A man suddenly appeared at the side of their table. He was short and beetle-faced, with gleaming black eyes that seemed brimming at once with wonder and avarice. His black hair was slicked back with some kind of men’s hair gel that caught the overhead lights in a sheen of shattered silver filaments. His grey, bargain-basement suit smelled of cigarettes. The man’s earlobes were odd, flipping outwards perpendicularly at their bases, giving the impression he had wormlike growths emerging from either side of his neck.
Before he’d even opened his mouth, Strait felt mildly nauseated by his presence.
“Oh, my God! Is it really James Strait?”
“I’m Callus Nardo. I’m the crime reporter for the Pine River Star.” He stuck out his hand. “You can call me Cal.”
Strait reluctantly extended his hand and felt with a shimmer of disgust at the clammy sweat on the man’s palm.