurt us.”
I grabbed the wad and headed back to the office. It was the second half of the recipe. The case was solved
The Sauce Boss was grateful and unfortunately, when he said he would throw some cabbage my way, that’s what he did. Real cabbage.
I headed home to make some Cole slaw.
Sauce Boss BBQ Recipe, Part Two
1 55-Gal Drum, Toxic Waste Label Removed
1 ½ Cup Ketchup
½ Cup Cider Vinegar
2 Tbs. Brown Sugar
2 Tbs. Apple Juice
1 Tsp. Liquid Smoke
1 Tsp. Smoked Paprika
Sauté red pepper, onion and olive oil in olive oil until soft. Add rest of ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Let cool and puree sauce in a food processor.
This stuff brings a chill to the grill, don’t be shy saucing up the bones.